We're about to hit winter with the next 8 - 12 games potentially being played in weather that will result in highly contested games, which means a huge jump in collisions meaning game load will be higher.
With a change in game style you'll also need a change in training to boot.
I've blogged about this a heap and here I go again. TR refers to how long a specific quality (speed, strength, endurance etc) stays with you before it needs to be directly trained again. This is must'know information because it means you know exactly what to train and when to train it so you can plan your training schedule accordingly. I have a monthly set up all laid out in the Aussie Rules Training In-Season Training Program. Hint - if you're doing training drills that fatigue your players each and every session then you're going about it all wrong.
Again I've blogged about this a heap but it piggy backs off the TR point. CD refers to "training interference" where different aspects of training, when trained together, can actually have negative implications on your fitness. You need to program your training sessions taking both TR and CD into account for optimal results.
During games there's not a lot of energy left over for a lot of extra training so a good way to program is through MD. MD refers to breaking up training specific aspects of footy into smaller but more frequent sessions so instead of trying to fit 1 x 60min speed session into your week, aim for 2 - 3 x 15 - 20min sessions which can easily be implemented prior to footy training for example. Gym can be broken up into 3 - 4 x 20 - 30min sessions as well focusing on low but high quality training volume.
HIGH LOW SYSTEM
The HLS is my go to set up personally but it becomes even more critical during the season when fatigue is at its highest and you need to peak every 7 days. Starting at your number 1 high day being Saturday, your other 2 high days are Tuesday and Thursdays. This means that you need ti use low days for all your other training days otherwise you'll either dip into recovery from the previous game or not be fresh enough for the next game.
Again piggy backing of the HLS, instead of taking days off training, it's always better to do a "low" workout instead of nothing which better preps the body the high day/s to come. I've implemented 3 low/recovery workout days so far this season with pretty good results but they allow you to get more training volume in, albeit at a low intensity, which also doubles as micro dosing for aerobic capacity. So what's treating my body better - my 3 x 20 -30min RW or a 60 - 90min session all done in 1 huge hit?
OFF LEGS CONDITIONING
OLC can be the savior in regards to maintaining fitness during the season, especially as those boggy, contested games come in. Even by Tuesday you can still feel the ill effects of some of those games which makes training almost useless. As mentioned above, it's better to do something then nothing so heading to the gym and performing some off legs fitness work, such as a RW mentioned above, can still provide the training effect you need but without inducing any further fatigue, leaving more recovery juice for you to work with.
The other week I blogged about what I track and why which is how I track fatigue indicators for myself. As mentioned in that post your best bet is through the HRV4Training App which is what I use. It has a built in wellness survey and it takes your daily HRV reading and your survey results to provide you with a training recommendation each day - the best $15 you'll ever spend and apart from sleep, is the 2nd best option in regards to recovery - ice baths and foam rollers included.
TRAIN THE OPPOSITE OF THE GAME STYLE
Staying with our contested winter games for example, there's not a lot of max velocity sprinting in these games due to the ball being on the ground so much and according to TR above, max speed needs to be trained directly every 3 - 7 days to be maintained. This means that you'll have performed a fair bit of acceleration work during the game but little max velocity so your training the next week should reflect that by performing some dedicated max velocity sprinting which not only maintains speed, but also maintains muscle and joint integrity in regards to high velocity contractions and you'll be less likely to get injured if your body constantly remembers what high velocity is. Another example is for someone who sat on the bench for a large portion of the game who actually misses out on most of the fitness work required in a game and thus will be essentially be '1 session behind" the others so they will need to make up the missed game work during the week but without fatiguing them for the next game.