Training Like An Athlete


High level athletes in the pros seem to dominate their sport.  Baseball players appear as if they know where the ball is going to be hit, even before the bat connects with the ball!  Running Backs leave defenders tackling air as the cut 90 degrees while running at full speed!

How do they do it?  What makes these individuals a step quicker, faster or stronger?  How do they seemingly defy gravity while playing their sport?  The answer is simple…..ATHLETICISM!

 Athleticism is composed of several key components, including agility, balance, coordination, speed, strength, endurance, power and body control.  An athlete needs to be agile within a small space to avoid obstacles or defenders and they should be quick with their decision making.  A player needs to be fast for longer runs, sprints and in transition defense.

Muscular strength helps a player to hold his or her postion and muscular power propels the athlete upward to get rebounds or forward to deliver a bone-crushing hit.  Also, a player who possesses sound agility, balance and coordination will have better foot work, be more controlled with and without the ball and have better body control to change direction.

Thes are just  a few of the physical attributes that can be drastically improved through proper athletic development training.  Benefits from athletic development training can and will be seen in players at any age and skill level.

Today’s athletes are bigger, faster and stronger than they have ever been.  The benefits of strength training and conditioning are clearly evident in the professional ranks.  But, should you just be doing “general” strength training and conditioning?  Will it provide optimal carry-over onto the field, court or whatever your area of competition is?  The answer would have to be “NOPE”! 

In order to provide optimal carry-over, we need to first look at the demands of any particular sport and then use common sense to devise a training program that allows you to meet those demands.  For example, in soccer, from a conditioning standpoint, the common practice is to have players perform long-distance runs because they have to run for 90 minutes.  However, when we look at the demands of any soccer game, we see that the players must actually sprint and recover by walking or jogging.  This is repeated over and over throughout the game.  Therefore, it only makes sense to set up a conditioning program with short interval type training using a jog or walk for recovery.

From a strength standpoint, athletes may spend one to two hours in the weight room in the off-season.  However, these same athletes could get much more carry-over into their sport if they spent only an hour of weight training with the lifts that are absolutely necessary and the rest of the time focusing on functional strength training.

This could be sprinting while being resisted with stretch bands, performing sport skills at a slower speed while wearing a light weighted vest or performing drills in the sand or running in water for added resistance.  This type of training will allow the athletes to train the muscles needed in their sport the way that they will actually be “used” in that sport.

Athletes at the highest level are currently using this type of training to push themselves to peak performance.  However, athletic development training should not be reserved for “just” the elite athletes.  It can also be safely utilized at virtually any level of sports.  Today, more than ever, it is critical to partake in a structured athletic training program.  With the results being increased performance and decreased injuries, how can any athlete afford “not” to! 

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