Every parent of an athlete wants his or her child to excel. We want to give them the right tools to do so, but often we don’t know what those tools are. Many parents focus on getting their child more skills training, but aren’t they already getting that with their team practices and games?
What parents often don’t realize is that athletes who simply focus on skills training and only conditioning at practice eventually fall behind athletes that focus on augmenting their skills with performance training.
1. Great athletes make great players.
If you look at great athletes, it’s clear they are skilled at their sport. But, they also stand out because they’re faster, stronger, more agile and more focused than their competition. They’re first to the ball, quickest to recover when they fall, can turn on a dime, or power through when their opponent tries to shut them down.
2. Great players train in the gym.
When great players aren’t practicing, they’re in the gym training to get faster, stronger, better conditioned, more mobile and more flexible. Just look at baseball players in the off-season. They rarely touch a baseball. They’re at the gym running speed drills, lifting weights and conditioning. And, once the season starts, they maintain their conditioning and strength with regular, but less intense gym workouts.
3. Great athletes are COMPLETE athletes.
Top athletes aren’t just strong, or fast. They continually build on the four pillars of athleticism:
MOVEMENT: This includes what we talked about in #2: training to improve speed and conditioning, as well as injury prevention, corrective exercises, dynamic warm up. They always try to “improve the machine.”
MINDSET: Consider most successful athletes. They are good teammates, have a positive attitude, give 100% effort in practice and games, are disciplined and are mentally tough. Think about some of the pro athletes that have crashed and burned in their careers – none of them had the mindset for being a great athlete.
NUTRITION: You can’t fuel the body with junk and expect to perform well in school, or on the field. Great athletes pay attention to what they put in their bodies and recognize good food makes good fuel.
RECOVERY: This is probably the most overlooked aspect of an athlete’s training program. Many young athletes are participating in both travel and school sports. Their coaches are running more practices and doing games and tournaments year round. The body needs to recover in order to avoid overuse injuries. Recovery needs to include daily soft tissue work, ice and heat therapy, the proper amount of sleep, and some time off from practices and games.
So, as parents, what’s the right move?
· Share this article with your athlete.
· Find out what most frustrates them in a game. Is it their speed? Are they getting pushed off the ball too easily? Do they run out of gas while others are still going strong? Chances are, the frustration comes from lack of performance training rather than skills training.
· Bring them into Next Level Fitness & Performance for an evaluation. We’ll not only help identify imbalances that can impede progress or lead to injury, we’ll help you determine if Performance Training is right for your athlete.