Most athletes have the desire to be bigger, faster, and stronger than their competition. Coaches are continually looking to push athletes to the next level, yet many don’t understand the basic fundamentals of how to get an athlete there. Throughout my years in the fitness industry, I have come across a broad spectrum of coaches and athletes. In 22 years in this industry, I have only found a select few who understand what it takes for an athlete to get to the next level. Coaches and athletes alike, many are utilizing the ways of what was taught and/or coached many years ago. We live in a new age in which information is at your fingertips, however you have to discern the facts from the fiction.
Most athletes are not just playing high school sports anymore, they are playing all year round on travel teams as well. This means many athletes are no longer cross training and are playing the same sport for the entire year. Some people think that this is a great way for a player to excel at their perspective sport. The problem is that the same muscle groups are being taxed continuously without developing other aspects of the body and/or training protocol. This leads to a higher rate of injury and athletes are now getting injured at a much younger age than ever before. The travel programs typically focus on skill sets required for the sport, but neglect other valuable areas in an athlete’s training protocol.
In order to have a well-rounded athlete it takes several areas of commitment. These consist of nutrition protocol, injury prevention, strength and conditioning, and speed and agility work. I would also include in this training for the mind as well . Far too often, coaches will focus only on one or two of these aspects. This becomes problematic because it takes ALL of these things to become an elite level athlete. I find it amusing when parents sign-up their children for these ELITE camps all across the United States. Then when I speak to the athlete involved they all operate typically the same way. They offer skills training and scrimmaging, yet feed their ELITE athletes pasta and/or pizza throughout the camp. If the camp you are taking your athlete to does not discuss nutrition and injury prevention it is hardly an ELITE camp. The best of the best athletes take all of these aspects into account when designing their training protocol. If a coach expects you to run faster but does not teach you how to do so, then how would an athlete learn anything?
When looking at training protocol for an athlete or even a normal person, the trainer should be looking for imbalances in the body that may prevent the individual from becoming the best that they can be. Some issues can be found in hip mobility and range of motion in varying aspects of basic functions. These need to be addressed and worked on in order to make the athlete complete. By not looking for imbalances that can be caused by the sport, daily life, or structurally, it can result in serious season ending injuries. Running mechanics and change of direction techniques should be addressed as early as possible in an athlete’s career in order to avoid bad habits and injuries. A qualified trainer may not be able to fix these imbalances on their own, they may need the help of a masseuse, chiropractor, or PT. The parties involved should work collectively together to get an athlete back on the field with no issues.
If you are an athlete that is struggling with speed and agility or is having pain during the season, please reach out to Tony at Xcellerated Speed Training. We take a multi-faceted approach to athletic training and make sure an athlete’s health is our first priority.