As an individual who has been in the fitness industry for 25 years, I have seen my fair share of athletes ranging in age from 6 to 25. My athletes have come from all different backgrounds and various levels of college. I have seen high school athletes from all over the state of Pennsylvania, each individual playing every sport that is imaginable. The coaches for these athletes have been both good and bad all with different types of training protocols.
In my industry, there is a lot of false propaganda as far as the latest and greatest training protocols. Every year someone has something new to share that may or may not be worth implementing into an athlete’s training regimen. Some coaches are still using training methods from 30 years ago which are no longer relevant in today’s society. The number one rule that I use with my athletes is train for your prospective sport. That means if you participate in a sport that is very ballistic in nature: basketball, football, field hockey, soccer, rugby, or lacrosse, DO NOT RUN LONG DISTANCE MILEAGE. This training effect slows down an athlete’s sprint speed and makes them SLOWER. If the sport requires 20 to 50 yard interval sprints, then why would you run a mile or more at a steady pace for conditioning? I am going to provide some other ways to slow down your athlete, so if that is your goal then enjoy the following.
The next best way to slow down an athlete is to make sure they don’t eat prior to training. You can also make sure that they eat food items that are terrible for them. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in the training world. These athletes go to ELITE camps all over the United States in which they feed them things such as pizza, chicken tenders, french fries, salads, donuts, and all types of junk food. Every athlete should be eating several well-balanced meals throughout the day in order to maintain energy response. A camp, clinic, or any other event that advertises as a high-level event and feeds their participants terrible food is NOT a high-level event.
Another great way to slow an athlete down is to make sure they are training 5 to 6 times a week with no form of recovery. Many coaches use running as a form of punishment for a team not performing well on the field. The problem usually lies in that the team has been run into the ground for several days and are physically and mentally exhausted. You can review your teams’ mistakes at the following practice to stop bad habits, however making them run will not produce winning results. The team might need a recovery day in which you work on becoming mentally stronger. Another option would be reviewing the games on film to correct mistakes.
Parents can also be a cause of overtraining because they feel like their kid is never putting in enough effort or work. Everyone needs a break from time to time and usually they respond with a much better attitude.
The last way to make your athlete slower is to not warm-up and/or skip stretching and foam rolling. A warm-up of running a lap or two is not enough to properly warm up an athlete. Sports involve moving through a variety of planes, rotations, and speeds. The warm-up should make sure you adequately hit all of the muscles needed to perform at a high level on the field. This also means that at the end of practice, you take time to stretch and foam roll. This will help mitigate any potential injuries and allow the athletes to become faster. I take great pride in making sure my teams and athletes always warm-up and cool down properly to reduce risk of injuries. If you have a high rate of injuries on your team, you should re-evaluate your training protocol. A healthy team come playoffs is a WINNING team.
If you need help as an athlete or a coach with assessing your team’s training protocol, please contact Xcellerated Speed Training.