What are You Training For

What are You Training For

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Before you start training for anything, you need to know exactly what your training for.  If you’re a lawyer attending law school you don’t jump immediately to the courtroom.  A medical student doesn’t begin in the operating room.  They need to make sure they progressively move through the education process to insure they are ready when that time comes.

It doesn’t matter what you are training for, a strong foundation is critical for future success.  If you bypass certain things and rush the process, you will waste critical time trying to retrace your path in order to make up lost time.

As a parent of three, I can relate to parents who want the best for their children.  It’s difficult to navigate what anyone should do as far as training because of all the material that is at our disposal.  With this said, nothing beats the basics, because athletes at the highest levels are experts at performing everyday athletic skills at an elite level.  My motto is and always has been, “Be great at the basics and the basics will make you elite.”

Now comes the question, “What are you training for?” So often I see trainers posting videos of their athletes breaking gym records with incredible bench presses, unbelievable box jumps, as well as phenomenal 40 yard dash times.  When deciding what gym you send your children to, the least important component should be the aforementioned.  You should take into consideration your child’s age, training experience, sport and position played, and current physical development.

I will use the example of a 12 year old football player who plays wide receiver and is looking to improve his speed, agility, and strength.  I have seen videos on Instagram of athletes at this level using training methods that professional powerlifters use when they are trying to improve their bench press, squats, and deadlifts.  These methods are highly effective when utilized correctly but no 12 year old is ready for the stress that this type of training will induce on their underdeveloped bodies nor will it help them on a football field.  My philosophy uses weightlifting principals to improve athleticism.  I’m not looking to take my athletes and create weightlifters.   Before you begin training, you need to take a needs analysis.  What do you need to improve and once you figure that out, how will you do it.

A 12 year old wide receiver needs the following:

  1. GPP- General physical preparedness which consists of general conditioning that prepares them for more specific work in the weight room and field.
  2. Preparatory strength exercises that will build the requisite strength needed to correctly perform speed drills and exercises.
  3. Speed drills that will improve acceleration, deceleration, change of direction, and performing football skills related to wr play.
  4. Position specific drills that will enhance catching, route running, and blocking skills.
  5. Strength training that will keep the athlete physically strong in relation to the position they play and help them increase mobility, flexibility, and strengthen their muscles/tendons to perform the previous mentioned areas.

The youth athlete needs to develop the neural pathways necessary to perform specific motor tasks correctly. If you haven’t learned the basic movement patterns that will help you lift weights, run correctly, catch a ball, and execute proper football techniques, you are setting yourself up for failure. You aren’t training to be a power lifter and don’t need to be.  If you haven’t performed the previously mentioned tasks and mastered them, you will risk learning the wrong technique as well as increase your chances for injury. When a coach is having you put tons of weight on your back, telling you, you need to get stronger and faster, you need to ask “why.”  The next question then needs to be, “how.”  Are you learning from the ground up and progressively increasing the training volume and intensity or immediately loading up a bar and doing drills the coach saw on YouTube.  Is the coach/trainer trying to showcase an athlete’s athletic ability to promote their business on social media, or are they coaching training methods that will enhance the athlete’s performance in their specific sport.  Training is progressive just like learning to read.  Before you write a novel you need to learn the alphabet, write words, a sentence, and then paragraphs.  Once you master the basics, the rest falls into place.

There are so many ways to increase athlete performance and it really comes down to whether or not the coach and athlete have a plan.  Are you going to improve incrementally and create a strong foundation that will set up future success, or are you looking for a quick fix so you can show off to your friends on social media.

Life is a marathon and too often it’s treated as a sprint.  It’s ok to be impatient and constantly push yourself to be the best version of yourself every day, but have the patience to allow yourself to develop. Take the time to understand what it takes to become better, put the time in to improve in those areas, and master the basics.  When you do, you’ll be glad you did!!! Let’s goooooo!!!!

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