A vast majority of kids, adolescents, and teens play competitive sports up until college and some end up playing through college on scholarships or as walk-ons. A very high number, estimated around 65-70%, do not receive any type of strength & conditioning, athletic development, or sports performance training. There is a reason why every college has or is implementing a strength & conditioning staff into their sports programs. Studies now show that this type of training can start as early as age 7 or sooner, safely and without hindering growth. Here's 5 reasons why you should be looking for a sports performance coach soon.
1) Injury Prevention
You simply can't play if you're hurt. Often, injuries prevent high level athletes from reaching their goals or obtaining collegiate scholarships. Incorporating strength/resistance training can greatly reduce the chances of an injury. Research indicates that resistance training promotes growth and/or increases in the strength of ligaments, tendons, tendon to bone and ligament to bone junction strength, joint cartilage and the connective tissue sheaths within muscle. The training also increases muscle flexibility, motor control, and corrects imbalances throughout the body. Performing at elite levels means your body needs to be at elite levels. Take care of your body.
When an athlete develops his/her strength, their performance develops with it. Increased strength means increased rate of force development. More force generated in less time equals more explosive movements. Also, the muscles learn to synchronize more efficiently and effectively to decrease energy spent to perform a task. This means less work is done to perform a given task in a competition. Strength is the foundation of a great athlete in every sport. EVERY SPORT!
3) Olympic Lifting
Nearly every sport requires strength & speed. Strength and speed combined is called power. Numerous studies on Olympic lifting show that the lifts increase power output drastically. The ability to adapt to the demands of cleans, jerks and snatches will transfer over to the sport at hand in due time. Olympic lifts do not reflect many sport specific positions. With that being said, it mimics the universal athletic position, the "ready" position. The clean and the snatch move through this universal position on every repetition performed. Being able to execute the reps explosively and efficiently will increase the athletes power output not only in the weight room, but on the field or court of play.
4) Building More Than Strength
Finding a coach who fits the athlete is very important and often overlooked. Throughout life, people come and go. We never know who to trust and who not to trust, because, well, that's life. A great coach is going to invest his/her time into the athlete and want the best for that athlete. A great coach is going to build character, instill confidence, and get consistently great effort from the athlete. A great coach must continuously learn and educate himself/herself daily. A poor coach is only going to want a paycheck. Finding 'that' coach may not be easy, but you will know when you've found it. That relationship will last a lifetime.
5) Correcting Weakness
The athlete's sport coach may find weakness in areas of performance. Some examples may be: too slow, can't jump, poor lateral movement, inability to react, poor hand-eye co-ordination, etc. The sports performance training is designed to increase these areas of weakness with proper program design. Building a foundation of strength and then establishing proper movement technique and body control in sport specific situations will drastically improve an athlete’s performance. Learning proper posture, knee drive, landing mechanics, mind to body connections, and establishing fundamental movement patterns can turn a good player into a great player.