5 WAYS TO IMPROVE SPORTS PERFORMANCE
As an athlete looking to prepare themselves for an upcoming season, camp, showcase, combine, etc.
The main question you want to ask yourself is what is it you should be training for? Should you be doing sports specific training, strength training, speed training or all of those.
The short answer would be all of them which can be grouped under sports performance training. So today we will be going over the keys to sports performance.
1. Create A Plan And Stick To It
The best way to really start an article like this is to go into the importance of planning and strategy when setting up a plan or program to improve your sports performance. For most athletes there should be between 5-7 trainings per week, this includes games, practices, workouts, etc.
This is best to promote recovery and growth as well as to help prevent injuries in the future. So if a baseball player has 2 practices in a week and 2 games there are only 2-3 opportunities to get work outside of those events. So creating a schedule of what to work on is essential in order to get the most improvement while maintaining health.
2. Build On The Strengths
In my opinion, many athletes focus a lot on their weaknesses and therefore do not improve their athletic performance as much as they could. When figuring what to train, the best decision would be start on building the strengths to create that wow factor at camps.
This is especially true for things that can be trained in the gym such as strength, speed, power, quickness, etc. College programs and Pro scouts want to see what sets you apart and having amazing speed or incredible jumping abilities can really set you apart from all the other athletes in your sport.
3. Fix The Glaring Problems
This is especially true for sports specific training. Whether you are a soccer athlete needing to improve their touch, football player needing to improve route running, or softball player looking to improve batting those are all considered sport specific tools to improve.
(In youth athletes the focus should not be sports performance as much as overall development).
Consider talking to coaches about this but with the training the consistency is key. When I was playing football I wanted to improve my route running so I would invest extra time after practice or weight training to work my square cuts at 3, 5 and 7 steps.
Over time this made a huge difference in my overall speed and got me a lot of praise from coaches which is always great to hear. However, it is important to consider health and potential injury when doing extra training.
I would say the average athlete ages 8-18 is NOT over training. However, if the body starts to break down it is an important sign to prioritize rest.
4. Treat Your Body Like A Temple
When you are young the body has so much more ability to adapt and recover while nutrition and recovery are not as key. Many athletes go through their early life getting away with poor nutrition choices with little to no knowledge of the long term impact.
The reality however is how you feed and maintain your body makes a profound impact on your overall athletic performance, training and ability to maximize recovery.
What happens to people who do not eat enough protein in their diet is their muscles do not grow as efficiently therefore lacking strength, speed and power. Or without eating enough healthy greens, sunlight and proper nutrients the athlete does not get the full benefit of a workout or training session.
On a day to day the differences are small, until injuries start happening to the athlete or a lack of sports performance during games. These ‘setbacks’ may be from over or under training and overall fitness but it can also be poor nutrition choices.
Most young athletes suffer from not having the size and power of other athletes in the program and the best way to improve that is with more and better quality protein.
5. Train Your Mechanics
This is really one of our main services at Performance Lab of California so it should not be a surprise to be on this list and even though it is last, the importance is critical. The simple reality is the best athletes in the world move like the best athletes in the world. There is little wasted motion or inefficient movement when sprinting, cutting, swinging, changing direction, etc.
Sprinting? You might want to check out this page and improving your turnover speed.
Our goal started with improving movement patterns to reduce injury risk
But most youth athletes and parents do not register with the importance of that until after an injury. So we focus our programs now on performance by improving clients speed, agility, power, conditioning, etc. by training movements over specific muscles.
What naturally happens when you workout the inefficient movements is the athlete naturally is able to achieve higher levels of performance. This may seem like a very simple concept but surprisingly many programs do not implement this type of training.
To give a quick background we use high speed cameras and application to really slow down movements to see every subtle inefficient action taken by an athlete. Therefore, we can identify links in the body that lead to high performance or injury risk and train them accordingly.
You can find out more about that service here: https://performancelabofcalifornia.com/
Those are the 5 keys to improve sports performance and while they are numbered all of them are critical. If you miss 1 then all of the others may fall apart and many people may read this and be doing 3 out of the 5 or even 4 out of the 5.
THAT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
Stop being okay with being good or better than average if the goal is professional or elite. Professionals are committed to being professionals at everything, not some things, especially the guys that last in the NFL, MLB and NBA for years.
They have a passion and dedication to their craft that can be seen in most areas of their entire life.
I am confident that by following the basics written out for you here you can also achieve excellence in your performance.
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