What exactly is Sports Performance Training?
The easiest way to explain sports performance training is: training to increase an athletes effective range. An athletes effective range is the amount of area around an athlete that he or she can control. If you think about a young athlete (like a 4-7 year-old), they can barely control their own body, let alone any area outside of it. Therefore, their effective range is zero, or just their body. As an athlete ages, progresses, or gets more “athletic” their effective range grows out and they can now get to a point within a few feet or yards away from them and back relatively fast and with ease. As an athlete grows to the elite level, their effective range has increased so far outside of their body that it is a wonder to us how they even do it. But that is what we do! We increase your effective range!
What goes into increasing your effective range?
All the things that you would typically describe as athleticism goes into increasing an athletes effective range. Speed, agility, strength, and reaction time are all typical markers to improve upon if you want to increase an athletes effective range.
There are two types of speed that we predominantly work on: starting speed, or acceleration and top speed, or maximum (max) velocity. Speed can be influenced by two things: stride length and stride rate/frequency. Think of starting speed or acceleration as “getting to the ball.”
Getting beat to the ball? Work on your acceleration! Acceleration is going from little to no momentum, and getting up to speed in a very short period of time.
Think of top speed as breaking free down the field for a touchdown, or going coast to coast in basketball. Max velocity is when you hit your top running speed and you maintain it.
If you improve your acceleration and your top speed, congrats, you have now just completed 1 part of increasing your effective range! You can now get out further and faster than before, but remember, in order for you to control that effective range, you need to be able to get TO it and BACK from it! That’s where agility training comes in.
Agility is defined as the ability to move quickly and easily. We commonly think of agility as the ability to quickly change directions or more precisely: quickly decelerating and reaccelerating. Agility is any movement that is not linear (shuffling, crossover run, etc.) but CAN in certain instances be linear running. Things we work on to improve agility is correct braking/stopping (deceleration) mechanics, correct footwork in tight areas and lateral movement mechanics.
If you improve your acceleration, top speed and agility you have now increased your effective range! The question now remains: if you get your running and agility mechanics down perfectly, how do you keep progressing? STRENGTH!
All things the same, the stronger athlete will always prevail. An increase in strength, combined with the correct movement mechanics will result in faster, more explosive starts; higher top running speeds; higher vertical jump; and quicker deceleration or braking.
Specifically targeting the musculature of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, low back) is enough for the majority of the population to elicit some sort of positive change in athleticism. While upper-body strengthening requirements vary from sport to sport, it is generally necessary to work on the musculature of the back (lats, traps, and delts) to promote good posture and assist with arm action while running.
Strengthening and stabilizing the midsection is also vital to performance training because as your lower body strength increases, you will be able to generate more force into the ground when running or jumping, and that force will be lost if you have a weak and unstable midsection.
Reaction time is defined as the amount of time it takes to respond to a stimulus. This is often overlooked in performance training, but is of utmost importance. This reaction time, is the initial signal for you to “cover your effective range”. You can have the fastest 40-yard dash, and shuttle agility drill times in the world, but if your reaction to a stimulus in a game or competitive situation is sub-par, it will be useless.
I included mobility in this list of performance training because NONE of the aforementioned skills will be optimal, if you have inadequate mobility to complete the necessary range of motions.
Speed: inadequate hip mobility means you can’t lift your leg high enough or extend it far enough behind you to be an optimal stride length.
Agility: inadequate ankle mobility means you can’t appropriately lower your center of gravity enough to optimize braking and change of direction mechanics.
Strength: inadequate ankle/hip/shoulder/any joint mobility means you can’t adequately go through the required range of motions necessary to elicit a change!
To sum it up, sports performance training is increasing an athletes effective range by increasing their speed, agility, strength, reaction time, and mobility. If you are getting beat to the ball, beat in a race, out rebounded, or pushed around in your sport then sports performance training is for you and we are here to help.
We offer performance training for athletes from age 7 to the professional level and are confident that we can increase YOUR effective range!
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