1. Sport-Specific Training
The purest form of training for any activity is the activity itself. To be effective, a training program must reproduce the functional movements and metabolic demands of the sport being trained for. Sport-specific training challenges athletes' to perform specific movements and movement patterns safely, efficiently and subconsciously; develops the appropriate energy systems; and promotes muscular adaptations that lead to superior sport performance.
2. Multiple Joint Movements
No single body part works in isolation during movement. The body works synergistically (muscles, joints and proprioceptors work together) to produce complex movements. Running, jumping, shooting and throwing all require multiple joint actions timed in synchronized neuromuscular recruitment patterns. Thus, integrated movements should be trained, not individual muscles, if the goal is to maximize function and performance.
3. Multiple Plane Movements
Movement in sport occurs in three planes- sagittal (forward-backward), frontal (side-to-side) and transverse (rotational) and combinations of all three. Resistance training should incorporate exercises and movement patterns that develop strength and efficiency in each plane. Movement training should emphasize acceleration (force production), deceleration (force reduction) and agility (change of direction skills) since these areas have the greatest impact on sport performance.
4. Ground-Based Movements
Most sport skills are initiated by applying force in to the ground, on one leg or two. The more force an athlete can apply against the ground, the faster they will accelerate, the higher they will jump and the more effective they will be in sport. Lifting exercises should be chosen to enhance this ability to generate force. Squatting (single and double-leg) and the Olympic movements (clean, snatch & jerk) are recognized as the best movements for this purpose. Plyometrics and sport-specific agility drills are also effective.
5. Explosive Training
The ability to generate force at high rates of speed (power) is crucial in sport. Training explosively, using ground-based, multiple joint movements trains the body to recruit fast motor units at high rates of speed. This, in turn, improves performance potential.
Performance gains will eventually plateau and even diminish if the same training prescription is continually followed. Periodization is a scientifically proven model that uses different combinations of volume, load (intensity) and exercise specificity to progressively overload the body and bring about specific adaptations.
No training program can be successful without a commitment to nutrition, rest and a healthy lifestyle. Decreases in performance can often be traced to a poor diet, poor sleep habits, and/or lack of recovery time. It is essential that athletes understand and apply regeneration techniques that accelerate recovery.
Becoming the best possible athlete requires more than talent, consistent training and a commitment to nutrition. A foundation that includes resolve, discipline, courage, perseverance and selflessness is essential for true success. These attributes must be emphasized, developed and rewarded during training.
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