Three Laws That Should Govern Sport-Performance Training

Hannah working on a core warm-up drill 
"Own the area!" Movement skills are more than just getting tired. Be explosive and precise! 
Loaded side plank by Jack from Mendham! 

Parents all want what is best for their children. As a new father I look at my daughter Sierra and I think of all the great things I would love her to experience in her life. Sports, if she chooses to participate in them, is something that I would love for her to experience because of all of the moments beyond the wins and loses. Sport-Performance training at its best is the same experience.

The phase mostly used is “speed and agility,” but to be fair that does not do our jobs here at Driven Fitness and Performance justice. Speed and agility are only two parts to the athletic puzzle. What about other qualities such as strength, power, movement skills, jumping and landing technique, conditioning, toughness, discipline, execution and forward thinking. If we want to create true “game changers” on the field, court or ice then we must commit to more than just working out, lifting weights or doing some agility drills.

At Driven, we have three laws that govern how we approach our sport-performance program. Apply these rules and you become more powerful, more resilient, and more ready than you have ever been playing the game that you love. Ignore them and you fall into the trap that plagues high school sports teams and players. Some athletes feel that since it doesn’t take any thought to work out that they are getting better by their efforts. But in 2016 we know that the human body is a complex machine and if we truly want to enhance its ability to perform, we must be willing to evolve our preparation methods.

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At Driven, the first law that we implement is purposeful work. It is not enough to just work hard, get sweaty and exhausted and then call it a day.  You must be willing to follow a systematic approach to improvement and apply a comprehensive model. It is not enough to just go in and have a “chest and back” day or do a 5x5 set of squats, lunges, and finish it off with some leg extensions. Too many athletes are wasting their time trying to attain attributes they are not properly training for. While it is true, a bad program with great effort will always trump a good program with poor effort, it does not mean intensity and intelligence cannot coexist.

The second law is that injury prevention is our ultimate goal. There are nearly 200,000 ACL injuries every year in America and females are 4 – 10 times more likely to experience this injury than their male counterparts. With the speed, power, intensity of (female) sports only continuing to rise our first line of defense should be to properly train the body to withstand the rigors of their sports.

This does not mean train as hard as you can for as long as you can and then go home. If the goal is to be more resilient to injury than you must take your each part of the preparation puzzle seriously. Foam rolling, proper stretching, muscle activation, mobility, stability, neuromuscular control all are important. If the athlete wants to play hard and play often, learn how to apply ALL the facets of a proper program. Injuries can devastate a season, a team, and a career. As coaches it is our number one priority to make sure players stay healthy to enjoy the game they love.

The third law is empowering the athlete through the training process. Following a “monkey-see, monkey-do” training system where players just mimic the coach for 60-minutes does not teach the athlete they can control the process. Instead we teach each individual athlete how to execute their program and then make modifications for that athlete after every month. This doesn’t just create a better training system; it empowers the athlete to take control of their training destiny. Athletes are responsible for execution and coaches are responsible for coaching.

Also, instilling proper technique on each lift is critical for long-term success and empowering the athlete to push themselves. There is no excuse for improper form by an athlete and too many times we allow athletes to by pass the laws of biomechanics for heavier weight and a larger ego. Emphasize that if we want to truly benefit from each exercise maximum focus most be placed on each exercise.

These may not be the latest speed and agility concepts because for true sport performance athletes must focus on the process and not just parts. If our three laws stand strong throughout the training process than we will have done our job. And each athlete will be more improved than ever before.

Gary Vesper has been training athletes and adults for over four years and has built his reputation on delivering powerful results in a safe and effective manner. Gary and the Driven Team believe that a strong environment does matter, that relationships and support systems are critical, and that we are all capable of much more than we ever expected. Life is too short and experiences are too important to settle for average.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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