Long Term Athletic Development

Long Term Athletic Development 

Strength training, injury prevention, sport specific training, energy system development all sound sexy when we talk about them as professionals.  I often think back to a recent podcast I listened to with @benbrunotraining when he said, “we are often really good at things we have been doing since we were kids.”  I agree with him, and the issue is we are seeing less kids out playing sports.  I do not have specific stats but using the eye test I see less kids out playing basketball, rumble fumble, wiffleball, and soccer.  

Although a controversial topic, the best athletes I receive at the college level are multi-sport athletes.  There are so many parallels between sports when it comes to technical, tactical, physiological, and psychological factors.  Playing different sports all year around helps develop motor skills that may be lost specializing in one sport too early.  We are starting to see more and more athletes specialize early in their careers.  Parents are quick to see their 6th grade son/daughter have early success and think if my son/daughter dedicates year-round attention to this sport they will accelerate their development.  At a certain point you will run into one of two issues, the law of diminishing returns or burnout.  I would encourage you if you are a young athlete reading this to continue to play multiple sports.  

  • Basketball: Speed, Power, Change of Direction, Endurance, Vision, Ball Skills
  • Football: Speed, Power, Strength, Change of Direction, Vision, Ball Skills  
  • Soccer: Endurance, Speed, Power, Change of Direction, Vision, Ball Skills
  • Track: Speed, Power, Speed Endurance, Endurance
  • Baseball/Softball: Speed, Power, Rotational Power, Reaction Time
  • Lacrosse: Speed, Power, Change of Direction, Rotational Power, Reaction Time, Ball/Stick Skills

Along with playing your sports strength training can be used to compliment your abilities on/off the field/court/pool…etc.  The first question I know a lot of you are thinking is “how old is old enough to start strength training”?  The quick answer is…it depends because everyone matures and develops at different speeds.  However here is what everyone can do.  Everyone can do bodyweight exercises.  Having proper technique, body awareness and motor control are important when laying the foundation for bodyweight movements.  Before you say “I'm too advanced for bodyweight exercises” bite your tongue because most coaches at the collegiate level prescribe a foundational program that only uses bodyweight or light weight exercises.  Prior to walking you need to learn how to crawl.  Here is a list of exercises that you can perform to help build muscle, body awareness and foundational strength while only using bodyweight exercises.

  • Horizontal Push - Push-ups
  • Horizontal Pull - Inverted Row with TRX
  • Vertical Pull - Pull-ups (underhand/overhand/neutral)
  • Bilateral Lower Body - Bodyweight Squats
  • Unilateral Lower Body - Bodyweight Split Squats
  • Unilateral Hinge - Single Leg RDL

Stay tuned for my next article discussing variations, progressions/regression, and time under tension programming.  

Colin Masterson
Sports Performance Coach at Villanova University
Follow along for more content on IG @CM1_performance

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