Once upon a time, when I was a kid (only a measly 20yrs ago) we played baseball during baseball season, football during football season, and soccer during soccer season. Being a multi sport athlete was far from rare, and young athletes had the opportunity to work on different facets of their athleticism by playing different sports. Today’s athletic landscape has changed quite a bit in that club organizations dominate the off-season making almost all sports year round which in turn has given us athletes with much different priorities and different challenges.
Things are different today, not worse just different. The now 10 month season that pretty much dominates every sport has developed athletes who are stuck in the same movement patterns everyday. Working on the same routes, the same jump shots, and hitting baseballs in the cages everyday. Look, I’m all for hard work, I believe the most important aspect of any athlete’s game is their grit. But I’d rather work smarter in order to work harder. Working the same movements day in and day out leads to overactive and overused muscles which ultimately leads to injury. Strength & conditioning provides a remedy to that. It releases athletes of the monotony of sport specific work and allows them to build strength, add lean muscle mass, improve power, speed, agility, and more importantly helps prevent injury. What good is a wide receiver with great hands but lacks the acceleration to separate from a defender? What good is a baseball player who is injury prone because they lack the muscular endurance to constantly throw? How about a tennis player who lacks the agility to maneuver across the court to return the ball?
I’ll admit that in my small world in the 90’s, finding a gym for strength & conditioning for amateur athletes was thought of as completely unnecessary. Who needs a certified strength coach when your dad has you pushing cars and running through tires. But as the times changed so has people’s perceptions regarding athletic development as sports have become even more competitive in a culture that is D1 or bust. But what 90’s kids like myself lacked in professional training we made up for by playing every sport we possibly could. We learned hand-eye coordination by catching & throwing a baseball, maneuverability and body awareness during football season, and developed the ability to maximize jumping ability by trying our best to dunk while playing basketball. The opportunities to develop our athletic prowess was all around us.
Of course the only way to play your sport better is to actually play your sport. But the only way to become a better athlete is to take the time to develop the attributes necessary to compete at a high level. This is why a dedicated off-season is in my honest opinion the most important time of year for an athlete, especially those who are still in their youth (elementary, middle school, high school). Strength and conditioning is the key to continuous athletic development, the key to longevity, and ultimately the key to success. Visit us at the Boost Performance Center in Corona CA for help with all of your off-season training needs.