Jun 28, 2018
Multi-Sport Training

When coaching a multi-sport athlete, it can be difficult to design a training program that caters to your specific sport while also addressing the athlete’s needs. Each sport has its own demands, and a multi-sport athlete may be stronger or weaker in certain areas based on the other sport(s) they play. But according to Jordan Tingman, CSCS, USAW L1, ACE CPT, CFL1, and contributor to the International Youth Conditioning Association, creating the right training program can help these athletes excel in every sport they compete in.

It starts with getting to know the athlete. Tingman recommends asking them a few questions: What have you done to train in the past? What sports do you play? Have you ever worked with a strength and conditioning professional or had any formal training outside of your sport? What injuries or structural issues have you had in the past? What are some things you would like to improve?

These questions will help you determine the training age of the individual and the types of exercises and intensity you will use going forward. Many young athletes don’t have experience doing resistance training, so even if they are already excelling in multiple sports, it’s important to start with the basics in the weightroom.

Know what other sports they play is key because it will help you understand the demands that are being placed on them. If they are repeating certain movements for one of the sports and creating muscle imbalances, you should look for ways to correct these imbalances during training. This will help them be better overall athletes and reduce the chances of injury.

Imbalances and weaknesses can also be linked to past injuries, so be sure to ask about those as well. If an athlete has suffered an injury in another sport under a different coach, you may not know about until you ask. Once you have this information, you can better determine what exercises to avoid, modify, or add in order to protect or strengthen some of the damaged or weakened muscles. With these extra precautions, you can help athletes be more resilient when it comes to further injury.

When asking athletes where they would like to improve, Tingman suggests having them get as specific as possible. There might be certain areas that they want to work or haven’t been able to address because of other sporting commitments in the past. Based on their goals, incorporate some drills or exercise into their training that will help them get to where they want to be.

Along with asking these questions of your multi-sport athletes, Tingman also recommends doing an assessment so that you can identify any glaring concerns. Put them through a series of dynamic warm-ups, such as High Knees, Butt Kickers, High Knee Hugs, Pendulums, Quad Stretch and Reach, Runners, Lateral Lunge and Pivot, Figure 4 with Air Squat, Carioca, Skips, Backward Run, Side Shuffle, and a two 10 yard sprints. Watching them move through these exercises will help you assess any of their physical limitations and adjust their training accordingly.

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