Sep 2, 2020While Sports Are Changing, Training Methods Should Stay the Same
Sports may look different from the emergence of COVID-19 last spring, but that doesn’t mean the training methods for student-athletes have remained the same.
While sports seasons have been postponed, canceled, or altered to some degree, keeping a routine training regimen allows student-athletes to be physically ready to participate fully. The benefits are greater performance, reduced risk of injury, and heightened enjoyment from not struggling with potential diminished fitness levels.
But as gyms and athletic facilities begin to re-open in some capacity, finding time for weight training two to three times a week is a good place to start. In a study published in 2007 by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning found a 12-week medicine ball strength-training program to build strength in baseball players. According to the study, this significantly increased the athletic capacity of the players for their season and demonstrated that advanced equipment wasn’t necessary to gain strength and power.
After adding the foundational layer of weight training, begin to work in some form of conditioning. And this is where more sports-specific training enters the fold. Each sport has specific types of cardiovascular demands. Football has high-intensity bursts of sprints with breaks after each play while soccer has high-intensity bursts mixed with jogging or running, for example.
The unique qualities of the sports mean that the conditioning should mimic the movements that occur during competition. Making sure an athlete is doing the proper type of cardio training three to four times a week, with enough time between sessions to recover, will set him or her up for success.
In order to make those sports-specific movements, flexibility and mobility training are important factors to implement. A 2002 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that a lack of flexibility in the lower extremities severely limited the athletes during vertical jumping performance. The ability to generate and control power is part of what makes an athlete good in their sport. Stretching and foam rolling are great ways to address flexibility while pilates and yoga-based movements can be excellent for mobility and flexibility.