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Balance Training for the Athlete

Pretty much all athletes need some balance to succeed in their chosen sport, and the better the balance/stability, the better the athlete is likely to be.

But how does an athlete train balance? Is it just one of those “you have it, or you don’t” traits?

Balance, like many other traits can certainly be trained, but it is unique to an athlete. If you consider how an athlete uses balance, you can then figure out how to train it.

An athlete doesn’t often have to stay still for long periods on one leg (think traditional balance training). Instead, athletes have to land with one leg and quickly move in another direction from that one leg—this has much more to do with smooth transitions from a single-leg position.

So, while we may start an athlete with traditional balance training (to know what “balanced” feels like), we will quickly transition to movements that mimic what an athlete has to do in sport—landing with one leg and coming under balance, landing with one leg and immediately going into a sprint or a jump, etc.

In addition, single-leg strength training (reverse lunges, step-ups, etc.) can be very beneficial for balance, as we are getting better at stabilizing while also producing force one foot at a time.

Context matters when it comes to balance training, so we have to get a bit more specific if we want to see the transfer to sport. Start with traditional balance drills, but then let’s get moving!

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