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Training the Athlete – Do it All!

When it comes to training athletes, there are many things to consider. Most athletes need to be good at a lot of different things.

As we know, strength and power make for a better athlete. Being fast and being able to change directions fast will help an athlete. Having endurance and the ability to resist fatigue will certainly help any athlete.

So, the question is – what do we focus on in training if we have so much to do?

We have to train all these elements to get better at these qualities. If we were spending the majority of our time working on one quality, we’d not only not get better at the other qualities, but those other qualities might get worse.

If we take strength as an example, we can see why this is the case. If we think strength (weights being lifted) is the only thing that’s going to make us better as athletes, we’ll devote all of our time and energy to lifting heavier weights.

An extreme example of this is powerlifting. Powerlifters put all their resources into lifting as much weight as possible for 1 rep (and undoubtedly, the weights being lifted are pretty incredible!). But if that same powerlifter were to try some team sport (assuming they had some sport-specific training), they may not do so well.

They may do well with some aspects of the sport that require strength or an initial burst, but speed and change of direction ability would hinder their abilities, and that initial burst wouldn’t last very long.

We must train multiple things because we need our athletes to do those multiple things. If we hyperfocus on one thing, we are inherently neglecting something else.

Remember the ultimate goal of training – it’s not to build the strongest athlete, the purely fastest athlete (unless perhaps the sport is the 100m dash), or the most agile athlete.

We are trying to build the best ATHLETE. The best athlete needs to be able to do many things well – so we have to train them to do those things!

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