Coaching Considerations for the Athlete: Strength

One of the great metaphors for strength is to think of strength as a cup or glass and every other athletic quality (speed, agility, endurance, etc.) as water that will fill the cup. If strength is limited to the size of a coffee cup, there will only be a limited amount of water (athletic qualities) that can fit in the cup before it overflows.

Anything that overflows doesn’t benefit the athlete.

If we can build that strength to the size of a large water glass, we have much more room to fill it with more or enhanced athletic qualities. And finally if we build strength to the size of a gallon jug we have MUCH more space for building up those other qualities. Strength is not strictly limited to fast sports either. Endurance athletes can benefit from growing their glass (strength). If you think about it on a very basic level, if athlete #1 can squat 150 pounds and it takes 50 pounds of force production during each one of his strides, he must use 33% of his max strength ability each step. If athlete #2 can squat 250 pounds but he also must produce 50 pounds of force during each step, he only uses 20% of his max strength ability each step. He doesn’t have to work as hard with each step he takes. Over the course of a longer endurance-style sport, that can add up fast! While there is far more at work than basic strength to being a good athlete, strength is an easy way to build other qualities of athletic performance. If you make your cup bigger, you make more room to get faster, move quicker, and build more endurance.


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