I’d like to share two stories of my own athletic career.
The first is that of each of my track and field seasons throughout middle and high school. Track was the only sport in which we did a dedicated strength training program throughout the season. It was also the only sport throughout my middle and high school career to feel so much easier at the end of the year than at the beginning. I got stronger throughout each season and sprinting and especially accelerating out of the starting blocks seemed easier.
Now I’m not totally discounting the fact that I specifically practiced sprinting and block starts in track, but I do think there was more to it than just practice. I think getting stronger made it easier.
The second story is that of the summer before my senior year of football. I had just come off a great track season, and now I was gearing up for my last round of football in high school. With that in the back of my mind I decided to really put in a solid summer of strength training. Prior to that I was very hit and miss over the summer, and often only managed to maintain strength I built from the previous track season.
But this summer was different. My strength levels sky-rocketed. And guess how that following football season went? It was truly an amazing experience. I felt like I could take on and outmatch anyone on the field at any time (I played both running back and linebacker), and it wasn’t very often that I couldn’t. This is by no means me trying to flaunt my skill. I am simply trying to show the power (pun intended) strength training can provide.
I understand that this is just my experience with strength and speed programs. Studies that look at one person don’t provide much weight – I get that. I also understand that both track and football are very often associated with strength training, and it may not make as much sense with other sports.
But I’ve heard the same thing time and time again from parents and athletes, often with other sports. Swinging a golf club is easier, swimming is easier, and jumping for a rebound is easier if the athlete is stronger. Oftentimes it’s even noticeable by other athletes and parents.
Now I hope you can also learn from my experience as well. Don’t wait until the last minute to get stronger and faster. If you can help it, keep getting stronger and faster year-around. I can only imagine if I would have continued strength training year-around (obviously formatted to work with my sport) I would have continued to see that ease with all of my sports that may have even snow-balled as I continued to do it.
To tweak the well-known phrase of Star Trek: Live strong and prosper.