We’ve all heard the saying: practice makes perfect. There’s a reason why it is such a common saying – because it’s true!
A prime example of this is in strength and speed training for the athlete. An athlete that consistently strength trains and works through speed drills (both straight ahead and multi-directional) is a much better athlete in their given sport - assuming the sport involves running in the case of speed training.
A faster and stronger athlete is a better athlete.
While many people think strength and speed are genetic traits (and to a certain point they are), they are actually traits that can be practiced, and in order to have them and keep them an athlete must continue to practice them.
This is why many sports have adopted an in-season strength and conditioning program – because practice makes perfect.
This is why a hard-charging athlete, who takes long breaks in their strength and speed training, is at a disadvantage from a developmental standpoint.
LET IT BE TOTALLY CLEAR: There is nothing wrong with some down time for an athlete – time to “recharge the batteries” is never a bad thing.
But there is a difference between recharging the batteries and losing what the athlete has worked to gain.
An athlete that takes 2 weeks off between a sport and getting back into training is totally fine and even a good thing in most cases. An athlete that has spent 3 months training to get faster and stronger, however, then does nothing for the next 3 months may lose much of what they had built.
The body only holds onto what is demanded of it. If the body is demanded to lift a heavy weight, it will get stronger. If the body is demanded to move faster or in a very specific way (running technique), it will get faster and move better. But take that demand away and the body will “forget” that strength and that speed because it doesn’t need it anymore.
With strength and speed training, then, it’s less about intensity (how much) and more about consistency (how long). It is great to train an athlete over the summer and watching them get fast and strong.
Oftentimes, however, we see them back the next summer and they are weaker and slower than when they left the summer before. We understand that in a lot of instances the athlete is involved in sport and that is their main focus (which it should be) and the team doesn’t strength train during the season.
Sometimes, though, the athlete has long stretches of doing nothing, which sets him or her back. It would be much more beneficial for an athlete to train for 6 months and not get as strong as an athlete who trains for 3 months and takes 3 months off. The consistent one will be stronger, faster and a better athlete in the end.
Consistency is Key.
For those not involved in a sport during a particular season, we have our School Year Athlete Program to help bridge the gap between sports so that the athlete can continue to build speed and strength going into the sport instead of losing out and potentially falling behind.
If you would like to know more about it, you can check out the School Year Athlete Program by going HERE.