Athletic enhancement. What do you think of when you hear that? Early sport specialization or perhaps one-on-one sports specific training? Although these may be factors, we’re going to take a look at a few of the key components that take an athlete to the top of their game AND allow them stay there for the long haul.
1. Work Ethic AND Natural Talent
Both are important, but it can be strongly argued that the second is the defining factor. Although Michael Phelps, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordon all possess crazy innate abilities to perform what seem like super human feats of athleticism, they all worked continually to hone their abilities. Endless hours were spent in the pool, on the green or on the court practicing. That is where they became the athlete’s others aspire to become.
2. Correct Exercise Training Program
An athletic enhancement program should focus and include things that address power, agility, speed, strength, and stability. The program should include: 1) developing and understanding dynamic movement and core strength; 2) learning proper lifting technique for increasing muscle mass; 3) techniques that enhance your ability to perform high speed and explosive movements; and 4) cultivation and honing of reaction time and of linear speed. Overall, the goal of an athletic enhancement program is to synchronize muscular contractions for optimal performance.
3. Understanding of Biomechanics
Biomechanics is the mechanics of the skeletal and muscular system’s response to the action of external and internal forces on the body. Honing this goes far beyond just understanding your personal body. That’s a given as an elite athlete. You must know your body; how it moves, how is responds to exercise, when it needs to be fueled or needs rest. Understanding these things better than anything else is vital. Likewise understanding the ins and outs of your sport is just as important. Knowing the game, its rules, equipment, movement patterns, etc are all relevant. To truly master the sport you must know both your body and the activity.
4. Activity Diversity Is Necessary For Longevity
Activity diversity is crucial. Today’s athletes are athletes year around. However, this doesn’t mean the same thing that it used to. These days it means that the same sport with the same movement patterns is being performed year around. Unfortunately, this can result in over training, increased risk of chronic injuries, and burnout. So, mix it up. If you play football, play basketball or baseball in the off season. If you play volleyball, consider running. It doesn’t matter what you choose, just choose something with different movement patterns than your main sport for the off season. This is important for preventative care, recovery and longevity at a high level.
5. Recognize When They Need Help
Injuries are going to happen. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when. Athletes take charge of everything they can control. This is includes who physically takes care of them when they get injured. Take a look at Russell Wilson. The 2016 season was brutal on him physically. He took charge of his rehabilitation by personally hiring Drew Morcos, PT, DPT, SCS, OCS, DNSP, ATC, CSCS, FAAOMPT. A therapist with the necessary skills to return him to the game as quickly and safely as possible.
So what’s the point? The point is…understand what your goals are and who can help you achieve them. Take 100% responsibility for what you can take 100% responsibility for and seek out someone who is qualified to help you achieve your greatest potential.