All posts in Off-Season Training

Rotational Athlete Development

Posted in: Off-Season Training, Speed Training, Sports Training, Strength Training

Proper Training Programs for the Rotational Athlete (ex. baseball, softball, tennis, golf, swimming)

Athletic Development and Sports Performance has to be approached from a developmental standpoint based on level, age, gender and purpose. It must be age-safe and age-appropriate. Basic Athletic Development fundamentals remain constant yet there are specific factors to be considered directly related to individual sport demands. These factors should be calculated and strategically implemented in order to safely meet the demands for the current and upcoming activity.

Training athletes for rotational sports requires a greater emphasis on balance in the development of the limbs, joints and core. Power is generated from the hips yet delivered to and by the limbs through the core and joints, which has to be accounted for when implementing a strength and speed training program.

We must keep in mind that different sports have different requirements to meet the specific rigors of that sport. Athleticism and speed can be taught, learned and practiced just as any motor skill yet the process of development should be carefully implemented based on anticipated competition, tests or performance.

The directional rotation adds another specific element of challenge for the rotational athlete as he or she becomes imbalanced due to the nature of their “one sided rotation” (right or left focus). This MUST be calculated and addressed through training protocols that begin with the proper warm up transitioning into training variations that build the necessary rotational capacity. Balancing rotational bouts and load has to be directly compensated for by performing equal and proportionate work on both sides of the body.

What all this means is if a baseball player throws and/or hits 200 times on their right side we absolutely must balance the body on the left side with adequate preparation, load and repetition. Injury frequently occurs for two primary reasons, overuse or lack of balanced training (undertraining) creating weakness and deficiency on one side of the body or a particular area. Over compensation due to weaknesses can be directly linked to overuse and/or opposing failure.

All of these factors must be considered when designing and implementing a training program for rotational athletes. Programs for the rotational athlete (baseball, softball, tennis, swimming, etc.) should include:

  • Proper Warm Up – addressing the entire body
  • Consistently developing fundamental strength and flexibility
  • Dynamic Stretching – maintaining correct posture and rotation
  • Start with the core, joints and fundamentals
  • Rotator and scapula emphasis prior and post-training – rotations with bands
  • Alternating position angles and stressors during training – front/back, left/right, push/pull
  • Balancing single/double limb exercises – avoiding overloading
  • Unloading the hips and shoulders post-training
  • Weak-side compensation – addressing weak-side rotation with additional bouts as needed
  • Wave loading periodization while maintaining year-round strength and conditioning
  • Diversified training – keeping it interesting while training all aspects of the body thoroughly
  • Maintaining athleticism during training at all times

At the end of the day, take time to teach, train smart and develop athletes with proper timing, form and progression understanding their exact needs. “It’s not about how much you know, it’s about how much you don’t know that is the issue.”

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Summer Training

Posted in: Off-Season Training

Make Summer a Success!

More athletic gains can be made in the summer than in an entire school year. It is important to capitalize on the opportunity to take your athletes to the next level during the summer months which are technically “off-season” and “pre-season.” Summertime presents a unique opportunity for kids to engage in learning, developing and training with a dedicated focus on improvement.

Benefits of Summer Youth Sports Training:

  • You can train harder: training is the primary, rather than secondary, stress to be calculated
  • The best opportunity to learn
  • No or reduced school = No or less academic stress
  • Less social and peer pressure = More focus on self-improvement
  • No or less sport practice/play = Athletic Development as the primary sport
  • Better morale and positive state of mind
  • Longer hours of daylight to enjoy more leisure activities

You can always tell the athletes who worked hard over the summer as they return to practice much better prepared, and with a greater sense of confidence. One great summer training program can make a huge difference in a season for any sport. Of course with any training, there are advantages and challenges, and summer training is no exception.

Challenges of Summer Youth Sports Training:

  • Heat: Teach your kids to hydrate non-stop every day and eat accordingly
  • Time: Be efficient with planning and structure, make the most of what you’ve got
  • Compliance: Encourage your kids with positive motivation
  • Where to Train?: Choices abound but making the right choice is imperative

Many programs we have evaluated as consultants too often use the “herd the cattle theory… lots of kids so just run them and work them hard so the crème rises to the top.” Strategically, this one-dimensional approach results in overstress, taxation and excessive training of specific energy, nerve and muscular systems without safely and effectively developing athletes.   Always ask yourself “Is it HARD, or is it GOOD?” Anyone can implement HARD, but not everyone can do GOOD! The focus should be on improving your athlete’s overall athletic ability by ensuring they are learning, developing and mastering training as they physically perform it. At DX3 that’s what we do!

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