Become Better in Any Sport by Improving Athleticism

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Question: My son plays several sports but isn’t the star of any of the teams. He’s a good solid player and performs well but he could be better if he applied himself to training. Should he lift weights whenever he has an off-season? What would help him to play to his potential?
Answer: To become better in sports, any sport, improve athleticism. This is improving flexibility and strength in your core, abdominals, glutes, hip flexors, lower back, quads and hams and training your body to explode through movements whether it is to drive back an offensive lineman, drive through a golf ball, tennis ball or baseball. It’s building strength and learning how to harness that strength in movement.
Use sports and sport training to develop mental discipline and even to keep kids occupied and out of “trouble.” However let kids be kids and not grow up too soon. Give them an off-season to play and to train for a sport or variety of sports. Kids too devoted to accomplishing the dream often burn out before they are even eligible to participate in the dream.
Weightlifting is a great way to improve a young athlete’s overall strength and conditioning. Stick to the basics and use exercises that incorporate several muscle groups working together. Bench presses, squats, deadlifts, power cleans, squat presses all fall into this category. Finish workouts with auxiliary training to strengthen biceps, triceps, hamstrings and forearms for some sports and even use rotator cuff exercises to build tendons and ligaments in the shoulders. Use training sleds or even tractor tires for some pulling and pulling exercises. Increase your flexibility and range-of-motion by stretching after your workouts. The stretching can also improve strength in an athlete.
Work on conditioning and explosiveness by doing sprint drills uphill. Do longer sprints of 70 to 100 yards and when the weather is warm and permitting, do them barefooted. Find a playing field, take off your shoes and let your feet breathe as you walk around. Do a few light jogs down field and then do three to five 70 to 100 yard sprints barefooted. The tendons and ligaments in your feet get stronger as you continue to do this type of workout. When we were kids we were always barefoot running and playing all summer. We built good foot strength and didn’t even know how much work we were doing while we played.
Make the training as fun as you can make it for kids. Build a young athlete’s athleticism and enable them to pursue any sport well prepared. Michael Jordan was a great athlete who could play a variety of sports but he chose basketball. He enhanced his natural abilities by training hard in the off season to become in some eyes the greatest basketball player ever. Tiger Woods was a good athlete who practiced his golf skills and used his athleticism to become one of the world’s greatest golfers. He enhanced his natural ability as well by making training part of his golf regimen. Give your child the mental tools necessary to make exercise an integral part of his life.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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