Off-Season High School Athletic Training for College Sports

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Question: My son is extremely athletic and his coaches all say he has potential to play at the collegiate level. He has good speed and good hands. What does he need to do during the off-season to improve his abilities to move towards the next level?
Answer: That’s a very general question. As a freshman, he needs to mature physically. Obviously, this occurs naturally but he can enhance his performance by simply becoming stronger. Most of the training currently used by strength and conditioning coaches utilize a series of full body exercises. The preferred rep range is from 2 to 5 reps per set for optimal results. Three to four days a week work well for weight training to increase strength and explosiveness. Athletes need a variety of training routines which are based around the big four strength movements: squats, deadlifts, bench presses and high pulls. We use more high pulls than cleans which can be harder on the shoulders. Powerlifting workouts though are not the only component of this system. The workouts have to include days for speed movements to condition the nervous system to remain responsive and explosive.
Exercises that incorporate multiple motor skills are regularly added into the system as well. We do these with large tires, heavy push and pull sleds and even logs. The off-balance nature of these training tools recruit different muscles and translate well from the gym to the playing field. Besides, these can be really fun for kids and that is very important to remember. They are kids and they learn and train better when it is fun.
As the strength increases so should the speed. One way to insure this is to regularly include speed and sprint work in training. Finally, each athlete should learn how to properly fuel his body for optimum performance. Learn how important water is for building muscle along with protein, carbohydrates and fats. Discover what foods are good for growth and what is best for recovery and generally how to maintain a high energy level without the use of stimulants like energy drinks.
All this training won’t do any good without good grades. Keep your athlete motivated in the classroom as well. Universities at all levels prefer athletes student/athletes. There are other variables to remember. What if your child gets hurt and can no longer excel. How do you approach continuing an education then? Robyn Hadley has written a book, Within View, Within Reach, that deals with how to prepare your child for life and continuing education after high school. It covers courses of study, applying for loans and grants from a variety of organizations and how to prepare a student/athlete to get the best educational experience available. Ms. Hadley is a graduate of Graham High School who was the Morehead Scholarship recipient and continued her education at UNC-Chapel Hill and played both basketball and tennis for them. She was also a Rhodes Scholar continuing her studies at Oxford University in England. Check her website www.withinviewwithinreach.com.
God Bless and keep training,
Daryl

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