The 9 Keys to Performance

Are you looking to get ahead?  Do you think that your performance is driven solely by the quality of your training regimen?  Experts, coaches and champions have proven that there is quite a bit more to it!  Here's what they say is vital:

1. COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

Talk to any champion and he/she will tell you the first step to becoming a champion is committing to become one! This means committing to do what most players will not consistently do: preparing to perform like a champion by doing all the things on this list--and all the things that mediocre performers will not do.

2. DYNAMIC MUSCLE PREP, STRETCHING AND MOBILITY TRAINING

Jumping straight into an intense workout without proper warm-up is a recipe for poor results (at best) or injury (at worst). The most effective way to prepare your body for physical activity involves going through a series of dynamic movements that increase your core temperature, prepare your nervous system for activity, and activate key muscles that you'll use in your training session.

3. PILLAR STRENGTH (NOT JUST CORE) AND BALANCE

It’s impossible to move your limbs efficiently and forcefully if they’re not attached to something strong and stable. That’s your pillar—all the muscles that connect your hips, torso, and shoulders. When these areas are properly aligned, you can transfer energy throughout your body more effectively, so you’ll produce more strength and power with less fatigue. Balance provides the foundation for athletes to manipulate their center of gravity further away from their base, creating angles to facilitate speed and agility.

4. POWER

Power equals Work/Time (Work is the product of force multiplied by distance). As you gain strength and speed, you exert more power. The more power you exert, the better your performance.

5. EXPLOSIVENESS

Power is great, but explosive power is best. Explosive power is defined as the rate of force development (RFD) at the onset of muscle contraction. The goal of training for improved RFD is to create more force in less time. Think of it this way: explosive strength allows you to get to top speed quicker, explode out of cuts/change of direction quicker, get off the floor quicker, etc.

6. MULTI-DIRECTIONAL SPEED, STRENGTH AND AGILITY

You’ve heard coaches lament, “You can’t teach speed.”  Not necessarily.  You can certainly enhance your “sports-speed” through multi-directional speed training exercises that focus on movement patterns, acceleration and deceleration technique, fast-firing, resistance and plyometrics.

7. MENTAL STRENGTH TRAINING

In competitive sports, mental toughness and strength of character often make the difference between winning and losing. Mental strength is comprised of confidence, attitude, character, coach-ability (student of the game), and determination. Additionally, learning how to visualize the moment before it happens, and then learning how to focus in the moment, separates champions from players. This is a major topic unto itself, which we will explore in more depth in the future.

8. NUTRITION AND HYDRATION

Garbage in—garbage out! This is another topic unto itself which we will explore soon.

9. RECOVERY, INJURY PREVENTION AND HEALING

We will take a deep dive into this critical topic for our next article, but suffice it to say that the top eight elements above mean nothing without this recovery!

If you are ready to make the commitment to be the best you can be, you’ve just taken the first step.  We want to join you on your journey, so let’s get busy!

SOURCES

1UP Sports Performance

EXOS (formerly Core Performance)

DeFranco’s Training

Martin Hagger (Sports Psychologist)