Top 10 Keys to Maximize Your Athletic Performance

Do you think that your performance is driven solely by the quality of your training regimen?  Champion coaches, players and Olympians reveal that there is more to it than simply training hard!  Here's what they say is vital:

1. COMMIT TO EXCELLENCE

What's the first step? Every champion will tell you that a champion COMMITS to becoming a champion! This means doing what most players will not 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. MENTAL TRAINING

Comprised of confidence, attitude, character, coach-ability (student of the game), and determination, "mental strength" makes the difference between winning and losing.  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 the future.

3. STRETCHING, MUSCLE PREP AND MOBILITY TRAINING

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

4. PILLAR STRENGTH

Your pillar--all the muscles that connect your hips, torso, and shoulders--is vital to moving with speed, strength and efficiency.  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.

5. BALANCE

Balance provides the foundation for athletes to manipulate their center of gravity further away from their base, creating angles to facilitate speed and agility.

6. POWER

Power = 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.

7. 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.

8. MULTI-DIRECTIONAL SPEED AND AGILITY

Coaches moan, “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.

9. NUTRITION AND HYDRATION

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

10. 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 nine 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)