Conditioning for young athletes – one of the key elements to a successful career in sports. It’s the basic concept of being in shape, so you can perform at the highest level. We are living through challenging times right now, no question. The last thing on your mind might be conditioning. But it’s important – not just for promising young athletes – to stay in shape, to stay sharp, mentally and physically. Covid-19 has thrown a huge wrench into all of our lives. It’s been more than just interruptive, it’s been life changing in so many ways.
However, there will be a time when athletes get back in the water, back onto the field, back on the track. And for times like that, conditioning is very important.
In this blog, I wanted to focus on agility and speed training. It’s probably the most important conditioning training that any athlete, except swimmers, will benefit from. Swimmers are already doing a non-land based form of aerobic conditioning.
If your child has an opportunity to play another sport, it is suggested that he or she sign up for track and field because this activity provides excellent aerobic conditioning.
Studies on adult athletes have noted that if performance is the goal, cross-training may not be that helpful. No matter what the age, endurance athletes may not be helped by an alternate sport. However, one study found that resistance training improved endurance in running and cycling. Squats with heavy weights improved running.
Again, this does not work for swimmers, however: they get faster only when they do resistance training in the water that puts focus on the movements that are used in the stroke. Runners can augment their leg muscles with the muscularity they get with resistance work. But with swimmers, the research notes that mastery of the technical swimming stroke is the most important factor in performance and endurance.
Is plyometrics a new word for you? – Quite simply, plyometric describes an explosive jump. Man sports programs use plyometric exercises to build power, explosiveness, speed, strength, agility, and coordination. Plyometric exercises develop the high-intensity , explosive contractions of the muscles and the reflex for stretch. Stretching of the muscle before it contracts allows it to use greater force to contract. This is called the stretch reflect.
Plyometric exercises are usually started in high school sports and include hops, jumps, and bounding movements. A common plyometric exercise might be jumping off a box onto the floor and then rebounding onto a higher box.
These are effective exercises to improve strength, explosiveness, and sports performance. It must be pointed out that plyometric exercises are tough training techniques, and if done incorrectly or performed without experienced supervision can be risky.
Plyometrics are recommended for the well-conditioned kid who is involved in a sport that requires jumping and landing such as volleyball and basketball. These conditioning exercises can and should be fun. The most important thing for coaches and trainers are to teach is the proper landing technique. The good news: You can do these exercises while socially distancing and while you are away from your team. So, in times like these plyometrics might be the way to go to keep up your conditioning!