With my past in collegiate athletics and the athletic performance field, I get asked a lot of question when it comes to athleticism and what it takes to be physically fit. I know that for just about every person in any walk of life athleticism to a certain degree is important. No matter where you are in life the ability to move around and be functionally fit is important, whether you are a the parent of a young child who is looking to get into athletics, a current athlete or older individual who is looking to regain some physical functions.
Over the years I have worked with athletes from every walk of life including elementary age athletes who are looking to get a step above the rest of their peers by becoming an athlete first before choosing a sport or position to play. I've found that the same principles that applies to young athletes have proven successful when working with athletes looking to play at the highest collegiate level, as well as athletes looking to go beyond college and play their given sport professionally. And those same principles also apply to the 40, 50, 60, 70 year old who is trying to regain a certain level of athleticism or physical fitness so that they are able to function on a normal and even optimal level.
There have really been three keys that I have found over the years that apply to all athletes no matter their age, weight, gender, background and goals when it comes to long term athletic performance. Those three keys are flexibility, balance and ensuring that your training program aligns with your specific athletic performance goals. Athletes that take these three keys to heart are not only more likely to reach peak athletic performance, but are also much more likely to have sustained athletic careers.
The first two keys have to do with building a solid base to not only build muscle, speed and power, but flexibility and balance are also the two biggest determinants of whether an athlete will be averse to injury or suffer from a career plagued with injury. If you are someone looking for the low hanging fruit then flexibility and balance are essential to staying injury free and quickly becoming a powerful athlete.
When it comes to ensuring that your training program aligns with your athletic goals, you have got to be the one to ask the difficult and sometimes uncomfortable questions. I hate to think about the incredible number of athletes that I have seen led astray from what their ultimate athletic performance goals where in the name statistics and numbers. Stats and weight room records are great but nobody cares about those numbers if you are not becoming a better athlete because of them. And unfortunately the majority of athletes, coaches and parents are so focussed on those numbers that they never take the time to stop and ask if they are truly helping them advance and excel in their specific athletic field. This is really where making sure that your training program aligns with your athletic goals comes into play. Whatever lift, run or camp you are going to be implementing in your training regimen, you first need to ask yourself is this movement, drill or exercise going to make me a better athlete in my specific sport, position and overall athletic goals. If it does not align then you are potentially headed to the same predicament that thousands of other athletes find themselves in after becoming injured or seriously hurt from performing exercises that at best would have had minimal effects on their desired performance.
In the attached video I dive deeper into some questions about the three keys that every athlete, parent and coach needs to be asking when it comes to long term athletic performance.