Tag: agility

Your Season is Over…Now What?

Quick Tips to Re-Charge After Your Season.

If your sport season is coming to a close, it can be tempting to attack the weight room with new enthusiasm. But while you may be itching to hit the ground running, it’s important to take some time for to reflect, rest and recover before you look toward next season. Here are three quick tips to help you re-charge after your season.

REFLECT

Preparation and performance can be categorized in 3 areas:

  • Physical – Cardiovascular fitness, speed/agility, strength/core training, diet and nutrition, injury prevention.
  • Fundamental – Aspects related to the development of the many physical skills specifically related to the sport you participate in. 
  • Mental – Focus, intensity, purpose, trust, strategy formulation, adversity and coping skills, decision-making capabilities.

No matter how good you are in a sport, you can always get better and improve. Few athletes actually take the time to assess, critique, and formulate strategies to improve in an honest and purposful manner.

Try this short exercise…

When answering the following questions, be as specific and detailed as possible in relation to the physical, fundamental, and mental aspects of your preparation and performance.

  1. What aspects of your performance were you pleased with last season?
  2. What aspects of your performance were you NOT pleased with last season?
  3. What is your assessment of your daily preparation during the past season?
  4. How can your preparation improve?
  5. How have you matured as a person and as an athlete since last season?

REST and RECOVER

After the season your body needs a break. There will be plenty of time to train for your next season, and the best way to start preparing now is to give your body enough time to fully recover. Take two weeks off of high-intensity activity and address any injuries.

This rest period includes all structured high-intensity activity—no strength training and no workouts or pick-up games. 

However, you don’t need to stop ALL activity. 

Stretching (try these 3 mobility moves), foam-rolling (article and FREE CHEAT SHEET on foam rolling), and low-intensity cross-training—like riding a stationary bike, going for a brisk walk—are great options for active rest. 

Resist the urge to jump back into training immediately after the season to take the time reflect, rest, recover, and re-charge!

7 Lame Excuses

Adults…this one’s for you.

Whenever we don’t want to do something like exercising we tend to think of creative excuses to get ourselves out of it. Excuses serve a simple purpose: to relieve some of the guilt associated with not doing whatever it was we said we were going to do.

Ultimately though, these excuses start to add up and disempower and diminish our lives. If you really want to do something, you will make time for it instead of making excuses.

Here are seven of the most common and disempowering excuses that people give for not joining our adult fitness program. Let’s look at each of them and how to overcome them one by one.

1. I am not fit enough. 

This is probably the biggest fear of most who are considering joining a new program. Lucky for you, True AP’s Adult Fitness Program is geared for all fitness levels from beginner to advanced. We welcome all ages and all fitness abilities – our youngest current participant is in their 20’s and our oldest is in their 60’s!  Our coaches are there to work with all fitness levels and will have modifications and advancements of every exercise. You can work as hard or as easy as you want…it’s your workout! But, we promise we will push you to your limits!

2. I cannot afford it. 

Our classes are extremely affordable as our pricing breaks down to $5-$8 per session! Realize, you are working with a certified fitness professional in a personal / individualized setting. Every time you participate, you will get results & that’s why you train – TO GET RESULTS! The better question is… How much time and money have you wasted on fitness memberships, vitamins, supplements, books, and fitness products trying to achieve your fitness goals?

3. I will start next month.

The problem is, next month you will have the same excuse. Think about it…how many times have you ALREADY used that excuse? The longer you wait, the harder it becomes! FORM NEW HABITS TODAY!

4. I don’t have time.

Sorry but this is just another excuse, nothing more. We all have responsibilities, but there’s nothing more important to you and your family than your health. If the only time of the day to exercise is at 5am, then get up early and make it happen. It’s painful at first, but you’ll thank yourself afterwards and feel much better for the rest of the day. Our classes are 1 hour out of your 24 hour day and likely no more than 3 hours of your 168 hour week! You have time, you need to make time – it’s all about your PRIORITIES!

5. I don’t like running.

Great! We don’t like running either! In fact, we do very minimal running during class. Any running that we do is under 30 yards.

6. Exercise is hard work.

Ask any current participant how they feel before, during, and after each training session. My guess… Nervous. Challenged. Accomplished – in that exact order! BUT, just because you will be pushed harder than you can push yourself on your own, doesn’t mean it won’t be the most fun you’ve ever had working out! “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!”

7. I am a member of a gym.

Great! BUT our training program will get your more results in 1 month than you will get in 1 year on your own at the gym. You get a certified coach and individualized instruction every single time without the expensive cost. No gym can give this to you.

THE PRE-HOLIDAY SHRED starts on November 4th in Hagerstown, MD! Flip the script this year and lose fat when everybody else is getting sloppy and pounding Halloween candy 👻🎃.Click the direct link here: trueap.com/shred to signup and get ready to lose 5-8 lbs of fat before 🌽Thanksgiving. 

Peak in the Playoffs

 

Want to help your team peak in the playoffs?

Looking to go on a miraculous run through the playoffs with an average team?

Or are you trying to finally breakthrough and beat one of the elite programs in your sport?

Or are you top-seeded and wondering how your team will handle the pressure of expectations?

Here are five strategies to ensure that your team is motivated, fearless, and focused when it counts the most – the playoffs!

1. Stick to what got you there.
Do what works for you. Don’t feel like you need to change up your whole routine and game plan. Stick to what works for you and trust it to work again during the playoffs. Stay consistent with your routine. Remember that consistent preparation leads to consistent performance.

2. Execute the small things. Don’t beat yourself.
Championship teams are usually the ones who consistently do all the small things necessary to win. Focus your team on the top 3-5 battles you need to control to win the overall war. By focusing on and taking care of these small things, you force your opponents to beat you and often avoid beating yourself.

3. Know how to quickly refocus teammates.

Coaches and captains must know how to quickly and effectively refocus teammates when they are down, distracted, aggravated, or scared. You can’t allow people to go into the tank when you need their focus, confidence, and performance. It’s the ability to keep their team’s competing play after play, rather than succumbing to the inevitable adversity, distractions, and hassles of competition, that determines the outcome of many games.

4. Compete aggressively.
Take it to people, dictate the tempo… Go out and play the game with passion and vigor. Often it is the individual and team that is the most aggressive that comes out on top. 

5. Become a team of DESTINY
Many of the teams that I have been fortunate to witness win championships felt they were destined to do so. No matter what situation they found themselves in, whether they were down with little time left, had a tough injury to a key player, or weren’t getting the appropriate calls, they somehow felt that it was never enough to deter them from reaching their ultimate goal. They persisted on and trusted the process that it was all meant to be. Give your team every reason to feel they are destined for success. Assuming you have paid the price of success, remind your team that the training, your practices, and the lessons you learned throughout the season have all prepared you for this moment in time.

You want your team to feel – “This is our time.”

Developing Mental Toughness in Young Athletes

One of the greatest compliments an athlete can get is the label “mentally tough.” Mental toughness isn’t a quality people are born with. Rather, mental toughness is a skill. Just like any other skill it can be learned.

Coaches and parents are in an ideal position to help young athletes develop a healthy philosophy about success and an ability to handle setbacks when they occur. By teaching mental toughness lessons to kids, adults can give them a priceless gift that will benefit them in many areas of everyday life.

Here are some specific attitudes that can be communicated to young athletes.

  1. Creating Interest and Keeping It – I use a simple metaphor to build interest. I tell athletes to see sports participation like putting pennies in a piggy bank. Every time they show up to practice, that investment pays off with wins and success in the future. After students see their time as valuable, it is harder for them for them to quit or to give less than 100%. Your athlete will feel like they have invested so much, they will go the extra mile when the time comes to dig deep.
  2. Model/Encourage Consistency – Show your athlete what it means to have a confident attitude by continuing to do what you say you are going to do. Your athletes will see you as a consistent force in their life. They will want to honor that commitment by upholding their end of the bargain. Your athlete will have the tools to avoid the pitfalls of modern life, as they model your ‘show up’ consistency. Your athlete will see you as a model to follow, a consistent hero.   
  3. Proper Goal Setting – Develop the Why – Setting goals with your athlete allows you to define where they want them to go. Without a clear destination, nobody gets where they want to go. Setting goals allows athletes to judge progress and arrive at a specific destination.  Learning goal setting is a tool that carries them far beyond sports. What it would be like to congratulate your athlete for reaching their goals this season?     
  4. Expect and Prepare for and Dealing with Adversity – Learning to handle adversity is one of the key skills a human needs to learn. To become a high-achiever, athletes must learn to use tools for handling adversity. To be honest, achievement equates to adversity. True mental toughness comes from the ability to stay positive and on task at the worst of times. Teaching this to your athletes will be a part of your legacy as a parent or coach.
  5. Process oriented not ends oriented – Accomplishing goals is about achieving tiny things over time. Athletes learn that it’s not all about winning. It’s more important to show up and over time you will win through the application of the process. Focusing on the process rather than focusing on results fosters maturity. Establish a system to deliver small victories on a regular basis. These steps lead to guaranteed achievement.
  6. Having and keeping the right attitude – The athlete with the best approach to his attitude will win every game, even if he gets outscored. Attitude is the foundation of every aspect of sports from training to game-day. Teaching attitude comes before you teach a kid how to score. If your kid has a bad attitude, you don’t have a player, you have a problem. We do not win by accident. Attitude gives birth to victory. It is in those moments where we have to dig into some untapped well of strength that we cross the line between student and champion.

Mental toughness is a skill, and any skill can be learned.  Ultimately, mental toughness is built through habits, just like any other skill.  The habits of consistency and positive attitudes produces mental toughness.  Habit is built through the choices we make daily.  Mental toughness is a choice.  You have to consciously choose to persist until the choice to persist becomes a habit.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Athletes Recovery

All athletes know the feeling of being sore, whether after an intense workout, a tough practice or a closely contested game. The discomfort that comes the morning after a tough physical bout when players step out of bed is called delayed onset muscle soreness.

That pain is the result of muscle damage after strenuous exercise, leading to symptoms of swelling, soreness, pain, stiffness, and weakness, often lasting for several days.

Use these five ways to recover faster, avoid injuries and improve sports performance this season: 

    1.) Sleep

Sleep is the most important when it comes to recovery. Adequate sleep helps to provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscle recovery. You need to get enough sleep, athletes ages 6-13 should sleep 9-11 hours and athletes ages 14-17 should sleep 8-10 hours. Here’s a few tips for deep sleep:

  •     Turn off all electronics an hour before bed.
  •     Drink a glass of milk, which contains “tryptophan” an amino acid which promotes sleep.
  •     Get to bed early. Hours slept before mid-night are proven to be more effective than those slept after.

    2.) Hydration

Drinking proper amounts of water is critical to health, energy, recover, and performance. Typically, athletes are very attentive to hydration levels before and after games, but maintaining proper hydration during training, practices, and during recovery times are just as important. Here’s a few tips for proper hydration: 

  •     Water is the best way to hydrate.
  •     After training, practice, competition consume 20oz for every lb of body weight lost.
  •     Check your pee. The darker and more color in your pee the less hydrated you are and the more water you need to drink.

    3.) Chocolate Milk.

Chocolate Milk provides fluid, carbohydrates to replenish your body’s supply, protein to promote muscles healing and the sodium that you’ve sweated away. Consume chocolate milk in the first 20 minutes after training, practices, or games. Plus, it’s rather inexpensive and tastes so good!

    4.) Self-Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling)

Self-myofascial release is a fancy term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. This method can be performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or your own hands. By applying pressure to specific points on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice. 

Read my article and FREE CHEAT SHEET on foam rolling for more information.

    5.) Focus on Mobility

Spending just 5-10 minutes a day stretching can increase your range of motion, improve your movement efficiency, and, most importantly, reduce your risk of injury. Plus, after a tough day on the field, it just feels great.

To get started, try these 3 mobility moves two times a week for one month and I guarantee you’ll feel a difference!

Dedicating additional time to the categories of sleep, hydration, nutrition, self-myofascial release, and mobility will increase your performance, decrease recovery time, and lower your risk of injury. These strategies take very little time, but can make the difference over the course of a long season. Coaches and athletes don’t take advantage of it because they don’t want to dedicate the time to the little things that matter most.

Will you make time?

Plan for a Purposeful Pre-Season

While the fundamentals of the game haven’t changed, the way basketball players at all levels train to enhance performance has changed greatly in the past 15 years. The game today requires true basketball athleticism – a unique combination of strengthpoweragility, reaction, quickness, and conditioning.

A basketball player’s athleticism is the foundation of their entire game. 

If a player can improve their strength, power, agility, reaction, quickness, and conditioning, then they can perform the skills of ball handling, passing, shooting, rebounding, and defending at a much higher, more efficient level before fatigue sets in.

While it’s true not all players have the genetic potential to be as athletic as Michael Jordan or Lebron James. Every basketball player can make improvements to their athleticism. Keep in mind, basketball athleticism is not just sprinting fast, jumping high or dunking.

With proper and purposeful training, players can make impressive improvements in their hand/eye coordination, footwork, acceleration/deceleration, reaction, strength, mobility, and conditioning level.

Check out this video:

Just as a player’s athleticism is the foundation of their game, the pre-season is the foundation for the upcoming season. What players do from the start of the school year until the day of the first practice will determine the type of season they have.

Your pre-season workouts need to address basketball athleticism and prepare players for the actual demands of the game! As simple as that may sound, many pre-season training programs lack this crucial component.

There are 3 important purposes for pre-season training:

  • Reduce the frequency and severity of injuries
  • Improve performance on the court
  • Have fun and build team unity

If any exercise, drill or concept you use this pre-season doesn’t meet at least one of these three… then it is a major waste of time. 

There are 6 primary movements in basketball:

  • Sprinting
  • Backpedaling
  • Defensive sliding
  • Jumping (and landing)
  • Pivoting
  • Lunging

Boston Sports Medicine Performance Group broke down a basketball game and observed the following:

  • Average player’s heart rate: 165-170 beats per minute
  • High-intensity sprints occur every 20-30 seconds
  • 100-plus high intensity sprints per game
  • 40-50 maximal jumps per game
  • Change in movement every 2-3 seconds
  • 30% of time is spent defensive sliding
  • 15% of time is in high intensity

As you can see, basketball is game of quick, explosive bursts of multi-directional movements with short bouts of rest. In order for your pre-season workouts to be truly purposeful, they need to prepare players for these very specific demands.

Do you need help designing or implementing your basketball team’s pre-season workouts? The staff at True Athlete Performance brings a wealth of valuable experience after years of extensive work with youth, high school, and college players.

Our passion, enthusiasm, and innovative training techniques make us some of the areas leading experts on productive training for basketball players. We hope you consider the work we’ve done, the programs we’ve developed and the teams we have helped! 

The Perfect Warm-Up

Knowing how to warm up effectively can be the difference between your players surviving the preseason and thriving in the regular season or your players stumbling through the season due to preventable injury.

Traditional warmups take athletes through a series of static stretches. There’s value in traditional stretch-and-hold, or “static” stretching if done properly and done after a workout. However, static stretching routines performed before exercise increase flexibility only for a short time. There is little scientific evidence that such routines improve performance, reduce delayed-onset muscular soreness (DOMS), or prevent injuries.

The main purpose of warming up is to prepare your body for the upcoming movement. At TrueAP, we progress through a “Movement Prep” process of activating or “waking” the muscles, dynamically stretching them, and then exciting them so it is easier to call on these muscles when needed. As opposed to a traditional warmup, Movement Prep actually makes you stronger and produces long-term flexibility gains. You actively elongate your muscles in a series of movements, which can improve balance, mobility, and stability. Think of it as warming up with a purpose.

Movement Prep increases heart rate, core temperature, and blood flow to working muscles. By strengthening muscles in this new range of motion, you stabilize all the tiny muscles that hold the joints together. That will improve posture and performance and decrease potential for injury. Just doing Movement Prep alone can make your body stronger and more stable, and can also help increase speed and power output. Performing Movement Prep will allow you to keep pushing your body to the level needed while reducing the risk of injury. 

Check out TrueAP’s “Quick Guide to Movement Prep” and start using our sample routines today!

4 Movements to Add to Your Warmup

There’s a drill that takes just six seconds to perform, but yields significant speed, power and agility benefits. This high-speed exercise is called “rapid response” because you’ll move faster than ever before in your training. 

Want to improve quickness on the field? Rapid response. Want to make sharper cuts on the court? Rapid response. Here’s why: Quickness isn’t just about how big and strong your muscles are, but how efficiently your brain can communicate with your body. Rapid response drills challenge both your muscular system and nervous system to function in tandem and with precision, allowing you to move faster and under control.

An example of “rapid response” is quickly moving your feet back and forth over a line. It lasts all of about six seconds, but improves footwork, coordination, and quickness. You’ll also become more skilled at disassociating one foot from the other while maintaining proper posture. On the field, disassociation will help you make sharper cuts and juke past your opponents. Off the field, you’ll move better, and with more coordination, in any activity.

Since “rapid response” drills prepare your brain and body for activity, they’re best performed towards the end of your dynamic warm-up (a.k.a. Movement Prep), either before a training session, practice, or game. And because they’re so fast, you don’t need to worry about them wearing you out.

Try the sample routine below as part of your Movement Prep. Perform each drill for 6 seconds, putting forth maximal effort. Rest for about 30 seconds, and then repeat before moving onto the next exercise.

Rapid Response Workout

Movements                   Sets       Reps            

Rapid Fire                         2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/1_ggtF6ZFDk  

Linear Rapid Fire               2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/cfO2nttnljU

Pogos                                 2            6 sec           https://youtu.be/2Yknh0peyGI

Lateral Pogos                     2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/Ty2B3hBrEOE

5 Ways to Instantly Become a Worse Athlete

Follow these 5 easy steps, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a slower, weaker, burned-out athlete.

1. Don’t Sleep

Arguably the easiest step to becoming a worse athlete, don’t get enough sleep! Most already do this without even trying. But while sleep is important for human beings in general, it is essential for athletes. While you sleep, your body metabolizes glucose, which helps your muscles recover from a hard training session. So if you’re getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night, your muscles won’t recover as quickly. Awesome, right? But that’s not all—lack of sleep can also lead to moodiness and anxiety, which can affect your performance on game day. Bottom line: don’t sleep enough, and you will DEFINITELY be able to tell a difference in your athletic performance – the wrong kind of difference.

2. Don’t Rest

Rest refers not to sleep, but to taking a purposeful break from training. And it’s one of the quickest ways to deteriorate your athletic ability. Taking rest days—complete days when you’re not even doing active recovery or cross-training—gives your body a chance to repair small tears in muscle caused by resistance training, and build new muscle tissue from protein ingested after training. Your muscles need a pause from the constant breakdown that occurs when you strength-train in order to rebuild themselves stronger. By skipping your rest days and going all-out in the gym 24/7, you’ll be on your way to developing symptoms of overtraining: extreme muscle soreness, extreme fatigue, depression, and susceptibility to illness and injury. Awesome, right? So build in rest days or you’ll be the coolest athlete wearing a knee brace or missing practice from a sinus infection.

3. Don’t Eat

Yeah, just stop eating. Your body needs the nutrients and energy in food to do basically everything: repair organs, fight off diseases, and build muscle. If you really want to see a decline in your athletic performance, simply stop eating enough calories to maintain your high activity level! Not eating enough is a simple, easy way to sabotage your athletic career—closely followed by eating the wrong stuff. Meeting your calorie requirements solely with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos will definitely leave you not feeling like sprinting for your full 90-min soccer game. 2,500 calories worth of Vanilla milkshake never makes my long runs any easier. Oh, don’t eat after training either. Physical activity depletes muscles of glycogen, made from carbohydrates, so if you want to make your muscles sore and mad, don’t eat anything within 30 minutes to 2 hours after training. 

4. Don’t Warm-Up

Make sure you go into practice, the gym, or the competition completely cold, and you’ll be well on your way to injury and decreased performance. 

5. Don’t Train on a Periodized Program

Periodization programming peaks athletes for their sport at just the right time. DO NOT do this if you hate being amazing. Don’t train on a periodized, customized, sport-specific training program. A periodized program means that your workouts change depending on the day, week, and season of your athletic year—off-season training looks a lot different from pre-season training, because your body needs different types of conditioning for these phases. To train to perform during a given season, you must be using a periodized training program. If you go into the gym and do the same workout, same rep count, same weight, over and over again, your body will stop responding to the stimuli of training and you will plateau!

And there you have it! 5 easy ways to instantly become a worse athlete. Practice each one faithfully, and I promise you will never be the best athlete on your team—and that’s a guarantee!

Basic Nutrition for Sports Performance

Young athletes have very unique demands – school, sports, and training.

There is a way to improve each of those 3 things – FUEL the body with proper nutrition!

===> DOWNLOAD [Daily Meal Guideline] Cheat Sheet

Here’s some more specific nutrition tips for Young Athletes…

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates should be the staple of a athletes diet. The key is to focus on quality. There is a huge difference between white bread and whole grain, high fiber bread; a sugar coated cereal and oatmeal; French fries vs. sweet potatoes. Focus on the quality of the carbohydrates. 

For example, definitely eat breakfast, but try a whole grain based cereal with some fresh fruit for the nutrients and fiber. Something like oatmeal instead of Fruit Loops or Cocoa Pebbles.

Sandwiches should be made with whole grain bread, rather than white. Snacks can be whole grain crackers with peanut butter, fruit or veggie sticks with peanut butter, etc. The list can go on.

The focus of carbohydrates should always be on foods that provide a few grams of fiber per serving (exception is milk and yogurt, which are very healthy and carbohydrate based, but provide little, if any fiber). 

Fruit and vegetables are also critical for a high performance athlete. Kids often shy away from them and parents don’t always push them. However, research has suggested it can take as many as one dozen times to determine if a child likes a particular food. The key for a parent is to introduce kids to as many of these nutrient dense, colorful foods as possible! 

Protein 

Of course protein plays a very important role! One important message is to make sure you always focus on food first – not protein supplements. High quality protein sources include:

  • Fish and other seafood
  • Low or non fat milk or yogurt
  • Chicken and turkey breast
  • Lean red meat
  • Mixed nuts
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Natural peanut butter

Should young athletes take a protein supplement?

The better question is:

  • Do they need a protein supplement? No.
  • Will it make them into the next college or pro athlete? Of course not!
  • Can it be beneficial and a healthier option than many of the alternative high sugar, high fat foods marketed directly towards children? Absolutely!

But food first as whole foods provide more nutrients than any supplement does or ever will be able to provide.

Fat

Fat is another crucial nutrient for athletes. The key, once again, is to focus on quality. Fat also provides a lot of calories, which can be important for very active, young athletes who need more calories than most to develop healthy, strong bodies.

Here are a few fats to choose:

  • Fish
  • Whole eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Raw mixed nuts
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Avocados and more

There you have it. Nutrition basics.

Feed your body. It’s a machine. To be the best player, you need to train and eat like the best athlete in the world.

===> DOWNLOAD [Daily Meal Guideline] Cheat Sheet