Coastal Athletic Connection

Langley, Walnut Grove and Surrey's constant source of quality information in the Sports Performance, Strength and Conditioning, and Nutrition fields.

5 Keys to Optimal Performance Training

Posted by on in Training
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 1131
  • Subscribe to this entry

When it comes to winning at your chosen sport, proper performance training can also give you a

competitive edge – that is if you focus on the right things in the right balance. Here are 5 things you

need to help you dominate your opponents next season.


1) Time to practice your sport

Now before your roll your eyes and say something like, “thanks Captain obvious”, please

remember that this (even though you already know it) needs to be mentioned any time training

is talked about. In a desire to enhance sport performance, some athletes mistakenly focus

too much on training and not enough on practicing their skills. In most sports, especially team

sports the single most important thing you can do is to practice your sport. Proper performance

training needs to be approached in light of this. As a result, you cannot afford to waste your

time or energy doing anything less than the very best, most time-efficient exercises and training

strategies. Do not get side-tracked with all the cool new training toys or silly ideas that permeate

the industry. The goal with training is to get the most benefit from the least amount of time and

energy so you have the necessary time and energy to focus on your sport skills.


2) Take care of your health


Health is one of those things we tend to ignore until we do not have it. When training for

realize is that performance training is built on a foundation of health. High quality nutrients, aoptimal

athleticperformance, many people forget about health. However, what many fail to

good night sleep, rest, stress management and all the other things you know you should do for

health must be done on a regular basis. A healthy body allows you to train harder, recover faster

and extend your athletic career.


3) Learn to move well


Physical therapist and FMS (functional movement screen) co-founder Grey Cook has two

quotes that bear repeating: “first move well, then move often” and

“don’t build fitness ontop of dysfunction.” The foundation of athletic performance training is quality movement.

This can start with having and FMS screen done which screens your ability to do seven basic

human movements. Based on the results of the screen you can identify and

address movementproblems that if left alone will likely side-line you with an injury.

In addition to a movement screen, fundamental athletic movements should also

be taught. One of the many problems of early sports specialization is that many

young athletes are never taughtfundamental athletic movements such as: the

athletic position, stopping, starting, landing, sprinting, jumping, cutting, tumbling

and how to fall. As a result, by the time I get athletes in university, many of them

should really be called “sports specialists”. Sure they are great at theirsport, but

if you watch them move, many are not what you would call “athletic”. In addition to

increasingyour risk of injury, poor athletic movement can actually hinder vital performance 

qualities such as speed and vertical jump.Movement quality should always be focused on

when training to improve performance. This includes not only corrective exercises and

movement skill coaching, but technique on all exercises should be carefully coached.

Proper exercise technique reduces your risk of injury, improves your results and helps to

enforce quality athletic movement.


4) Improve total body balance

When most people hear the word “balance” they immediately think about standing on a wobble

board or doing weights while standing on a Bosu ball. While these “balance” tools can be helpful

in a rehabilitation context, this is not what I mean by balance and this is not what you need to

improve your sport performance.

For performance enhancement and injury risk reduction, keeping mobility, stability and strength

balance in your body is essential. The challenge for the athlete is that sports specialization

creates imbalances in the body and these imbalances greatly increase your risk of injury.

Remember that it does not matter how good you are at your sport if you are injured and

watching from the sidelines. To improve your sport performance and reduce your risk of

injury, it is not just enough to train sport-specific movements. You need to train muscles and

movement patterns that are not worked in your sport to keep your body balanced. A properly-

conditioned athletic body is balanced – front, back, left and right.


5) Put more force into the ground


When it comes to pure athletic performance, the difference-maker is how much force you can

put into the ground and how quickly you can apply that force. For this reason, appropriate

versions of squats, deadlifts and explosive lifting variations offer a tremendous opportunity to

take your athletic performance to the next level. However, too many programs and coaches are

polarized on this one. Either they just do this or they spend all their time on the other things and

dismiss basic barbell training as “old school”.


In addition to the physical benefits of basic strength training, do not forget about the mental

benefits. Heavy strength training builds not only your body, but also your mind. It makes you

mentally tougher and gives you the psychological edge going into a game knowing that you are

stronger than your opponent.


Putting it all together

When it comes to enhancing your athletic performance, it is important that you do not lose sight of any

of 5 keys. All too often coaches or athletes place too much emphasis on one of them at the expense of

the others and as a result, they play far below their potential. Do some honest, self-reflection and seek

the advice of an experienced coach and ask which of these 5 things you need to focus on more to take

your game to the next level.


Andrew Heming, MS, CSCS

©Coastal Athletics 2014
Rate this blog entry:


Newsletter Signup


Cole's unique style and methods have created a challenging but successful training program for my individual needs. I have seen huge improvement in my game as well as my overall fitness. His knowledge, personality and expertise make Cole my first recommendation for anyone in the athletic community.

Emily Bajkov