After years of experience working in the sports training setting, I have come across a number of misbeliefs that I feel are important to call out so that you can recognize them going forward.
I see too many coaches and parents falling for these traps and carrying out improper training principles with their athletes, which in turn leads to mediocre performance at best.
Let me share with you some of the big misconceptions I’ve seen so that you can be sure to side-step them into the future.
Fundamentals NEVER Get Old
So you’ve seen the latest training gadget or machine. No matter what it happens to be, it’s new and exciting and you think you’ll make great use of it – you can’t wait to incorporate it into your training regime with your athletes.
But hold on a second. What, exactly, is that new piece of equipment doing that the fundamental exercises like squats and deadlifts cannot?
And more importantly, if the athlete has not built up a base level of conditioning with the fundamentals, are they even ready for these pieces of equipment?
People fall into the glamor of these new equipment models. Sure, the tried and true may not be as ‘sexy’ as some of the new ways of training, but they have produced results time and time again – and you can trust them.
Don’t fall for people who are just looking to make money off fancy new equipment inventions. Nine times out of time, the basic exercises and drills that have been used years before you are still the ones that will produce optimal results and are the exercises starting athletes need to master first before even considering anything else.
Taking a beginner athlete to these machines is like trying to teach algebra without being able to add.
Take Home Tip: Don’t skip fundamental exercises. Ever.
Progress Shouldn’t Be Rushed And It Should Be Linear
Another giant problem I see in many athletes who are training is being rushed way too soon to move up and in the process, being smashed into the ground, so to speak. This is one thing that really gets under my skin and it’s extremely sad because often it’s trainers who are responsible for this. However, it’s not trainers who have a university education or who have spent years learning the ropes. Instead, it’s ‘Celebrity’ trainers who have virtually become a trainer overnight. They put forth these programs that quickly catch on like wildfire – programs that aren’t really based on sound training principles.
Next thing you know, hundreds of people are doing these programs and only getting themselves into trouble. What really needs to happen in the industry is people need to be educated on the best practices to approach physical training.
Many trainers simply have you focusing on whether you’re sore the next day rather than spending time tracking progress and seeing strength and performance levels increase. You get people who want to get to point C and skip over point B entirely, going from A to C in a very short period of time.
Where does that lead them? Injured, burnt out, and tossing in the towel.
You need to learn proper technique before loading the body up with weight and intensifying the exercise. If this is skipped over, proper form will be hard to learn as bad habits will be built and this will hold the athlete back from ever seeing true success.
Lack Of Focus On Mobility
Finally, the last big issue I see when it comes to sports training is a complete and utter lack of focus on mobility and flexibility work. While it’s great to be able to lift a heavy weight, if you can’t do that in a functional sense because you lack mobility, it’s not that applicable to the sport you are attempting to play.
Likewise, if you are so stiff you have a very narrow range of motion, this isn’t going to assist you at all when it comes to what you are doing on the court, field, or ice.
You need to be addressing these elements of conditioning in an athlete in order to promote the best overall performance possible. Too many coaches and trainers forget this.
They hardly ever do soft tissue work like foam rolling and pay no regard to proper stretching exercises after the main components of the training session are completed.
Couple this with a lack of focus on nutrition and lifestyle factors such as sleep and it’s no wonder their athletes aren’t making as good of progress as they should be.
So there you have a few of the biggest issues you need to be on the lookout for and addressing. Sport coaches and trainers must approach things from a holistic point of view, looking at all elements of training and the athlete’s lifestyle.
Progress isn’t gained over the course of a month but rather, through years of putting the right efforts in place.