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Performance Training Basics
Training For Performance? Consider The Nervous System
What makes a good training system? Relevance.
What an athlete does is not necessarily what a member of the gen-pop will do.
Instead of chalking it up to genetics, realize that athleticism has trainable qualities. Athleticism involves mastering sports-relevant techniques for dynamic flexibility, power, agility, speed, relevant strength, balance, coordination, relevant conditioning, reactivity, relaxation, and force absorption. Such is the foundation upon which quality athletic training systems are built-in attempt to answer these questions for the given athlete.
The athlete's training regime should directly translate to improvements in relevant muscular development, connective tissues, and neural structures to enable the performance of all of the aforementioned components of athleticism, not to mention the biomechanics and specific skills demanded by the sport.
Current conventional training systems do not address the full spectrum of components that make up what we call athleticism. Oftentimes strength coaches mistakenly program in conventional weightlifting exercises (i.e. squat) without proper consideration for translation to the sport. Many of these exercises involve primarily maximal strength (strength generated in an unlimited amount of time). While this is great for general fitness, physique, strongman, CrossFit, and some strength sports (for which I enjoy programming, as well), it doesn't necessarily translate to the court, field, arena, or track.
Most conventional lifts not only do not mimic the same 'functional' (relevant) movement patterns but also do not address speed, agility, reactive agility, etc. It's not to say that you can't do these movements or some variation of them-simply that they can be adjusted with key variations to better translate to sports (i.e. hex bar deadlift instead of a conventional deadlift, isometrics, use of kinetic chain strength equipment, etc.). Furthermore, other forms of training have to be added to the program to address remaining athletic components in a complementary fashion. Otherwise, you're fragmenting your training in a way that is not likely to be complementary, which will hinder your neuromuscular dialogue, which will hinder your progress.
A quality functional/performance training system offers various training modalities and methods that work synergistically to complement one another to address the greater components of athleticism, general preparedness, and sport specific biomechanical actions. The goal is for direct transference to performance in the athlete's given sport.
Our definition of strength is regarded as a relative phenomenon depending on numerous factors (speed of execution, muscle firing patterns, movement, joint angle, etc.). Again, relevance wins the day here.
Additionally, the same principles behind strength & conditioning apply to injury prevention and rehabilitation. A major gap in physical therapy is the space between rehab and performance. The same laws apply and no one should be babied beneath their own potential. In effect, training is not only safe but done on the same principles, thereby leaving no gap between rehab and performance.
To recap, relevance wins the day. Certain general principles apply across disciplines, but most conventional methods essentially throw junk at a wall and hope it sticks. The truth is that your training should have synergy unto itself and address ALL of your needs as an athlete.