Becoming a better athlete entails a broad range of skill improvements including but not limited to physical strength and agility. You also have to develop mental toughness and a more responsive nervous system. This article will address the physical aspects of athletic training that will assist you with becoming stronger, faster and more agile.
Be Sport Specific
Firstly, consider the requirements of your particular sport before developing a training program. Building a massive chest won’t work well for basketball players who need more upper body speed than strength. However, targeting the legs, especially with plyometric exercises, will increase movement speed and jumping ability. On the other hand if your sport is football and you play offensive guard, then your ability will greatly benefit from developing muscle mass in your chest, arms and legs.
Sport training should focus on improving specific athletic abilities depending on which sport and position is being played. As you put an athletic training program together, consider what exercises will best benefit your particular needs. Doing so will gain an edge on your competition. Then, when you beat your opponent, you can bask in bragging rights.
Improving your overall strength is an important factor in becoming a better athlete. Practically every sport requires strong athletic ability that has you pushing through defenses or making strong moves during competitions. For instance, if you’re a basketball player, football player, or wrestler, greater strength will help you to overpower your opponent. If you’re sport is baseball, tennis or downhill skiing, having extra strength will help you to perform better and press ahead to victory.
You can improve your overall strength by spending more time performing Olympic-style exercises that utilize the entire body rather than spending all your time targeting individual muscles. When you do target certain muscles that might give you an advantage, such as the arms and shoulders of a baseball pitcher, then hit them separately.
Improve Agility and Balance
Increasing agility and balance are critical factors for becoming a better athlete. Becoming more nimble, quickening footwork, and developing more rapid hand/eye coordination will help to improve your athletic skills.
Since your core is key to better agility and balance, focus on core strengthening exercises that develop the abs and strengthen the back. You can also perform a variety of exercises while standing on one leg which will help with balance. Increase agility by stimulating faster muscle response through plyometric exercises, or perform a couple of activities simultaneously, like playing catch while doing burpees.
Improving flexibility is another important aspect of becoming a better athlete. Not only will being more flexible allow you to make more athletic moves, like snag a hard line drive in the infield, but it will also help protect you from injury. Your goal in improving flexibility is to increase your range of motion.
Various stretching exercises will improve your flexibility. However, don’t stretch while your muscles are cold. First warm up by performing some moderate aerobic exercises to loosen tendons and muscles. Then, when performing your stretching exercises, push yourself to full extension, but resist moving to a point of pain which can cause tears in the muscle fibers. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and, as your muscles loosen up further, you can get more extension from the next repetition.
The only way to improve endurance in any sport is to practice, practice, practice! Pressing your body to the point of fatigue on a consistent basis will cause it to adapt to that stress level and better handle longer periods of exertion.
For example, if you’re a long distance runner, the more your run, the longer and farther you’ll be able to run. If you’re a basketball player, the more wind sprints you run, pivots you make and drives down the lane you accomplish, the more you will increase endurance.