Today, strength training influences every athletic program in the country, no matter what the sport - male or female. The improvements in sports performance over the last 10 years have been incredible. Athletes are running faster, jumping
higher and getting stronger than ever before. To earn a scholarship, it is necessary for athletes to strength train and participate in a conditioning program to better prepare themselves for the rigors of the athletic season.
The main function of the body’s 600 plus muscles is to move our body parts. Only muscles can cause movement, so train the movement and the appropriate muscles will get trained. The stronger the muscles and the more force behind the contractions, the faster the athlete will run, the higher she will jump, the further she will throw and kick, and the harder he will hit. It really is that simple!
Strength training is not just lifting weights like a body builder. That type of training could actually make you slower and create injuries if it is not done properly. Athletes need to train movement patterns not muscle groups. Athletes need to do multi-joint and multi-musclular lifts that are in all planes of motion not just get on machines at the gym. Incorporating body weight, resistance bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, plyometrics and Olympic lifts are a much better strength training choice for an athlete to improve their game and their chances of getting that sports scholarship.
The benefits of a sports specific strength training program are numerous. The
athlete will not only build a solid strength base (which is key to ALL athletic
movement patterns), but he or she will also reduce their risk of injury; increase their speed, quickness and agility; increase vertical jump; make bones, ligaments and tendons stronger; and boost the athlete's confidence in and out of the classroom. And if an injury does occur to an athlete who has been strength training properly, it will probably not be as serious and will tend to heal faster.
The NCAA gives thousands of scholarships every year and spends millions of dollars on the education of student-athletes, but the process of earning a scholarship isn’t easy. That’s because natural talent alone isn’t enough anymore. These days, it’s as much about private coaching as it is about getting exposure in your sport.
The biggest problem I see in high school sports is athletes constantly going to camp after camp on their particular sport and never doing any strength training. Athletes and parents focus so much on trying to get a better skill set for the sport they don’t realize they are probably creating a higher risk of injury and severely limiting the young athlete’s potential to grow athletically.
So next time someone tells you to weight train like a bodybuilder or sign up for this camp, think again. A proper strength-training program, in-season and
off-season, just may be the final piece the “puzzle” to earning that athletic scholarship!