This article was provided by Coaches Network
Strength training is one of the best ways for athletes to improve their performance, but simply lifting weights won’t cut it. To help your athletes get the most out of their time spent in the weightroom, it’s important to develop a well-rounded approach focused towards their sport. There are a number of weight-training mistakes that high school teams commonly make. Here is a list of what they are and how to avoid them as explained by Jace Derwin, CSCS, RSCC, in a blog at Volt Athletics.
1. Random Training
Doing random exercises with an arbitrary number of reps is not going to help athletes improve in their specific sport. Even further, allowing them to guess their way through a workout could be potentially dangerous, as they will most likely be using incorrect form. Establish clearly defined goals and structure time in the weightroom so that it is focused on sport-specific movements. Developing a training plan will help your athletes make gains safely and efficiently.
2. Bench Press and Biceps
Too much focus on training the biceps is especially a problem among male athletes. While the bench press and bicep curls are definitely important for building upper-body strength, these exercises alone will do little to improve athletic performance. What’s more important is a well-rounded program with a variety of different exercises.
3. Training Till You Puke
While developing mental toughness is a major part of strength training, be careful not to go overboard. It’s important for athletes to give maximum effort and show a strong work ethic, but it’s also essential that they are able to fully recover before the next practice or game. Try to find a balance with the intensity of your weightroom training.
“Having the passion and fortitude to give something your all is an important part of being an athlete, but when it comes to preparing for your game, you have to be careful that you don’t train SO hard that you limit what you can do tomorrow,” writes Derwin. “There will be moments in a planned training schedule when it’s appropriate and necessary to give it your all—but those should be properly spaced within a training program so their effect on performance is maximized and your ability to compete is improved.”
4. Training Everything but Athleticism
Also known as “Iron Addiction,” this a common mistake made by high school athletes. Strength alone should not be the end goal. The focus should be on a variety of movements that directly relate to the demands of the sport. As athletes increase their reps and weight in these movements (lifts, med ball throws, plyometric drills, cardio work, etc.), they will be more prepared to execute these motions during competition. Identify the physical demands of your sport and design a strength-training program that meets them.
5. Training Only Athleticism
On the flip side, it’s also important for high school athletes to understand why they are in the weight room in the first place. Simply practicing their sport over and over again will not give them the same power, speed, and explosiveness as weight training. Make sure they know that the best way to prepare for their sport, outside of playing it, is to train on a properly designed strength and conditioning program.
“A good strength training program exposes the body to progressively higher workloads, increasing the functional capacity of the body to work more efficiently with less risk of injury,” Derwin writes. “In other words, strength training will help make your movements safer and more efficient, allowing you to work harder with less effort. This is much harder to accomplish if athletes are functionally weak from lack of weight room preparation.”