Be Better: Training tips from Sanford POWER and Dusty Coleman
Pro baseball player Dusty Coleman and Sanford POWER are teaming up to offer insights and training tips to enhance your athletic performance:
Do you put any stock in certifications for strength and conditioning coaches?
“Working with strength and conditioning coaches that are certified gives me the peace of mind in knowing that what I am doing is getting me better and keeping me healthy. They have the knowledge in how to write a program that has intent behind it, not just throw together a bunch of random exercises. There is purpose and intent aimed at a goal. Also, I like to know that their certification allows them to know how to perform lifts correctly.”
Certification is important to ensure that the strength and conditioning coach is educated to at least the minimum standard. Athletes, coaches and parents can feel comfortable knowing that their coach is up to date on current research, methods and practices. Properly certified coaches are trained to take athletes through logical progressive strength and conditioning programs to maximize results, to help decrease the likelihood of injuries and to program proper mechanics – whether they are working with middle school athletes or the most elite. Reputable certifications in this field include: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Strength and Conditioning Certified Coach (SCCC) and weightlifting certifications through the United States of America (USA-W).
What do you do to improve mental focus, imagery and concentration?
“Over the past three years of my career, I have put a much greater emphasis on mental training because it is very difficult to stay locked in mentally. Mediation, mindfulness and awareness of breath are practices that have become part of my routine before every game – short sessions that help me to get focused and learn how to slow my heart rate and focus on my breath when I feel sped up. I have also done visualization and eye training that is very helpful to slow the game down.”
A high-performing athlete not only has to train themselves physically, they must be prepared mentally, also. This means having the ability to control feelings of nervousness or anxiety before events and staying calm and focused at critical times during competitions. There are many techniques that can help with this, including choosing to have a positive attitude, visualization/mental imagery of success, meditation and breathing techniques to stay calm, positive self-talk and setting realistic goals leading up to competitions. Each athlete needs to find the proper combination of these techniques that help them stay calm and focused, but maintain a consistent level of concentration and alertness to perform at their best.
What sports did you play growing up? How did that help you become a professional in your sport?
“Growing up as a kid I played baseball, basketball, football and soccer. I stopped playing soccer in the third grade to start playing football. Looking back on my athletic career, I have no doubt that playing different sports helped me get to where I am. Each sport has different challenges and skills that need to be learned, which I believe made me a more well-rounded athlete and person.”
Playing multiple sports as a young athlete has many advantages. It provides opportunities to improve different skill sets and movement patterns that won’t happen as naturally when focused on a single sport. Also, athletes are less likely to get burned out mentally and may have a lower risk of injury. Keeping young athletes engaged in multiple sports helps provide the foundation for success and sets the tone for a lifetime of fitness.
What sort of recovery techniques do you find to be helpful?
“Recovery is a very important part of my routine because if I don’t focus on helping my body recover I cannot sustain good performance over the long baseball season. I have found over my career that form rolling prior to activity and stretching after every game/workout helps me to feel better the next day. Also, I think it is essential to drink lots of water before and after a game. Depending on the equipment in the training rooms that I am in I like to do contrast hot/cold tub, cupping, massages, and Normatec (compression system). “
Proper recovery techniques for athletes are a key component to reducing fatigue and enhancing performance. Each athlete needs to find those individualized recovery techniques that help them to feel better leading up to, and after workouts and competitions. These include proper hydration and nutrition every day, self-myofascial release techniques (ie: foam rolling), mobility and stretching exercises, contrast hot/cold hydrotherapy, massage, rest and adequate sleep each night. Each athlete needs to find the specific combination of these that work best for them and provide a competitive advantage by improving performance, minimizing muscle soreness and reducing the chance for injury.