The importance of year-round strength training
For an athlete, most of the work in a sport happens outside the games. This is especially true if they’re invested in a strength and conditioning program that builds and shapes their performance all year long.
Scott Hettenbach, director at Sanford POWER in Sioux Falls, believes in the important impact strength training and conditioning can play in an athlete’s overall development.
“Strength training year-round can help with motor skills and create a foundation for proper movements, which then improves overall athleticism,” he explains.
Strength and conditioning can be all encompassing, impacting not only an athlete’s strength but how they move. It can benefit athletes in any sport, not only football, but it’s crucial to continue to gradually build up strength year-round.
“What athletes shouldn’t do is work really hard in the preseason, building up a base of strength, mobility, flexibility and power and get into the season and completely stop,” Hettenbach says. “Because they’ll start to lose a good portion of that strength. And then when they get deeper into the season, when they really need it, they’ll be weaker than they were at the beginning.”
For multiple sport athletes, strength training and conditioning is what ties everything together, complementing each sport. Along with honing a player’s athleticism, strength training can also help decrease the incidence of injury.
For parents, it can be hard to know what to do to support their busy athlete. A parent himself, Scott knows that parents want to be invested in their kid’s athletic endeavors. He encourages all parents to get involved with strength training as a great avenue for connection.
“Supporting their athletes is huge,” he says.
If parents don’t know where to get started, it can help to talk with a strength and conditioning coach for guidance.
“I think having a plan is what’s most important,” says Hettenbach, who spent roughly 20 years as a coach at the University of Wisconsin. “Have a plan for the sports they’re playing, have a plan for their year-round strength program and have a plan for when their season is done.”
Part of supporting athletes can also be building in some time for them to enjoy having less structure in their schedules.
“You’ve got to build in some down time for kids to just to be kids – even at older ages. So it’s not just going from sport to sport to sport constantly. You’ve got to build in some time where they can get away from that and have some unstructured play. They can unwind and recharge their batteries, mentally and physically.”
Strength training can boost an athlete’s overall confidence, along with teaching them about discipline, goal setting, consistency and accountability.
“I think it really improves self-esteem. An athlete that’s stronger and more prepared walks into their sport better enabled to be successful, and in most cases they’re going to perform well, which just keeps that snowball going and continues to build their confidence,” Hettenbach says.
The experts at Sanford POWER facilitate a variety of strength and conditioning programs. Their certified coaches implement proven and safe practices that can improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.