Wow, how’s that for a loaded title? Ok, there’s a lot of dirty truths to elite sports but we’re going to only get into one of them today. Here it is:
High-level athletes, such as Division I or pros, are often not the most talented athletes.
Think about that for a second. What I’m saying is that these amazing athletes you see on TV who are often making loads of cash to play their sport, don’t possess the most talent for the game. Now, I’m not saying that they aren’t talented, they certainly are. However, if you talk to them they will often be able to come up with some other athletes they know or teammates they’ve had that were much better than they were and yet never made it.
What separates the talented and makes them successful or unsuccessful? Durability. The schedule of a high-level athlete is unbelievable grueling and year after year of that type of training and activity takes its toll. Most athletes, even good ones, just can’t stand up to the beating and start suffering injury after injury. This holds them out of skill work, reduces their playing capacity, and eventually ends their career. The successful ones are the athletes that possess sufficient talent and ability to play at a high level AND can withstand the punishment. As the years go by they simply outlast their fellow athletes.
While some injuries are unavoidable, particularly in the contact sports, the good news is that durability is a quality that can be greatly improved by training. This is where the strength and conditioning component comes into play. In addition to improving the performance level of a young athlete a sound strength and conditioning program will accomplish three things:
1. Develop and maintain a high level of tendon and ligament strength.
2. Improve and maintain proper muscle and skeletal alignment and balance.
3. Strengthen and enforce sound movement patterns and body positioning.
The better prepared your body is for the stresses of playing and training for your sport at a high level the more likely you will be to remain injury-free and improve your game. Gone are the days where good natural athletes can just play their sport and be able to compete at a high level. At this point, there are talented kids all over the place. What separates them is the training they do OFF the field to make themselves better ON the field.