Sports performance is not just about turning up at your game each week and hoping you will play well. If you are passionate about your sport then take the time to ensure you perform at your highest level.
Please make a note that I said ‘Your highest level’ not that of your best friend (though of course it’s great to play and compete to be the best in your own team), but it is essential that the competitive nature of sport doesn’t mess with your head and ruin your performance.
Making your sports performance about you – not about what others might think of you – is imperative to playing your best.
Here are some simple but effective steps to improve your performance:
- Make your training sports specific: if your sport involves sprinting, changing pace and quick turns then your training programme should include speed, agility and quickness. Short sports such as rugby, football, hockey, tennis, squash are all examples of short, fast, dynamic sports. If your are not sure what agility is then take a look at this video:
- Endurance is nearly always beneficial for sport, but if a distance run is the only training that you do then your performance could improve by training with a sports specific programme.
- Every sport requires the mid-section of the body to be stable and strong, therefore core training is essential. Golfers will improve the distance of a drive, if they can maintain position and posture; tackles in team sports are easier if you are solid and don’t get knocked over. A strong core also enhances overall strength.
- Muscle strength is generally essential, however building huge muscle mass might be an advantage to a rugby player but disastrous for an endurance runner. Improving the capacity of your muscles will require strength training, but your personal trainer or coach can ensure that your training programme remains sports specific.
- Flexibility: this is very often missed out of generic training sessions, but it is hugely important to help your muscles remain injury free. Most injuries occur due to lack of muscle flexibility and elasticity, especially those playing short sports which require speed and quick turns.
- Rest and recovery: Your body can not benefit from your training efforts if you don’t take the time to recover. Your body heals and strengthens during your sleep, therefore sleep is an essential part of recovery and physiological improvement. Additionally your body needs to recover post match and pre training, workout an effective training programme which includes this important aspect of performance.
- A winning mindset: staying in the moment, focused and fully concentrated – easier said than done! Playing not panicking, there is no time for nerves or tantrums, anger or any other emotion which may come bounding into action when the going gets tough. If your negative mindset gets the better of you, you can guarantee you will beat yourself and the opponents will win.
- Nutrition: without fuel your body just won’t work properly, we have suggested that all sports require muscle strength and endurance, to produce this it is essential that your muscles are stocked with glycogen. (Glycogen is a carbohydrate and is stored in the muscle groups to be used by that particular muscle). The best sources of glycogen come from slow burning carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, potatoes, oats etc. Proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables should also make up a large proportion of your daily intake.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of sports performance or personal training then please call Active Aims on Loughborough (01509) 218700 or 07973 782 647.