Athletes today train very differently than athletes from generations past, especially as this applies to improved education about safe and efficient training, as well as advancements witnessed in athletic training equipment. At times, athletes can become overwhelmed keeping track of all the changes and ways in which athletes train today resulting in confusion, frustration, and even withdrawal in some situations. This week I would like to introduce a very straightforward way to approach athletic training, a model so simple that even young athletes can apply and experience improved mental toughness and optimal physical training results.
The 3 pieces to athletic success
When it comes to maximizing human potential, one efficient way to develop a training program is to focus on three inter-related areas of training: physical, technical, and mental. From these core areas of training you can develop your own unique approach that best suits your sport, level of fitness desired, and the long-term outcomes you wish to achieve.
- Physical training. When examining the physical dimension of sport training this would include weight training, stretching, cardio training, and any other exercise you do to improve physical strength, speed, quickness, and endurance. Additionally, physical training includes your diet, as well as how much rest you get each day. Finally, if you are an injured athlete going through rehabilitation you might also include physical training recommendations in this group as well.
- Technical training. When it comes to technical training think of the X’s and O’s of your sport, including knowing your position and the specific expectations from you during competition. Athletes regularly improve in the technical area by watching video, attending camps and clinics, and working directly with position coaches.
- Mental training. Being able to play your best “when the lights are on” is dependent on mental toughness, making this the third area of training athletes should consider. Specifically, mental training includes managing anxiety, learning how to get in the zone, confidence development, and developing comfortable pre-game routines to get a winning mindset before each game.
As you can see, today’s athletes can simplify their training approach by breaking tasks down into manageable training groups that when combined lead to optimal athletic development. The consequences for avoiding one of the three areas of training can result in less than desirable outcomes, including athletes who are great “practice players” (athletes solid in practice, but too nervous in games), or athletes with great physical abilities but unsure what to do when in the game (lacking a technical understanding of their position). Fortunately, these pitfalls can be mitigated by having the right training approach.
With so much new information on the internet it can be overwhelming for athletes to know what to do when it comes to developing a personalized training program. The good news is that by using a basic paradigm (as is discussed here), athletes can develop their own approach to what makes the most sense to them and do so knowing they are engaging in holistic training.