Archive for the “Training” Category



As I’ve been watching the group play of the 2015 Women’s World Cup, I can’t help but think about how much hard work, grit, and dedication it took me to make it to the top collegiate level. I think, wow, these women participating in the World Cup took that to a whole new level. Whenever I thought I did everything I could that day to better myself as a player, these women did 3 times more. However, what is even more impressive is that most of these women achieved this by being full-time moms, full-time students or holding full-time jobs, no excuses made. There is no other world stage where the athletes competing in it wear as many hats as these women whilst being elite athletes. I don’t think I will ever forget Joy Fawcett in all of her World Cups, bringing her kids along, or playing in the Olympics weeks after giving birth.  These women are true heroes and warriors!

 

So how did they get to where they are? Well, how does anyone that is the top 1% in their field get to where they are at? It’s simple:

1.) While the world sleeps they work

2.) When life presents an opportunity they seize it, no hesitation

3.) They create routine and hold themselves accountable

4.) They fill their bodies with proper nutrients and a lot of it

 

So let’s start with the first one. How many times do you catch yourself saying “I just ran out of time today,” making an excuse for why you didn’t go to the gym or go for a run? I know I have. Well here is your solution… Get up early, 5:00/6:00 am, and get it done first. I promise you all Fortune 500 CEO’s and Olympic athletes don’t sleep in or watch 4+ hours of TV a day, or waste hours on social media.

Think about it, do you want to be someone who reads about other people’s greatness or does you want to be someone that others read about your greatness?  You decide. I think you will find that the morning calm before the world wakes up is a magical and spiritual time, and there is no greater feeling in the world than heading off to school, or your work day, knowing that you have already achieved something great… a long run, gym, or yoga class.

 

Opportunity, we all know what that means– “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.” I am sure you all are recognizing the big opportunities– an invitation to ODP camp, ID camp participation, etc. But let’s really break it down and focus on the little opportunities that you may be overlooking that have the greatest impact. The opportunity to practice once a week with your older age group, the opportunity to play kick around with your brother or older sibling’s team, the opportunity to hit the gym with your parents or friends, the opportunity to play indoor, the opportunity to reach out to a local collegiate player to train with them, the opportunity to stay late after practice and help a teammate or yourself work on your kicks, or fitness, or touch.

It is these little opportunities that will raise your game most profusely.  Remember, “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” (Colin Powell.) What he means by this is that if you are going to succeed on the grander scale you need to first succeed on a smaller scale. I always say, start your day with making your bed. It is a little achievement but it is nonetheless an achievement and a start.

 

We all know routine is important, but we all can get a calendar and map out our week and think, wow, I am going to get so much done this week. But what I want you to do is get to the END of your week and say, “wow, I GOT so much done this week!”

Look back and see how many actions you were able to cross off. This is accountability, and I promise you there is no one in your life that is going to force you to do anything. Your parents are great advocates of yours, along with your friends and teammates, but at the end of the day, the only person that can make you get up and run farther, or faster, or do a third set of squats IS YOU. This is a true testament to how bad do you want to be great?  I guarantee all those women you are watching on TV never had to be told to run harder, run farther or lift more.  They do it because they want to be great!

 

Fuel, cars need it to run, some machines need it to run, and we ABSOLUTELY need it to run. But you have to remember that it needs to be the right fuel. If you just went to the gym and worked out hard, then reward yourself with a healthy snack and some hydration. Don’t ruin everything you have achieved in the gym by getting drive through after. That is being counterproductive.

Remember that you are an elite athlete and may look a little different than your non-athlete friends. I am here to tell you that more is OK! You are strong, fit, and beautiful, and your body needs more because you are burning more. So don’t feel bad about finishing your whole sandwich, yogurt, apple and peanut butter, Cliff bar, banana, and huge water. You needed it! Because at the end of the day, if you thrive at the first three–getting up early, seizing the opportunity, and being accountable, then you will never reach your potential if your body cannot keep up. Eat healthy, eat often and hydrate all the time! Be that person in the class that always has a water bottle with them.

 

So now that you have been given the recipe for success and ultimately a road map on how to make the World Cup team, what are you going to do with it?

Will I be watching you on TV in 4 years, maybe 8 years? I hope so, and I believe so 🙂

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5 Important Exercises

Athletes are always trying to get the most out of each and every workout they complete.  They perform intense workouts not only for personal gains, but to also have an advantage over the competition.  In order to accomplish this they perform exercises which give them the most gain for their efforts.  Listed below are five exercises focusing on increasing the efficiency of your workout routine.  These exercises focus on major muscles such as the hamstrings, quads, and chest which are utilized in every sport.

Front Squat: The main function of the front squat is to strengthen your quad muscles helping establish a foundation for athletic motions such as running and jumping.

With the barbell sitting forward on the shoulders, and the hips sunk back far enough so that the knees are in line with the toe, pressure from the weight is nearly all focused on the glutes and hip flexors thus getting a stronger workout and those with knee problems a better lift.

The front squat demands an upright torso position throughout the full range of motion which places much less stress on the spine. Another feature of the front squat is that it takes pressure off of the knees.

Benefits: Front squats are a great transitional squat workout going into clean-and-jerks and other overhead workouts. Being able to have strength in the frontal plane and anterior portion (back) of the body is a necessity when doing more advanced overhead lifts. The front squat helps build power and endurance in these muscle groups to move onto these types of workouts.

Straight back, Stiff Legged Deadlift: It takes a certain level of flexibility and experience in order to master this exercise, but once the exercise is perfected it becomes one of the best hamstring and glute exercises known today.

Benefits: The hamstrings are not only lifting the weight off the ground, but also are being stretched in the movement therefore the muscle fibers in the hamstrings are increasing range of motion, strength and muscular endurance versus just power.

Commonly, weightlifters and athletes will use wrist straps with this exercise to help increase the load of weight and still be able to put the high stress on the lower extremity.

Crossfit Activities/Exercises:  Crossfit is one of the most highly utilized workouts in the world of exercise.

Benefits: Crossfit is a fantastic full body workout that creates the “overall athlete”. It combines elements of cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics, core training and more to prepare the body for the unexpected.

Crossfit has taken some exercises (such as the Kipping Pull-up) and made rules that cross the orthodox way these exercises are performed thus decreasing the chance of injury.

Sprints and Hurdles:  – When in high school athletics, it seems that sprinting and running around is part of everyday life. During practices, during physical education, or even on a weekend at the park with your friends playing in the grass.

Doing wind sprints is said to be one of the best exercises for fat burning, cardiovascular endurance, and core strength. A big benefit for athletes is that sprinting increases hormone levels and decreases cortisol which helps in muscle building workout regiments and increases protein synthesis.

Benefits: Studies show that sprint training is more effective than steady-state endurance training for improving endurance capacity, maximal oxygen uptake, and time to fatigue. This is because repeated intervals at a high intensity lead to the body using energy more efficiently by increasing the amount of glycogen that can be stored in the muscle by as much as 20 percent.

Since sprints build muscle and target the fast-twitch fibers, they increase your speed and power, leading to a faster running or cycling speed.

Barbell/Dumbbell Bench Press:  The chest press is one of the most universal exercises known to upper body lifting.

It can be done with a barbell, dumbbell, or kettle bells and also can be performed on many different surfaces such as a bench, balance ball or bosu ball.

Benefits: Chest press lends thickness, muscle definition and strength to the chest area. As a compound exercise, bench presses also engage the deltoids and triceps as synergists, or muscles that help other muscles complete a movement.

Additionally, this exercise also works the biceps, which serve as dynamic stabilizers by countering the force of the press. Practicing proper form is a must in order to receive all of the correct benefits.

Have a question or are looking for some potential help?

It all starts with an honest NCAA evaluation by an expert who knows what college recruiters are looking for and where you stand, an evaluation of what level of college is right for you.

Click here to learn about scheduling your NCAA evaluation & consultation

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Athletics:  Strength, Speed, and Health

Staying in top physical shape is critical to always performing your best on the field and gaining attention from college scouts.  Today’s top college athletes have a combination of speed, strength, and knowledge of the best methods to stay healthy, so developing these attributes early will result in higher levels of success.

Strength training is not just lifting weights for hours in the gym attempting to max out, but improving both explosiveness and muscular endurance.  Muscular power or “explosiveness” is a product of both strength and speed of movement.

The most effective way to increase strength without hurting your speed or flexibility is to complete plyometric exercises, these would include:

  • Lower Body: Squats, Jump Squats, Lunges
  • Upper Body: Push Ups, Medicine Ball Chest Pass

Speed is a crucial component to almost every sport, and getting faster is possible with hard work and discipline.  Flexibility training and regular sprint workouts will help make you quicker as well.  Sprinting during training sessions creates muscle memory which will be activated in game time situations.

A few exercises to increase your speed on the field are:

  • Uphill Sprints the steeper the better!
  • Calf raises try using weights to increase difficulty
  • Running Stairs

It may also be helpful to have a coach look at your form – sometimes even simple changes in your technique can help you get faster.

Health is important to maintain because it will allow for you to perform at your best on the field by taking care of yourself off of the field.  Eating healthy will provide your body with the proper nutrients to perform at the highest level.  Preventing injury is another major factor of health, because if you can’t train or play it is much harder to improve.

Putting the right “fuel” into your body is the foundation of performing on the field, some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • STAY HYDRATED especially while performing strenuous activity
  • Vitamin consumption in the form of fruits and vegetables
  • Protein and Carbohydrate intake to build and fuel muscles

Taking the correct steps to reduce the risk of injury would include:

  • Always wear the appropriate protective equipment (helmet, pads, cleats)
  • Stretching before and after physical activity, as well as on off days
  •  Knowing your body’s limits and how hard to push

 

Have a question or are looking for some potential help?

It all starts with an honest NCAA evaluation by an expert who knows what college recruiters are looking for and where you stand, an evaluation of what level of college is right for you.

Click here to learn about scheduling your NCAA evaluation & consultation

 

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A lot of the questions we receive here at SportsForce Recruiting have to do with athletic scholarships.  As you are probably finding out the hard way, the college recruiting process can be very difficult and confusing. A lot of the confusion comes from athletic scholarships and what is actually available for student-athletes in their perspective sports.

Many families are very stressed over finding athletic scholarships! To help families alleviate the stress, and have a better understanding about athletic scholarships, we have created our Athletic Scholarships Available Guide.

Over the next couple of weeks we are going to take a closer look at specific sports and breakdown what scholarships are actually available and the competition for these scholarships.

We’re going to start off by taking an in-depth look at College Baseball Recruiting.

While there are a decent amount of baseball scholarship opportunities available at the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA levels, there is also an abundance of talented high school baseball players competing for all of these different scholarship opportunities.

Below is a chart that shows all of the schools that offer baseball and the baseball scholarships that are available at each level:

Division

Schools Offering Baseball

# of Scholarships per School

Total Scholarships Available

1

298

11.7

3451.5

2

259

9

2331

NAIA

212

12

2544

NJCAA

511

24 *

12264 *

Totals

1280

Varies

20590.5 *

 *Number of scholarships varies

 *** Division 3 schools don’t offer athletic scholarships ***

 

Baseball Participation by the Numbers:

  • 473,500 baseball players at the high school level
  • 10,400 go on to play DI baseball (About 2% of all HS players)
  • 20,200 go on to play DII or DIII baseball (About 4% of all HS players)
  • 6,300 go on to play NAIA baseball (About 1% of all HS players)
  • 15,300 go on to play at Junior College (About 3% of all HS players)

In summary, only about 11% of all high school baseball players actually end up playing some level of college baseball.

So, not only is the recruiting and athletic-scholarship process confusing, but it is also super competitive!  That is why it is very important for you to understand where you stand in the college recruiting process and what schools you should be realistically going after when you are creating your college target list.

A few tips for maximizing your scholarship opportunities:

  • Scholarships aren’t based solely on talent
  • Schools also make their “target list” and look for athletes that will be a good fit
  • Many schools are looking for athletes that have a good academic standing
  • “Full Ride” scholarships are VERY RARE – partial scholarships are more likely
  • There are many more opportunities outside the top Division I schools
  • If you are looking to walk on, there are still scholarship opportunities available
  • BE OPEN to all levels of competition to maximize your opportunities

Remember, even though the recruiting and scholarship process is difficult and confusing, it doesn’t mean you have to go through it alone!  We are here to help provide you with expert guidance and the tips and tools necessary to maximize your opportunities.

 

Over the last five years SportsForce Recruiting has helped over 1,000 student-athletes and families successfully navigate the college recruiting and athletic scholarship process while saving families on average $50,000 in college expenses.

Learn How We Help Families

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Doug Hix of Youth Fitness Magazine shares some tips for what some think is very easy, but requires skill and attention to detail.

Throwing a baseball appears to be very simple in its nature. Just throw, right? Wrong. Throwing a baseball the right way takes proper mechanics and techniques. Just ask Bud Black. Black, a former Major League Baseball pitcher who recorded 121 wins over his 15-year career, knows a thing or two about the art of throwing a baseball. These days, Black puts his vast knowledge of the game to use as the Manager of the San Diego Padres. During the off-season, we caught up with Black for a few tips on the subject. Below, Black cites the three critical aspects of throwing a baseball.

1.Separating Hands
When you catch a baseball, the first thing to do is remove the ball from the glove, which is called separating the ball from the glove. “Start with your hands on top of the ball or your fingers on top with your thumb underneath, same with your glove arm, thumbs down,” Black says. “So you catch the ball, you separate your hands with thumbs down, fingers on top of the ball and start to make a circle.”

2. Elbow Up
According to Black, the second point of focus is ensuring that one’s elbow is above the shoulder when a throw is made. “A lot of kids who have arm trouble as they move on through baseball do so as a result of not having enough strength during childhood to get their elbow above the shoulder or it’s simply easier to not do so,” Black says. “Throwing the baseball from a low position is simply easier. It takes more work and effort to get the elbow up.”

In this instance, the involvement of a parent or coach to encourage proper mechanics can help lead to future success. “I can watch a kid 5, 6, 7, 8 years old and if they have proper separation mechanics and can get the elbow up, I say, hey they got a chance,” Black says. “If they are athletic, they have a chance to be successful at whatever level they’re competing.”

3. Stride Direction
The third critical aspect of throwing a baseball is proper stride direction. “These days, you see some young shortstops stepping towards the pitching mound and making a throw to first base across the body,” Black says. “There needs to be a stride toward where you’re throwing the ball. Stride to the person you’re playing catch with or stride toward the direction where you want the ball to be thrown.”

Black believes stride direction is an aspect that is easier to fix when kids become older, unlike the first two components. “It is critical to key in on the first two components early in a baseball player’s career,” he says. “Essentially, all three components are critical in my eyes. That is it, you can talk or instruct for hours on those three things. If you get a kid early enough you’re fine. If you have a little bit of athleticism and aptitude, then you got action.”

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SAYZ: chalk talk with the SKLZ team

Speed is the single most important aspect any athlete can obtain to improve their performance. Improved speed entails many benefits other than just being faster, such as explosiveness, flexibility and strength. Speed is something that transcends every sport. If you are fast, most coaches will give you a shot. When it comes to sports, speed does kill.

As the founder of Play Fast Training System, I have trained some of the NFL’s fastest athletes. They train quite a bit differently than young athletes, honing technique to reach peak levels of speed. However, I believe the most critical aspect of speed training for young athletes is not technique. Most young athletes can’t put technique to use in such a way to enhance their performance, they need to simply run, and run fast. For children to be fast, they have to train fast. The goal for improving your child’s speed isn’t about harping on them about their technique or how bad they look or what they should do better. When taking the time to work on speed, children should be encouraged to run as fast as possible every single step. There should be no letting up when it comes to speed training.

CLARITY-

Speed training doesn’t involve being tired. Athletes need to be fresh and fast every time they run. I normally give athletes three to five minutes rest between each rep. I want the athletes to be fully recovered before they run. Remember, athletes need to be able to run as fast as they can every single step.

SUGGESTIONS-

1- Properly warm-up prior to speed training. When it comes time to sprint most athletes aren’t ready to sprint. A through warm-up will ensure their first rep is their fastest rep.
2- Rest is a top priority for speed: Athletes need to be rested to give all they got. For a distance of under 10 yards, give a minimum of one minute rest, any distance over 20 yards a minimum of three minutes rest.
3- Speed training is short distances: You are no longer training for speed if you’re running over 50 yards.

Myth: Once fast, always fast…
Truth: If you don’t use it, you lose it!

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It’s quite the rarity in Southern California, but in most parts of the country moving your workout inside because it’s raining, sleeting, or snowing too hard outside is a very real thing. Even if practice is cancelled and the field is flooded, your workouts don’t have to suffer. Below you will find some helpful tips for moving your workout indoors.

Choose the right cardio

Your endurance shouldn’t suffer just because you can’t run suicides up and down the field outside. Take moving your workout indoors as a chance to switch up your cardio and challenge your body in new ways while giving some muscles a rest. The treadmill is the obvious old standby to get your heart rate up and increase endurance. Be sure to add some elevation to the machine to mimic what it would be like to run outdoors as the movement of the belt on the treadmill can actually make your run easier than if it were off the treadmill.

Hit the stars. Maybe you’re a distance runner or a soccer player, and running long distances is a piece of cake. Try the step mill or Stairmaster for a challenging cardio session. Your body may be trained for distance, but once you add gravity to the situation, there is a whole new challenge. Expect your heart to be pumping fast in no time. Beware of the step mill if you have knee issues. The bike may be a safe choice, but for some even the bike can be irritating to sensitive knees.

Pool workouts are an amazing total body workout. Try getting a day pass to your local YMCA if you aren’t lucky enough to have access to a pool at your school or gym.  You can do a traditional swimming work out and build a swim plan HERE or try pool running to give your body a great work out with almost zero stress on your joints.

Remember the weights

Many of us, women especially, are guilty of ignoring our weight training regimens. No matter what sport you play, weights should be part of your training. Depending on your work outs you can develop muscles to build speed, core strength or overall muscle endurance. Being forced to take you workout indoors is a great time to get back to the weight room.

Find a training center

SportsForce is partnered with training centers throughout San Diego; take a look at our partners page to see ones that might fit your needs. These are a great way to move your workout indoors during the winter months and step up your game with the assistance of some great trainers.

Switch up your sports to use different muscles

Moving indoors is a great chance to switch up your sports and challenge new muscles while giving the overused ones a rest. Try playing soccer at an indoor field. Play volleyball indoors, play some pick-up basketball or hit the batting cages. The options are endless. Sites like MeetUp.com can help you find a pick-up game in any sport.

Even though practice may be canceled due to rain or snow, don’t look at it as an excuse to bum around on the couch, see the opportunity to mix things up and challenge your body in a new way. Enjoy!

Be Sure to share your indoor workout tips in the comments.

To accelerate your education on the college sports preparation and recruiting process I recommend signing up for our FREE SportsForce College Sports Recruiting Guide.

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Article courtesy of SportsForce, Home for professional and affordable College Sports Recruiting Tools, Tips, Online Profiles, Highlight Videos and Premium Services.

www.sportsforceonline.com

info@sportsforceonline.com

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The following is a Guest Post Todd Williams, CSCS of Velocity Sports Performance Carlsbad

How important is speed? Far more important than most people realize!   Team speed becomes an issue every time an opposing player takes off down the sideline with the ball.  Speed changes things.  A fast player changes a game.  A fast team changes a season.  Speed moves you up the depth chart.  It makes the phone ring from colleges and adds zeroes to many professional athletes’ contracts.  Speed is a deal maker and a game changer.  The good news is that speed can be taught if you find the right coach, the right training program and enough space to practice.

How Do You Teach Speed?

There are two main factors to consider when teaching speed: physics and physiology.  Most high school athletes don’t realize that the physics lessons they learn in the classroom apply on the field or court.  An understanding of physics helps a speed coach teach proper body mechanics.  Your body, like a car, will move faster and more efficiently when it is properly aligned or positioned.  A sprint has different phases: the start phase, the acceleration phase and the top speed phase.  Your body will move through different positions during different phases of the sprint.  A well educated speed coach can recognize and correct poor alignment or mechanics which will in turn improve the speed and efficiency with which an athlete runs.

Physiology also comes into play in making an athlete faster.  Neuromuscular coordination refers to the communication between mind and body.  An athlete needs to recruit certain muscles to perform certain functions at high rates of speed.  When an athlete is placed in a situation calling for greater speed, the body will attempt to adapt and move more quickly.  Simply put, one way we can make an athlete faster is by forcing them to move faster.  This technique is generally referred to as over speed training.  A well educated speed coach also knows how to safely and appropriately incorporate over speed training once an athlete is utilizing sound running mechanics.

Speed Drills: Improving Mechanics

In any speed instruction program, sound mechanics are the first order of business.  Practice alone does not make perfect.  Perfect practice makes perfect.  An athlete who wishes to get faster needs to practice under the watchful eye of an expert.  Below are just two examples of drills we use at Velocity to improve speed mechanics.

Wall Drills.

Wall Drills are designed to teach proper body alignment as well as leg action during the acceleration phase of running. It teaches the athlete to maintain a 45-60 degree forward lean while taking those first few steps after take off. In addition to that wall drills teach the “sweeping” forward to backward leg action of the acceleration stride cycle.

Heel Recovery.

Butt kickers are a top speed running drill that focuses on the backside of our stride cycle.  They help to ensure that the athlete’s foot follows the proper path during this phase of the cycle. They teach athletes to pull their heels under their center of mass as opposed to behind their center of mass. Correct heel recovery mechanics will lead to a faster turnover thus speeding up the stride cycle and overall speed of the athlete.

Speed Drills: Over Speed

After an athlete has mastered proper running mechanics, over speed training can be used to increase an athlete’s speed.  Without solid mechanics, over speed will simply reinforce bad habits or cause injury.   Over speed drills are intended to stress the body into a higher rate of seed

Fast Leg.

When an athlete can properly demonstrate a sound stride cycle, we begin drills such as the fast leg series. These drills help athletes increase the speed of their stride cycle by working on their stride one leg at a time at a faster rate than the athlete is able to achieve in a full stride.  This trains neuromuscular coordination.

Bungees.

Bungees can be used to launch an athlete forward at a faster rate of speed than the athlete would normally produce.  This causes the athlete’s body to respond in kind by turning his or her feet over fast enough to maintain the artificially induced rate of speed.  This is a classic example of over speed training.

Teaching speed requires a well trained expert, the right curriculum and enough space to undertake perfect practice.

Todd Williams is available to answer athletes’ questions and can be reached via email at tewilliams@velocitysp.com or by phone at 760.444.0097.

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The following is a Guest Post by former NFL Cornerback, Charles Dimry of Velocity Sports Performance Carlsbad

Less than 5% of high school athletes will ever play in college and those that want to must have a three part plan:  They must be eligible; they must be visible; and they must be able.  Effort in the classroom will make you eligible.  Working with SportsForce will make you visible.  To make sure you’re able to play at the next level, you must be willing to do extra training.  Trainers appear to be everywhere.  The key is identifying which trainers and facilities can provide the injury prevention and improvement that high school athletes need.  Here are a few tips that will help you make an educated decision when choosing a trainer or facility:

  • What is the background of the trainer? If you are going to trust and pay a coach, you have the right to ask about their qualifications.  Look for facilities with degreed and certified speed and strength coaches.  A personal trainer specializes in improving appearance.  A speed and strength coach specializes in improving performance.  These are very different things.
  • Where does the training protocol come from? Be wary of companies or individuals who do not have a consistent methodology or training protocol.  Just like an academic tutor, an athletic training program should follow a proven curriculum.
  • Is technique priority number one? – Don’t worry about how much weight your athlete is lifting, worry about the technique they use.  Good coaches always have athlete safety on their mind and an exercise done improperly is not worth the time spent doing it.   Athletes should be supervised and corrected.
  • Do they have a system for measuring results? Each company or trainer should have an objective way to show you gains made during their training program.  Athletes use this data to gauge their own improvement and performance coaches use this data to measure the efficacy of their training curriculum.
  • Can they provide you with testimonials? High school athletes need to improve performance, not appearance.  Can the trainer point to experience doing what YOU need?  College coaches want quick, powerful athletes.  Make sure your trainer knows how to combine strength increases with speed increases.

Remember, the goal for high school athletes is to improve performance, not appearance.  A health club trainer who primarily works with adults is not the most qualified person to train athletes.  More than anything else, athletes need to be quick and powerful.  Make sure you chose a trainer and facility that have a history of doing just that.

For a list of SportsForce’s Training Partners, including Velocity Sports, CLICK HERE

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Winter break is coming up fast, and many of us need the break from school, work, and even sports. But, breaks and school vacations are also a great time to check in with yourself and your college sports journey and evaluate where you are and where you need to be. Follow our tips below for some guidance during your time off.

Make Decisions

Juniors, winter break is a great chance to take time to make decisions regarding what colleges you are seriously interested. For juniors, this may be the beginning of the process, making a complete list of the colleges and athletic programs you’re interested in, and the likelihood that you will be able to play your sport there. Now is the time to reach out to the coaches of the programs you are interested in to learn more and set up some unofficial visits.

Seniors, your list should be much more refined. You should have a top 3 or top 5 colleges and know where you stand with recruiting with each college program.  You can narrow down your search or add new options based out what you liked about each school and how interested/ how active they are in recruiting you. Now is a great time to take an official visit or set one up if you have not already.

For more information on recruiting time lines download our free recruiting guide HERE

Make a Game Plan for the Rest of the Year

Juniors, be sure you have an online resume and highlight video (like those at SportsForce) that it is up to date. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to register with the NCAA. Something else important to register for is the SAT or ACT. You want to take these tests early to give you ample time to take them again to improve your scores if needed.

Seniors, your SAT/ACTs should be behind you, but now is the time to follow up.  Be sure all the colleges you have applied to have your scores and everything they need to evaluate your application.  For the future, mark down the date after you graduation as a reminder to submit your final transcript to the NCAA.

Maintain Performance

It’s pretty easy to let your performance and training regimen go over winter break. If you’re on a team that breaks over winter just like school does, it’s time to become your own training coach. Many athletes need a bit of a break from training between seasons, and that is definitely a good idea. However, don’t break for too long. A week or two should be a good break to let yourself recharge but not let all of your previous training get erased. If you don’t have a gym membership, running and calisthenics are always a great way to maintain your performance level.  Breaks are also an excellent time to work on weaknesses you may have noticed during the season. Check out our partner SKLZ for some great training work outs that require minimal equipment.

Have Fun

Lastly, have fun over break! Like we said, a break can definitely be good for you and give you some time to recharge. Rest up, enjoy those cookies, but maybe go for a run or do some pushups before lounging in your pajamas eating Christmas left cookie all day so all your hard work doesn’t go to waste!

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