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The main reason why you spend hours in the weight room is to improve as an athlete. However, making progress can sometimes be difficult. If you are failing to reach your training goals, it's time to reassess. You may need to correct one or more of these four common training mistakes, all of which can sabotage your training.
Lack of a Plan
Failure to plan is planning to fail. Every training program needs a starting point, a progression and an end goal. A program without any type of structure always fails to produce results. This is the difference between athletes who "train" and everyone else who just "work out." It's also the difference between an intentional act of improvement and a hobby.
Take the time and set up challenging but attainable goals—both short- and long-term—and find an efficient and relevant program to achieve those goals. An athlete stepping into the gym without a goal is like an athlete stepping on the field or court without a game plan. (Learn how to form an off-season workout schedule.)
The body needs to be repetitively stressed, or overloaded, to force it to make desired adaptations. Inconsistency can creep up slowly and stall any training program. Find ways to make yourself accountable, such as training with a group or a partner—or use a professional coach to keep you consistent. Many successful athletes have an intrinsic nature to stick to a plan and maintain consistency.
Failing to use proper technique and form when training derails progress in many ways. First, you will not receive the maximum benefit from each exercise. Second, making matters worse, you will create muscle imbalances and weaknesses that can sabotage your performance on the field. Third, you will raise the risk of potential injury. The number one goal of training is to prevent injury. If you don't have proper form, you may put unnecessary stress on your body that can cause an injury over time. (Read more about the importance of technique.)
Your body needs to be fed the right way to perform at peak levels. You don't have to go overboard and become overly particular with what you eat. But you do need to follow a nutrition plan that will optimize your performance and fuel muscle recovery. Check out STACK's nutrition section for articles on proper nutrition. If more advice is needed, seek out a nutritionist.