The most dedicated high school athletes aren’t just looking forward to their next game; they’re looking ahead to long-term athletic development. Although many factors can halt such progress in the weight room and on the field/court, there are plenty of training factors that are within your control.
To get set up on the right path, here’s a list of the most important factors that lead to training success. It may not always be easy, but following these guidelines will ensure that your progress won’t stop.
1. Train Smart
Dedicated high school athletes often take extra steps to stay above the competition. For example, some add extra workouts to their typical strength and conditioning program or always “max out” each time they step into the weight room. While the intentions behind these actions are good, negative outcomes often occur.
RELATED: Prevent the Effects of Overtraining
Strength and conditioning programs should follow a progressive schedule of variations in exercise intensity, volume, frequency and duration. Have a plan that adjusts throughout the year and stick to it. Adding unnecessary workouts or constantly maxing out can hrow off the plan and could ruin your recovery from training.
Ideally, you have a knowledgeable strength coach available to write a proper program for you. If you don’t, take advantage of all the awesome content found here at STACK.com.
2. Recover Properly
Proper recovery protocols go hand in hand with training smart. A few elements make up recovery, but the ones most applicable to high school athletes are nutrition and sleep.
High school athletes are notorious for having terrible eating habits. If you want to maximize your performance in the weight room and during competition, proper nutrition is an absolute must. Eating crap and/or under-eating will have a huge negative impact on your performance levels. Caloric and macronutrient requirements vary with each individual, so it would be best to have a personal nutrition plan created for you by a registered dietitian.
Adequate sleep is another vital ingredient for proper recovery. Recovery from training and competition occurs when you sleep. You need adequate sleep to be at the top of your game. Without it, you’re a sluggish, brain-dead zombie. Aim for at least seven hours each night, preferably 8 or 9.
RELATED: The Many Benefits of Sleep for Athletic Performance
(Photo Credit: YLM Sport Science)
3. Get Better Every Day
While addressing his team during its 2014 National Championship season, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer was quoted as saying, “Why be around average? Did you push yourself to be great today? If you didn’t do it, you lost a day.”
The message is simple: strive to get better every day. It can be easy to fall into complacency during the grind of a season and the training that precedes it. If you put in a concentrated effort to constantly get better, complacency will never happen and you will always better yourself in the long run.