YOUR TOURNAMENT NUTRITION PLAN TO FUEL PERFORMANCE

Tournaments are a big part of sports for athletes young and old.  For younger athletes, they are important scouting opportunities for college, national teams, and juniors programs. For older athletes, these recreational tournaments may be the big event annually, so they want to play their best.

Athletes looking to gain a competitive edge for their next travel tournament should take a closer look at how they’re eating.

When athletes travel, they lose out on many of the advantages of playing at home, including meals.  Meals have to be eaten while traveling by car, bus, or plane to and from tournaments. 

Then they have to eat meals in hotels, restaurants, and on-site.

All in all, this is a major change from their normal routine at home. Add in team demands of group meals and a lot of athletes’ control over their nutrition is affected.

Making a nutrition plan before hitting the road will help athletes make better choices.  

Better food choices can lead to more fuel for the games, better recovery, lower injury risk, and a better chance to play their best.

Remember, eating choices is one place a player can exert a lot of control, but its going to take some planning.

2-3 DAYS BEFORE THE TOURNAMENT

Most athletes aren’t really starting to prep in the days before leaving for a tournament. Properly tapering training volume and getting extra sleep is a start.   

But starting your tournament nutrition plan a few days early is a bonus. The addition of eating high-quality foods and hydrating fully is also a good strategy to get an advantage over others.

Fill your water bottle several times per day and eat a balanced diet the week before. This will help you to show up to a tournament weekend fully fueled, hydrated, and ready to play.

What your plate should look like during tournament week:

  • 1/3 carbs: pasta, potatoes, whole grain breads, rice, oatmeal, whole grain cereal, corn, peas, beans, tortillas)
  • 1/3 protein and healthy fats (fish, turkey, chicken, beef, eggs, Greek yogurt, Tofu, tempeh, nuts, fish, etc.)
  • 1/3 vegetables/fresh fruit.
Eating well consistently is the foundation for game-day performance.

TRAVEL FOOD TIPS

One of the most dangerous times for healthy eating is during travel.  Whether it’s the stops at fast food while driving, or limited airport options, travel is challenging. So your tournament nutrition plan needs to adapt for you travel.

Packing some non-perishable snacks is a good way to save money and avoid buying unhealthy foods on the road. Fill your bag with items that are a good choice, instead of being stuck with only bad choices.  Some of the foods you could select for travel include:

  • A large water bottle
  • Bagels or bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Trail mix/mixed nuts, dried fruit
  • Apples/oranges/bananas
  • Granola bars
  • Beef or turkey jerky
  • Tuna packets, and
  • whey protein & a shaker bottle

You can also find some healthy snacks and meals on the go, but it’s always good to have good choices on hand.

EATING THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR TOURNAMENT

Top off your fuel stores by eating a high-quality carb-rich meal the night before your first game.

Remember – carbs are your body’s main source of fuel during high-intensity exercise such as team sports.  That means you’ll want to eat a healthy and balanced meal with several servings of starches and a serving of healthy proteins. 

Basically, it should look like your pre-game meal.

When eating out on the road, there are some things to avoid;

  • Unfamiliar or extra spicy foods might be great to expand your tastes but be careful trying new foods before a competition.
  • It is also a good idea to avoid high fat/fried foods that can add a lot of calories and leave you feeling heavy.
  • Many fast-food choices will contain high amounts of sodium.  This can leave you retaining extra-cellular water and feeling bloated.

Search the menu for options like these:

  • Simple pasta dishes with red sauce.  A side of chicken breast and a side salad
  • Grilled chicken or beef with sweet potato and vegetables
  • Burrito / bowl with grilled chicken/steak, rice, grilled vegetables, and avocado – skip the cheese and sour cream
  • Deli turkey sandwich or sub with lettuce, spinach, and tomato – Go light on cheese or mayo
  • Grilled chicken sandwiches with an apple and yogurt
  • Rice and grilled white fish or salmon

PRE-GAME MEAL

This is the part many people focus on in their tournament nutrition plan. They have to figure out where the meals are going to be while on the go.

Your pre-game meal is going to provide the major source of fuel for your effort in the game, so make it good.

If you have an early morning game, you have the choice to get up and eat early (3-4 hours before game time) or rely on the meal the night before and top it off with morning carb & protein snacks. 

This varies a lot based on individuals, so you should try to experiment ahead on some early practice days if possible.

You can usually find healthy carb options at the hotel breakfast such as toast, oatmeal, cereal, whole fruit, and juice. Pairing carbs with protein, such as eggs, yogurt, milk, and peanut butter/nuts will help hold you over throughout your first game. Eating this healthy breakfast is vital to topping off energy stores as you prepare for a long day of games.

If you have a late morning or early afternoon game, breakfast will be your pre-game meal.  If not, then it will probably be lunch. Food options are generally a bit broader later in the day.

The starchy carbs are your source of fuel so you should search for:

  • Pasta dishes without cheeses or cream sauces
  • Rice or noodle dishes
  • Baked white potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Whole grain breads

There are also some things to avoid pre-game.  They are foods that take too long to digest or can upset your stomach.

  • New foods
  • High fat / fried foods
  • Dairy
  • Spicy foods
  • Large amounts of raw vegetables that are harder to digest

The most important thing is to pay attention to what works for you.  Experimenting at home before practices is a good way to learn what foods fuel you best without gastric distress.

PREGAME SNACKS

Depending on your per-game mealtime, or time between matches, you can take advantage of snacking smart.

The intake of a little bit of protein and carbs keeps your fuel tanks topped off going into game time.  You want simple foods that aren’t hard to digest. Some ideas can include;

  • Apple and some almonds or cashews
  • Half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Small Greek yogurt & banana
  • Hard-boiled egg and an apple
  • Small instant oatmeal and blueberries

Don’t ingest a bunch of simple sugars that could spike your glucose. That will then lead to an insulin spike and post sugar crash right before game time.  Simple sugars to be careful of pre-game include;

  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Juice
  • Processed/packaged foods
  • Many granola bars

DURING THE GAME

You want to make sure you stay hydrated and fueled during the game if you want to perform your best and reduce the risk of injury.

When you are more fatigued from low energy stores or dehydrated, your risk of injury can increase.

Not to mention there can be a cumulative effect.  That means depleting your carbohydrates stores completely during one game, can make it harder to refuel for the next ones.

Experiment at practice ahead of time to find some fast digesting carb that can help you maintain energy levels.  

In depends on the length and setting of your sport, but some of the foods you might try at half-time, or between periods/rounds include:

  • Sports drink with electrolytes/carbs
  • A few slices of orange or watermelon
  • Dried fruit or Fruit snacks
  • Energy gel or applesauce packets
  • Fig bars
  • Granola/energy bars
  • A handful of gummy bears

Don’t overdo it!  A small amount can go a long way and too much can upset your stomach. Consuming these during breaks will help keep your energy levels high.

POST-GAME

One of the exciting things about tournaments is getting to play a lot. However, that also puts more demands on your recovery. Thats why your tournament nutrition plan needs to consider what happens after games.

After competing, your energy stores are depleted.  This is primarily the glycogen in your muscle cells.  To refuel you’ll need to get carbohydrates into your body to refill your tank.  But you’ll need more than that.

You’ve also used up various molecules in your body and caused microscopic damage to tissues.  You’re going to need quality protein so your body can rebuild the tissue and restock its biochemistry.

And then there is the most important post-game nutrition need; hydration.  You’ve probably heard that your body is mostly water.  Well, that’s true. 

However, just as important is the fact that the majority of your biological process requires water to operate optimally.  Playing hard dehydrates and even more so in the heat.

So you need to rehydrate.

The 3 Rs approach to post-game recovery is a proven strategy.

  • Refuel with fast-acting carbohydrates
  • Repair (protein)
  • Rehydrate (water/sports drinks)

When To Refuel Post Game

In a lot of circles, the immediate period after exercise or competition is considered the refuel power hour.

Many athletes have been known to focus on their 3Rs within the 20-minute window of finishing play.

The problem is that often you have to cool-down, change, travel back to a hotel, and then go to a restaurant.  The time can add up. 

And if you have another tournament game in less than a few hours, this becomes more important.

If you have more than 4 hours until the next game, you can probably go have that meal.

But often you need to stay onsite, or there just isn’t much time.

Post Game Strategy

So one of the key strategies is to have some quickly available calories right in the locker room, car, or bus. 

Some of the ways to accomplish your three Rs include;

  • Consume 8-20oz of water or electrolyte sports drink
  • Consume a carbohydrate-containing sports drink and a whey protein shakes
  • Chocolate milk is a popular choice for both its quick carbs and protein (plus it tastes good to many)

Then, if you aren’t playing again, go eat a balanced meal you know will sit well with your stomach.

With more than four hours between games you are back to the pre-game meal routine.  Over the course of the tournament, just rinse and repeat.

GAME DAY NUTRITION PLAN

Now you can see that game-day nutrition is more than just the pre-game meal.  A complete tournament nutrition plan starts well before the tournament.

It takes planning to be fueled for your best performance and that’s increased with multiple games at a tournament and travel.

Your plan should be based on your own personal tastes and the experimentation you tried on practice days.

By having a tournament nutrition plan, your chances of success are much higher.

6 Ways Getting Outside Can Help Your Recovery

GUEST BLOG: Vive Recovery Center

Getting outside can help your recovery and be a great addition to your routine.

Over the last several years people have been rediscovering the joys of outdoor exercise and activities. Some of the benefits may actually be related to recovery as much as exercise.

improve sleep with outdoor activity

Getting Outside Improves Your Sleep

The outdoors helps set your sleep cycle. You need enough light to get your body’s internal clock working right. Early morning sunlight in particular seems to help people get to sleep at night.

In contrast, modern living, which is heavy on artificial light, may impair our sleep.

Researchers found that spending time outdoors may improve your sleep.

They found that camping reset the body’s “clock” to be more in tune with nature’s light-and-dark cycle. The result was longer sleep

Vitamin D for recovery

Outdoor Time Helps Your Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is important for your bones, blood cells, and immune system.

Researchers from The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Salt Lake City found that vitamin D can help with faster muscle recovery after intense exercise It may even prevent muscle damage caused by the exercise.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb more minerals, like calcium and phosphorus.

Your body needs sunlight to make Vitamin D, but you don’t need much. Getting outside can help your recovery with just 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight, 2 or 3 times a week, should do it.

Lower anxiety levels for recovery

Getting Outside Lowers Anxiety

Something as simple as a plant in the room can make you feel less anxious, angry, and stressed.

However, it’s even better if you get outside in nature.

One of the reasons is that sunlight helps keep your serotonin levels up. This increases your energy and encourages a calm, and positive mood.

outside activity connection

Connection

It’s more than just Mother Nature you connect with when you go outside.

You also connect with more people and places in your community.

Human contact and a sense of community are important to your mental health.

Getting Outside Can Help Your Recovery with increased focus

It Improves Your Focus

It makes sense since you’re getting some level of exercise.

But studies show that when you do something outside your focus is increased.

And it’s not just the activity, it’s the “greenness” of the outdoor space.

University of Michigan psychology researchers found memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent an hour interacting with nature.

So, getting outside can help you focus and that lets you do things better.

It Can Provide negative Ions

While the Ions may be negative, they are actually good for you. 

Researchers looking at decades of studies found evidence that negative ions could help improve sleep patterns and mood.  They also found evidence you can benefit from reduced stress and boosted immune system function.

Negative ions exist in nature in places like the beach, and near waterfalls.  So that walk on the beach has more than just the scenery going for it.

Get Outside

When people think about recovery they ignore that the simple act of getting outside can help their recovery.

But it can have a positive impact.

So, makes sure you do it right.

Consider protecting your skin from the sun and using broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher, even when it’s cloudy.

Get outside, enjoy, and recover better!

The Crossover Step Myth: “Don’t Cross Your Feet”

Is a crossover step bad in sports

Whether it is, basketball, football, or soccer you can easily find coaches extolling the dangers of using a crossover step.  “You’ll get beat if you cross your feet” is still a common mantra for many coaches.

However, when we watch many of the best defenders in these sports, we see them cross the feet often.

So are they just doing it wrong?  Or maybe they are just gifted athletes the rest of us mere mortals shouldn’t try to copy?

We would argue that they have developed the athletic movement skills to use their feet, legs, and hips effectively.  They developed a wide enough range of motor programs that they can cross their feet, rotate hips, and reposition efficiently to move well.

The Crossover Step

A crossover step is used when an athlete wants to move a bit faster or cover longer distances, approximately 4 yards or more. If you are doing a crossover to the left, you lift your right leg and cross it in front of your body. Your right foot will land in front of your left foot. (To see this, view the videos below.)

This is the way that the body naturally wants to move because it allows better force production and vector than a shuffle. 

If you watch athletes, you’ll notice that players will do this movement without instructing them.

Defenders and Hips

The concept coaches are trying to teach when they say “don’t cross your legs” may be that they want the defender to stay “squared up” to the opponent.  They want the defenders’ hips facing the opponent so they can go left or right easily at any moment.  

This makes sense.

If a defender turns their hips early, the attacking player can exploit this by changing direction.  With the hips turned one way, the defender is going to be slower because they have to turn their hips 180 degrees to get after the opponent.

So in a sport like basketball, the defender may want to be able to shuffle their feet to move left or right and cut off the attacking player. 

By shuffling, they stay squared up and can quickly react to either the left or right.

Speed and Distance

Let’s imagine we line up two players with the same speed for a race of 5 yards.  However, we let one sprint straight ahead and the other side shuffle.  Who is going to win?

The sprinter.  Running straight ahead is more biomechanically effective than shuffling.  There is a speed limit on the shuffle.

Now, what if we let the second athlete do a crossover run for those 5 yards?  Not a full turn and run, but staying hips square to the other, but letting their legs cross the midline of the body.  

In equal athletes, it is now going to stay really close.

So the crossover run can be effective. When a higher speed or distance is covered and the defender needs to stay square in case the opponent stops or changes direction.

Let’s take this further and make them go about 15 yards.  

The athlete using the crossover run may stay even initially. But they will start to fall behind as the other athlete keeps increasing speed.  Spriting straight ahead is just faster because of better biomechanics.

So at farther distances and higher speeds, the defenders need to turn their hips and run otherwise they will be beaten.

Situational Needs

What those examples highlight is that the “best” way to move depends on the goal.

  • Stay alongside the opponent
  • Keep hips square and ready to change
  • Move at different speeds
  • Cover short, medium, and long distances

That is why we want athletes to develop all of these movement skills.

It’s also why we want them to develop the coordination to effective change between them including opening the hips or crossing the feet.  

They need both linking skills so they can react instantaneously.

When a sport requires athletes to react to changing opponents, ball movement, and tactics it is considered an “open” sport.  The decisions and patterns are open to change.

Any defender in these sports has to possess a variety of ways to cover ground, change direction, and do these things while watching the game in other directions and dodging obstacles.

In the video linked below, watch as Kobe Bryant (recognized as a very good NBA defender) uses shuffles, crossovers, and slides to manage varying speeds and distances.

Training Crossed Feet

In our movement methodology, we develop several movement skills that help an athlete effectively cross their legs.  We teach them to do this to both move and transition between movements.

A variety of carioca drills are used to form a base of coordination with the legs crossing the midline of the body, both in front and in back of the torso and the other leg.

While these are seemingly remedial drills, they are very effective at helping an athlete get comfortable both turning the hips and crossing legs.  While the carioca isn’t a movement pattern they will use in transit during their sport, they give lots of repetition to develop proficiency.

The crossover drills are used both as the crossover run for transit and the crossover step to transition between movements. Crossover drills are combined with lateral or linear movements. The movements include: sprints, shuffles, and backpedals.

Finally, it is critical to use open, applied drills where athletes have to react to opponents, stimuli, or commands to change between speeds and directions.  They have to learn how to combine these hip, leg, and foot positions efficiently.

Building Athletes That Can Cross Their Feet

While the goal of not crossing the feet and staying square often makes sense, the reality of reacting in open sports means the best athletes learn to do it well.  

Instead of trying to coach athletes to stop using these natural movements, we work to make them more efficient and have a bigger skillset.  We want them to become proficient in using a variety of movements and transitions and reacting instantaneously to their opponents.

Training effective crossovers are key in building better athletes in many sports.

3 Ways To Train Like An Athlete And Thrive In Life

Train Like An Athlete

If you have played sports you might have fond memories of training like an athlete.  For many of us, one of the great things about when we trained for sport was how well we felt and functioned.

We were in great shape and felt like we could do anything.

We can take some of the lessons from training elite athletes and apply them to lifelong human performance as well.  If you train like an athlete with these 3 tips you can get more out of life.

Training With Purpose

Workouts are great.  You sweat, get endorphins, share the struggle and energy with the group, and keep your fitness up.

Across your lifespan, you’re going to do a lot of workouts.  A random mix of things in a workout can be fun.  There are times you just want to mindlessly sweat.

But athletes don’t work out.

They train. 

You see, the difference between working out and training is two-fold;

  1. There is a specific goal
  2. Each training session is part of a bigger plan.

We can make the case that workouts can have a goal.  Lift heavy, burn calories, sweat, and struggle.  All of those are could be goals.  But they aren’t part of a specific performance goal. 

Athletes train so they can improve things that help them reach their performance goals.  Build power to run and jump higher.  Get stronger to improve joint stability and reduce injury risk. Improve VO2 max so they can race at a higher pace. And so on…

Planned, Not Random

For an athlete, each workout is designed to be part of the overall plan and progression.  The workouts aren’t just a random collection of hard stuff. They compliment each other to increase your results. 

When you train like an athlete you stop just doing random things that are hard.  You know what you want to get better at and then you follow a plan to achieve that.

This is not just true in sports performance, but human performance as well.  If you want to run the Spartan Race faster or be able to play 18 holes on back-to-back days without pain, you have a specific goal.

Your training should help you achieve that.  It should progress through phases that build the right physical qualities so you can get better.

Having a specific goal, progressive variation exercises, and loading to pursue it, and training sessions that compliment each other is training like an athlete.

Movement Patterns

When it comes to strength & conditioning for sports, the goal is to improve the sport.  Sports are about movement not muscles, so we should train that way.

Yes, it’s your muscles that generate force and make you move.  But if we try to break the human body down into individual muscles, joints, and tissues we are missing the athleticism.

What you need to understand is that the brain doesn’t organize muscle by muscle, it is organized in movement.  When researchers observe brain activity through EEG they recognize that the brain activates by the movement pattern.  The same muscle can light up different parts of the brain in different movements.

So if we want to move and function better, we better make that the basis of our strength programming. 

This wasn’t always the case in strength training for sports.  For many years (and still today), bodybuilding influenced athletic strength training.  One of its basic approaches is a focus on isolating individual muscles to add maximum stress and growth.  That’s great if we are only trying to build muscle.  But if we want to improve movement, we need to train the muscles and the brain.

Isolation work has its place, but most of your workout program should revolve around the 7 foundational movement patterns.

Multi-Segmental Extension

The basis of most sporting movements is the coordinated extension of multiple joints and muscles of the lower body.  Just picture a sprinter simultaneously extending their hip, knee, and ankle joints as they propel their body forward out of the starting blocks.  You can also imagine a volleyball propelling themselves upward by extending hip, knee, and ankle to jump high and make a block.

Single-Leg Stance

Another fundamental human movement pattern is the single-leg stance.  Because human gait involves single-leg support variations, we find this everywhere in sports where athletes are moving over the ground.

Hip Hinge

Another lower body action we see is hinging at the hip.  This might also combine with some extension at the torso. 

In sports, we might see examples in a wrestler bridging, trying to get their shoulders off the mat, or standing trying to throw an opponent backward.  Or if we observe a track athlete sprinting at full speed and focus on how their leg moves backward to hit the track by extending at the hip.  In other parts of life, this might be lifting furniture to help a friend or picking up the kids.

Upper Body Push

When we have a coordinated extension of joints in the shoulder, arm, and wrist, we consider this a push. We can classify these as vertical or horizontal push motions based on the plane of movement. 

In sports, we see athletes pushing against opponents and it’s part of swinging and throwing motions.  It’s also common when we have to put something up on a shelf or push ourselves up off the floor.

Upper Body Pull

This is the inverse of the push and is the coordination of flexion in those upper body joints. While it’s slightly less common than pushing, it’s critical in many sports.  The “pull” in swimming strokes is what we would consider a vertical pull.   It could also be a rock climber or gymnastic pulling their body upward.

Horizontal pulling occurs in wrestling and grappling sports as opponents battle for position.  Another common horizontal pull would occur in rowing, kayaking, or canoe.

Bracing

This isn’t a movement pattern at all.  Bracing is actually an anti-movement pattern.  In their core, athletes need to control and transfer force from the upper to the lower body.  

The efficient transfer of force often means limiting motion so that force isn’t lost.  Resisting flexion, extension, and rotation in the pelvis and the spine is critical for efficient and explosive movement.

This is a key function to bulletproof your back and hips.  Since you experience the transfer of force through your spine in so many activities, it needs to be up to the task.

Multi-Segment Rotation

Finally, we have the coordinated rotational action that builds up from the lower body, through a stable core and transfers into the upper body.  It is easy to picture this in sports from a batter swinging to a quarterback throwing.  Sports such as golf, tennis, and hockey all involve rotation to swing an implement.

Move

Athletes move faster, farther, higher, and stronger.  But most of all they move.

Often in fitness, people keep working out, but they stop moving.  They end up doing a lot of lifting in the sagittal plane of motion.  People end up on spin cycles, treadmills, and machines.  They stay in one place and use cables, bands, and weights repetitively.

There is a place for all those things, but it’s missing athletic movement.

Athletic movement includes moving our body through space.  Coordinating to move faster and slow down.  Jump and land.  Move sideways and twist.  But most of all, to challenge our coordination in dynamic and changing ways.

That’s what we do in sports.  It’s what we should do as humans.

Athletic movements that involve coordination, different speeds and direction of movement, changing orientation in space, and lowering our center of mass have benefits for human performance and heath as well.

This doesn’t mean we have to go full speed into contact to improve performance.  But those who want to improve their human performance and health do need to move dynamically.

Moving at faster speeds, and decelerating is a unique load for our tendons and connective tissue.  Sports science has demonstrated that for optimal tendon health we need to regularly expose our tendons to fast stretch-shortening cycle movements. 

These are movements where we quickly load our muscles and change from flexing to extending or vice versa.  Think of dipping down before a jump in basketball.  Or the backswing in driving a golf ball. 

When we aren’t used to doing those things, they start to cause tendon pain when we go do them.  That’s when people get tendonitis problems like jumpers knee or tennis elbow.  Small doses of fast stretch-shortening movements can help your tendons stay ready for the weekend activities.

There’s also growing research that shows challenging your coordination can benefit lifelong brain health.  Moving the center of mass, changing your orientation in space, tracking moving objects, and coordinating body movements all can contribute to a better quality of life and improved memory and cognitive function.

If you can sprinkle in actual dynamic movement with these challenges, you are training like an athlete. You likely perform better in your sporting activities, have a lower risk of injury, and improve your overall health along the way.

Train Like An Athlete For Human Performance

Whether you want to run a better race, be a weekend warrior, or just feel better and eliminate pain, training like an athlete can help. 

Start by changing your mindset from working out to training with purpose. 

Then makes sure you think about movements and not just muscles when you pick up the weights. 

Finally, move more and move better.  Dynamic, challenging athletic movement will change the way you function and feel.

Strategies To Improve Your Acceleration Mechanics

Strategies To Improve Your Acceleration Mechanics

Athletes and coaches know that you can gain an advantage in just a few steps when you have a better burst of speed.

Getting even a little bit ahead of an opponent means you can get to the ball first or cut the other player off. That helps you dominate the competition and is often decided in the first steps.

For pure acceleration, you need both great mechanics and good power. The Velocity Speed Formula is:

  • Body Position
  • Big Force
  • Small Time
  • Proper Direction
  • Optimal Range of Motion

LEARN MORE: The Formula For Speed

You improve your acceleration mechanics so you can apply the components of the formula better.

Here are two strategies that have been successful with elite athletes including top draft picks preparing for the 40 yd Dash at the NFL Combine.

You can use these strategies to improve your acceleration mechanics.

Self-Limiting Exercises

Coaches can give you cues and feedback, but a great drill provides a lot of intrinsic feedback. The feedback that you feel and reinforce when you are doing it right or when your arent.

Drills that have constraints so you have to do them properly to be successful are “self-limiting.” You won’t be able to do it with the wrong technique.

Hill sprints fall into this category. The angle of the hill means your force vector (BIG FORCE and PROPER DIRECTION) will be right. To keep from catching your toe on the ground or falling onto your face, you will use an OPTIMAL RANGE OF MOTION.

Contrast Training

Contrast training is a strategy that takes advantage of both neuromuscular and motor learning.

First, you use a drill that stimulates the neuromuscular system to generate more force. By going uphill you have effectively changed the angle of effect of gravity under your feet. You have to apply more force to get up the hill.

Then you go to a drill that removes that additional force requirement and let your body apply it in a free movement. After the hill sprints, you go and do the sprint on flat ground.

Now your body is primed and applying the same force in a horizontal vector on the ground to propel you forward faster.

Contrast training takes advantage of your physiology and motor control to make faster improvements in your acceleration mechanics.

Check out the video to see it being applied by Velocity’s Global High-Performance Director Ken Vick. Then go use these strategies to improve your acceleration mechanics.

What It Takes To Be An Olympian: 3 Common Myths

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games going, Coach Ken Vick hits an amazing mark.  He’s now had athletes in eleven Olympic Games.  It’s been across countries and sports, giving him a unique view of Olympic athletes.

A Diverse, Global Sports View

Ken Vick started as a performance coach almost three decades ago and worked with his first Olympic athlete preparing for the Sydney Olympic Games. Vick’s first exposure to Olympic athletes was as a coach in the sport of weightlifting.

“Olympic sports were always a passion for me.  I was a Weightlifting coach for several international level lifters. The intensity and passion of athletes pursuing their Olympic dream is unique,” says Vick.

That passion continued as his career in sports performance progressed.  He’s coached athletes that have gone on to 11 different Summer and Winter Olympic Games.  And it is not just individual athletes he’s had experience with. 

He’s also been the Global High-Performance Director for Velocity Sports Performance overseeing the training of national teams and even entire Olympic Committees.

Team Great Britain Volleyball needed to prepare for the 2012 London Games and Velocity was tasked with helping them in the year leading up to them.  “Starting to see the differences in Olympic systems was revealing,” says Vick

The Chinese Olympic Committee had been a top nation in the medal count, but in 2013 they started working with Velocity in a few targeted sports and several of their provincial programs.  A few years later Velocity had deployed its systems and staff of performance coaches and sports medicine specialists to the other side of the globe to prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Coach Ken Vick reviews training data with an athlete preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“The experience of deploying Integrated Support Teams on the ground in China and advising their teams was incredible.  There were incredible cultural and systemic differences, but we had a unique perspective on the athletes themselves. It really highlighted commonalities among elite performers,” comments Vick.

Velocity has worked with Olympic athletes in 32 different sports from 17 countries.  This has provided Coach Vick with a unique perspective on what it takes to be an Olympian.

Myths About Olympians

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about Olympic athletes. A lot of people will assume it’s all about genetics and talent.  While that’s clearly a part, Coach Vick thinks there is much more.

Here are some of the myths he hears when talking about Olympians with others.

To Be An Olympian You Must Specialize Early

During any Olympics, it is common to see videos of the athlete in their sport. These stories of athletes starting their sport at a young age are often equated with early specialization.  Meaning they start focusing on their sport and serious training at an early age.

There is no doubt some do.  They find a passion for a sport they love early on. 

In other parts of the world, athletes are almost entirely developed in national Olympic programs. These usually force them to specialize in one sport from a very early age.  “I’ve worked with athletes in other countries who moved away to a regional training center and started getting paid by the age of 10 years old.  Training day in and day out is almost all they’ve known for their whole life when they hit a high level,” shares Vick. 

This approach derives from a nation trying to be efficient and targeted in building as many Olympic Champions as possible.

It’s also helpful in sports like figure skating and gymnastics where athletes have traditionally peaked at a young age.

The Multi-sport Olympian

However, many Olympic athletes actually play multiple sports for quite a while.  According to a 2012 study by the US Olympic Committee, the majority of US Olympians played multiple sports into their teens. 

What it takes to be an Olympian; Team USA
The reality that Olympic athletes don’t all specialize early is a surprise to most people.

According to Vick, there’s a reason why a diverse early sports experience are part of what it takes to be an Olympic athlete. “There’s a major downside to specializing early.  It limits the overall athleticism of the athlete and puts repetitive mental and physical strain on an athlete early.”  This can lead to injury and burnout.

“One of the very reasons we’ve worked in some other countries is to solve this problem.  They have too many athletes achieving an elite level only to end up hurt and out of competition.  The wear and tear on them from early specialization has been obvious to our sports medicine staff and the lack of overall developed athletic skills is clear to our performance coaches.  They are clearly skilled in their sport, but they made too many with drawls and not enough deposits in their athleticism bank account, so to speak”

THE REALITY:  While starting in the final sport early is helpful, athletes benefit from diverse athletic experiences into their teen years.

Olympians Are Fearless

Imagine walking out into a crowded stadium with the pressure to perform to perfection in a physically demanding event. You represent your family, community, and the nation whose colors you wear.  All after a lifetime of training, sacrifice, and dreams.

For most mere mortals, this would overwhelm our ability to focus and cope.  The stress and anxiety levels would be off the charts.

So to be an Olympic athlete you must not feel this way, right?

Wrong

It’s not that Olympic athletes don’t have these feelings (and more), it is what they do with them.

Returning to sports after covid

Managing Fear and Anxiety

“Where ever I’ve been in the world, and in any sport, the top athletes learn how to manage these emotions.  They have developed a perspective that makes it bearable.  They embrace it as part of the process and maybe even something they can enjoy in some way.”

The training for many Olympic sports is a long grind.  They are physically demanding, have little financial or technical support, and they are seen until the Olympics rolls around every 4 years.

What keeps them going?  Optimism and enjoyment of the process.

“ I remember being in another country where the athletes were selected at a young age and moved away from home.  Sport for them was a job and had been for most of their life.  At the time the US women’s team was there training with them for a joint camp for two weeks. 

On a training day, I was observing our performance coach and physical therapist getting the team ready.  Most of the athletes in the training hall were sullen and lacked energy.  Then we heard some noise.  It slowly built from a low rumble into some music along with the sound of voices laughing and joking.  The energy was clearly high.  You could hear the positive vibes. 

Then walks in the US squad.  They had a spring in their step and smiles.  They were enjoying the process even in the middle of a grinding training camp.  One of the other athletes asked, why are they so happy.  She lost that and though one of the top-ranked athletes in her sport, wouldn’t go on to make it to the Olympics.”

To handle the stress of competition and the grind of training, athletes need to have optimism they can improve and make it.  This comes from their personal outlook and what they’ve experienced along the way.

THE REALITY: A sense of optimism and a belief that they can improve and make it is required to become an Olympian.

Olympians Were Always Great At Their Sport

When someone ends up at the pinnacle of their sport it is easy to believe that they were always good at it.  You’d think they were always the best from a young age and excelled.  Turns out that’s not exactly the case.

“Yes, most athletes had some success at their sport early on.  It’s part of why they decided to do it; because they were good at it or their family’s supported their effort.   But that they were always the best and highest-ranked is false.  In fact, evidence in a lot of sports shows that athletes who were junior champions, don’t make it to be elite or Olympic champions later. ”

Part of the reason is that development is not always linear.  Whether it’s learning techniques, tactics, or physical development, there are periods where most athletes struggle.

Vick agrees, “The struggle itself might be part of what builds Olympians.  Almost every Olympian I’ve know has had plateaus, obstacles, and setbacks.  How they preserve and continue to work and learn, that’s the mark of a champion.”

One of the most common setbacks is injury.  Whether minor or major, injury is a part of high-level sport.  You cant push the human body to its limits of performance without occasionally going too far.

“Coming back from injuries is one of the biggest places we see that resilience is a required quality for Olympic athletes,” says Vick.  “I’ve seen far too many high levels and extremely talented athletes who don’t have the mental, emotional, and physical grit to come back from injury”

THE REALITY: Success is rarely a linear growth path.  There are obstacles and setbacks which require mental, emotional, and physical resilience to become an Olympian.

USA Olympic athlete Maddie Godby works through a strength training session at Velocity Sports Performance.

More Than Just The Obvious

Vick concludes, “I think the biggest myth is that these are just genetically gifted and uniquely skilled athletes who are expressing their go-given talents.  In fact, they are athletes who conquered a challenging path physically, mentally, and emotionally.”

And that’s part of why we are all so inspired by watching these Olympians.

Team USA Olympic Athlete Talks About Her Training at Velocity

Team USA athlete Maddie Godby is the latest Olympian and track cyclist training with Velocity.  The 28-year-old international competitor came to Coach Vick with the goal of getting stronger and more explosive.

Training 2-3 days a week in the gym, she’s used that same Gymaware technology to monitor and prescribe highly specific training that fits her unique needs as an individual and as a sprint cyclist. 

“We are fine-tuning at this stage so there are targets and we want to hit the right zones.  Just to have that feedback is really helpful.  Sometimes that means adding more weight and other times it means less.” comments Godby.

So far, it’s working.  In May, she performed at a high level in Hong Kong at the only international event in over 14 months.  She spent most of that time off the velodrome track since they were closed in the pandemic.  However, putting in the time, training in the gym has made her much stronger and explosive.  Qualities she’ll put to use in Tokyo. 

But there is more than just training according to Godby. “I’m really good at pushing myself and training hard. So in order to do that I needed to find ways to recover better. So that’s a really big part of what I’ve been doing at Velocity.”

Hear her share more in the video below…

Velocity Sends Athletes To Olympics For Unbelievable 10th Time

Velocity Sends Athletes To Tokyo Olympics

While the sports and fitness industries are filled with hype, flashy social media accounts, and short-lived personalities, Velocity Sports Performance is quietly continuing 2 decades of excellence by sending athletes to another Olympic Games.

When Velocity was founded in 1999 outside Atlanta, Georgia, Olympians from 5 countries were working with legendary coach, Loren Seagrave. Seagrave was an elite track coach and the founder of Velocity Sports Performance.  In that very first Velocity facility, USA Bobsled athletes worked with Coach Seagrave to improve their speed for the 2002 Winter Games.

That tradition of working with elite Olympic athletes continued as Global High-Performance Director Ken Vick set up shop in Redondo Beach in 2005.

“Olympic sports were always a passion for me.  I was a Weightlifting coach for several international level lifters and the intensity and passion of athletes pursuing their Olympic dream is unique,” says Vick.

He’d know something about that as he coached multiple athletes going to the Games and directed the high-performance team behind many others, even whole Olympic Committees. In the last decade under his watch, Velocity has supported 54 medal winners across 13 different sports.

Measured Performance

In Vick’s view “For a performance coach, one of the unique aspects of many Olympic sports is that they are measured objectively.  We time how fast someone runs, cycles, swims, or paddles.  You measure how far they throw or jump, or how much weight they can lift.”

This means that the results of training programs are much more visible.  “You can see if what you are doing with them is working.  You can’t hide bad training behind a great team or tactics,” he adds.

This has been a major influence on Velocity’s methodology in training, sports medicine, and recovery.  “Since we have always dealt with these Olympic athletes, we put added emphasis on measuring training variables and exploring the methods that produced the greatest results.  Velocity’s methods have been based on science, proven in the field, and continually refined to stay on top.”

Today Velocity has brought many of these training technologies and methods to the average high school athlete walking through their doors.  The elite-level devices, monitoring systems, and training methods are accessible to all.

Velocity has supported National teams and Athletes at the Olympic Games in these sports

  • Athletics (Track & Field)
  • Badminton
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Boxing
  • Diving
  • Fencing
  • Freestyle Wrestling
  • Indoor Volleyball
  • Modern Pentathlon
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Sprint Kayak
  • Sprint Canoe
  • Swimming
  • Synchronized Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Track Cycling
  • Weightlifting

Supporting Athletes Around the Globe

International Olympic sport has a history of top coaches being recruited to countries with budgets and looking to improve their performance.  Working across borders is part of the game and one of the great opportunities to have a lasting impact globally.

Aspiring athletes and pros in the US weren’t the only ones to notice what Velocity was doing.  With a steady international clientele, the word was getting out.  Countries looking for better performance noticed.

In their build-up for the 2012 Olympics, Team GB brought their developing beach volleyball program to Redondo Beach and asked Velocity to help.  It made sense since Velocity had experience training so many top AVP and international players.  Now Velocity was tasked with helping them raise their game as the London Olympics approached.

The Chinese Olympic Committee had been a top nation in the medal count, but in 2013 they started working with Velocity in a few targeted sports and several of their provincial programs.  A few years later Velocity was working alongside another performance company called EXOS preparing athletes across the entire Chinese Olympic Program.

Velocity coach Mark Williams working with the Chinese Womens Wrestling Team that included two 2016 Rio Olympic Medalists.

“The experience of deploying Integrated Support Teams on the ground in China and advising their teams was incredible.  We had challenges that we never imagined but an incredible opportunity to have an impact,” reflects Vick.  “Making sure we could coordinate the sports medicine, strength training, speed work, conditioning, and recovery was a task.  There was an outdated system there, language and cultural barriers, and we were trying to make a major shift.  That’s a tall order, but we were able to see results.”

Years of working with elite performers have driven a methodology based on integrating these different domains.  When the entire integrated support team works together to support the effort of the athlete and the plan of the sports coaches, the results speak for themselves.

Velocity Supports Olympic Teams and Athletes around the globe

Winter Olympics Too

Velocity’s expertise doesn’t stop when cold weather hits.  Athletes and National Teams from the Winter Olympic Games have relied on Velocity as well.  Olympic hockey players, speed skaters, bobsledders, skiers, and snowboarders have all been trained by Velocity.

“Many of the winter sports have incredible demands on the athletes. Take slopestyle and halfpipe events.  The forces these athletes experience on jumps and landings are enormous,” says Vick.  “We have to not only train for the event but sometimes, more importantly, to be durable and healthy.  If you cant practice and develop your skills on the snow because you’re hurt, it doesn’t matter how good you are.”

That’s why Velocity has hosted several national teams in its elite centers.  The impact was so visible that they’ve also deployed coaches and sports medicine professionals to work with teams and travel around the globe.

Elite Technology

Managing Velocity staff working with teams all around the world in different time zones presents challenges.  One of the solutions for Velocity is taking advantage of cutting-edge technology.

“Technology like our Athlete Management System brings together data from multiple sources so we can use our Integrated Support Team to assist those professionals out in the field.  Those coaches and sports medicine professionals aren’t on their own.”

One of the tools that they have used for years is a device from Australia called Gymaware.  Its measures vary biomechanical properties of athletes when they are jumping or lifting weights.  This highly scientific data can be sued to make programming decisions or day-to-day adjustments. 

“The Gymaware tool is a scientifically proven device that’s completely portable.  While I love using force plates, they are big and bulky so not great for a  team going from country to country every weekend,” laughs Vick.  “We get to use the same device to both test and train the athlete and the data feeds right into our athlete management system automatically.”

Today this same technology that was refined and proven with the world’s most elite athletes, is being used in Velocity centers for athletes of all levels.  Its also be used remotely by some athletes who follow digital training programs on their own.  This lets coaches monitor their training and make precise adjustments to the plan.

Road to Tokyo

One of Velocity’s US locations is an 11,000 sq ft facility hidden away in El Segundo, CA.  Once a site that once housed engineers helping send the mercury and Apollo astronauts to space, the spirit of innovation continues as athletes prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The sprint events in track cycling aren’t well known in the US, but they are known at Velocity.  After hosting training camps for the US team before the 2008 Bejing Olympics, they’ve now helped cyclists from 4 different countries.  One thing remains consistent for these athletes, being strong & powerful.  Track sprinters need strength to get the fixed gear bikes up to speed and power to sustain the high speeds attained on the velodrome track.

In 2012 Velocity supported the US Sprint team as well as Trinidad & Tobago athlete Njisane Phillips. Then for the Rio Olympics, they supported the entire Chinese team including the eventual Gold medalists in the Women’s Team Sprint.  They also hosted the Australian team in their Redondo Beach for a 1-month holding camp right before the Games.

Athlete Maddie Godby is a Team USA Sprint Cyclist who will compete in Tokyo. She has been training at Velocity Sports Performance with Coach Ken Vick.

Team USA athlete Maddie Godby is the latest track sprinter training with Velocity.  The 28-year-old international competitor came to Coach Vick with the goal of getting stronger and more explosive.

Training 2-3 days a week in the gym, she’s used that same Gymaware technology to monitor and prescribe highly specific training that fits her unique needs as an individual and as a sprint cyclist. 

“We are fine-tuning at this stage so there are targets and we want to hit the right zones.  Just to have that feedback is really helpful.  Sometimes that means adding more weight and other times it means less.” comments Godby.

So far, it’s working.  She performed at a high level in May in Hong Kong at the only international event in over 14 months.  She spent most of that time off the velodrome track since they were closed in the pandemic.  However, putting in time, training in the gym, has made her much stronger and explosive.  Qualities she’ll put to use in Tokyo. 

But there is more than just training according to Godby. “I’m really good at pushing myself and training hard. So in order to do that I needed to find ways to recover better. So that’s a really big part of what I’ve been doing at Velocity.”

Other Athletes in Tokyo

Like many Americans, Velocity will also be excitedly watching the Men’s Basketball competition in Tokyo. This location and its Redondo Beach predecessor have also trained USA Basketball team members Kevin Durant and Draymond Green in past off-seasons.

Swimming will also be high on the list.  Velocity was also under contract to support the Chinese Swimming Association for 2 years up to the Olympics Games.  Unfortunately, with the pandemic, that plan got cut short in early 2020 after over a year of work put in.  Still, several former Velocity staff members including Coach Zach Murray stayed behind to continue working all the way up to the Games.

The Olympic Dream

In the USA many athletes in smaller sports struggle to survive as they pursue their dreams.  Velocity has made it part of its mission to support these incredible athletes who are willing to dream.  Every year they provide sponsorships for athletes in smaller sports to help them on their journey.

According to Vick, this is something he thinks is important as a coach and as the CEO.  “The Olympics, but more so the journey and pursuit of that goal, is inspiring.  Athletes like these give us insight into the human spirit and what’s possible.  That goes far beyond sport.  That’s why we love doing what we do and want to give back to those who inspire all of us.”

How Much Protein Do Athletes Need After a Workout?

how much protein do athletes need

It’s never been easier to get a quick bite of protein after a workout.

Between shakes and bars, it seems like there is a protein snack everywhere you turn. You’ll probably find a high-protein snack in the bag or every serious athlete at the gym. In general, this can be a good thing, but just how much protein do you need after a hard lifting session or practice?

“The right post-workout nutrition gives our muscles and body what they need to recover, rebuild, and stop muscle protein breakdown,” explains nutrition coach Kris Wilkins.  “Protein is an important part of that plan.”

When you work out or practice intensely, you damage tissues on a micro-level. You also use fuel.

Ultimately, this is what makes us stronger, more fit, leaner, and more muscular. However, in the short term, it requires repair.

So, what exactly is a good post-training snack, and how much protein should be in it? Here’s what you need to know.

How much protein do you need after a workout?

“Protein is the building block of our muscles and other tissues so we need it to be there when our body starts repairing any damage from training,” says Wilkins.

As to how much protein you need, it depends on what kind of workout you were doing. If you just finished a high-intensity practice with lots of sprinting, running, or swimming, you’ll need a bit more than if you just did yoga.

In general, studies show that getting about 20-40 grams of protein after a strenuous workout is recommended.

To get more specific, research suggests that you should consume between 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight after a workout. An athlete doing more intensive training may lean toward the higher side of this recommendation.

What Protein Is Best For Athletes After A Workout?

Protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of our muscles and are necessary for energy and proper bodily function. However, not all proteins are created equal. Some foods are more complete sources of protein and others don’t contain all of the amino acids your body needs.  

Complete proteins naturally contain all the essential amino acids and varying amounts of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).  The BCAAs are important to support muscle protein synthesis.  Complete proteins include sources like animal-based products such as meat, eggs, dairy products, and plant-based products like soy.

Protein quality doesn’t only depend on the amino acid profile.  How easy it is to digest and how quickly those proteins are available to our body is important.

Some proteins are more readily digested than others, and your body can generally access all of the amino acids from animal sources, such as milk. Generally speaking, animal sources of protein are more readily digested, compared to plant sources.  Whey protein is a common choice.

Athletes Need Carbs With Their Protein!

While protein is pivotal, it doesn’t act alone. Carbs are also required post-workout because they help replenish your energy. Wilkins says, “Consuming 3-4 times as many grams of carbs compared to protein post-workout is a good rule of thumb.”

Your body needs fuel to repair those tissues and use the amino acids. It also needs to restore its stores for the next practice or training session.

Another benefit of adding carbs is that the combination of carbohydrates and amino acids after exercise stimulates growth hormone and testosterone. That helps you recover and rebuild faster.

what type pf protein do athletes need

What To Eat To Get Protein Post Workout

The main goal of your post-workout meal is to supply your body with the right nutrients for recovery and to maximize the benefits of your workout. Choosing easily digested foods will promote faster nutrient absorption.

This list contain examples of simple and easily digested proteins:

Protein

  • Animal- or plant-based protein powder 
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Protein bar
  • Tuna

Sample Post-Workout Meals

Here are a few examples of quick and easy meals to eat after your workout:

  • Recovery shake with carbs and protein
  • Protein shake and banana.
  • Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables.
  • Salmon with sweet potato.
  • Tuna salad sandwich on whole-grain bread.
  • Tuna and crackers.
  • Cottage cheese and fruits.
  • Pita and hummus.
  • Whole grain toast and almond butter.
  • Greek yogurt, berries, and granola.

Athletes Need Protein After Training

Whether a recovery drink or a whole food meal, you want to eat something within 30-60 minutes after you finish training or practice.  That’s when your body needs recovery the most.

It is particularly important to eat both carbs and protein after your workout.

Doing this helps your body:

  • Decrease muscle protein breakdown.
  • Increase muscle protein synthesis (growth).
  • Restore glycogen stores.
  • Enhance recovery.

References

 

 

 

 

 

Improve Your Speed By Looking Under The Hood.

high performance engine

When it comes to improving an athlete’s speed, many trainers just stick to their preferred methods. Maybe they have a bunch of go-to speed and agility drills. Others may mostly use strength training with their athletes. For another, it may be technical track drills.

All of these can be effective and have a place in building better athletes.

However, having just one training solution for every athlete will fail many. It leaves many poorly served because, after the foundation, every athlete doesn’t have the exact same needs.

Coaches, athletes, and parents are often confused about whether they need more speed training or more weight room time. Unfortunately, too many trainers skip the actual analysis to find what’s really needed.

Formula 1 car time trial

Time Trials

To help understand why we need deeper analysis, let’s look at auto racing. I can go out to the race track and do time trials. I can see how fast we can finish a lap, what the top speed is, or how fast we can accelerate.

These are all performance measures.

We’re measuring the performance of both the car and driver.

The car has to produce engine torque, grip the surface of the track, and steer effectively.

Additionally, the driver needs the skill to properly utilize those capabilities. Without those skills, he can’t optimize the performance.

Those performance measures of time, distance, and velocity can give us insight into opportunities to improve. However, they don’t specifically tell us how to improve.

First of all, they were measures of the combined systems of the car and driver.

The times alone can’t tell us if the driver or the car is the limiting factor.

Going further, if it was the car, we still don’t know which components of the system need improvement.

speed skating start sprint
start athlete speed skater sprint race at competition

Performance Testing in Sports

In sports, we do very similar things. We test athletes on how fast they can sprint or do an agility drill. We see how high they can jump or throw an object. It is just like timing the car on the race track.

It requires the driver (like the athlete’s motor control system) to use the race car’s physical performance capabilities (like the athlete’s body) to perform the test well.

Performance testing can help us set goals, see where we can improve, and give us feedback if our training programs are successful.

However, it doesn’t necessarily tell us HOW to improve.

Improving Performance

So what do you do when you want to improve that speed on the race track? Do you jump straight in and upgrade the engine, or maybe the transmission? Maybe change the tires or the cooling system? Maybe you fire the driver and hire a new one.

Any of those may help. But without looking deeper and performing diagnostic tests, you may be wasting time and money on the wrong factor.

If we have a great car, but a poor driver, we won’t get much better by upgrading the engine torque. The driver isn’t good enough to use the existing power on the track right now. Improving the engine and power won’t change that.

On the flip side, the best driver in the world cant take a honda civic and win a professional race. The car just doesn’t have adequate mechanical capabilities to keep up.

In sports, we have to consider whether an athlete needs to improve their speed by upgrading their physical capabilities or their motor control. Coaches do this by analyzing techniques and seeing if they have the basic strength & power qualities needed.

If one of these is the clear limiting factor, then they know where to spend time and energy.

Professional car mechanic working in auto repair service.

Looking Under the Hood

If a race team wants to win they don’t stop at how the car performed on the track. The crew takes it into the garage, looks under the hood, and does diagnostics.

It is not enough to only know WHAT the car can do in terms of power or efficiency. They need to analyze HOW its being accomplished.

That’s what we do when we use Strength Diagnosis with an athlete. We are going beyond the performance tests by looking under the hood at their strength and power capabilities.

After all, there are very different types of strength needed to improve linear sprinting, change of direction, or jumping height. Even within a sprint, different types of strength influence initial acceleration versus maximum velocity sprinting.

athletic strength signature

Strength Signature

The Velocity Strength Signature is a method developed over 20+ years to identify sport-specific strength qualities. By measuring the kinetics in 5 different movements, we can quantify all six types of athletic strength.

An athlete’s unique profile across these six types of strength is what we call a Strength Signature. Just like your written signature, it is unique.

It also tells us a lot about how we can help you improve through training. By considering your specific goals, and evaluating your Strength Signature, coaches can help you target the right type of strength.

Then you can continue to train hard, but now you’re doing it smarter.

Summary

Whether it’s a race car on the track or an athlete in the gym, performance testing shows us what’s possible and how we are doing.

However, in both cases, performance testing doesn’t necessarily tell us why we are performing that way or how to improve it.

So with our race car, we look under the hood and diagnose the limitations of the car.

With athletes, we look under the hood with Strength Diagnosis to find out what types of sport-specific strength they need to improve and stay healthy.