Training for sports comes down to specific skill training and general strength and conditioning. While each sport has its specific set of skills – ball handling, sprinting technique, batting, etc., all sports benefit from improvements in athleticism, explosivity, strength and stamina. How do you ensure that your child continues to excel at their sport in a time when practices are limited and training may only take place virtually?
How to improve sports skills at home
While it may be difficult to have equipment or space needed to practice certain sports at home, it is possible to (1) approximate movements and positions in training to provide as specific a stimulus as possible via transferable skills and (2) work on prehabilitative movements to remain injury free and healthy.
A transferable skill is a movement pattern or exercise that directly correlates to a position or movement one would be performing on the field. Here are some examples:
- Runners and running based athletes (basketball, football, soccer) benefit from single leg movements since rarely are they in stable symmetrical positions in play.
- When it comes to certain sports like tennis, golf, or baseball there may also be extra attention paid to rotational and anti rotational exercises to mimic a bat or racquet swing and deceleration thereof.
- Explosive athletes in track and field, basketball, etc may want to work on jumping and landing both for increasing jump height or distance and work on safe landing.
Prehabilitative movements are movements or exercises that bolster the body’s stability, joint strength and control to decrease injury such as sprains, dislocations or muscle tears. Prehabilitative work can take on many forms, but some examples may be direct adductor and hamstring work for sprinters or soccer players, core and balance work to strengthen knees and ankles, and shoulder stability work for pitchers, tennis players, or any kind of throwing athlete.
While it may not always be possible to get out on the field or work in person, virtual training still allows athletes to work on the skills and strengths they’ll need for the field under the watchful eye of trainer, making sure that when they do return to performance, they’ll have been doing the best they can to keep their edge and perform highly.
By John Venditti, NASM Personal Trainer & Youth Exercise Specialist in Strength Training and Sports Skills
For more information, email Bonita at Bonita@EnergeticJuniors.com, or call 212-879-1566.