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How To Develop Your Own Sport Training Program

This article is for serious athletes only. The goal is to help you understand and develop a comprehensive training program that will maximize your athletic potential and skills in your sport. 

Most world-class training programs incorporate the following elements to some degree:

1. Strength Training
2. Cardiovascular Conditioning
3. Speed and Agility Training
Flexilibility Training
5. Sport-specific Skill Training


Strength Training Program

As an athlete, incorporating and strength training program will help you develop power, muscle endurance, strength and size (important in football, rugby, basketball). Strength training will facilitate a quarterback to throw farther; a basketball player make the bucket when fouled; a volleyball player to crouch low continuously, etectera. Strength training is a proven way to enhance your athletic potential, not hinder it.

Another huge benefit of strength training is that it help with injury prevention.

Today's elite athlete are involved in year-round strength and conditioning programs. The off-season is where most of the gains are made in terms of mass, strength and power. The pre-season and in-season strength programs focuses more and maintaining the gain made during the off-season.

Here's an example of a year-round basketball weight training program.

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Cardiovascular Conditioning

Cardiovascular conditioning is extremely important for a complete sports training program. The quality of play diminishes dramatically as a player fatigues.

The first goal of any cardiovascular conditioning program is to establish an aerobic base. Once this is achieved, your cardiovascular training should mirror your sport in terms of whether you should focus more aerobic conditioning, anaerobic conditioning or both. Sports that emphasize aerobic energy systems tend to have activity that lasts two minutes or longer, where as anaerobic sports tend to have shorts busts of activity that lasts twenty seconds or less. Sports that lasts between twenty seconds and two minutes require focus on both their aerobic and anaerobic systems.

Sports that mainly use the Aerobic Energy System are:
  • cycling
  • distance running
  • distance swimming
  • marathon
  • soccer
Athletes in these sports should do start at 2 to 9 reps of 800 meters or longer of cardio activity. Each rep should be around 3 to 15 minutes with three to ten minutes rest in between each set.

Sports that mainly use the Anaerobic Energy System include:
  • badminton
  • baseball
  • field events
  • fencing
  • football
  • freestyle swimming
  • gymnastics
  • olympic lifting
  • sprinting
  • tennis
  • volleyball
Athletes in these sports should include cardio workouts that are composed of 10 to 30 reps  of less than 100m, it should take you about 3-20 seconds to complete one rep. Take 20-60 seconds in between reps.

Sports that use relatively equally both the Aerobic and Anaerobic Energy Systems include:
  • basketball
  • hockey
  • rowing
  • skiing
  • triathlon
  • wrestling 
Cardio conditioning for these sports should consist of 5 to 10 reps of 20 second to 2 minute in duration. The rests in between reps should be around 45 to 3 minutes.

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Speed And Agility Training

Speed and agility training is important in sports that require you to change direction quickly such as tennis, badminton, football, volleyball and basketball.

It's recommended that you perform the speed and agility drills on the same surface as your sport. So football players should perform agility drills on the football field; tennis player should perform agility drills on the tennis court, etcetera.

To get started all you have to do is set up a center marker/cone and then place four to five marker/cones in four to five different directions. Run, side-shuffle, or backpedal your way from the center marker to one cone and back, then go to another cone and back. Keep doing this until you complete one rep. The duration of one rep should be the same duration of your sport or slightly longer if you want to build some endurance. Be sure to keep your head up and maintain proper footwork at all times.

When doing the speed and agility drills you want to go at 100% intensity. Take rests that are six times longer than your rep duration.

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Flexibility Training

A flexibilty and stretching regiment should also be a part of any serious athlete's comprehensive training program. It's hard to play if you have a torn ligament or injured joints. Your stretching routine should take about 15 minutes and should incorporate both the upper body and lower body. I recommend that you hold the stretch for about twenty to thirty seconds.

Do not bounce, your stretches should be smooth and gradual. Be very careful not to overstretch the muscle as it could lead to nerve damage. It's not  uncommon for dancers to have sciatic nerve damage because of overstretching.

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Sport-Specific Skill Training

All the training above will make you a drastically better athlete;whereas, sport-specific skill training will you a better player. You need to spends hours everyday working on your technical skills.

Often the best players in the world are first one's to show up to practice and the last one to leave. Never forget that.

If you're a basktball player, you need to spend hours shooting and playing pickup games.

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