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Ideas to Start Prepping Now for the Spring Sports Season

Coaches try to keep their players fit and active in the off-season, and may even have a few conditioning programs to prep for spring training. But, as a parent, you may also wonder how soon you should begin training players. I think it’s never too early, and having a regular exercise routine now will make spring training that much more effective and successful. Starting an Off-Season Training Program Give your athletes a week or so off from their sport, then start training. To accommodate the growing need for off-season training, I had to develop a program that was right for all student athletes, regardless of what sport they played, from baseball and softball to tennis, golf, volleyball, lacrosse and more. Training and coaching student athletes makes my job harder than if I was coaching minor or major league players. After all, they know their career depends on remaining in shape off- and on-season, and have a fuller understanding of their physical strengths and weaknesses. However, a little motivation goes a long way with my players. I try to help my players set goals or a physical status they want to achieve so they can see the benefits of off-season training. All in all, there is no “right time” to begin an off-season training program — this is something you have to gauge every year depending upon when your regular season ends. But for me, the program is more important than the training. Here's some information about functional movement training that you can do, and that my players find highly effective. What Is Functional Movement Training? I have found that hitting the weights isn’t what’s best for student athletes; research is showing that weight training in young athletes is not as effective as once thought, and in fact can be harmful. Instead, we focus on programs that involve training movement patterns rather than trying to isolate individual muscles. Each of our sessions includes mobility, flexibility, balance, core stability and strength principles to help the body remain strong throughout the year. Some of the reasons I opt for functional training, over more strenuous exercise programs are: 1. Movement Matters: With my functional training movement patterns, we take common activities (walking, running, squatting), combine them with those you may use for sports (throwing, swinging, crouching, etc.) and tie specific exercises to those activities to engage the whole body.

2. Improved posture: Muscular imbalances and bad posture can be corrected with functional training.

3. Core strength: Core activation is an important part of each exercise done and this works to stabilize the spine against external forces.

4. Sports specific: With my training program, I work to help athletes improve the relationship present between their musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

5. Stability: Every session will challenge all parts of the body to improve ability.

6. Muscle density and tone: Functional training produces lean and strong bodies. Even for those teens who want to look a certain way, they'll find they can get just as ripped with FMT.

Types of Functional Movement Exercises to Include When I develop my programs for student athletes in the off-season, I ensure all the major muscle groups are covered. This ensures students remain strong and that they train with a purpose. Also, many of my students have stated this constant training during the off-season makes spring training a breeze. Some of my favorite moves include:

  • Walking and running

  • Rotate

  • Pull

  • Push

  • Hinge

  • Lunge

  • Squat

While you may think that hitting the weights is the best way to build strength, this isn’t the case. I have discovered with a well-planned and executed functional movement training program, you can ensure your student athletes are ready for spring training and to take on the rigorous routine it entails.

Melissa Pranzo is the Founder of SwingFitt and Swing4All.org. She is a licensed RMT trainer, SwingFitt trainer, a life-long elite athlete, and lover of life and sports. Melissa and her son, Cooper, live in Tampa where SwingFitt and Swing4All.org are based.

Sources:

https://www.onnit.com/academy/7-essential-exercises-for-basic-human-movement/

http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2016/02/15/164540452/get-ready-with-our-spring-training-checklists

#offseason #youthperformance #athleticperformance #fitnesstrends

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