Skip to content

Don’t Let Your Child Down: 3 Things Missing From Your Traditional Speed Agility and Strengthening Program

In my years as a performance coach, I have noticed that there is a common and oft misguided perception of what it means to “train” and “workout” from both athletes and the parents of each athlete, especially at the high school level

My biggest dilemma is that most of the views on performance training, strength training, speed agility training or whatever most call it today is very one dimensional and does not always address the particular needs of the athlete and or sport, and they utilize the same modes of training with no real progression based on athlete rate of development.

FROM WHAT IVE SEEN PERSONALLY, there is a lack of needs analyses performed for the athlete to best prescribe workout programs that are suited for their particular needs and goals to help them SAFELY and EFFECTIVELY become the best athlete that they can be.

Preadolescent and adolescent athletes are constantly being coached into a “one Size Fits All” workout program in the weight room in an attempt maximize strength and speed.

The reality of it is, each athletes’ body responds and adapts in a different way than the athlete next to her. And while the program may involve many of the core exercises needed to build power and strength, there are a handful of athletes whose development falls through the cracks because of the lack of time to really work with their mechanics.

The culture of most high school training is this go hard or go home mentality that often leads the athlete to want to outdo himself in order to meet the expectations of coach yelling at them or to separate themselves as one of the chiefs on the team.

The philosophy, especially for football players, is simple: lift as much weight as possible, increase my one rep max, get stronger.

The ultimate problem are the physical issues that come along with this culture: muscular imbalance, asymmetries, injuries and not being able to detect problems early on in the program.

Strength on top of dysfunction will lead to malfunction.

With that said, this is one of the reasons why I think it is important for the parents and athletes to understand why getting outside help in addition to the standard training programs, in any sport, can be particularly helpful in terms of injury prevention, and specificity of training for high school athletes.

Here are 3 things your kids High School program may NOT be doing effectively.

Needs Analysis

As before mentioned, each athlete is different and may require specific training to address their particular needs. In a high school setting, there are a number of athletes, and it is difficult for a coach see every single athletes’ deficiency and or address their specific needs.

Specialized Training
It is no secret why many of the high school defensive linemen that I train excel during the season. They participate in a training program that develops the key areas that are needed to excel at their respective position.

We have looked at and analyzed the necessary movement requirements for that position, and put together highly specific programming for it. Not the mundane drills used in most practices.

Everything from hand technique, to ankle mobility and strengthening (crucial for any athlete of any sport) to specialized mechanical training, it is implemented into the program.

There is just no time to attack these aspects of development in a high school setting. Unless the athlete is exceptionally gifted, each athlete for the most part can always use specialized training to develop into a better athlete.

Injury Prevention

While this in theory should be the part of the goal of any strength and conditioning program, because of the way some programs are executed, poor movement mechanics can be overlooked, and overloading an athlete with deficient mechanics is only reinforcing the patterns causing the same poor mechanics.

In a setting where there may be 50 plus kids using the weight room, outside of a physical test from the team doctor, movement mechanics or asymmetries in an athlete are not always recognized and evaluated.

A program should screen or assess the mechanics of an athlete before overloading him before they are necessarily ready for it.

At Willis Performance Training, we use specialized screening, assessment, and evaluation processes to most effectively prescribe workout scripts for athletes and clients.

I recommend making sure that any program that a young athlete participates in have relevant evaluation and assessment techniques in place in order to safely and effectively develop the athlete, as well as proper testing procedure to effective measure progress.