Sport Specific and Athlete Specific Training

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Sports training programs should be customized for each athlete, male or female, depending on how their body moves, areas that need improvement and the sport they are playing.

How is training varied for female versus male training?

Chris Tuttle: You know, for us, it is a little bit different at the youth level than when you are dealing with fully developed athletes. You know, in the grand scheme, it’s not too different. It is more specific to each individual athlete, whether it be male or female. It is really how their body moves. After we bring them in, we do their movement screening. That’s kind of how we decide what type of training program we’re going to put them on.

There is one area of focus that a lot of strength coaches will really focus on, and that’s with females, they are much more susceptible to ACL tears. As they train or as they move, they go through what’s called valgus. Their knees kind of dive in, which puts a lot of stress on the ACL. A lot of focus in the prehab exercises that we do, so everything leading up to the actual workout is focusing on strengthening those, a lot of unilateral movements, single leg movements, really trying to focus on preventing that valgus for them. Other than that, the style of training is not too different. Now, there are different ways that you can approach coaching male versus female, but from the actual training system, there is not too much outside of that prehab exercises that we are going to focus too much on, especially at the youth level.

Can you please describe the different training methods used for each sport?

Chris Tuttle: Yeah, a good example we like to talk about a lot is dealing with highly explosive sports such as volleyball and basketball. They are doing a lot of vertical jumping and bounding. They are very dynamic and explosive, so we are focusing on some explosive lower body movements, a lot of box jumps, a lot of plyos, a lot of single leg explosive movements, whereas football and hockey are much more high impact sports. You’re going to want to incorporate more strength and power into those and kind of create that body armor for them bracing for impact. I mean if you think of football, when you are on kickoff, it’s basically a car collision every time you hit someone running full speed. Other than making them powerful athletes, we need to protect their bodies. We are doing a lot of stuff to pack on some size to protect them from those impacts from each collision in those impact sports. Depending on the exact dynamic of each sport, it is going to set the tone for what we are going to do in that lift.

There are common sport specific injuries. How does training prevent these?

Chris Tuttle: Again, as I touched on in the previous question, for those impact sports, you’re going to do a lot more stuff to kind of build that body armor. Now each sport, they do have their specific injuries. Such as baseball, you are going to get a lot of rotator cuff or labrum tears or something wrong in the shoulder because they are constantly throwing the baseball. You know, we kind of attack that in the prehab part of it, a lot of posterior work, a lot of shoulder correctives all involved in the prehab. Where football and soccer, the most common injury is probably an ACL injury, maybe some concussions. Again, in the prehab, we will focus on some ACL prevention, a lot of unilateral work. We will do a lot of neck training, some yoke work to try to strengthen the neck areas to prevent those concussions. Each sport does have its focus area of injuries, so a lot of that is attacked in our prehab time, which is before we go into our actual training program for the day.

How is training modified for each athlete?

Chris Tuttle: You know, upon arrival we do what’s called our Fast Twitch Five Assessment where we assess their mobility, power, strength, movement, and conditioning. After this, we are able to identify areas of need for each athlete, so then we can program a specific training for each one of them. Now, like I said before, each sport requires a different training program, but after we break down each individual athlete through our Fast Twitch Five Assessment, we are able to kind of cater that program more towards their specific needs. You know, you have someone that might have a little weaker lower back, so they are going to need a little more lower back work to improve their squat, to keep their posture right or some upper posterior work to keep their posture right. As we go through and assess each individual athlete, their programs are going to be catered to that specifically for them. You know, obviously a woman soccer player is going to train differently than a football player, so essentially, you’re always trying to develop strength, power, explosiveness, but a lot of the small accessory exercises are going to be catered to each individual athlete.

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