Every athlete knows that most of the work happens outside competition. That’s why strength and conditioning programs are so important. They improve and shape an athlete’s performance all year long.
Scott Hettenbach is the director of Sanford POWER in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and was a coach at the University of Wisconsin for almost 20 years. He sees firsthand the importance of strength training and conditioning.
“Strength training year-round can help with motor skills and create a foundation for proper movements, which then improves overall athleticism,” he said.
These programs are what tie everything together. Along with honing a player’s athleticism, strength training can also help decrease their risk of injury.
But athletes need to stay committed all year.
“What athletes shouldn’t do is work really hard in the preseason and then completely stop,” Hettenbach said. “Because they’ll start to lose a good portion of that strength. And then when they get deeper into the season, when they really need it, they’ll be weaker than they were at the beginning.”
What parents need to know
For parents, it can be hard to know how to best support their busy athletes. A parent himself, Hettenbach understands that parents want to be invested in their kid’s athletic endeavors.
“I think having a plan is what’s most important,” said Hettenbach. “Have a plan for the sports they’re playing, have a plan for their year-round strength program and have a plan for when their season is done.”
It’s also helpful to build in time for your student-athlete to enjoy playing without structure.
“You’ve got to build in some downtime for kids just to be kids – even at older ages – so they’re not rushing from sport to sport to sport. Build in some time where they can have some unstructured play and recharge their batteries, mentally and physically,” he said.
How to find a program
Strength training can boost an athlete’s overall confidence, along with teaching them about discipline, consistency and accountability.
“I think it really improves self-esteem. An athlete who’s stronger and more prepared walks into their sport on better footing and they’re going to perform well, which just keeps that snowball going and continues to build their confidence,” Hettenbach said.
Sanford POWER offers a variety of strength and conditioning programs from certified coaches. These programs implement proven and safe practices that help players of all ages be better athletes.
To learn more, talk to a specialist at Sanford POWER.
- Army of athletic trainers keeps athletes safe at Sanford
- Sports psychologist helps athletes build healthy attitudes
- SD Junior Football, Sanford recognized for sports safety