Several benefits can come from starting a strength and conditioning program. Increases in strength, power, rate of force development, acceleration, and speed. Improved general health, body composition, bone density, and metabolism. A well-designed program can identify muscle imbalances and target weaknesses that you may have. The list goes on. But here are three reasons that we feel are important but sometimes overlooked as a result of taking part in a strength and conditioning program.
Planned rest periods.
A well-designed program should have planned and specific periods of rest that allow you to recover and enhance your performance. For most non-professional athletes, rarely is there an off-season to allow for a reset, physically, mentally, and emotionally, especially for junior athletes. One of the great things about volleyball is that it can be played year-round, indoor season heads straight into beach season, and so on. However, this can take its toll on players. Having gone through this personally as an athlete and now seeing rest’s positive effect from a coaching perspective, I cannot stress the importance of these planned rest periods. Without a well-designed program or a coach who can help work periods of rest within your schedule, athletes are at a higher risk of becoming fatigued physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Reduced risk of injuries.
Injuries happen. Unfortunately, it’s a fact we must accept when we participate in sport. A strength and conditioning program will not completely prevent injury, but it can significantly reduce the risk of and severity. As an athlete, you want a robust and resilient body that can withstand the different stressors experienced during games, training, and life itself. Stronger muscles and tendons heal faster and most often better, reducing your return-to-play timeframe. However, not all programs are created equal. As mentioned earlier, a well-designed program can identify muscle imbalances and target weakness, while some programs can make these worse. You must seek out a coach or program that can help you do the former.
When you commit to a strength and conditioning program, you invest in yourself, taking one step closer to becoming the best athlete you can be. This commitment can help improve your confidence and self-esteem. When you start to see yourself making progress in the gym, you begin to build belief in yourself, and this can carry over to the court. The reality is most athletes won’t play at the Olympics or professionally. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t commit to becoming the best athlete you can be, and you can’t do this without confidence in yourself.
Corban Wroe | Strength and Conditioning Coach
B.S. Health Science | M.S. Exercise Science (S&C) | ASCA L2