Athletic Performance Training is a service RCNSportSource offers for athletes of all ages and abilities. Below are some FAQ's about the program. Feel free to submit questions in the comments section.
1) What is Athletic Performance Training (APT)? Put as simply as possible APT teaches athletes how to perform athletic movements (i.e how to run, jump, slow down, turn, and change direction) utilizing safe and efficient movement patterns.
2) Why would an athlete need this type of training? There are a few reasons athletes today have more of a need for this type of training than they may have had years ago. The first reason is movement is a skills. For years Physical Education programs in schools taught these skills to students and between those lessons and the large amount of free play kids used to take part in, the skills were improved OR kids played a ton of different sports which also honed said skills....
Welp, unfortunately basic movement lessons have been removed in large part from typical PE curriculum, the amount of free play kids take part in has also decreased, and from really young ages kids are specializing in one sport. So to answer this question due to the decrease in movement education, decrease in free play, and increase in specialization athletes will find a benefit utilizing this this type of training to learn basic movement patterns, principles, and concepts that will help them become better and more injury resilient athletes.
3) What is the curriculum? We focus our APT curriculum around 9 key areas of athletic movement listed below:
1) Teaching of the athletic "set" position
2) Proper running form
3) Proper starting form (aka 1st step quickness)
4) Lateral movement
5) Deceleration (slowing down properly)
6) Change of direction
7) Jumping form
8) Moving Backwards
9) Turning and Running
4) Why these 9? I am a sport coach (in addition to being a Strength and Conditioning Coach) and when looking at sport I believe if athletes can do these 9 things effectively, efficiently and safely they will see massive improvement in their sport performance.
5) How is the curriculum decided for those 9 movements? The curriculum for all of our programs is designed with SPORT(s) as the starting point and ending point. Every exercise, drill, competition, etc., done in training must be able to have me (your coach) answer some basic questions.
First, I as your coach, should be able to explain clearly how mastering this skill or lesson will help you as an ATHLETE on a FIELD or COURT. Second, I as your coach, should be able to explain how this skill or lesson translates to an actual game or when and where you might see this skill or lesson become relevant in a game. Third, I as your coach, should be able to blend mix and create situations in training (SIMILAR TO WHAT WOULD BE SEEN IN THAT SPORT).
6) Why do these programs get a bad rap from time to time? I believe a few things are happening in this space which can understandably be turning people off to this type of training. First off is when this type of training is done in a bubble, meaning athletes may be improving at how fast they go through an agility ladder however there is very little sport specific explanation or carry over. Second, the focus is on simply becoming the best trainee and not necessarily the best athlete. Being an athlete means competing. Training is preparation for that competition. You must use these skills on the field in competition and to do so they must be taught, demonstrated and progressed into a model which recreates what the athlete will see on the field.
7) How does the program differ for younger athletes? The younger athlete age group sessions are designed more around teaching concepts and then creating environments of free play where those concepts can be trained in a fun setting. ALL kids need to enjoy sport and ALL kids need to enjoy sport training. Although we try to make training "fun" for everyone it becomes a much higher priority the younger the athlete is.
8) What about Strength Work? Strength is a major component of athlete development. Although traditional "strength training" with weights is not performed in the APT program we do spend time teaching and performing exercises (primarily body weight) that will increase strength and reduce likelihood of injury in primary muscle groups.
9) What about conditioning and fitness? There will naturally be a benefit to an athletes conditioning and fitness through this type of training however those benefits are simply a by-product of our focus. This program is about teaching movement. We will execute the movements at as close to game speed as possible however our work to rest ratios will be designed for the athlete to first perform the movements while fresh. This is NOT boot camp. We are NOT here to break athletes down. We are here to teach and make athletes better athletes.
10) Why is it important to have a coach with a background in movement and performance training? Anyone can purchase an agility ladder and some cones and have kids run through a circuit of exercises they've seen on youtube. The issue that arises is as follows: Movement is a skill, and skill is developed through proper repetitions. If the athletes in the example above are doing countless repetitions using improper movement mechanics they are NOT improving and are actually getting worse and even opening themselves up to injury. Untrained coaches utilize pieces of equipment like ladders and hurdles with good intentions however their athletes are going through those pieces of equipment with poor, inefficient form. Equipment is simply a tool to teach a skill. Experience teaching a skill is essential for athletes to learn a skill. Therefore refer to question # 5 above when considering whether or not to invest in a coach for this type of training.
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Rob Nydick MS, CSCS