Sometimes, progress as youâre trying to step up your athletic performance seems slow or small. There are so many different aspects of becoming a better athlete that thinking about it all can feel overwhelming.
Strengthening your performance doesnât come naturally. Even the best athletes undergo rigorous, well-rounded training. It takes intention, a plan, and even an unlimited state of mind.
- Set specific goals. Strengthening your athletic performance encompasses a constant test of pushing yourself to new limits and seeing where you can take your body. The way you set goals can help you develop as an athlete.
- Do your goals challenge you enough?
- Is there a way you can push yourself a little further?
- How do you plan to achieve your goals?
- Train your brain. Becoming a better athlete also includes training your mind! In sport, you have to make split-second decisions. Invest time in training your brain to help you improve your response times, visual accuracy, and memory. This will help your overall athletic performance.
- Make a plan. How are you going to achieve your athletic goals? What drills, exercises, and activities will help you get there? How often will you do each activity?
- Vary your workouts. Elite athletes understand that integrating different types of workouts helps you receive the most benefits from exercise and reduces your chance of injury. Vary exercises from slow body control to fast, explosive movement. Include these four types of exercises in your routine:
- Breathe. Effective breathing techniques help oxygen travel efficiently throughout your body. Train yourself to breathe in through your nose.
- Track your progress. What gets measured gets managed. Studies show that writing goals, measuring progress, and establishing rewards help lead you to success. Keeping track of your progression helps you identify what you can improve and how you can push your body forward.
- Hydrate. Your muscles produce heat during exercise. This causes your body to sweat and lose water in order to cool down. For this reason, remember to drink water before, during, and after exercise.
- Fuel your body with proper nutrition. The right nutrition can help you recover faster and perform better. Understand what you need to eat to fuel your body and your workouts. Incorporate food that will help you replenish electrolytes, calories, carbohydrates.
- Avoid simple sugars and simple carbs. After a few hours of eating simple sugars and carbs, your energy crashes and you feel lethargic and weak. Instead, incorporate complex carbs into your diet including oats, sweet potatoes, and brown rice.
- Always consider injury prevention. Strength training, proper gear, and flexibility will help with injury prevention. Consult a professional for a diagnosis and recommendation if you think you are injured.
- Give yourself recovery time. Recovery time gives your muscles time to heal and your body enough time to replenish energy. Although it might feel counterintuitive, itâs important to incorporate recovery time as a way to improve your athletic performance.
- Sleep. Getting enough sleep is the best way to allow your body to recover!
- Stretch. Before and after your workouts, stretch to help with muscle recovery.
Incorporate the tips above before, during, and after your exercise. What do you do to prepare for physical activity? What do you do after each session when your muscles are repairing?
When you think about the bigger picture and keep these strategies in mind, you are bound to see positive growth!