Sport Training Cultures

Different sports have developed different training cultures over many years of fads, coaching styles, and athlete preferences. Why is it that some teams love and look forward to the training process and some teams hate the sight of weight on a barbell? This topic can dive into a deep rabbit hole without any chance of coming back to the surface, so I am going to give my quick viewpoint from working with various sports/levels/settings. There are always individual exceptions to prove these examples wrong. Here are three examples with sports that I have the most exposure to.

Football

Football has an ingrained culture that the strongest and fastest athlete wins every time. Though this is not always true, the weight room and strength and conditioning is a year around process with teams at all levels of competition. The training process in the off-season is where teams come together to not only build bigger, faster, more resilient athletes, but coaches use this time for team building activities to have a cohesive unit as the season begins. The best programs training staffs end up spending more time with the athletes than the sport coaches do. Lastly, keeping it simple...football is a game that cannot be played individually. You can't just go out and work on your craft very efficiently by yourself unlike soccer or basketball.

Volleyball

Volleyball athletes learn at a young age to truly love the training side. Females tend to be more process oriented and trust how building strength/power over time will help their game on the court. This is also a game that is tough to practice without a teammate or coach involved, which makes the weight room a perfect place to not only reduce their risk for injury, but build a more tight knit team. Once trust is built between the coaching staffs and athletes, I have found that volleyball athletes are some of the most fun teams/athletes to work with. These athletes value of the weight room just as much as the guys, and do a great job of encouraging their teammates.

Basketball

Here's a sport that if anyone has been around long enough have heard all the excuses. "Coach, I've got bad knee." I love working with basketball athletes. It's tough to build an athletes trust and change a mindset developed over many years. Basketball is a sport that can be practiced as an individual for hours and hours on a daily basis. These practice hours need to be balanced with a proper training program to keep athletes on the court and increase performance variables at the same time. It does hurt for taller athletes to bend and squat low initially. Think about it...most of these kids haven't been in a weight room their whole life and still competed at a high level. Why train in the weight room? It takes time, but adding strength through full ranges of motion will alleviate ankle and knee pain that could be showing up (Just an example). As an athlete, It can be hard to dive into something you're not good at after many years of dominating the competition on the court. It's hard to take a step back and trust a coach telling you to do something that is uncomfortable. It is very rewarding on the coaching side to see a guy/girl develop a love for the training process and become a more well rounded athlete.

To wrap up, there are many more sports and examples out there including soccer, baseball, and hockey. This was meant to get coaches thinking on why some athletes may respond differently to cues or be a little tentative in the weight room setting. I would love to hear some feedback and experiences from others. Sorry for any rambling, and as always, have a great week/end...Cheers all!

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