It’s important that we not forget how important all aspects of our lives intertwine with one another.
Our athletic development department was created in an effort to quickly bring a higher level of performance to the playing field using proven, scientific training methods. Through a progressive style of instruction, we create a safe environment where young athletes and seasoned professionals alike, can improve every component related to athletic development.
Our programs utilize a vast, Dallas network of specialists in combination with some of the best strength & conditioning coaches in the area. This team approach aims to maximize the athlete’s potential by developing and implementing highly individualistic athletic training programs that give you the edge on the competition.
“The more I train, the more I realize I have more speed in me.” —Leroy Burrell
Quite often, the player who determines the outcome between winning or losing, is he/she who is able to gain the first step over an opponent and distance himself/herself from the competition. Speed is THE component of physical ability that provides this edge. Speed development encompasses the coordination of both nerves and muscles, and the ability of the central nervous system to eliminate as many braking and friction movements as possible. Our direction for speed training focuses on augmenting specific sprint characteristics while emphasizing proper running technique. If that all sounds a little technical, well, that’s because it is. If you’re into it, keep reading…
Observation and video analysis of running technique during drive phase and acceleration provides valuable feedback concerning body positioning. This information is used by our coaches to emphasize correct sprinting biomechanics, such as support of the body on the balls of the feet, and EXPLOSIVELY coordinating triple extension of the hip, knee and ankle.
Stride length, stride frequency, specific endurance, and reaction time are distinctive qualities we emphasize while TRAINING for MAXIMIMUM ACCELERATION and SPEED. These characteristics are addressed through specific flexibility training and various exercises which utilize training tools such as speed ladders and over-speed ropes.
Aside from developing specific sprint characteristics, the primary muscles involved during sprinting must be conditioned appropriately. We develop this musculature in order to achieve speed-strength (explosive movement against a relatively light resistance) and strength-speed (quick application of force against a large resistance). Speed-strength training involves the use of medicine balls and plyometrics, while strength-speed training incorporates various methods of Olympic-style weightlifting.
If you feel the need, the need for speed…look no further for your afterburners.
“If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat”—Herschel Walker
On the field of play it is oftentimes the player with more strength and power that determines the outcome of a play. Whether it’s gaining leverage over an opponent, or hurling an object past defenders, strength and power are an integral part of an athlete’s competitive edge.
The improvement of strength is essential for overall development of the physiological abilities needed for athletes to reach their potential. This is achieved using various methods that ensure a high carryover from the weight-room to the playing field.
As an athlete, there’s little reason to hit the weight-room if it doesn’t produce better results during competition. If you’re all about the beach muscles, you might want to check out a different club.
Following a medical history and assessment by a Corrective Exercise Specialist, baselines are established by evaluating body fat and circumference measurements, and testing absolute strength (i.e., back squat, bench press, deadlift) and power production (hang/power clean, broad jump, vertical jump, etc.). These comprehensive tests are combined with an understanding of the patterns of force production in sport, to determine an athlete’s deficiencies and strengths. Based on this analysis, our coaches determine what type of strength training program should be prioritized (i.e., speed-strength, absolute strength, strength-endurance).
How strong an athlete must be for sport depends wholly on the demands of the sport itself. Expressing strength quickly however, is a universal quality among most sports. For this reason, we emphasize Olympic-style weightlifting; teaching variations of the Power Snatch and Power Clean. Such exercises mimic forces resisted and applied during sporting activities. These technical, multi-joint exercises, are performed explosively and under significant loads, in order to develop a strong and powerful athlete.
Many resistance training exercises can be performed to develop strength and/or power without being applicable to the demands of the sport and specific position played. We address this problem by teaching “functional” or “useful” training. Such training takes into account related reflex profiles, maintenance of center of gravity over base of support, motor programming compatibility, open- vs. closed-chain exercise selection, relevant biomotor abilities, and isolation-to-integration training. Following our Core Function Assessment, high-performance abdominal and back conditioning is integrated throughout programming and progressed appropriately.
Sound complicated? It is! But this is serious training we’re talking about—not some old-school, bodybuilding program that’s been past down from coach to coach. Don’t worry, we do the complicated work for you. You just have to perform!
Lifting weights improves strength, but does not necessarily lend itself to sport-specific speed conditioning. Plyometrics develop the speed component of power through a skill related range of motion. We implement exercises such as jumps, twists, and throws performed explosively, replicating the ballistic nature of movement in sport. Utilizing plyometrics enhances the muscle’s reactive ability, and develops an athlete who’s not only strong, but also quick!
“More individuals are born than can possibly survive. The slightest advantage or better adaptation in one being over those with which it comes into competition, in however slight a degree, will turn the balance.”
Since sports are generally games of multi-directional movement, most athletes must be conditioned to decelerate, accelerate and change direction quickly. In other words, elite athletes must be quick and agile—able to move and react quickly while maintaining good body control and without decreasing speed.
Developing a more agile athlete requires that attention be given to athletic timing, rhythm, and movement. We address these components of athleticism by including various drills into conditioning programs which emphasize balance, reaction time, and multi-directional movements. We want you to be able to cut on a dime at FULL SPEED! Which aspects of agility to prioritize the goal is based on the physiological and biomechanical deficits discovered during our Needs Analysis (discussed in PERIODIZATION, below).
Enhancing an athlete’s quickness or reaction time requires a concentrated effort towards improving the speed at which the athlete reacts to a stimulus, and/or performs a given movement. Following successful learning of various movements, we focus on quickness, where learned movements are repeatedly performed correctly, while emphasizing speed of execution. Ultimately, our goal is to make movement “second-nature.”
“How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser.”—Lou Holtz
Getting out of the blocks fast is not always synonymous with finishing strong. It is the goal of our athletic development program to ensure an athlete has the ability to resist fatigue and meet the imposed demands of their sport.
Maintaining a high level of performance throughout the duration of competition is a direct reflection on a well-designed conditioning program. We successfully condition athletes by letting “specificity of the event” guide training. This means conditioning closely resembles the movement and energy demand of the event.
Each sport requires contributions from specific energy systems, both aerobic and anaerobic. Conditioning according to energy demand, determines the intensity and duration of exercise, as well as proper work-to-rest ratios. Careful manipulation of these variables will condition the lineman in football who has to explosively cover the line of scrimmage, differently from the midfielder in soccer who experiences repeated bouts of sprinting over various distances. Lineman in football don’t need to run like they’re training for a marathon. They need to be conditioned to essentially take two steps and get in a fight!
Specificity of Movement
Consideration must be given to choosing which method of training (i.e., running, cycling, swimming) is implemented, as this has a direct effect on the specific adaptations resulting from the conditioning program. In most cases, the training should closely resemble the event. However, at appropriate times during the training year our coaches may manipulate training methods to impose more or less stress on the musculo-skeletal system, or when cross-training best suits the athlete’s development. If running is what you do in your sport…get off the training bike and RUN!!!
If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing.
Corrective exercise is an essential component to our athletic development philosophy. This philosophy consists of optimizing one’s athletic potential by first developing a structurally sound and balanced body, from which ideal movement begins and ends. In order to reduce the likelihood of injury an athlete may incur, any underlying cause of pain or injury must first be determined through assessment, and corrected, before a high-performance training program is implemented. Through corrective exercise, you will develop optimal structural alignment and joint stability; creating a solid foundation for strength and power development.
You don’t put a Hemi motor on a weak chasis…unless you like your hot rod in the mechanics garage (i.e., the doctor’s office).
Prior to any physical evaluation, a thorough medical history must be recorded, noting any past or current conditions (i.e., trauma, medications, disease) that may influence present or future performance. Following this evaluation, our Corrective Exercise Specialists may refer the athlete to our extended network of specialists (physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, etc.) in order to best integrate any necessary methods of care.
An observational and objective assessment is used to note postural misalignments of the feet, knees, legs, pelvis, torso, arms, shoulders and head. Using inclinometers, the degree of curve throughout the spine is measured to determine if a condition(s) exists (i.e., scoliosis, increased/decreased kyphosis or lordosis) that may predispose the athlete to such injuries as muscle strain, pinched nerve, disc herniation, or fracture of the vertebra. Our Corrective Exercise Specialists also measure muscle length/tension relationships and range of motion about joints. Correcting flexibility deficiencies and imbalances is crucial to achieving efficient movement and decreasing the likelihood of injury.
Assessment of Core Function & Primal Movement Patterns
Multiple strength and coordination tests are used to determine the functionality of the abdominal and lower back musculature. This “core” of the body cannot be overemphasized, as it is the origination point of all movement, stabilizes the pelvis and spine, and is the key link for power transfer between the upper and lower extremities. The analysis of an athlete’s ability to twist, pull, lunge, bend, squat, push and walk/run relative to the demand of their sport, is an important identifier of lurking or already present injuries. Conditioning the athlete to correctly perform these movements significantly reduces the likelihood of injury.
“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven… A time to tear down and a time to build… A time to search and a time to give up… A time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend…” —Ecclesiastes 3
As with many aspects of playing sports, the TIMING of variables within a strength and conditioning program IS EVERYTHING. All too often, the solution to many performance problems in sport seems to be a philosophy of “the greater the strength and the greater the muscle, the better,” despite the fact that one constantly witnesses exceptional performances being achieved by lighter and less strong individuals. These achievements oftentimes can be directly linked to a properly periodized strength and conditioning program.
Periodization is a long-term systematic training process consisting of various training cycles or phases, organized within an annual plan. We devise each cycle/phase to exploit the natural rhythms of adaptation, restoration and growth of the human body, in order to enhance performance. This is achieved by organizing all components of training (i.e., strength, strength-speed, cardiovascular endurance, and strength-endurance) according to the competition calendar, while aiming to achieve specific performance goals.
An extensive Needs Analysis must precede periodization of any strength and conditioning program. This analysis, administered by our coaching staff and allied specialists, consists of the assessment and evaluation methods mentioned in previous sections, along with interviews of players, coaches, and parents. Careful analysis of this information is used to determine areas of strength and weakness. Short and long-term goals are then established, and a specific program is designed in order to reach these goals. This individualistic approach also accounts for the fact that each individual will display a different rate, degree, and efficiency of responding to the same type, quality and quantity of physical training. Even within a team setting, we make every effort to address individualistic needs.
Following goal setting on an individual and/or team basis, success will in part depend upon the skill to select a diverse spectrum of exercises that will produce the required cumulative training effect. Our coaches determine this by taking into account the specific demands and qualities of the sport (i.e., amplitude and direction of movement, rate and time of maximum force production). Football players should perform different exercises than baseball players. Baseball players should perform different exercises than volleyball players. This goes for every sport. Unfortunately, that’s not what you typically see in the gym.
Lastly, the resulting effect of exercise selection depends largely on managing the volume (how much exercise) and intensity (how hard to exercise) at which these exercises are performed. These variables are manipulated throughout the annual cycle in accordance to the competition calendar, to ensure a progressive adaptation to exercise and improvement in performance. Our “recipe” for controlling these variables is unique and highly successful due to the careful attention given to athletes’ individuality. Without this type of proper program design, neither team nor individual will have an opportunity to maximize their potential.
“If you don’t do what’s best for your body, you’re the one who comes up on the short end.” —Julius Erving
An elite athlete is expected to run like a finely tuned engine; the heart and muscles pumping like pistons. However, though the athlete may be built for high performance, he/she will only run as well as the quality of his/her fuel.
An individualized nutrition program is essential for those needing to gain lean muscle tissue, reduce body fat, repair trauma to tissue, speed recovery and many other concerns. It is the goal of our nutritional programs to achieve a steady state of ideal health and optimal function.
All too often, nutrition programs are designed using a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Our Metabolic Typing Advisors recognize that these approaches fall short when determining an athlete’s ideal “fuel mix.” Every sport has specific demands, and each athlete has specific goals, both of which influence dietary intake. An athlete’s biochemistry, including how they utilize food for energy, is as individualistic as their thumbprint. For these reasons, our nutritional programming is highly specific and individualistic.
Metabolic Typing is a method used to determine how nutrients behave at the cellular level. Computer analysis of one’s dietary, physical and psychological traits, allow our Metabolic Typing Advisors to develop nutrition programs based on how foods react in YOUR body. This assures that foods are being used for energy, versus fat storage.
Finding this ideal “fuel mix” is necessary for sustaining high levels of energy and mental clarity, while suppressing mood swings and unwanted weight gain.
The supplementation market is flooded with products claiming remarkable benefits. However, very few supplements provide a performance edge. Just as important, is the negative impact many supplements may have on athletes. For these reasons, we recommend supplementation on an individual basis only after testing for biochemical imbalances. The purpose of our supplement programs is to rebalance the body’s regulatory systems and replenish vitamins and minerals lost during sports activity. This approach supports the maintenance of a healthy and highly productive athlete.