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Sports Performance Foundations: Concrete or Jello?

Note: This article is specifically about sports performance for kids. If you’re a grown-up, check out this post about the importance of building a strong foundation for adults… because grown-ups can’t be made of Jello either!

Your kid is pretty good at baseball. They’re starting on Varsity, they’re playing showcase tournaments, and you’re starting to think about college scholarships. You’re also probably dishing out some serious cash for specialty lessons: pitching coach, hitting coach, camps… And things are going well! Until they’re not.

Best case scenario: Your kid hits a plateau. They just can’t hit bombs like the older kids. They can’t *quite* make that throw to home plate. They *almost* beat the throw to first. Almost. 

Worst case scenario: Your kid gets hurt. 

So what happened???

Your kid’s castle was built on a foundation of Jello. And that’s just not sustainable. A strong foundation is key to a strong and resilient structure. The same applies to bodies and sports.

We can break sports down into a simple pyramid:

  • At the top of that pyramid is sport-specific skills – hitting, throwing, etc – things that relate to a very specific sport.
  • In the middle is generalized sports skills – power, agility, speed – things that relate to many sports.
  • Below that is foundational strength – muscles and joints that support athletic movement.
  • At the very bottom, holding strong and supporting all the things above it, is foundational movement patterns. This is where most young athletes fail.

When your kid is really good at something, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the flashy things, like tournaments and super-technical skill work. (As a former tournament team softball pitcher, I’ve been there! I get it!) It’s super easy to overlook the foundations. But…

A solid foundation is the key to success in the short-term *and* for longevity.

Top 3 Benefits of Strength and Movement Training (aka Building a Strong Foundation):

  1. Staying Healthy and Preventing Injuries – Injured athletes don’t get to play. You might be the best catcher in the world, but no one will see it if you’re riding the bench with an injury.
  2. Maximizing Effectiveness of Sport-Specific Training – All the time and money you put into high-skill training will be even better because you’ve set a solid baseline. You can’t put fancy tires on a junky car and expect it to win a race. The same thing applies here. Build your frame and your engine, and then the fancy tires can really do their thing.
  3. Coaches Love It – Lifting sessions might be optional in high school, but they’re a staple in college. And nothing looks better than your kid coming into the weight room on Day 1 with a beautiful squat. (Having coached multiple college teams, I can personally vouch for this. Kids that come in with lifting experience have a huge advantage – both physically and strategically – over kids who come in with weak foundations.)

So what can you do?

The simplest approach is to introduce your kid to strength and movement training. Find a good strength coach with sports experience. Start with basic movement patterns, mobility, stability, and body awareness. Then add strength. Then add power, speed, and agility.

Build the castle on a foundation of concrete. Jello just won’t cut it.

Need help?

Book a free call or meeting with a Power Plant Coach! All our coaches have experience playing and coaching sports at a high level, and we know what it takes to build strong and resilient athletes. Click here to book a call today: Book Free No Sweat Intro

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