High school athletes are typically most concerned with the performance measurements their sport values. Volleyball players want to increase vertical jump and football players usually want to decrease 40 times. These measurements are obviously very important. What athlete doesn’t want to run faster or jump higher? The problem I have with these types of specific questions is that there is no magic pill or drill that will achieve these goals. There are coaching cues and tips on a 40 start or 5-10-5 shuttle that may shave off precious tenths of a second and there are great pieces of equipment that can help increase a vertical jump. But the real answer to these questions lies in the movement patterns of the athlete. The majority of all high school athletes that come to my facility have inefficient movement patterns due to muscular imbalances in the body. If the athlete cannot move properly without showing signs of tight hip flexors, weak core, tight adductors, weak abductors, focusing on one movement or metric will not improve their performance. Athletes who want to jump higher and run faster must commit an extended period of time to consistent and well planned training that addresses overall imbalances, strengths and weaknesses.
The job of an experienced performance coach is to assess the athletes’ strengths and weaknesses and implement an exercise prescription that will enhance the performance of that athlete. What muscles are being used efficiently and what are being compromised? A properly aligned car gets better gas mileage. An athlete with efficient movement patterns can also perform better. When an athlete commits to spend an extended period of time under the watchful eye of a performance coach and that performance coach cleans up the imbalances in the musculature of the athlete and improves the athletes overall movement mechanics; only then will the athlete truly jump higher, run faster, and hit harder.
Jay Hebert, C.S.C.S. is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Sports Performance Director at Velocity Sports Performance San Diego. He manages a staff of performance specialists that coach athletes from 8-18 yr olds as well as college and Professional athletes. Jay has coached dozens of NHL, NFL, MLB, PGA athletes including Super Bowl Champions, Stanley Cup Champions, Olympic Gold medalist as well as thousands of amateur athletes.