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Finish First Insider, Issue #34
November 20, 2008
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Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

Physical Preparation is a Key to Sports Success

By Coach J. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

At a recent wrestling team meeting, I gave a quick presentation about the keys to success in wrestling, and the goals of the physical performance training programs that I design for the team’s in-season workouts. In this newsletter, I’d like to share, in a little more detail, the information I presented, without the specificity to wrestling. I want to talk about the keys to success in sports, according to expert sports scientists and coaches from top sports organizations around the globe.

Sports Success Keys

According to most expert sports scientists and coaches, athletes must be prepared properly to be successful. This holds true in all areas of life.

Success typically comes to those who are best prepared.

Preparation requires goal setting, evaluation (you must first know where you are before you can figure out how to get where you want to go), and planning. Once the planning is done, it is time for execution.

Even the best laid plans, when executed, will have some setbacks and temporary defeats. That is a sign that some adjustments need to be made to the plans. Never lose sight of the goal, and never forget where you were when you started. Also never forget those who helped you along your way as you prepared for success. (All of the information I provide to you is a result of setting my own goals, self-evaluation, peer-evaluation, planning, and execution. I would not be where I am today without the help of other coaches, teachers, and specialists along the way.)

The Three Keys to Sports Success:

1. Physical Preparation (Performance Training, Sports Nutrition, Sleep, Sports Massage)

2. Mental Preparation (Mental Toughness, Goal Setting, Visualization, Motivation, Arousal, Relaxation and Energization, Attention, Stress Management, Self Confidence)

3. Tactical/Technical Preparation (Sport strategy, Techniques, Methods, Position Specific Skills)

A sports performance coach is responsible for assisting with the physical preparation of the athlete, specifically with the performance training element. Some performance coaches have extra education and certificates/licensure in sports nutrition or sports massage. The expert counsel of a medical doctor should be sought for sleep education (many high level sports performance coaches consult with sleep doctors to better serve the needs of the athletes).

Mental Preparation is best covered by a sports psychologist, but may be addressed by a sports coach or performance coach who has specific schooling in this area. Mental preparation strategies can be executed in each performance training session, as well as practices and scrimmage competitions. Mental preparation techniques are used by all of the best athletes in the world.

Tactical/Technical Preparation should be addressed by the sports coach or coaches. The coach will instruct the athlete on position specific skills, teambuilding, and systems specific to the sport. Strategies for winning will also be taught. In some training systems, the most experienced coaches work with the youngest athletes to assure the proper skill and athletic development.

Years of research, working with other coaches, consulting with medical and rehabilitation specialists, and experience coaching athletes has given me the knowledge I need to create effective performance training programs. Although the methods and scientific basis for advanced performance training may be complicated, I always keep the main goals of the training programs consistent. There may be athlete-specific goals that are also incorporated into the program, but, as a general rule, I use the following seven goals when I create programs:

Performance Training Program Goals

1. Establish a Routine—Make Exercise a Habit. A successful athlete makes conditioning part of the daily routine…year-round. High level high school and ALL college athletes do a performance training routine on a year-round basis.

2. Prevent Injury through Training. A well conditioned athlete is less likely to be injured, and if injured, recovers more quickly. Attention to balanced total body training, specific conditioning, and training to address the most common injuries in the specific sport will help reduce the athlete’s risk of injury.

3. Improve Work Capacity (physical conditioning). A well-conditioned athlete handles high quality work and recovers quickly. The physical conditioning (energy system development) needs of each sport need to be determined—and then addressed in the training sessions and overall training plan. It should be the goal of each athlete to finish the match as hard as they began, while exerting 100% effort the entire duration.

4. Improve “Core Strength.” A well-conditioned athlete has the low back, abdominal, and hip area (core) strength to transfer the force generated by the legs to the upper body. Most sports requires a huge hip power transfer in different planes of motion (straight ahead, side to side, rotation, chopping, etc.).

5. Develop Balanced Muscular Strength, Speed, Endurance, and Power. A well-conditioned athlete trains the total body for strength, speed, power, and endurance. Movements in most sports occur in all planes; there can be double leg and single leg movements, etc., so it is important to train accordingly. Athletes must be balanced to help prevent injury.

6. Develop Sport Specific Speed, Strength and Power. A well-conditioned athlete reacts quickly to accelerate, decelerate and stop under control. An athlete who can decelerate, stop, change direction and re-accelerate has an advantage over their opponents. One way to train for this is by using plyometrics. Plyometrics are important for development of power and power endurance, but a base of speed and power training must be established prior to engaging in a rigorous plyometric routine. Power endurance training helps the athlete train to be as explosive in the last minute as he/she was in the first minute.

7. Maximize Potential. A well-conditioned athlete understands his/her strengths and limitations and how to work with them. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you focus your efforts in training, and make adjustments in your training. Adapted from Tim Lang, DePaul University

The main goal of the performance coach is to help the athletes/team prepare to win. You will not be a successful athlete without proper preparation. It takes hard work and time to properly prepare. As an athlete, you must be preparing in all three key areas, or you will not be performing at your highest level.

Playing volleyball or basketball on a year-round basis is great for addressing the tactical/technical element, but what are you doing to address your specific physical needs? What are you doing to jump higher, run faster, rehab that bad shoulder, get stronger, eat better, sleep better, move better? I think you get the point here. The best way to become a better athlete is to become better prepared in all three key areas. If you are not preparing for your next competitive season, what are you waiting for?

How Familiar Are You With The 6 Essential Nutrients?

By Heather Rae Mangieri, MS, RD, LDN, Finish First Sports Performance Sports Nutrition Advisor

Superior athletic ability comes from proper training and genetics. However, without good food choices and the correct timing of your meals, your training and performance will suffer. You need a fueling plan that includes the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, enough vitamins and the correct amounts of minerals. Before you can begin to make good choices, you must first understand what these nutrients are and why they are important.

●The best fuel for working muscles
●Imperative after a workout to replenish glycogen (energy) stores and prevent the breakdown of protein
●Plan to include these in all of your meals and snacks
●Examples of healthy sources: breads, cereals, granola bars, fruits, vegetables, pasta

●Needed for muscle growth & to repair muscle damage after exercise
●Needed to make red blood cells which move oxygen to muscles
●Needed to make hormones and enzymes, which help regulate metabolism
●Examples of healthy sources: meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, beans, peanut butter

●Needed for energy
●Helps your body to use some vitamins
●Helps keep your brain and nervous system healthy
●Examples of healthy sources: olive oil, peanut butter, fatty fishes

Vitamins & Minerals
●Do not provide energy, but help to unlock the energy stored in food so your body can use it as fuel
●Calcium, magnesium, fluoride and vitamin D help to keep bones strong
●Examples of healthy choices: fruits and vegetables provide a wide variety, many of the foods listed above also provide vitamins & minerals, including vitamin E in olive oil

●The most important nutrient; if your body weight drops just 1% from losing fluids, your performance will suffer
●Needed to transport all of the above nutrients into cells and remove waste from cells for excretion
●Examples: water, juices, sports beverages

Plan to incorporate all of these essential nutrients into your meal plan to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

Motivational Sports Quotes

Champions keep playing until they get it right. -- Billy Jean King

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. -- Michael Jordan

For me, winning isn't something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream. -- Emmitt Smith, American Football Player

Coming Soon

Finish First Sports Performance Logo Apparel and Items
T's, Sweats, Hoodies, Jackets, Hats, Stickers
All for sale online!

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours

The Finish First Sports Performance training center will be closed in recognition of the Thanksgiving Holiday, Thursday, November 27, 2008.

The training center will be open normal hours from Monday - Wednesday and will reopen at 2pm on Friday, November 28th.

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

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