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Finish First Insider, Issue #65
July 13, 2009
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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.

Preparation is Key to Sports Success

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

At a recent youth hockey team meeting, I gave a quick presentation about the keys to success in hockey, and the goals of the physical performance training programs that I design for the team’s year-round workouts. In this newsletter, I’d like to share, in a little more detail, the information I presented, without the specificity to ice hockey. 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?


Due to the volume of athletes currently using the Finish First Sports Performance world training headquarters, all athletes are required to schedule all sessions prior to arrival. In the future, if an athlete shows up without first scheduling for a session, there is no guarantee that s/he will be able to use the facility at that time. If the facility is at capacity, the athlete will need to come back for his/her session at a later time. At Finish First Sports Performance, we are taking all measures necessary to prevent overcrowding and help ensure the safety of the athletes and the quality of the programs. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to continuing to serve you.

How to Schedule Workouts Using the Online System

Due to the volume of athletes currently using the training facility, and the expected returning college athletes over the summer, you will need to begin scheduling your workout sessions in advance. It is recommended that you do so online. The Finish First Sports Performance coaches will have access to the sessions calendar to see when you are scheduled. When you arrive to the facility, it is also important to use your fingerprint to check in to the system. Below, you will find the correct way to schedule online. It is also now possible to make payments online, and check your training history. Please call if you have any questions.

1. Go to

2. Scroll down the left and under “Additional Services” you will see MEMBER LOGIN—click on that

3. A new window should pop up and on that window click on ATHLETE

4. Unless you have logged into the system before, your login ID is: last name-first name, and your password is: last name. So for John Smith, his login ID would be smith-john, and his password would be smith. You will be prompted to change your password so that only you may know it—write it down and don’t forget it—if you do forget it, please let Jeremy know so he can reset it.

5. Once logged in, on main screen you will see a box/button on the right titled “REGISTER FOR CLASSES”—click on this.

6. You can register or change your scheduled time up to 24 hours before the session. Any changes that need to be made within 24 hours of the session need to be made by calling Jeremy at 412-787-5070.

The online system works best with Internet Explorer (most recent version).

Motivational Quotes

"Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was."
-- Robert Louis Stevenson

"High achievement always takes place in a framework of high expectation."
-- Jack Kinder

"The harder you fall, the higher you bounce."
-- Anonymous

"Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one's levels of aspiration . . and expectation."
-- Jack Niklaus

Thank You for Your Support

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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