What Is Sports Performance Training?
By Coach J. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Performance Scientist
(From pages 2-3, Athletic Body in Balance, by Gray Cook, Human Kinetics, 2003)
"An ancient Greek story about an Olympic hero named Milo is an apt illustration of modern principles of athletic
conditioning and perpend. Unlike today's athletes, Milo did not use steel weights as resistance, nor did
he use a specific esker apparatus. Every day, Milo lifted a small calf into his arms and carried the calf a
certain distance. As the calf grew into a bull, Milo continued his training. On the first day of the Olympics,
Milo walked the length of the track while carrying a full-grown bull. This story contains a few lessons for us
So there you have it.
Training includes a physical load that needs to be disbursed across a period of time to allow growth, development, and conditioning to complete a task (preoperative training). You've got to plan and know how and when to perform your best (periodization). Psychology is as important as physiology. How you feel about training and what you are willing to do in your program (vision) are as important as what you do in training. You have to believe in your training program.
Seeing may be believing, but you cannot see the results of training until you first use perpend, time and effort effectively. So do you have to see to believe, or do you first have to believe to see? Learn from Milo. He first believed, then he accomplished something no one had seen before."
I think the story provides a general illustration into the field of sports performance training. Sports Performance Training could be seen as any type of training that is done that elicits an improvement in an athlete's ability to perform a sport-specific skill or motor ability that is either physical, technical/tactical, or mental. A sports performance coach typically focuses on improving the physical abilities, but also includes mental ability training as well. Technical/Tactical abilities are best increased through the sport coach/coaches.
unfortunately, in America, there is no licensure for a sports performance coach: there are, however, certification programs. The problem with most certification programs is that anyone can do them. You purchase the program, study the materials provided, then take a test. Once you pass the test you are a certified performance coach. This system produces 1000's of certified performance/strength coaches annually! WOW! It's no wonder why the public can be so confused about this subject: 1000's of certified 'experts' all with their own unique way of training athletes---most definitely a recipe for disaster!
Luckily, there are many university programs that prepare students to become well educated strength/performance enhancement coaches. Through these university programs, students are exposed to the many different types of training that can be used for specific sports and specific athletes depending on their needs. These students are taught about the human body in great detail. However, most programs do not go into enough detail about human movement and motor programming (this is usually taught in physical therapy school). Understanding motor programming and movement patterns is extremely important in sports performance training.
Earlier in this article, the exerpt from the book gave three general guidelines for performance training. These three guidelines can also be used for bodybuilding and other fitness competitions (which, are also sports, but require completely different types of training as I will point out shortly). There are several other guidelines that help differentiate sports performance training from general fitness training. To keep this article from getting too long, I want to discuss one of these: training for movement.
You see, sports performance training is done specifically to improve an athlete's ability to move better. Better can mean faster, more explosive, more coordination, more efficient, more control, more quickness, etc. Bodybuilding and most general fitness programs are designed by training specific body parts/muscles or a specific muscle in isolation. Training muscles in isolation does not play a major functional role in motor programming or specific movement patterns. Sports Performance Training is designed to train specific muscle groups in specific movement patterns to elicit the desired training effect.
On page 11 of 'Athletic Body in Balance', Gray Cook says "Modern science tells us that the brain does not recognize individual muscle activity--it doesn't need to. Instead, the brain looks at movement patterns and creates coordination between all the muscles needed." It is important to train specifically to develop improved movement patterns to help improve an athlete's physical abilities. (Please understand that a certain level of general fitness must be established as a foundation before advancing to specific training methods. Personal trainers are legally certified and qualified to help improve general fitness levels of their clients. ONLY well-educated and legally certified sports performance coaches are qualified to train athletes using more advanced performance training methods).
My intentions of this article were to provide you with a general overview of sports performance training to point you in the right direction towards understanding what it is and how it is different from general fitness training. There are a plethora of books written on many of the items I mentioned in this article, so it was my goal to merely touch the surface, in hopes of providing just enough information to educate, but not too much to confuse. For more information about sports performance training and to get a complete description of how it is different than personal training, please call me to schedule a performance education lesson at 412-787-5070 (or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
"As you progress in hockey and aspire to get to higher levels, your off season training becomes increasingly important. Once I started training at Finish First I noticed a difference in my strength, speed, and power on and off the ice. There is no better place for a hockey player to train than Finish First. Where I am now in my career I can credit to Finish First, and I know continuing my training there will get me where I want to be."
--Matt Bartkowski, NHL Vancouver Canucks
"Coach Jeremy Hoy and Finish First is one of if not the main reason I am where I am today. If it were not for his sport-specific training programs, I could only have dreamt of making it this far. Any athlete who has any aspirations of making it to the next level is foolish to not train with Finish First. Regardless of your current skill, going anywhere else to train is a waste of time, money and talent."
--Christian Hanson, NHL Forward (Retired)
"I've been forutnate enough to train with Jeremy and Finish First for almost 20 years. His training system specifically addressed my needs as a developing youth hockey player and changed to specifically address my needs as I matured as a player throughout juniors, college, and the pros. Using the Finish First Sports Performance training programs, I was able to play at my strongest, fastest, and in the best shape possible, while staying healthy for a long productive career. I can't recommend this training enough. If you do it, and commit to getting better, you will get better--guaranteed!"
--Sean Berkstresser (Voss), 9 Year Professional Hockey Player, RMU NCAA D1 Hockey Alum
"Training for the Miss America pageant included 6 weeks of intense training at Finish First Sports performance. Coach Jeremy Hoy put my physical endurance to the test and pushed me to my limit. In those intense weeks of physical preparation, I truly learned what It meant to be an athlete. Training at FFSP can help ANY pageant girl become an athlete - She will look and feel her very best. ..."
--Miss Pennsylvania America 2011, Juliann Sheldon
"Working out at Finish First Sports Performance with Jeremy Hoy was by far the best workout experience I've ever had. I spent six weeks going to FFSP two and three times a day and each time I had a unique workout that helped me achieve the results I desired. Jeremy was always so encouraging and pushed me both physically and mentally to reach my full potential. I went to Miss America in the best shape of my life and felt so confident and prepared..."
--Miss Pennsylvania America 2010, Courtney Thomas
"Finish First has helped me to perform at my best and to be in the best shape possible in order to compete at the highest level. Jeremy's motivational attitude and custom workouts allow me to get the most out of my training - which is geared towards making me a better hockey player AND stronger athlete..."
--Brianne McLaughlin, Goaltender, USA Women's Olympic Ice Hockey Team
"I spent six weeks at Finish First Sports Performance working intensely with Coach Hoy to prepare for the Miss America pageant. I worked out three times a day, every day! Coach Hoy pushed me harder than I ever could have imagined possible. When I felt defeated, he always had an inspirational story or quote to re-inspire me, and then he would push me harder. Jeremy saw an inner-strength and confidence in me even when I struggled to see it in myself. ..."
--Miss Pennsylvania America 2009, Shannon Doyle
"Prior to training with Jeremy Hoy and the team at Finish First, one of the biggest knocks I received from coaches was my endurance. I would slowly wear down as the season went on, which would make me lose a step in a game where every inch is so important. Since I began my off-season training with Jeremy's programs in the summer of 09' this has no longer been an issue. ...Jeremy has made me a much more explosive and confident power forward. ..."
--Chris Kushneriuk, Professional Hockey Player (Retired)
"Jeremy Hoy and Finish First Sports Performance has by far been the best sport-specific training I've ever experienced. I've played for many teams and have had countless different trainers and training programs, and they weren't even close. The program is designed for me as a hockey player, to improve my performance on the ice. Hoy's program allowed me to stand out in hockey and move on to the next level. ..."
--Brock Meadows, Professional Hockey Player, Texas Brahmas (Retired)
"Having competed at the local, state and national levels before coming to Jeremy, I always knew how I wanted to look but never got precisely the results I was striving for. With FFSP, I was able to SURPASS my expectations and become the strongest competitor I could be. Combined with expertise in training, nutrition and overall health, I thank Jeremy and his staff for making me both mentally and physically STRONG! ..."
--Elyse Healy, Top 10 Miss PA 2010
"I trained under Jeremy Hoy at Finish First Sports Performance in preparations for the 2009 and 2010 Miss Pennsylvania pageants. I am proud to say that I was a preliminary swimsuit award winner both years! Jeremy gives his full attention to his clients and creates their routines and diet plans specifically for them. Jeremy trained me in ways I have never experienced before. New exercises, new muscles, and new pains! ..."
--Shauna Rice, 2009 & 2010 Preliminary Swimsuit Winner and Top 5 Finish
"Each and every year you need to make sure that you are in your top shape when heading into the season. With the customized training that Jeremy Hoy and Finish First gives you, you get into your top shape so you have that edge over the other people. I can credit Finish First and Jeremy Hoy for where I am now in my career and where I want to be. If you are serious about making it to the next level and want to gain that edge over the others then I recommend training with Jeremy Hoy and Finish First."
--Denny Urban, Professional Hockey Player
"Jeremy and the coaches at Finish First Sports Performance have helped me prepare for each hockey season through intense hockey specific training. With the rigorous schedule of major junior hockey, my training experience at Finish First has helped me to stay strong and not wear down through the long season, and helped me to finish the year as strong and explosive as I started it."
--Michael Houser, Professional Hockey Goaltender
OHL Player of the year 2011-12
CHL Goaltender of the year 2011-12
"Training is a great way for an athlete to separate themselves from their competition. Finish First Sports Performance offers a unique training program that is tailored to your personal goals. As a hockey player, I quickly recognized the importance of lower body strength. My goal, when coming into Finish First, was to increase my leg strength. Coach Jeremy Hoy and his workouts have pushed me to reach my goal..."
--Andrew Lister, RMU Men's ACHA D1 Ice Hockey
"I have been training with Coach Hoy for over five years and without his help and expertise I know that it would never have been possible for me to be where I am today. In training with Coach Hoy and the hockey specific training regimen he has designed, I have seen significant improvements each summer in my explosion, quickness, agility, strength, and endurance..."
--Matt White, Professional Ice Hockey Player
"I have been working with Jeremy Hoy and Finish First since I was 12 years old, and he was the first person who taught me the importance of off-ice training. The unique, athlete specific training tailored to your particular sport is what makes Finish First so special. When you walk into Finish First, you know that you are stepping into an environment that will challenge and bring out the best in you..."
--Parker Milner, Professional Ice Hockey Goalie (2xNCAA D1 Champ)
"When it comes to finding the perfect athletic performance training in Pittsburgh, the search starts and ends at Coach Hoy’s Finish First Sports Performance. As my hockey career has progressed, my off-season workouts have only gotten more and more essential. The sport-specific workouts put together by Coach Hoy and his staff has helped me add strength, speed, and endurance to my game that I did not possess before..."
--Nick Jones, Professional Ice Hockey Player
"Finish First Sports Performance and Jeremy Hoy are a true testament of passion and drive in personal health and fitness. With Coach Hoy and Finish First, I've found the same drive and discipline that is needed in finding and maintaining personal success and growth. Jeremy's principles and work ethic have pushed me to finding more inside and outside of the gym. Finish First breeds success and guarantees results..."
--Noah Zamagias, Collegiate Golfer
"I would highly recommend Finish First Sports to anyone who is looking to improve their sport specific performance and overall physical conditioning. I was looking to make my golf swing more efficient and was extremely satisfied with the workout programs and results. My core strength, flexibility and kinesthetic movements all improved which has positively affected my ball striking, balance and endurance..."
--Drew Bohn, PGA Professional
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