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Fit 4 Ever
Top 10 Training Mistakes Athletes Make
Jimmy Page

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” – Proverbs 14:12

Jimmy Page
Executive Director, FCA Fitness

Cal Ripken, Jr. has always said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” When you look at his career, it’s hard to argue against that wisdom. If practice made perfect then Shaquille O’Neal wouldn’t have a career free throw percentage of just over 50 percent.

If you practice the wrong technique over and over again — even if you think you are doing it right — all you will become is very good at doing something the wrong way.

As an athlete training for peak sports performance, there are many different approaches that may seem right, but that ultimately may lead to ineffective workouts and even injury. I have compiled a list of the top 10 training mistakes that athletes make as a way of helping you achieve your best performance on the field.

1. Not warming up properly –
Preparing your muscles for activity through an active, dynamic warm-up helps your muscles adjust to the demands of training or competition. You should always break a sweat prior to training, practicing or competing.

2. Not stretching enough – Stretching immediately following your training session while your muscles are warm and pliable will help improve flexibility and prevent injuries.

3. Lifting too much weight – Lifting more weight than you can safely handle may impress your teammates, but it usually makes you compromise good form and also can cause injury. Gradually increasing resistance with good form is a more effective and safe way to increase muscle strength.

4. Not cooling down after your workout – Taking a few minutes to lower your heart rate and stretch your muscles improves flexibility and speeds recovery. Many times we just walk off the practice field or leave the gym without completing this process.

5. Not drinking enough water – Being hydrated before, during and after training helps your mind and body function at its peak. And don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. That means you’re already behind!

6. Ignoring the core muscle groups – While training your chest, legs and arms may be important for your sport, all of your movement originates from your core (hips, abdominals, lower back), as does most of your speed and power. Keeping this region in balance will have a dramatic effect on your performance.

7. Not eating enough complex carbohydrates – Carbs are the most efficient and important source of fuel for an athlete. Eating whole grains, raw vegetables and fruit helps sustain energy during training and replenish energy stores in recovery.

8. Not getting enough rest – Overuse injuries are on the rise today because young athletes rarely get a break between seasons. Rest and recovery are essential in promoting muscle growth and preventing injury.

9. Playing through pain – It is critical that athletes learn the difference between discomfort and legitimate injury. While we want to give our best, many athletes stay on the field when they are hurt so that they won’t lose their position. This leads to more injuries and impaired performance.

10. Training on an empty stomach – If you train first thing in the morning, don’t do it on an empty stomach. During the night, your blood sugar tends to drop. When you start training with low blood sugar, you will fatigue earlier and be unable to sustain training intensity and duration.

Remember, it is important to follow a specific training plan designed by a strength and conditioning professional. They will address all of the issues above and take away the guesswork. When you follow the right plan, you will achieve amazing results!

Copyright 2007 Sharing the Victory Magazine

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