The Bobcat Strength and Conditioning Program is based upon proven principles that are designed to reduce the chance of injury as well as improve sport performance. Effective training programs are designed to enhance joint stability and joint range of motion, increase muscular strength and power, enhance movement mechanics, and increase energy system function. The end result is a heightened ability to manage the physical stress of competition.
The Bobcat Performance Enhancement Principles
1. Mobility and Stability
Optimal performance qualities cannot be reached without adequate joint mobility and stability. Joint Mobility refers to the muscles ability to contract and relax around the joint to allow fluid movement. Joint Stability refers to the muscles that assist in controlling movement. Poor joint mobility and stability can lead to improper muscle length-tension relationships, which can adversely affect performance and can lead to injuries.
2. Multiple Joint
No single body part works in isolation during movement. The body works synergistically (muscles, joints and proprioceptors work together) to produce complex movements. Running, jumping, shooting and throwing all require multiple joint actions timed in synchronized neuromuscular recruitment patterns. Thus, integrated movements should be trained, not individual muscles, if the goal is to maximize function and performance.
3. Multiple Plane Movements
Movement in sport occurs in three planes- sagittal (forward-backward), frontal (side-to-side) and transverse (rotational) - and combinations of all three. Resistance training will include exercises and movement patterns that develop strength and efficiency in each plane concentrically, isometrically and eccentrically.
4. Ground-Based Movements
Most sport skills are initiated by applying force in to the ground, on one leg or two. The more force an athlete can apply against the ground, the faster they will accelerate, the higher they will jump and the more effective they will be in sport. Resistance exercises will be chosen to enhance this ability to generate force. Squatting (single and double-leg) and the Explosive movements (clean, snatch, & jump squats) are recognized as the best movements for this purpose.
5. Rate of Force Development
The ability to generate force at high rates of speed (power) is crucial in sport. Power output is the result of motor unit recruitment by the central nervous system. There are two types of motor units- fast and slow- that vary greatly in their ability to generate force. Training explosively, using ground-based, multiple joint movements trains the body to recruit fast motor units at high rates of speed. This, in turn, improves performance potential.
Performance gains will eventually plateau and even diminish if the same training prescription is continually followed. Periodization is a scientifically proven model that uses different combinations of volume, load (intensity) and exercise specificity to progressively overload the body and bring about specific adaptations.
Speed and Agility Training
An essential link between the weight room and the playing field is speed and agility training. It is taking what the athlete has developed through training in the weight room and links it to sport. Speed (straight ahead) and agility (lateral movement and change of direction) are a crucial component to the training program.
8. Work Capacity
Being the best at what you do means not only possessing great strength, power, and speed, but also requires that you have the work capacity to sustain a workload during competition and practice. Each athlete will go through comprehensive work capacity training (conditioning). During the off-season, work capacity will be general, and, as the competitive season approaches, work capacity will become more specific.
No training program can be successful without a commitment to nutrition, rest and a healthy lifestyle. Decrements in performance can often be traced to a poor diet, poor sleep habits, and/or lack of recovery time. Through continual education, each athlete will learn what, when, and how to consume food based around training, competition, and on a day to day basis.
Becoming the best possible athlete requires more than talent, consistent training and a commitment to nutrition. A foundation that includes resolve, discipline, courage, perseverance and selflessness is essential for true success. These attributes must be emphasized, developed and rewarded during training.
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