Whether you are in middle school looking to make the high school team or in high school looking to play sports in college, there will always be another level of skill and conditioning required in order to take things to the next level.
So, how do we go from a middle school athlete to a high school athlete or a high school to college athlete?
Well, some may think that it is super hard to do, but in actuality it really is not.
Here is why:
Athletics is based off of a couple different things. While the mentality and the mechanics of your own body are important, there are two main things that people look at which is your conditioning and your skill. Mentality should be automatic and should stay the same no matter what level. If it is a team sport then you must work as either a leader or listen to the leader and work as a team. If it is an individual sport, your mentality should always improve but should be established early on. The main things that the next level looks for is your skilll and your conditioning.
So, how do we learn to improve those things and get to be better athlete and make the team.
Hard work is the main thing, but how do we define hard work? I can work hard at getting bigger muscles and being faster but am I doing it the right way? Same thing with skill, I could come in and shoot 1000 free throws a day, but does that mean the form is good and that they are “good” shots? So what else do we need to be sure of when doing that.
This is where coaching in all aspects comes into play. You can outwork anyone on the team, but that does not always mean that you are getting better the right way or even doing something the best and most optimal way that you should be doing it at. This is why teams and individuals have coaches, someone there to make sure to give you the proper drills and helping monitor you while you practice so that you not only improve, but you improve the right way for the next level.
Making sure that you have the skills needed and the conditioning are crucial to step up that game. Making sure that you are aware as the athlete along with your coach being aware of the strength and weaknesses that you may have and finding the best way to capitalize on those weaknesses.
For example, if you have issues with your vertical jump and are not able to dunk or swat a ball away while defending the goal in basketball, how are you going to get better? You are going to look into adding takeoffs and box jumps into your routine, both on one foot and two feet as you will not always be jumping off two feet. You will also be looking at explosive lifts such as a Deadlift, RDL, Squat, or any Hip Hinge to develop those muscles to prepare you to jump.
Getting to the next level for athletics is more than just developing that skill and conditioning, it is about taking those weaknesses that you and a coach find and making sure to train them properly to make them your strengths.
All good athletes have a good mindset and work ethic, but what sets the good athletes from the great athletes at that next level is what their work looks like, what they are working on, and how are they improving and working to get better.
More time does not always equal better results. Sometimes, taking a break and letting your body rest and recover means more for your goals than working at your sport for hours a day every day.