What is Sports Performance Enhancement?
Today, there is more specialization in athletic performance than ever seen before. Because of this specialization focus, we are also seeing a national epidemic of athletic injuries. These injuries are not only occurring at a younger age, but also the level of severity of injuries is an epidemic.
Due to this cultural shift in athletic performance, sports enhancement services have popped-up across the United States. The focus of sports enhancement services is to maximize an athlete’s performance with the focus of injury prevention. There are a wide variety of programs and services which range from poor to reputable and excellent performance. Do your homework on sports enhancement programs to ensure either you as the athlete, or your child, is in a reputable and safe program.
The goal is to improve performance through strengthening, flexibility, endurance, speed and agility. Most programs also take it a step further and work on skills development for the sport the athlete is working to accelerate in. A reputable program will maximize the athlete’s performance while teaching and educating the athlete on proper mechanics and techniques to avoid injury.
What to expect from Sports Performance Enhancement
Programs vary widely. Some focus on individual or small groups while others have large group performance training for athletes. There is little to no guidelines on sports enhancement programs. Almost anyone can start-up and program and run it which is why doing your homework is important. Finding a reputable program will make a lifelong difference in the athlete’s performance.
A reputable program will have an evidence-based approach, so ask for the philosophy and research backing the program. Also, check into the qualifications of the trainers as this is critical. Those programs that are run by highly trained personal trainers (NASM), athletic trainers, and physical therapists integrate proper techniques and body mechanics while enhancing performance. It does an athlete no good to improve performance if they have learned to do it incorrectly or wrong. This will only do more damage than good.
A reputable program not only includes highly trained staff, but also there should be some sort of performance measurement pre-and post program. A qualified program will complete a physical performance screen prior to the program. Your trainer will review the results and established specific goals with you to improve your performance. At the end of the training program, a complete physical performance screen should again be completed and reviewed with you. This is a measureable way to ensure you are reaching your peak performance.
Some programs go as far as video-taping the athlete during performance. This video analysis helps the athlete and the trainer identify possible mechanical breakdown issue which could cause problems down the road. Visually seeing the body mechanics during performance helps the athlete correct poor movement patterns which is key to not only preventing injuries, but also it will help the athlete reach peak performance.
Is sports enhancement right for you?
If you are going to invest in a performance enhancement program, do your research. Don’t waste your time or money on programs just because they are popular. Focus on your needs, interview staff and previous participants, and visit programs while they are running so you can get a 360 look at the program. If you do your homework the performance program will pay off dividends in your, or your child’s, performance not only for today, but for a lifetime.
To find a qualified provider near you who can enhance your athletic performance, please click on the following link (FOTO PT database link).