Posted August 20, 2010 by
Under • Guest Post
Khari Reynolds played defensive back for the University of Nebraska (Lincoln, Neb.), and later, played center back for William and Mary College (Norfolk, Va.). He holds the record for the 10-yard dash at the University of Nebraska and was All-Yankee Conference in 1999 at William and Mary College.
As a promising athlete at Egg Harbor Township High School (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.), Reynolds faced the daunting challenge of preparing himself to be recognized by college recruiters. Today, Reynolds helps athletes in a variety of sports improve their speed and agility, as well as understand the tools they will need – on and off the playing field – to help them reach their full potential as an athlete.
I’ve always been fascinated by speed. When you’re faster, you’re going to have a leg up on the competition. Speed and agility is something that an athlete of any sport can benefit from. You can’t learn speed, but you can learn better techniques. Small tweaks in mechanics can make a big difference when it comes to performance. I’ve found the more an athlete understands the steps he or she can take, the better they get, which ultimately helps increase confidence. This confidence is what helps take these athletes to the next level.
In-season strength and conditioning should be focused less on bulking up and getting strong, and more about maintaining flexibility and complete range of motion. Athletes’ tendencies can cause problems in mechanics that could lead to underperformance or injury in the future. For example, your point guard who shoots with his right hand and jumps off his left foot is going to be strong with his right hand and left leg. It’s important to combat that muscle imbalance to keep the athlete in the best shape possible.
5 Tips for In-Season Strength and Conditioning:
- Don’t Negate Stretching.
It’s easy to pass on stretching during warm-ups and cut right to the drills, time is always an issue once school starts and the season begins. Stretching is going to be key to injury prevention. A tight hamstring isn’t going to get better by working it more. Many smaller injuries can actually be prevented by taking the time to stretch before and after practice.
- Warm-up and cool down.
The warm-up and cool down is another vital part of a healthy athlete. It’s easy to negate one or the other when you’re under time constraints. Running or biking before or after a workout is important. Muscles tend to tighten up and tending to them right away can help prevent injury.
- Don’t try to overcome injuries in the weight room.
It’s common to think an injury could have been prevented if the athlete was just stronger. Don’t try to overcome strength losses in the weight room during the season. Adding a strength program mid-season can actually put an athlete at a disadvantage.
- Maintain, but cut back.
Maintain a good strength and conditioning program during the season, but cut back. If you hit the weight room 3-4 times per week in the off-season, cut back to twice per week during the season. Switch up the workouts to help build speed rather than working to bulk up. Keeping this consistent will help the athlete transition into another sport or into the off-season where they can pick up a heavier schedule.
- Don’t ignore small injuries.
Small injuries will only get bigger if they’re left alone. Make sure that small aches and pains are being treated properly - icing joints, stretching tight muscles, etc. If joints and muscles are being overworked, try to balance out those muscles in future workouts. It is also important to be aware of past injuries and keep those in check. Knowing that an athlete is prone to shoulder problems or has a bad knee is a preemptive way to take care of injuries.
Have Multi-sport Athletes on Your Team?
Multi-sport athletes come to me looking to condition for their current sport, and also to transition into their next sport’s conditioning. While all sports have their differences, speed and agility can benefit athletes across any sport. Athletes shouldn’t keep themselves from setting goals in one sport, just because they are more dominant in another.
For example, your star track athlete shouldn’t feel that he can’t continue to prepare for next fall’s football season simply because he thinks building muscle is going to slow him down. The key is consistency. Staying smart about how you’re getting stronger isn’t going to hurt your performance. Continue to follow the same routine with explosive workouts.
- Going from football to basketball? Tailor your workouts to include some speed components with time-specific reps.
- How about basketball to track? Begin to work on your linear speed. If you stay consistent with your conditioning, you will be able to excel in your current sport and be ready to make the transition to your next sport.
- Be sure to give your body a 1-2 weeks of rest in between. A break will help your muscles prepare for the next sports’ training.
About the Warren Academy:
Steve Warren founded the Warren Academy, to help athletes reach their educational and athletic goals, while helping to develop leadership in the Nebraska community through sports. At the end of August, Reynolds will join the staff at the Warren Academy as the strength and conditioning coach, specifically focusing on speed and agility.