Selecting the Right Training Facility for You

This time around, we’ll discuss how the training facility you choose will play a big role in you getting the most out of speed and performance training and why consistency is so important.

On a regular basis, we’re asked by parents and athletes what they could do to be faster and more athletic. Our response to them is very simple: The key to becoming a faster athlete is to consistently train in an athletic fashion under conditions which allow for optimum training results. Improvements in speed and athletic ability are analogous to any other sport skill. If you want to be better at a specific sports skill, you must practice that skill repeatedly.

College and pro scouts will attest that they highlight athletes based on their ability to run, accelerate, and be flexible and agile. Running and jumping are your most basic athletic skills which must be both learned properly and practiced continually in order to improve.

The Recipe for Success, Part One

The training facility that you select should be able to offer, at a minimum, the following amenities: Detailed and planned programming and progression, safe and controlled training conditions and certified (CSCS or ACSM) skill coaches. Sports performance training is much different than the typical weightlifting/body building/strongman/fitness training that many small gyms can offer. Keep in mind that proper sports performance training can reduce the risk of injury over 400 percent, but improper conditions or an unproven training approach could increase the occurrence of injury, while decreasing the likelihood of notable improvements in athletic performance.

Location, Location, Location

Although teams like ASU, Arizona and NAU have free access to their own practice areas, they spend time indoors, training in dedicated speed facilities – working on speed and athleticism skills instead of doing such activities on the field or court. These programs have learned that the best results in speed and athleticism are achieved inside a training facility.

Extreme environmental factors can lead to complications during the training period. Hot temperatures over the summer drastically reduce the athlete’s ability to thermoregulate (regulate body temperature), causing the body to tire; therefore, outdoor training in the heat, even at night, can limit the training quality. Participating in sprint and agility drills on parking lot surfaces or loose gravel can limit the athlete’s ability to concentrate on the drill due to fear of slipping and falling. Arizona’s hard and dry outdoor playing surfaces are also notorious for increasing the incidence of painful conditions such as shin splints and turf toe.

It is imperative for the success of any sports performance program that an athlete be able to concentrate on the lesson plan and limit outside disturbances. You can mix it up and do field training every once in a while, but performance data overwhelmingly points to better results when training inside the dedicated facility versus the field of play.

For optimal results, choose an indoor climate-controlled training facility with cushioned surfaces.