Love him or hate him, you have to respect Kobe Bryant’s work ethic. Early in his career he had a burning desire to be the best player in the NBA. He achieved that goal because of his commitment to consistently develop himself in all aspects of the game.
Along with his desire he had a definite plan of action on how he would achieve that goal. He didn’t get there by chance. He surrounded himself with people that could help him develop the necessary skills and mindset. Not just basketball coaches, but coaches with expertise in the areas of physical conditioning, nutrition, vision, mental conditioning and leadership among others.
On many occasions Kobe talked about his training regime and how important the off-season was for his development. The most grueling workouts were in the offseason because that’s when he had the time he needed to improve those skills outside of just practicing basketball. Kobe isn’t alone, top athletes in all sports will attest that their biggest gains are made in the offseason.
What are you doing this offseason?
Are you preparing yourself to achieve your goals?
Whether your sport is in-season or in the off-season there are things you can do to better yourself. There are so many different aspects to sports performance from sport specific technique, mental abilities, physical conditioning, etc. While a complete athletic development regimen includes all of these aspects, they aren’t all heavily emphasized year round. There just isn’t enough time. Instead, top athletes cycle the types of training they do and change the emphasis of their training throughout the year in order to maximize gains, prevent injury and dominate their sport. For example, the off-season is geared more towards strength & conditioning, fixing major mechanical and physical issues and taking a short break from sport specific movements that can cause overuse injuries.
As the season comes closer it’s time to ramp up training, focus on sport specific techniques and the mental aspects of the game. The athlete’s goal of the off-season and pre-season training is to physically and mentally prepare for the season.
Once the season starts it’s all about using those underlying skills (strength, speed, cognition, vision) in action. The emphasis during the season has to be sport specific training, including offensive and defensive technique, perfecting plays and meshing as a team. Amongst games and practice there isn’t much time for anything other than trying to maintain those underlying skills you worked on in the off-season and getting enough rest to avoid burning out.
Many athletes have big goals and want to be the best. That’s awesome! Athletes have got to have big goals! The problem is they don’t have a plan of action on how they’re going to achieve those goals. As a result they become drastically more difficult to achieve. Successful businessman, radio host and motivational speaker, Dave Ramsey says it best, “A goal without a plan is just a dream.” This applies to all areas of life. Don’t let your goals become dreams that never happen!
If there’s a big time goal you want to achieve you most likely know that it won’t happen over night, sorry to break it to you. If your goal is big enough, the only way you’ll successfully reach it is by achieving smaller goals along the way. The accumulation of those smaller successes will prepare you for the bigger goal at hand, but without a plan it’s tough to know what actions are necessary. Without a plan nothing truly great can be achieved.
When creating a plan it’s best to look at where you are now. An honest self-assessment is a good starting point for figuring out your strengths and weaknesses so that you’ll have a better idea of what steps need to be taken. If you don’t know what areas you need to improve, then do what Kobe did. Surround yourself with coaches that can help pin-point what skills you need to develop and/or what habits you need to create. The main areas that you’ll want to look at are sport specific techniques, physical conditioning, neurocognitive & vision skills, mental conditioning, nutrition, leadership and injury management.
Everyone knows that in order to get better at a sport you need to practice that sport. Obvious right? But is only practicing your sport going to get you where you want to be? Unless you’re brand new to the sport and/or have low expectations, the answer is probably no. Only practicing your sport will allow you to sharpen your sport specific techniques and probably get in some sort of conditioning. But what if you have a deficiency in those other skills? How are you going to overcome those deficiencies without specialized training?
Lets say you’re not a very fast runner. It doesn’t matter how hard you try if you don’t have the right skills to practice. You’re just not going to get faster by reinforcing the same skills you already have. Or lets say you can see the ball clearly but for some reason your timing is off and you consistently miss the ball. This could be due to a deficiency in one or more of your visual skills. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to focus on the ball, if the underlying visual skills aren’t there you’re not going to have the consistency and accuracy you’re striving for. There are so many different skills that could potentially hold athletes back from performing the way they want, but if they properly train themselves to develop those skills then eventually they’ll overcome their deficiencies.
Some deficiencies are easy to pick out with the eye test and some aren’t. If you’re serious about achieving your goals, at some point or another you’ll seek out experts that can help you pin-point the areas you’re lacking and guide you along the path of improvement.
If and when you’re ready to take action take a look at the training programs we offer at Sensory Speed. We’ll help you set your goals, pin-point which skills need work, put together a plan of action, and support you in executing the plan. Your goals become our goals. Let us help you have your best season ever!
If you’d like to learn more about how you can achieve your goals request a complimentary consultation with a Sensory Speed trainer.