Top 5 Sports performance myths

Sports performance myths
Sports performance myths

Sports performance is a broad topic when thinking about the various sports: Hockey, lacrosse, dance, wrestling, gymnastics etc. Each sport has its section of myths, for now we’ll start with the big 5 that cross the majority of the sports.

 Myth 1: Yoga is great for athletes, it makes them more flexible..

Sports performance myths Yoga for flexibility

There are many benefits to incorporating yoga into your  training program.  purpose and intent is the most important piece of a training program. The logic makes sense, if you stretch, then you should increase flexibility.

Yoga has a focus on increasing passive flexibility. Passive flexibility is the ability to move a joint into a position with aid. Having the passive range of motion is important but if you stop there, you have no control of that ability. This is where programing is vital for sports performance success. The next step would be to find strength in that movement, meaning have the ability to get yourself into that position without aid, Active flexibility. Then continue to fine tune the movement.

Summary: Yoga is not bad and has many benefits but is not necessarily the answer. If an athlete needs to increase mobility, the athlete needs a program that will allow the athlete to be mobile and strong through the movement not just have passive flexibility.

Myth 2: Using weight will make you lose mobility

Where to start with this one… Society pushes the idea of working hard, puking, dripping sweat, heavy breathing means that you’re getting results. This is based on the principal of overload, as an athlete trains, to continue getting results an athlete must increase the difficulty of the training regimen.

TRUE! As mentioned in Myth 1, intent and proper progressions decide performance results. If an athlete is told by a coach to get stronger. “Stronger means lift weights!”… doesn’t have the proper tools/guidance/information to develop strength properly,  and attempts to lift weights, swing kettlebells , push sleds, without the technique necessary or understand how to progress further. Then yes, using weights may decrease mobility.

Summary: Weights are not bad! How they are worked into programs is the issue. Intent and purpose, develop the movement needed for the sport. Then, once it’s been mastered, begin strengthening the movement. When the goal is to be able to lift a weight, the purpose is forgotten, the point of lifting the weight is to make sure the movement of the body that is needed is able to put out more force with the proper range of motion.

Myth 3: “I eat whatever I want I don’t gain weight, it’s fine, I’m fine”

Whooo-aaah..The American society has an obesity epidemic on its hands. That doesn’t mean if you’re skinny it’s ok. The food we eat is our recovery, growth- mentally and physically, fuel, maintenance and allows our body to perform.

I call my athletes Lambos (Lamborghini). You don’t put the same fuel in a Lambo that you do in a Corolla (No disrespect to my corolla drivers, they take regular gas and Lambos need Premium gas or better). Your body is that -expensive car- with high grade fuel source, let your body run on low grade fuel and the body will begin to decrease in performance. The good news … if you feel you play your best eating unhealthy, can you imagine your true potential with nutrient packed food?! Unleash the potential!!

Summary: Being Skinny or if you need to gain weight, does not mean you should fill your body with food that won’t help your body replenish and grow for as hard as you train for your sport. Get the proper nutrients and allow your body to unleash it’s true potential.

 Myth 4: “You’re out of shape”… “start going for distance runs a couple times a week!”

 Out of shape = go for a run… as all of our prior myths.. it makes sense! Running is great for many things and if you enjoy it, do it! As long as the Purpose and Intent is understood.

How many remember Bio class in high school? The teacher discussing ATP and energy systems. The diagram to our left shows three different color lines. Each line shows the dominating energy source during strenuous tasks. Most sports that last at least 0ver 20seconds are based off of that red line.

Hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, etc. The athlete has about 20-60seconds of high intensity and in most cases gets  a cool down, line change, stoppage of play, the ball is in the defensive or offensive zone or the player just has nothing left in the tank and has to slow down. For this reason running at a consistent pace for 15-30mins doesn’t necessarily help improve our conditioning  when we need the endurance to recover quickly after a full game of 30-60second spurts of high intensity.

Summary: Always begin with what is the purpose what is the intent of the goal of a training program. Going for a run is great, and it may have a place in a training program, however, how can I make that 3mile run 3xs a week truly transfer benefits into my game? Is it the right training technique to get my true potential? If you’re not sure of the answer ask a sports performance coach just stay away from blogs and youtube you never know what people will write. 😉

Myth 5: Mindset training is for the weak.

If it’s important to understand the intent of a training program, the intent of a nutrition program, the intent of a team you play for, their intent for your development and your intent to move forward to the next level. Why would mindset be for the weak? We have tutors in school, coaches in sports, financial advisors, even baby name consultants but understanding what you as a player want, need and the path to success is considered for the weak?

Once again it comes back to Intent and purpose. If you plan to play your sport for the fun of it and you are ok with whatever happens, good do that, you probably don’t need help in understanding your vision. However, if you have committed a decent portion of your life, time, finances, sacrifices, why would you not want to understand what your vision and the path to your vision. There are only a small percentage of athletes, no matter how talented that get a chance to breakthrough. In hockey there are 60 Division 1 hockey programs and they usually allow about 18 of the players selected to get a full scholarship to the school that means there are only 1080 scholarships awarded. Let’s say your goal is to get a full ride to a D1 school. We established there are 1080 scholarships awarded, and there were 19.9million people estimated to attend American colleges and universities in 2018. That breaks down to about a .000005% chance to getting a scholarship, and if you’re an athlete that is extremely talented it may be a bit better, .005% chance.

Ok, don take my statistics to seriously. The point is, just like the prep for our body is important, our mind needs that same purpose and intent. Sports often get the misrepresentation of its just a game, you’re crazy if you take sports too seriously or that its all physical. The sports industry is projected to reach 73.5 billion in 2019. Still think its just a game? The misnomer of all physical and no mental… The greatest athletes, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana, Mariano Rivera all are remembered for their ability to take the game into their hands with all the pressure of letting down their teammates, coaches, fans, family, contract deals, never achieving their true greatness. The Biggest difference between great players and legendary players is their ability to understand their purpose and intent in any moment, whether It’s a world championship game and everything is left on your shoulders or its a scrimmage and there is no pressure. Their ability to block all of the other thoughts and focus the task at hand, requires the greatest of mental strength.

Summary: Mindset training is essential. The social stigma among the athletic community about mind set training is beginning to become more popular which is great! However, it’s still not where it should be, which is great for you! Start learning about how to apply mindset training into your training regimen. Make it part of your daily life and it will truly help you unleash your true potential!

Bringing the Sports performance myths together

The Myths in the sports performance industry hold back each athletes ability to take their game to another level. Sports are not just a game, the lessons that athletes learn about team work, work ethic, failure, leadership, communication, perseverance, mental toughness, rejection, success and the many more lessons that shine through for the players that reflect on their years of experience are indispensable. Take 5 of your own beliefs put them to the “Intent–>Purpose test” do they hold up? In the coming weeks, we will be expanding on all five of the myths… yes, especially Mindset! Luckily you came across this article and are excited to break the norm and unleash you true potential!

Written By:

Kirill Vaks


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