Everyone knows it.

Almost zero do it.

No matter what your sport, you need it.

If you want to improve your performance, you have to step away from playing and practicing your main sport for a short time during the year.

Runners run. Golfers golf. Soccer players practice soccer.

It’s seems obvious.

In order to get better, do that one thing over and over.

And that does work, to a point.

The non stop practice mentality has three main flaws;

1) Repetitive movement breeds injury. If you ONLY move in one pattern over and over, eventually something will give.

2) The Law of Diminishing Returns. At some point, the value of practicing ONE MORE swing returns very little benefit.

3) Becoming a better athlete will improve your performance in any given sport. To become a better athlete, you have to be proficient at moving in all patterns (not just the patterns of one sport).

This not advocating doing nothing.

Time spent on activity outside of your main sport, like resistance training, can relieve stress on your body and increase performance.

Getting stronger and more mobile WILL improve athletic performance for any athlete where unending, repetitive practice all year long probably won’t.

This goes double for kids.

What a kid needs, especially before high school, is to become a better athlete, not a better (enter your sport here) player.

Even if your ultimate goal is to go as far as you can in one particular sport.

Despite piles of research and tons of anecdotal experience and information, parents and kids continue to completely ignore this.

Time away from a sport could be spent on a different sport with different movement demands, strength training, or simply playing.

Specializing in moving in the demands of one particular sport too early will lead to injury, burnout, and possibly missing out on a “calling” in another sport.

Spend some time in your offseason becoming a stronger, better athlete.

You’ll reap the benefits of more durability and better performance next season.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Listen to what Jackie Pirtle-Hall, accomplished distance runner, had to say about this…

Jackie Pirtle-Hall talks about cross training in the off season.

It’s your turn. Emerge.

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS