By Cody Lichthardt, Personal Trainer, Rock Valley Physical Therapy
It’s back to school and back to athletics for Quad City area students. For athletes looking to train the right way and enhance their performance, a SADO (specific athletic development optimization) program may be an option. Let’s Move Quad Cities fitness blogger, Cody Lichthardt, sat down with Caleb Robertson, Sports Performance Coordinator at Rock Valley Sports Performance, to talk about the basics of sports performance programs for young athletes.
Cody: What age is a good age to start?
Caleb: Ages 13 to 14 is an ideal age to start, although it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact age because everyone matures differently.
However, it is an optimal time to introduce general body awareness, coordination, and basic resistance training techniques. This allows the body to be efficient with movement, for when an athlete matures and progresses to higher levels of competition.
Cody: How do you choose a program (SADO vs general athlete group)?
Caleb: SADO stands for specific athletic development optimization.
A SADO program is a sport specific workout that is made for one athlete and one athlete only.
SADO athletes are highly motivated and generally very advanced.
The program is designed to mimic a collegiate training session including standards and demands of the athletes for a college prep.
The general athlete group is ideal for those learning movements, those who play multiple sports, or those who are looking to increase general athleticism.
Cody: What are the benefits of playing multiple sports?
Caleb: There are several benefits to playing multiple sports, especially at a younger age.
Being involved in various sports, an athlete has more opportunity to learn better coordination, teamwork, and work ethic. Plus, the skills that are developed in one competition are more likely to carry over to another sport.
For example, a basketball player will develop the ability to be agile on the court, which can then be transferred to better agility during a tennis match.
A more specific example is: a baseball swing promotes rotational power and the ability to drive off of a back-planted leg. This is a movement that can be involved/mimicked for a pulling guard in football.
One other benefit of playing multiple sports is the reduced risk of obtaining an overuse injury.
If a young athlete is consistently putting the same stresses on the body from a young age, year after year, the likelihood of that athlete suffering some sort of injury continues to climb.
Even with the proper techniques instilled in the young athlete, they may not develop with as much depth or overall athleticism by practicing the same motion.
Along with the athlete’s increase risk of overuse injury, the athlete is typically asymmetrical and not balanced (front to back or right to left), which is a precursor to injury.
Cody: What does a general program include?
Caleb: A general training session will include a dynamic warm up, linear and lateral speed drills, agility/footwork, plyometrics, injury prevention, core training, resistance training (based on ability level), conditioning, and flexibility.
Each session lasts for 90 minutes and is at a high tempo.
Cody: When is a sports performance program appropriate and when might it not be the right option?
Caleb: There are very few situations where sports performance is not a correct choice for an athlete.
It will not be effective if the athlete is too young or if the athlete is fresh off an injury. An injured athlete always needs to start with their physical therapist (PT) or athletic trainer (AT) before they can be released to us.
Once they have progressed and hit the benchmarks the PT or AT have set out, then we will be able to take over and work in conjunction with the other staff to further progress the athlete to get them ready for competition.
If an athlete is too young, we don’t typically get the adaptations we strive for due to a lack of physical and mental maturity.
Outside of those parameters, sports performance is always a great idea, whether it is for an athlete or someone looking for general strength and athleticism without the end goal of sports.
One is able to obtain so much more than the obvious benefits of a vertical jump, strength, and speed. It teaches hard work, motivation, consistency, responsibility, respect, confidence, and patience.
It helps to imprint a healthy lifestyle, ways to set goals and accomplish them, how to work in both a team setting and push yourself individually, while creating the ability to not have fear when faced with an obstacle that is unknown.
Above all, it teaches that exercise can be fun and enjoyable!
These are all great qualities that have a large transfer into life, sport, and education. We think it’s a great start and a great way for both athletes and non-athletes to acquire these qualities to utilize the rest of their life.
Cody: What are the benefits of a sports performance program?
Caleb: Benefits include overall coordination, development of sport-specific movement patterns, confidence, discipline, and responsibility.
Other physical benefits from a training package, if an athlete puts forth 100% effort are increase in vertical jump, broad jump, chest pass (upper body power), decreased pro-agility time and decreased conditioning time.
Cody: Is it expensive? How many sessions are recommended?
Caleb: Packages start as low $395 for 18 ninety-minute sessions.
For more information on Rock Valley’s Sports Performance program, call 309 – 797-8550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a movement assessment and performance evaluation.
Cody Lichthardt is a Performance Enhancement Specialist at Quad City Sport Performance and a Certified Personal Trainer at Rock Valley Health. Cody works to help others gain the benefits of training and proper nutrition. You can read Cody’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.