It seems nowadays more and more parents of athletes are coming to my gym in hopes of getting their athletes healthy again, playing at the level they once were capable. After years of struggling through pain and injury they get to a point where their athlete just can’t push through the pain anymore.
It’s more often than not a result of playing year-round. Gone are the years where your athletes solely played high school season sports, now we have clubs and tournaments throughout the year, leaving no time for athletes to train and prepare for the season ahead.
Unfortunately all the tournament, club and camp organizers are misleading parents. Every summer parents spend thousands of dollars for exposure camps and tournament for their sons or daughters. These same organizers explain to parents that their athletes must attend a certain camp or play in a certain tournament if they want to increase their chances of making a team or getting a scholarship.
This advice couldn’t be further from the truth. Four days of camp will not change your athletes and neither will a weekend tournament.
Here is a quote from Mike Boyle, a top strength and conditioning expert out of Boston with more than 30 years of experience coaching high school, collegiate and professional athletes:
“Parents make a critical error at the wrong time. The most critical time in a young athletes career is the summer. This is when a young player needs to train to prepare to have a great season. However, instead of preparation, parents of athletes with potential often choose exposure. The result is usually the same. The athlete goes to 5-6 “˜exposure’ camps to be “˜seen’ by college coaches. Instead of training and preparation, the summer is about travel and “˜exposure.’ The final result is that the athlete is not physically prepared for the season and ends up either getting injured or having a sub-par year. Coaches that might have had interest suddenly disappear. Sure things turn into maybes. Suddenly all the time spent on exposure seems wasted as there is no product to expose.”
The reality is the road to college sports should go straight through the weight room. It seems so simple, yet you would be surprised how little importance many parents and athletes put on getting stronger and more athletic. If your athlete’s goal is to play college sports, then they should get ready to play by spending the summer getting better.
Your athletes would be better off just focusing on the one or two camps that have the most value and focus the rest of their time on training. The results will always be superior, as they will be clearly improved, legitimately raising their chances of going to the college of their choice.
Even though both sport performance centers and organizers of tournaments, camps and clubs have a vested financial interest in you and your child, sports performance centers help your athletes do exactly what professional and collegiate athletes do in the offseason “” train to get better.
Most summer strength training programs are intentionally modeled on the programs that have helped high school, collegiate and professional athletes succeed for decades. The programs are difficult and demanding, however they are designed around a proven formula, not a quick-buck scheme.
This summer you and your athletes have a decision to make. You can try to show everyone how good your athletes are in a few camps or tournaments or, that athlete can actually work at getting better and preparing for the seasons that really matter.