Sean Van Staden
Columnist
3 minute read
6 Feb 2016
6:00 am

Train smarter to get back into the groove

Sean Van Staden

It is never good to start off the year firing on all cylinders because you will get hurt and it could delay your progress.

I hope you have been working hard on your fitness levels over the last four weeks.

You have two weeks to go where you need to be pushing your metabolic training.

This is also the time where you can start to introduce speed, agility and quickness (SAQ) to your sports training programme.

It is never good to start off the year firing on all cylinders because you will get hurt and it could delay your progress by up to eight weeks.

When you started training for the first time since the holiday, you must have felt delayed onset of muscle soreness, known as DOMS.

This is when your muscles are tender for a few days and you feel areas of your body you have not felt in a long time.

What is happening during this time is simply that your muscle timing, firing and efficiency are not where they should be to when before you stopped training for the holidays.

The day you stop training is the day your body starts to plateau and then regress quickly.

Just one short week of rest or training can set you back two weeks to get back to the same point.

Fortunately, your muscles have muscle memory and what this means is that your body will remember the maximal and operating threshold of the previous season and if you are training smart, it will take you a shorter time to get back to that level, opposed to a newbie training to get to your performance level.

Now that you are fitter and your muscle response time and range of motion is greater, this is the perfect time to introduce your general and sports specific SAQ.

Speed is all about how your body moves with the least amount of resistance. This requires you to have a good level of strength in relation to body mass.

You need to move your mass in linear or multi-directional patterns and if you can’t control your body weight then the last thing you need is speed.

Firstly start working on developing your total body strength and speed technique and then look to improving your speed for your position.

Agility and quickness is essential for any ball sports and, believe it or not, it actually requires the player to learn proper mechanics of how the body needs to operate.

Just by lowering your centre of gravity when cutting, you are more stable to generate greater explosive forces and, best of all, you reduce the risk of groin and ankle injuries.

In order to improve your agility and quickness, you need to teach your feet a variety of movement patterns that will eventually become autonomic and then you can instinctively call upon it during your game.

When developing your SAQ skills, focus on developing general movement patterns first to increase your foundation movement knowledge and then when have good sound movement patterns, focus on sports specific and position specific drills with different loading and intensities.

Sports performance is not a destination and something you do for three weeks. It is a lifestyle and an art. If you want to be the best, you need to be working at your craft in all areas of performance on a weekly basis.

Good luck with the introduction with your SAQ skills and if you would like to know anything more, touch base with me on Twitter @SeanVStaden.