Athlete Game Plan for Success
Wellness is defined as, “The quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as a result of deliberate effort.” For the young athlete a wellness Game Plan encompasses learning how to utilize and train the body and mind for optimal health and physical performance. the successful young athlete takes responsibility for their well-being and develops healthy habits that benefit them from one season to the next. It is a learning process.
Please watch the inspiring TED Success Talk given by Coach John Wooden.
A Complete Athlete Wellness Game Plan includes:
- proper nutrition
- physical conditioning
- mental preparation
Proper nutrition is essential for overall health, for fueling athletic performance and aiding with recovery. Understanding how each nutritional component (protein, carbohydrate, fat and water) affect performance is an educational process that allows the athlete to make healthy choices. for example, complex carbohydrates should be consumed prior to athletic performance and proteins should be consumed after to assist with muscle recovery.
Physical conditioning is essential for peak performance and injury prevention. Conditioning programs should include an active warm-up, core conditioning, endurance exercises, agility and balance activities, and a cool-down routine with stretching. The conditioning program should be specific to participant age, sport and fitness level. for example, the conditioning program for a female soccer player should focus on plyometric and agility training (neuromuscular based), muscle specific activities (hamstrings), and technical training (mechanics of running) as an aspect of the complete training program to protect the knee from ACL injuries. Whereas, the high school baseball pitcher must focus training on scapular stabilization, leg strengthening and core stability to prevent shoulder injuries and maximize performance.
An athlete’s mental preparation should go beyond the visualization exercises for sports performance. It is important to find an appropriate balance between the amount of time dedicated to sports, school and social life. Having good time management skills will help decrease the amount of stress that accompanies the busy schedule of the student athlete.
Recovery is often the neglected component of a wellness program. Adequate sleep, approximately nine hours a night for the high school-aged student, is vital for physical and mental well-being. During sleep the body uses the foods consumed to repair and build muscles, balance the body’s hormones, and the mind assimilates information learned in school. Recovery techniques allow the athlete to maintain enthusiasm, prevent burn-out and maximize performance levels.
Wellness is an active process of becoming aware and making choices that optimize health and successful participation in athletics. The foundation for success begins with the Athlete having a solid Game Plan for Wellness.
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- Eat For A Peak Performance: How To Eat Healthy for Teenagers (stack.com)
- Top 10: Habits Of Elite Athletes (macseattle.wordpress.com)
- Soccer Performance: ACL Injury Prevention (bauerphysicaltherapy.wordpress.com)
- Sports: Why the World’s Best Athletes Use Routines (psychologytoday.com)
- Are You Overtraining? (collarcityathletics.typepad.com)