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June 3, 2016

Training to Feel Better Not Just Look Better

by Michael Hughes

When I was a boy my father, another small business owner, always needed to be close by to run his business. Traveling outside California was hard to do, especially in the summer. So to ensure the five of us boys and my mom enjoyed our summer breaks he bought a cabin at Lake Nacimento. Growing up we would essentially move to the lake house for three months a year and spend each day on the water, tubbing, wake boarding and just enjoying the sunshine. 

Today boating and water sports represent summer to me and I’m my happiest out on the water. This year my brother and I bought a boat to bring back the summer memories at the lake. It’s awesome to go back to your childhood haunts and relive it. It’s a great feeling to get back up behind a boat and wakeboard, which is probably my favorite sport. 

Aging science would tell us that the older you get, especially in our late 20’s and early 30’s, you start to see the body decline in capability. As I’ve just turned 32, I’m a much better and athlete on the water behind a boat, than I was in high school. The reason is simple, at 15 I lifted weights to look better and now I lift weights to move better. 

I trust my body more and am more confident in its abilities now. I know my strength and weaknesses as an athlete. In my childhood I’d probably wakeboard 90 days a year. In the past 10 years I’ve only been out wakeboarding about 15 times total. It’s not been practicing behind a boat that made me a better wakeboarder, its’ my functional training. Training in multiple planes of motion, in various environments has made me better. Today my body adapts to the environment in the water much better. 

Skilled training is the highest level of athletic ability. But first you need to build the foundation of your body’s strengths and weaknesses before you focus in on a specific sport.

We see many youth athletes make the mistake of thinking that to get better at their favorite sport they just need to practice that sport over and over again.  For example, one of the rising concerns in youth sports, for baseball pitchers, is over throwing. Young pitchers are taught to throw better and faster they need to keep throwing. But there are basic chain reaction mechanics that could be trained using other exercises that could bring relief to the throwing arm while still training the body for the same chain reaction of motion.

It’s my hope that through new summer programs like our Youth Sports Agility Camps and our elite Athlete Performance training, that young athletes will build the foundation of athleticism that will continue to serve them in years to come.

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