The road to college sports should go right through a weightroom. If your child’s goal is to play college sports, then, get them ready to play. You can’t network your way into college sports, you need to play well to be noticed.
Every college athlete in every sport imaginable strength trains. Why do you think that is? Simple, strength training helps prevent injury and can improve performance. Why doesn’t your child strength train? Not enough time? They probably have enough time to be on two teams? They probably have enough time to stare at their phone two hours a day. It only takes two hours a week.
The other one I hear is “our coach doesn’t think it’s important”? I hate to say it but, maybe your coach needs to become educated. Strength and conditioning is not a fad or a trend. Every college in the US now has at least one strength and conditioning coach. Big division one schools can have a dozen. Every sport trains year round. It’s not a question of “does it work” or “does it help”. We know we can reduce injuries and we know we can increase speed. What more do you want.?
Every summer I encourage the parents of some of the best high school players to forgoe the five camp plan and train. Instead focus on the 1 or 2 camps that have the most value and, focus the rest of the time on training. The results are always outstanding. The players who train are clearly improved and the players who were seniors are all going to the college of their choice.
Strength and conditioning training should be year round for a serious high school athlete, not a sometimes or once-in-a-while thing. Two days a week in-season and three to four days off season should be mandatory.
The ideas of athlete development and athlete exposure are almost polar opposites. The key is to balance the need to be seen by and meet college coaches with the need to train to be able to impress coaches during the critical times.
Every sport has entrepreneurs and organizers who swear they know the answer. The problem is they have a vested financial interest in you and your child. They need you to make money. The truth is, so do training centers and sports performance centers. However training centers and sports performance programs help young athletes do exactly what professional and collegiate athletes do year round, train. Most training programs are intentionally modeled on the programs that have helped high school, college and professional athletes succeed for decades. The programs are not flashy or sexy. In fact they are difficult and demanding.
However, they are designed around a successful formula, not a quick buck strategy. You have a decision to make. You can try to show everyone how good your child is in a few camps or tournaments or, you can actually work at getting better and preparing.