If you are involved in sports as an athlete, stretching has probably been a major component of your warm-up. Your coaches put you through a variety of static and dynamic stretches to prepare for practice and games. I am going to explain the difference and benefits of the two types of stretches.
Static stretching – Stretching done at rest. You are technically lengthening a muscle while holding it for a period of time. Some familiar examples are standing hamstring stretch, calf stretches and quad pulls.
Recent reports dispute these types of stretches. It is believed by some to weaken tendons and decrease high force performance. But, It is also believed by some that this is only based on the duration of these stretches. Try to keep a static stretch at 10-30 seconds. This is a type of stretch I typically use for non-athletic performance training.
Dynamic stretching – Stretching done while moving without going past your natural static stretch range of motion. This is a more preferred type of stretch when dealing with athletic performance. In a dynamic state, blood and oxygen are flowing to the tissues involved. Some examples of an effective dynamic routine that I use for athletes in many different sports are…
Knee to Chest
A Skips – sprint drill
B Skips – sprint drill
Straight Leg Shuffles
Lunge with Reach
Warm-ups are always a priority, especially when it comes to injury prevention. No matter the type of stretching you do, be sure to get your body warm and heart rate up a little before you start the stretch routine. I believe both types to have a purpose. It may just be based on the type of activity you are doing that day?
For more info, here is a great article in the New York Times.
You can take 5 official recruiting visits during your senior year in high school.
I want to give you an inside look of what you will be doing. Since I recommend a parent joining you, lets assume that is the case for this example.
First, 48 hours on campus is all you are allowed by the NCAA. The coaches will usually fill every minute.
You will be given an itinerary ahead of your scheduled visit. Take a good look at the weather at the school you are visiting so you plan the proper clothes and shoes (ladies). Too often prospects are seen shivering during a football game or wobbling around a huge campus in uncomfortable shoes.
Second, here is a sample itinerary:
- Arrive at airport or on campus in the evening
- Dinner with primary coach
- Check-in hotel
- Coach takes you to a big breakfast where you are joined by another coach and someone from the team (who will be your “host” for the trip)
- Meeting with an academic counselor
- Attend a class with your host
- Lunch on campus with the team
- Facilities tour (locker room, training room, weight room…)
- Attend Practice
- Back to the hotel to freshen up
- Big dinner with multiple coaches and athletes
- Evening with your host, may stay in the dorm/athletic event /movie/party…
Day 3 example
- Breakfast with athletes and coaches
- Tour campus
- Meeting with the Head coach
- Lunch on campus
- Attend athletic event with team/host
- Head home
As you can see there is very little down time.
Have your list of questions ready and don’t be afraid to ask them. 48 hours is a small window of time to figure out if that is the right school for you. The coach wants you to see (and be impressed by) everything possible.
Interaction with the team is also important because some of them may be your lifelong friends.
What is the secret to developing your explosive power?
I have spent many years competing in and coaching Track and Field. I was taught by some of the best coaches in the world. These coaches have developed Olympians and World Champions.
Before I lose you, I realize you might think, “My sport is nothing like track?”
But know this – all sports benefit from explosive power!
So what is the secret? I start most my speed camps with one phrase to sum it up…
Its about quality, not quantity!
Now lets put that in play with examples…
Quality First. The quickest way to get from A→B is good reaction and running a straight line. If you give 50% you won’t be the first one to the ball or base or finish line. If you give 100% you will be the first one there!
When you practice explosive power with reaction drills, sprints, and plyometrics, you have to practice each at a high % effort. The more you practice at game speed, the better you will be on game day.
Quantity Next. Let’s explore some examples of quantity. There is such a thing as too much at 100% in certain components. Reactions drills can be done often without risk of injury (assuming you are warmed up properly). Sprints and plyometrics are a little different. The chance of hurting yourself from doing high repetitions of sprints and plyo’s is big.
Sprints (depending on the distance) should be kept between 5-10 reps. This may not sound like much, but remember they are 100% effort!
Plyometrics can also leave your legs feeling pretty banged up. Box jumps and bounding drills needs to be kept around 30 reps. Again there are many variables that play a part in the total quantity, but I wanted you to understand that the quantity is much lower when you are operating at 100% capacity!
Now go get explosive!
Find yourself wondering, “I love this coach, should I choose colleges primarily because of them?”
You’re not alone. It’s hard not to favor a school because of a coach.
In many cases, that’s fantastic. You have goals and you feel that this group of coaches will help you reach those goals.
And you are going to be working with these coaches EVERY day. You are traveling with them, eating with them, asking their opinion about classes, answering to them when you miss a class, and relying on them to help keep your chaotic life of school and athletics organized!
But…there is always a risk of them moving on to another school.
So in your list of things you want when picking a school, I say leave “coach” on it. Shop coaches just like you shop schools.
But, consider giving more weight to academic aspects, even ahead of the coach. They may promise you up and down that they are staying at that college, but I promise you THINGS HAPPEN and that is not always the case.
So picture that coach leaving in two years-would you still be happy with the school and the coaches that may be there?
Coaches are a HUGE part of collegiate athletics. They work very hard for you and try to provide everything necessary to succeed. The choice is in your hands and part one is that you have to love your school, major, sport, and coach to have that success. They can’t do it for you, but they certainly will provide a lot of guidance along the way.
Part two is simply that the work is YOURS in college and you need to be ready for unexpected changes! When you are out of school and in the real world, the work is YOURS then too, so prepare!
The “fall” season is a major recruiting period for a number of reasons, including official visit and unofficial visits…
After the first day of your senior school year, you are allowed to take up to 5 official visits.
Its football season (and basketball is right around the corner). Those are fun games to go watch. One of the perks of taking an official or unofficial visit is that the University can provide up to 3 tickets for a game. They don’t just give them away to anybody on an unofficial visit, but if they have interest in you, you might just get to see a game.
Most student/athletes and coaches like to have ample time to make their decisions for the next school year.
Many sports have early signing periods. Check NLI Signing Calendar for sport specific dates.
Now for the differences between an official and unofficial visit.
First off, they are completely PAID for by the University. Even parents can come along on the Universities dime (with the exception of flying). The school has to want you and you only get 5 of these trips (1 per school), so you better have some serious interest in the school as well. High school transcripts will be needed and a check with NCAA eligibility center will happen prior to the visit.
I recommend a parent joining in on every official visit. They really do see things that an excited 18 year old may miss during this quick 48 hours or less on campus!
These visits can happen to any school, at any time (except DEAD periods) and are NOT PAID for by the University. If you do have interest in a school, I recommend contacting the coach of the sport well in advance of your visit. This will better your chance of getting a moment of their time or tickets to a game! No special paperwork is needed for an unofficial visit.