A specific training programme will be created and analysed for the client’s needs and goals. There will also be a detailed analysis of the components of fitness the athlete needs to improve. Goal setting is one of the most popular performance enhancement techniques in sport (Toner and Moran, 2017). The athlete has set specific areas in which he is looking to improve within the training programme. The individual’s goals are to improve his muscular strength, speed and power. These components of fitness are important in many sports but especially relevant to the client who is participating on this training programme.
Background of the client
The athlete who is participating in the training programme is a cricketer for Oxford MCCU and Northamptonshire county cricket club (NCCC). The individual is on a strict cricket-based training program currently, when the cricket season starts the athlete will be playing for Oxford MCCU, Northamptonshire county cricket club and Northampton saints cricket club. It is vitally important that the cricketer gets as strong, fit and quick as possible before his busy season starts. The client currently has severe issues with his speed, muscular strength and power, so if the training program is successful the cricketer will see vast improvements in his game. These improvements will be made by the programme being well detailed and structured. Also the client will need to give serious amounts of effort to improve all three of these components. The program will be six weeks long and this is because six weeks is enough time to see major improvements within a training programme.
The individual has also had many injures during his short sporting career. The athlete has had major injuries in his lower back and hamstrings forcing him to miss many competitive games in the last two cricketing seasons. Injuries are defined as an incident occurring during scheduled games or practices therefore causing the athlete to miss the next competition. To prevent hamstring injuries reoccurring, it is vital to establish how they happen. It is generally thought in wider research that the reason for the susceptibility of hamstring muscle injuries is due to their anatomical arrangement. The hamstring muscle complex is a muscle group which works by flexion and extension in the knee and the hip. In everyday movements, flexion of the hip and knee occur together, with opposing effects occurring on the hamstring length (Petersen, 2005).
Hopefully the six-week training programme will stop these injuries reoccurring and strengthen his whole-body region. If the client can make these components of fitness his strengths instead of weaknesses, then the training programme has been highly effective. Research has shown that there are many sport performance benefits from resistance training. Weight training specifically, is now one of the main exercise tools used for individuals who seek benefits from competing in exercise (Kenney et al., 2012).
It is crucial that the athlete is driven and motivated to complete the programme successfully. Coaches can only do so much for the sporting individuals any athletes will need self-motivation in some form. Motivation is defined as ‘the direction and intensity of one’s effort’ (Weinberg, 2009). The motivation from the client can be intrinsic or extrinsic, but it is crucial in achieving success. The willingness of the sporting individual to use mental and physical effort in the need of achieving excellence (Moran, 2012). For the training programme to work the athlete must put in significant amounts of effort and must be driven to succeed. If the athlete applies himself properly for the duration of the training programme there will be no doubt that the athlete will see improvements in his cricket. The exercises are specific for the client and all the workouts are power, speed or muscular strength drills.
Muscular Strength Training
The client’s main weakness is his muscular strength, this is certainly an area in which the individual is looking to improve. With the athlete being a fast bowler in cricket it is vital that he has decent muscular strength because there is a lot of stress and tension going on within the body. Muscular strength refers to the amount of force a muscle can produce and is measured by the maximum amount of force a muscle can produce in a single effort (Corbin and Lindsey, 1994). The amount of muscle strength which can be achieved depends on factors such as: gender, age, and inherited physical attributes. While strong muscles are essential for any athletic effort, strong muscles can benefit everyone in some way. Strength training has many different benefits. It Increases the strength of connective tissue, muscles, and tendons. This leads to improved motor performance and decreased injury risk. It improves your quality of life as you gain body confidence. Strength training will not only make you strong but will also help with managing your weight (Hoffman et al, 2011).
Training programmes need to be specific for the athlete and it is crucial that the programme provides benefits health wise, but it also needs to be enjoyable. There is a substantial amount of evidence which states that resistance training is beneficial in younger athletes. Scientific papers have been carried out and the research has shown that properly designed resistance-based training programmes can improve the strength development in children as young as six years old (Kraemer and Fleck, 2005). As stated earlier, the athlete has had previous injuries that have hindered his progression in sport. Recently the client has been on a rehabilitation programme with the Oxford MCCU gym coach because of the reoccurring injuries. The programme was built around progressive ability and trunk stabilisation exercises (Speed and Hunter, 2007). With the rehabilitation programme being complete, the athlete should be fully fit to start this six-week training programme.
The athlete is going to need to be mentally strong to complete this programme effectively and efficiently. Mental toughness has been associated with reaching peak performance and can been seen as a synonym for being resilient (Moran, 2004). The athlete needs to be motivated intrinsically and cannot not rely solely on the coach. Exercises such as: back squat, bench press, deadlifts and loaded press ups will be in the training programme and every exercise has three sets but there is a lot of repetitions for the athlete to complete on each set (See Appendices). The repetitions are high because the athlete needs to get volume in the training programme early. The athlete isn’t too familiar with some of the exercises so hopefully the athlete gathers the technique quickly. When the athlete has the technique mastered that is when the weight can go up on the exercise and muscular hypertrophy will be seen. It is vital that the client is very careful and cautious when using free weights or stack machines because he has had severe injuries especially in the lower back region.
Strength training programmes are now considered an integral part of athlete preparation. There are several areas of research that provide support for this. Physical enhancements that can be developed through strength training have been shown to differentiate the performance levels of athletes. In American football, research has shown that starters and nonstarters can be separated by the measures of their strength and jumping ability (Fry and Kraemer, 1991). This is also alike in research conducted in Australian rules football, where the measures of speed and vertical jump performance can define who starts and who is on the bench (Young, et al, 2005).
Strength or resistance training has been shown to improve strength, power and speed in several athletic sports. In addition to improving these physical qualities, strength training also has significant benefits for athletes in terms of increasing muscle mass and decreasing risk of injury. The goal of athlete preparation is to maximize performance during competition (McGuigan et al, 2012). The use of training programs designed to increase strength and power qualities in elite athletes is to ultimately improve athletic performance. There are large amounts of literature that shows that strength training can increase strength, power, speed, and acceleration in several different sports (Olsen and Hopkins, 2003). For example, explosive strength training has been shown to increase maximal sprinting speed and vertical jumping in English football players (Buchheit et al, 2010).
Research states that strength and conditioning training is a type of training that is designed to improve a person’s sports performance and reduce their chance of injury. Becoming active and getting your heart pumping is great, however if you do not do exercises that strengthen your body and bones, you’ll be repeatedly dealing with acute injuries and irritating pains that can be avoidable if you strengthen your body in the correct way (Anderson and Kearney, 1982).
Strengthening the body can be simply gained through hard work and you don’t have to be a member of a gym if you don’t want to as you can strengthen your body and bones through daily exercises that can be done at home. Having respectable muscular strength can even reduce the chances of diseases. An example would be individuals who suffer from diabetes normally experience better blood glucose control by continuing in regular resistance training (Anderson and Kearney, 1982).
Speed and Power training
Speed and power are the other two components of fitness that the client is wanting to improve. Firstly, speed is the ability to reach a high velocity of movement in whatever form of exercise. There is a high correlation between an athlete’s strength and explosive power and their sprint performance (Fleck and Kraemer, 2004). This is usually measured with power tests such as jump squats, reactive jumps and short sprints. The client currently does all the power tests at least once a month on his current cricket programme at University. While strength and power training can both increase an athletes speed, combining it with sprint training is much more beneficial (Bompa, 1999). Basic sprints help improve reaction time, acceleration, and deceleration, all of these are vitally important for the athletes chosen sport. Sprints can be repeated near to the client’s maximal velocity which is essential to make the right neuromuscular adaptations. A speed training program can be adapted if needed by hill sprinting. Incline running helps to improve power during hip flexion and extension (Baker, 2001). Downhill running is also very effective at improving co-ordination and stride length (Newton and Kraemer, 1999).
Power is ‘the ability to exert a maximal force in as short a time as possible, as in accelerating, jumping and throwing implements’ (Garhammer, 1993). While strength is the maximal force you can apply against a load, power is proportional to the speed at which you can apply this maximal force. Training to improve power can include lifting weights, throwing implements such as medicine balls, running against a resistance, and plyometrics (Komi, 1979).
Power training enables an athlete to apply the greatest amount of their maximal strength in the shortest period of time (Beachle and Earle, 2000). This is crucial for many sports men and women who will rarely be required and not have the time to produce maximal forces. Most athletic activities involve far faster movements and higher power outputs that are found in maximal strength exercises (Newton and Kraemer, 1994).
An athlete can be exceptionally strong but lack significant explosive power if they are unable to apply their strength rapidly (Mero et al, 1987). There are many sports benefits from a combination of power training methods. An example would be in Basketball where explosive strength training drills such as power cleans and plyometric exercises such as depth jumps, and ballistics are all relevant suitable training choices. Plyometrics is a great way to improve speed and power and it involves a quick, powerful movement using a counter-movement jump that involves shortening the strength cycle (Beachle and Earle, 2000). Plyometric exercises include various types of jump training and upper body drills using medicine balls. Plyometrics is a suitable form of power training for many team and individual sports. Many sporting individuals see plyometrics as simply as jumping up and down but there are important guidelines and programme design protocols that need to be followed if plyometrics is to be as safe and effective as possible.
To conclude, the individual has a training programme that is specific to his needs and the three components of fitness that the client is looking to improve are muscular strength, speed and power. The sporting individual needs to work continuously hard on this program and the improvements in the specific areas will be made. This training will undoubtedly improve the athletes cricketing ability and general athletic skills. The use of strength-based training programmes designed to increase strength and power qualities in elite athletes is to improve athletic performance in general (McGuigan et al, 2012).
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