Sport: Cross Country and Track
High School: Air Academy, Class of 2015
Most athletes are ingrained with a certain level of motivation. They are motivated to succeed, they are motivated to win, they are motivated not to lose, they are motivated to outperform their competition. No matter what it is that drives them forward, that motivation has to come from within. Only so much can come from another person. All that a parent, teammate, or coach can do is provide incentives in order to stimulate that desire from inside. However, at the end of the day, if an athlete cannot motivate himself, he will eventually struggle to succeed.
Colin Adams does not need any help being motivated. At Max Performance we tell our athletes that if they want to improve they need to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Colin left his comfort zone behind when he began training with Max Performance at 13-years-old. At the time, Colin played a variety of sports – football, wrestling, basketball, and baseball. A sport for every season. It was when he entered high school, though, that Colin really found his passion on the cross country trails of Colorado. You could say he was born to run.
Since taking on running full time, Colin has seen significant improvement in his race times. A big reason for his improvement has been his ability to stay healthy. Runners are notorious for having bumps, bruises, and nagging injuries that hold them back. But, Colin has used his training at Max to stay healthy which has allowed him to focus on improving his running technique and race times. Here’s a quick look at some of Colin’s times and improvements since his freshman season:
As he begins his junior year at Air Academy, Colin is looking to improve even more on his times. His love of running and his ability to self-motivate will be his driving force as he leads his teammates toward a successful cross country season.
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.” -Maurice Green
Somewhere out there, someone is training. They are moving and pushing their mind and body to the limit to try and get a little bit better. They are training, they are working, they are moving. Those who move will survive. Those who survive will flourish. In my sport, those who don’t move will lose their talent and hard work and it will go to waste.
Max Performance has helped me stay injury free for the past four years that I have been going there. I’ve never had one injury in that time. Max Performance also helps strengthen the smaller muscle groups that most people neglect to exercise, which I attribute to a large part of my success.
Emil Zatopek because not only is he one of the greatest distance runner in history, but also he was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in and was known as on of the nicest people anyone had ever met. His life can be summarized by his own quote: “Great is the victory, but friendship is all the greater.”
Time management. Training takes dedication and time, but it should not run your life. Friends, family, and fun should also be an important aspect of your life, and trying to balance all of that with the limited time is probably the hardest thing to overcome in order to reach my goals.
The following article is not written with the intention to make anyone angry or feel bad. Rather, I want to bring to light the fact that many high school sports programs lack a sound strength & conditioning program, and many high school coaches are not doing what is necessary to help the athletic development of the very kids they coach.
I’ve been a part of the high school sports scene here in Colorado Springs for the past 5 years. In that time, I have spoken to and worked with over 300 high school athletes, coaches, and parents. Needless to say, I’ve learned quite a few things about the culture of the local high school athletic programs and the value coaches and athletic directors place on strength & conditioning.
I have learned that most high school athletes have a desire to improve. They desire to win a State championship. They desire a college scholarship. However, I have also learned that very few have the resources to put in the work that is needed to succeed. They want the end result, but do not have the leadership to help them through the process of achieving it. That’s too bad, because they are missing out on valuable lessons that are learned during that process – hard work, commitment, and time management are just a few that come to mind.
High school athletic departments should encourage this “process” of development and improvement. Some are better than others. This is true in any community. However, many high school sports programs in Colorado Springs have apathetic leadership. Apathy is contagious and trickles down to the athletes. Maybe it’s not apathy. Maybe it’s just a lack of knowledge or coaches don’t know where to begin.
Passion and enthusiasm are also contagious, and young athletes thrive in environments where coaches and administrators challenge them to improve their athletic abilities not by just attending practices and games, but by creating and incorporating a solid strength & conditioning program.
Consider this, at the college and professional levels, there is a lot of money to be earned for teams and schools that win. Teams and players that win sell more tickets, sell more merchandise, and sign better endorsement deals than their counterparts who do not win. Millions and millions of dollars are invested in strength & conditioning professionals and high-tech facilities so that “investments” (athletes) are physically prepared to perform at the highest levels and stay healthy. Physically under-prepared athletes and those that are injured have a much more difficult time winning than those that have trained in a quality strength & conditioning program.
I truly believe high school coaches know the value of strength & conditioning, but do not have the time, resources, or knowledge to create something for their teams. Most coaches would rather spend all of their time in practice working on plays and fundamentals. Or, they add game upon game to a schedule that only seeks to hit the maximum limit allowed by Colorado High School rules. Obviously, you cannot become better at a sport without putting time in on the field or court, but 14-18 year old kids only have so much energy and focus before hours and hours of practices and games becomes counterproductive. This is where the sound investment in a strength & conditioning program can help.
High school coaches really cannot go wrong by establishing a year-round strength & conditioning program. It can only help their athletes. And at the end of the day, having better athletes usually equals more wins. What coach doesn’t want to win more? Unfortunately, most high school athletic departments do not employ a full-time strength & conditioning professional or have a strength & conditioning program. Do not confuse having a weight room or “weights coach” with having a program.
Often times, the school’s football or wrestling coach runs the weight room, so other coaches who are looking for a strength program turn to them for help. But are those coaches qualified to run a strength & conditioning program? Most strength & conditioning professionals don’t claim that they know how to coach football or baseball or soccer or [insert your sport here]. Why do those coaches insist that they can run a strength & conditioning program?
I think the problem lies in the thought process. Most coaches were once athletes themselves. As athletes, they lifted weights and so they think they can implement a program for their kids. But, a well-organized strength and conditioning program involves more that just lifting weights. At Max Performance, we help our athletes with flexibility, mobility, soft tissue work, nutrition, and use conditioning as way to boost performance not as a form of punishment. Our volleyball players do not train like baseball players and our soccer players do not train like wrestlers. Each athlete has his or her own program that is specifically designed for them. A lot of coaches think you can train all athletes alike. While there are a lot of similarities, it’s important to make specific adjustments based on the sport, and even more so based on the individual athlete.
I am in no way implying that athletes training with Max Performance are superior athletes, but I will say that our athletes are better prepared for their sports than other athletes who “lift weights” at school or do not train at all. Many athletes are not born with athletic talent. The kids that succeed are the ones that put in the extra time and work while their peers would rather screw around. Our athletes do the little things to excel. Just check out the list of local athletes who have trained with us and gone on to play at the college or pro level.
So, we know a strength and conditioning program is absolutely essential for high school athletes to perform at a higher level. But, a solid program also helps athletes stay healthy in the process. Resistance training is the basis for modern physical therapy, which also incorporates mobility work, stabilization exercises, flexibility, and other manual techniques to return injured athletes back to the field of competition. Again, it’s not just about lifting weights. If physical therapists utilize similar approaches to help injured athletes, what does that say about the indirect benefits of a strength & conditioning program to keep non-injured athletes healthy?
High school coaches enjoy coaching and want to win. But, many in Colorado Springs are not willing to admit that their programs are incomplete. It’s sad, because the athletes are the ones who miss out. My job as a strength & conditioning professional is to complement the coaching they provide to their athletes. I do not want to teach your football team how to run a sweep, or your soccer team how to perform an offside trap. I want to make your athletes stronger, faster, and more “bullet-proof” so that you can accomplish great things with them. High school coaches and athletic directors who have a program in place with a knowledgeable strength & conditioning professional will always outperform the competition. If you are a coach or athletic director, do yourself and your players a favor and get your kids involved in a year-round strength & conditioning program that is run by a knowledgeable professional. Neglecting this area of athletic development places limits on the very athletes you coach.