Becoming competitive in sports is often a somewhat challenging task. The athlete must truly decide that he/she wants to be a very serious, competitive athlete. Whatever sport it is, there will always be financial costs (unless you are on some sort of scholarship program) and there will often be travel (as well as traveling costs), and other important yet somewhat long and exhausting things for both the athlete and his/her parents. In this article, the highlighted sport will be track, yet most every aspect of this article can be applied to whichever sport the reader likes.
So, say for example Tom runs track, and he is a sprinter. He favors the 100 meter dash, as well as the 200 meter sprint. Both of these require blocks (the device that a runner gets down low on, allowing him/her to push of quickly once the gun is fired, thus getting to top speed in a matter of a few steps, compared to simply reacting to the gun in from a standstill, then pushing off while standing – this would take much more time). In addition, Tom’s times are par, perhaps a 15 second 100 meter, and a 28 second 200 meter time. If you, as the reader, do in fact have these times, no offense is to be taken – simply using them as examples, not necessarily putting them down as track times. Anyhow, Tom has been running track for his middle school, and he is entering his first year (a freshman) in high school, and plans on running both indoor and outdoor track (winter and spring season sports, respectively). Yet, Tom has a very difficult decision to make. He really needs to decide whether or not track is something that he wants to not only dedicate time to, but also whether or not he really wants to become a serious runner.
Once this decision has been made, the athlete is able to then react to his/her decision. Tom, in this circumstance, decides that track is for him and it is something he wishes to pursue, and attempt to have very fast times. He is not very far off, as a 12 second 100 meter would be considered fast, and a 23 second 200 meter would be considered fast as well. Therefore, he is lacking in 3 seconds in his 100 meter and 5 seconds in his 200 meter; these are certainly attainable goals for a freshman.
His first step is to begin working on agility training, and speed (quick feet). While this can be applied to any sport (working on the fundamentals of whatever position/feat you do in your respective sport), in track it is working on whatever your distance is. Therefore, as a sprinter, one must be very fast off the blocks – this means being comfortable in them, and working on one’s reaction time. In addition to this, it is very important to strengthen one’s fast twitch muscles; these are the muscles that are directly responsible for quick movements. Therefore, in track, it would be the quick start, as well as pumping one’s arms and legs while running.
Perhaps, it would be ideal to hire a private coach, or a strength training coach – yet, the athlete’s sex and age should be taken into consideration before doing this. Also, the family or athlete must be financially stable in order to do this, as often individual/private coaches can be quite expensive. Yet, if this is not desired or is perhaps unattainable, then working with the high school coach can often be all one needs. Practices at high schools can be grueling, depending on the knowledge of the coach as well as the level of seriousness of the program. The most important thing is determination and hard work, and if that is present and the athlete is truly athletic, then most likely he/she will improve greatly.