10 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN AN
ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE PROGRAM FOR YOUR ATHLETE
As a FREE GIFT to you, I want to share with you a simple guide that will help you choose the best training solution for your child to help them grow as an athlete, a student, and as a person.
Whether you live in Frederick, MD or California, these are concrete principles to look for that will help your athlete reach their full potential in sport and life.
We have worked with student-athletes for close to a decade now and have been on a non-stop journey to create the best environment and experience to help student-athletes thrive. Some of these will be very uncommon, counter-intuitive, and even controversial. Enjoy!
#1 Customized Program to Your Athlete
There is 1 big reason why a place will not do this...it takes T-I-M-E. And they will justify it by saying things like, “Well, all athletes really need the same kind of stuff.”
We easily spend 15 hours per MONTH designing customized programs for our athletes. It is long and arduous, but it is the right thing to do. We tried it the other way, and it does not work nearly as well for your child.
Every athlete is different. They each move differently and have a different level of athleticism. Every athlete is uniquely motivated. They play different sports, have different goals, and some exercises just simply work better than others for different types of athletes.
Look for a program that takes the time and energy to individualize the experience for your child.
#2 A Sports Nutrition Solution with Accountability
You want your athlete to eat healthier, you just don’t know how to get them to do it. Coaches want that too.
But when asked the question, “How do you help your athletes realize the importance of nutrition as it pertains not only to their sport, but their long-term health? Or better yet, how do you get them to take action and want to change?”
Most coaches have no answer...
For 2 years we consistently gave Nutrition Tips and Challenges to our athletes, some of which were impactful. It helped, but it was not a proven solution. After working on a Sports Nutrition Blueprint and Action Plan for the past 2 years, we finally have two solutions that we will be rolling out over the next month for our athletes.
The nutrition solution must include the WHY (education), the WHAT (specific recommendations on what to eat and when*), and the all-powerful ACCOUNTABILITY.
Why do this? Because it’s important. It has to be done sooner or later. Your athlete will never reach their best unless they have do their best in all areas of their life, nutrition and sleep included.
#3 Coaches Who Lead by Example, Share Your Values, and Walk the Talk
I do not need to explain this in depth. You obviously know not to send your kid to a place where the coaches smoke, party, and curse all the time.
Just make sure to keep an eye out on the coaches social media. Integrity is something that is always being tempted and challenged, so you need to make sure your child is not following coaches who are saying one thing but doing another. You can bet that your kid WILL follow their coach on social media and consequently follow their actions.
Things like eating healthy, training like an athlete themselves, working on their character, putting family first...all things you want to look for in a mentor-coach for your kid. Of course, it all depends on your values and the values you want your child to develop and keep.
Choose a place with coaches you look up to, not just because they are known as the place who can increase your kids speed by 50% in two weeks. Which brings me to my next thing to look for...
#4 Long Term Athletic Development Approach (LTAD)
If you are looking into a personal trainer, speed and agility coach, or strength and conditioning program for your athlete, make sure they do not make crazy promises and claims for “overnight success”.
“Increase speed by 73% in 4 weeks!”
“Increase vertical jump by 5 inches in 5 days!”
We are all tempted to fall for these promises, but we also know from being burned in the past that they are empty promises.
Look for coaches that are honest and tell you that your athlete will need to be in the program long term in order to get the most out of it and become the best they can be. Anything that can be microwaved in 6 weeks might taste good at first, but long-term it won’t stick.
#5 Proven Results
The proof is in the pudding. If you want your athlete to get to college to play sports, look for a place that has a proven track for your athlete to run on to get from where they are now, to where they want to be→ all the way to college in this case.
Ask for testimonials, look for them on their website, or ask around on social media. People will tell you the truth, that’s why we love Amazon reviews :-)
#6 Coaches Who Never Stop Learning
When looking for a place for your athlete to train, ask the people who work there this question:
“What is the continuing education plan for your coaches?”
The world of sports training is evolving quickly. Your child’s performance coaches MUST be voracious learners, always seeking the cutting edge solutions to peak athletic performance.
Just as you want and demand that your accountant be up to date with the current tax codes and deductions, you should also demand that your child’s trainer to be up to date with the latest advances in exercise science and youth performance.
*Note: At the same time, coaches should root their program in the foundations and principles. Make sure you don’t look over and see your athlete doing single leg back flips off a box because the coach saw it on YouTube.*
#7 A Place that DOES NOT Compete on Price
WARNING: please do NOT sign your kid up for training at a place that claims they have the “lower priced solution in the area”.
Let me ask you something...Do you want to give your athlete the best chance at success? Do you want a solution that will positively impact the rest of your child’s athletic career and life afterwards? Do you want them to be inspired to greatness?
Do you think that the guys who charge the least are going to be able to do that? Do you think they will be able to keep great coaches and mentors for your athlete?
No. And here is why…
If they charge less, they will not be able to provide the following things:
A realistic career for their coaches. That means that their coaches will eventually move on and your kid will be upset. This may happen regardless, but it is far less likely if the coach is taken care of.
Benefits for their team. Most places do not have this because “it’s too expensive for a small training business to offer health care and retirement for their team members.”
Upgrades to equipment and facilities.
I believe if a passionate, professional coach can TRULY inspire an athlete to believe in him or herself, coach them up to their highest levels of athleticism and confidence, and can deliver the exact results that you and your athlete desire...they deserve to be paid well.
If you are just looking for something to fill an hour slot on your kids schedule to keep them busy, then go for the bargain basement option. If you want your athlete to thrive, make the investment.
#8 A place that values FUN
No adult OR child will continue doing something that is non-urgent for very long if they do not enjoy it.
If it is urgent, like laundry, we will reluctantly do it anyway. But no student-athlete will want to engage in fitness, sprints, or core training for long if it isn’t enjoyable.
It is for that reason we decided in 2016 that one of our core values at PFP would be Work-Hard Play-Hard.
75% of athletes will quit playing sports by age 13.
If training is not FUN, it will just be another thing on your kids schedule that they do because they feel like they have to, not because they want to.
Make sure the place you are sending your athlete checks the following 2 boxes:
They tell you that they want to go back
They smile before, during, and after training
*Note: If you have tried multiple places and your athlete just flat out lacks motivation and doesn’t really like anything, than I suppose you should pick the best place you can find and really really encourage them to go.
#9 Understanding of Sport-Specific Training
Here are a few questions you can ask the potential training team before you sign your kid up:
What are your pre-season, in-season, post-season, and off-season training protocols?
How do you train a dancer differently from a basketball player? A swimmer differently from a football player?
How will you ensure my “baseball player’s elbow and shoulder” stays healthy?
What are the commonalities you see in the way volleyball players move? What about in tennis players?
How will endurance training for my soccer player differ from endurance training do a golfer?
One thing to look for is a coach who also was an athlete growing up, but also studies bio-mechanics and sport specific training regularly. This is also good for demonstrating and explaining the importance of an exercise for the athlete so that they want to do it well.
#10 A Mental Training Solution
If you invest in a program for your athlete that only trains the physical game, you may be wasting your money.
Mental preparation precedes physical performance. Building physical skills and talent on top of a foundation of self-doubt, low-confidence, and a fragile mindset is like building a house on sand. When the storm comes (in the form of failure, errors, injuries, or other setbacks), none of the physical strength, speed, or athleticism will matter.
99.9% of athlete's struggle with their mindset. They struggle with staying positive and bouncing back quickly after they make a mistake. They have difficulties performing at their best in the high-pressure situations. For some, getting off to a good start and sustaining that success throughout the game is challenging.
These are all things that only mental game training, mindset performance, and sports psychology can solve.
Out of all 10 of these things to look for, this will be the hardest to find but the most important factor that will set your athlete up for success. It’s the hardest to find because it is the hardest solution to build.
Most personal trainers and performance coaches LOVE learning about enhancing physical athleticism. I was one of them. But when I realized that the missing link, the SECRET to unlocking an athlete’s full potential was found in the mental game, I quickly shifted my focus.
I knew that if we were going to help student-athletes become all that they could be, we had to solve the mental blocks that they were experiencing. So we set out on an ongoing quest 2 years ago to solve this problem. The results have been staggering.
Well parent, that wraps up the list of the 10 Things to Look for in an Athletic Performance Program for your Athlete. I hope this helped.
If you are in the Frederick area looking for an all-encompassing solution to help your athlete get better, email us at . If you are outside of our area or you are just interested in a Mental Game Solution for your son or daughter, we can help. You can also email us for that at .
Dedicated to your athlete’s success,
Coach Andrew Simpson