Feature Article - March 2006
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Command Performance

Sports performance training offers fitness facilities some room for improvement

By Margaret Ahrweiler

Sweat equity

The quest for a competitive edge doesn't hurt business, however. West Suburban Volleyball Director Patty Schiewe said the volleyball club first considered adding performance training when she realized that colleges were scouting players as young as freshmen in high school.

"Expectations are higher and higher, and we want to help our girls in every way we can," she says.

The extra conditioning work gives the athletes the opportunity to increase their vertical and lateral speeds, something that college programs track. In her club's first year with Velocity, Schiewe says, the program has exceeded her expectations, with the younger girls in particular showing improvement faster than she anticipated. As a result, her coaches can spend more time in other areas besides conditioning, such as how to read opponents' courts.

Performance pros also work to undo the effects of single-muscle training, which is favored by some coaches and practiced by young athletes, who may not know any better, working out without supervision on selectorized machines, Soika says. Quadriceps and hamstrings are antagonistic muscles, he offers as an example. If you create strong quads but weak hamstrings, you create an imbalance that can trigger improper mechanics and even injury.

We're working on
quality-of-life issues here; we're not
trying to create hypercompetitive
athletic machines.

David Walmsley
CEO of Velocity Sports Performance in Alpharetta, Ga.