By Paige Bennett
In recent years my high school has incorporated a year-round weight training program that includes both in-season and off-season workouts. Many of our school sport teams have seen major improvements as a result of it. No matter what sport you participate in, you can benefit from weight training. Having physical strength is key to preventing injuries, being mentally tough, and performing at a high intensity.
In the past it was believed that weight lifting was harmful for young children. Recent studies are showing that young athletes that lift weights are less likely to suffer injuries. That does not mean injuries are totally avoidable just because you train with weights, but being physically strong can reduce the likelihood of an injury. By lifting weights, you will have better flexibility, explosiveness, and power. Another key to preventing injuries is staying active and lifting weights in your off-season so your body is ready for the high level of competition. If you come into a sport season without any training prior to it, you can expect to be in pain for a few weeks because your muscles will be very sore.
When you begin pushing yourself in the weight room, you become mentally tough. It is exciting when kids find out what they are capable of. They start to feel good about themselves and it boosts their self-esteem. Having a high self-esteem will help in all aspects of life, not just in sports. Being mentally tough is important for game-time situations, because you have to able to move on from mistakes and adversity, and focus on being better for the next play or possession. You have to be able to let go of that play, move on, and believe in yourself for the next play.
Weight lifting helps with endurance and physical strength during competition. It prepares you to play at a very high intensity. Stronger athletes perform better and have long-term success; you will be more consistent, you will be able to outwork the other team and compete for a longer duration of time.
When athletes combine their strength and skill, they are more likely to reach their maximum potential. Strong athletes are more likely to have fewer injuries, have mental toughness, and perform at a higher level. It is incredibly gratifying when you realize all of your efforts are paying off, and you are excelling in your sport.
Paige Bennett is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its eighteenth year.