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What makes up a proper sports performance program? The first and foremost component of a SAFE and EFFECTIVE program is TECHNIQUE! Many of the athletes that we have trained at Maryland Sports Injury Center have experienced "training" sessions that leave them dripping wet and exhausted. Is training harder the only way to train for sports performance? The answer is NO!

According to a recent article published in the National Strength and Conditioning Journal, "Studies show that the incidence of overuse injuries sustained by young athletes could be reduced by 50% if more emphasis was placed on the development of fundamental fitness abilities before sports participation." The missing ingredient in sports performance training is TECHNIQUE.

A good analogy for the importance of proper athletic technique is having your tires properly balanced on your car. Properly balanced tires allow the car to be driven faster, prevent uneven tire wear, permit the slowest rate of tread wear possible, and provide the greatest protection against blowout. The same goes for proper exercise technique and the human body, especially the musculo-skeletal system (bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons).

So many injuries are the result of the combination of poor technique and overtraining. Dr. Steve Horwitz has seen too many young athletes (ages 8-18) come to our facility with a long list musculo-skeletal injuries like stress fractures, acute and chronic muscle strains (hamstrings, calves, etc.), and ligament sprains (knees, ankles, etc.). This is NOT NORMAL! Most of these injuries start with an acute episode followed by chronic pain and loss of motion. They occur because the athlete is not properly balanced due to years of poor technique.

Take running for example. Training for speed is NOT the same as training for conditioning. You can make athletes run wind sprints all day until they drop, but will this actually make them faster? NO! When fatigue sets in, running mechanics deteriorate. This is a critical point because every time the foot hits the ground while running the force generated is two to five times the athlete's body weight. If running technique is poor (which is the case for most athletes we see), the aforementioned injuries will occur. It is a matter of WHEN they will occur, not IF they will occur. This is why our programs spend so much time on running technique. Once technique is perfected, then the athlete can increase training intensity and volume safely.

The same goes for strength training. We have seen few athletes who can squat up and down correctly when they start training with us. The "athletic position" or partial squat is used in virtually every sport. Learning to squat properly is essential in learning to land properly after jumping. Poor landing technique is one of the primary reasons for the increasing number of ACL injuries, especially in young girls! So, are you going to have an athlete run and jump until they drop or are you going to improve through technique?

Remember, anyone can make you tired. At Maryland Sports Injury Center, technique comes first - Dr. Steve Horwitz guarantee the results will come next!