Suppose you were among millions of soccer fans worldwide that watched Liverpool win the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul. In that case, you’d realize the athletic fitness needed to pull off such an achievement. While it is true that the team was naturally gifted, it required more than just talent to get that win. Research shows that a soccer player’s average career span is 8 years and 4.5 years and 5.6 years for a basketball and baseball player, respectively. But why do some pro athletes stay and perform longer than others? And how can you form effective habits to ramp up your own level of fitness? Here are some practical and insightful tips for you to consider following.
- Get adequate warm-up
Before beginning any high-intensity exercise, you must first go through some little physical activity to warm your muscles. It could be as simple as jumping jacks, pushups, or squats, but its benefits are enormous, especially in preventing injury and enhancing your performance. Before engaging in any fitness exercise, go through a few minutes of dynamic moves. According to five-time world series champion Derek Jeter, he begins every intensity workout with calisthenics to warm his large muscle group for better performance. It is not necessary to have a lengthy chill-off post-workout, but warm-ups are essential.
- Envision success
Most top athletes have claimed that a significant part of their performance is psychological. However, it is rare to see athletes invest energy into psyche training and preparation. Several elite sports personalities have many a time reported picturing their triumph before it occurred. According to the 2015 US Soccer Female Player of the Year Carli Lloyd, she focuses her mind on visualizing everything she wants to achieve. After scoring three times in the world cup final, Carli told reporters she imagined scoring four. How about that?
- Get the right equipment
For every pro athlete, certain equipment is necessary to help them train effectively and perform consistently. Compression gear is currently being worn by basketball and soccer players, swimmers, and the likes during competitions, although it was designed primarily for post-competition or post-workout relaxation. For water sports like canoe racing, surfing, or kayaking, a canoe rack for trucks is essential when travelling with your equipment. Besides your natural abilities and polished skills, you need specific equipment and, of course, top-quality gear. For others, it could be as little as earplugs or headphones or a foam roller, but very importantly, focus on quality.
- Rest and recovery are vital
Despite his relatively high intensity and focus during training, the former Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt -who is considered the greatest sprinter of all time, mentioned that his biggest priority is sleep. To be a successful pro athlete requires your body to be in top shape at all times, and what heals the body more than sleep? Sadly, the average athlete barely gets the 8 hours of sound sleep required to boost their immune system, enhance performance, and strengthen their heart and core. A study has documented sleep deprivation as a reason for underperformance in most basketball players.