Should Student Athletes Look to Outside Sources for Improvement?

Over time, student athletes have become stronger, faster and more powerful. They have grown and have reached levels of performance never before achieved. The sports performance world has come so far in its use of technology and has gained a better understanding of how to get the most out of an athlete. However, coaches often see that just being bigger, stronger or faster doesn’t necessarily mean you are a great athlete.

If you’re a Coach, you’ve seen or heard of a kid running a 4.5 in the 40.  While stats like this may help gauge the athlete’s potential on the field, they may not necessarily measure how a player can perform in real game situations. More and more, it’s essential to incorporate specific drills and correct technique that will carry over to the sport. Training student athletes for speed, power and strength better prepares them to compete when it’s game-time.    

Let’s look at the question of whether athletes should look to outside sources to improve their skills. This topic came up on the HogFBchat on Twitter recently; a chat hosted by coaches Jack Dingus and Tony Shiffman. Some coaches felt that athletes should play multiple sports to become more well-rounded athletes, others believe that athletes should work-out only with the team to ensure a consistent training program and some commented that outside training is okay if the trainer or facility they go to is reputable.

Here are some of the Pros of student athletes getting supplemental guidance from outside trainers and facilities:

  1. Student athletes that seek training from sources other than their immediate coaches are able to reap the benefits of having one-on-one guidance from a professional advisor.
  2. Athletes are able to improve on their weaknesses with specialized training from providers with specific skill sets, such as speed and agility.
  3. Outside trainers are able to provide direction that will allow the student athlete to perfect their technique in drills and at combines that have the potential to impact the future of the athlete.
  4. Players that participate in more than one sport and cross-train prove to be better athletes overall and are less likely to experience overuse injuries


Here are some of the cons of student athletes seeking training advisors from outside their coaches and team:

  1. Training with a team helps to build camaraderie and teamwork amongst student athletes during the off season. This unique bond that is formed helps with performance as a whole during game time.
  2. Student athletes that only train with their team can get in an athletic rut, performing the same drills over and over, which can result in overtraining and lack of improvement over time.
  3. Conflicts in training style and approach from an outside trainer and the athlete’s coach can cause confusion about which way is better.
  4. The athlete may not have the knowledge or the financial resources to select an outside trainer with the proper credentials which may result in injury or learning improper technique which can hurt their overall ability.
  5. Coaches are becoming more and more educated in proper training methods and already incorporate the key core lifts and drills in their program. Athletes that seek outside training need to be very careful that they aren’t doing the same things because over training can be detrimental to any athlete.

This is somewhat of a hot topic but a very important one that should be discussed in the sports world.  All coaches want their athletes to get better but they also want them to get the right help from the right places. How do you think seeking training from the outside can impact the athlete and the team?