Yoga is becoming more common in training regiments for junior athletes. Coaches are finding that their athletes’ overall mental, physical, and even inspirational well-being improve as a result of incorporating yoga and mindfulness into practice time. If you are not convinced yet, let’s look at 5 reasons to integrate yoga into your club’s wellness program this season.
Top 5 benefits of yoga:
- Yoga practice helps prevent injuries and speeds recovery from strenuous workouts.
The Academy of Volleyball Cleveland has found that yoga has reduced injuries and sped up recovery times after tournaments. “Once we get into the season we turn from weights to yoga and stretching once a week before training” says AVC Club Director Paul Schiffer “The benefits are reduced injuries and quick recovery times.“
- It helps with breathing, flexibility, strength, confidence, energy, balance, concentration, endurance and injury prevention.
Ethos Volleyball Club incorporated yoga at the beginning of the season to help lengthen and stetch the muscles after a high school season that involves many matches with very little rest. “The kids absolutely LOVED it and felt a ton better after” adds Ethos Club DirectorTroy Helton. “I think it’s great for the athletes and helps change up the dynamics of workouts, which are typically “crossfit” in nature for our club.”
- It helps prepare young athletes in learning how their bodies work. Proper yoga instruction teaches body mechanics and enhances body awareness.
Cobb Atlanta Fitness Director and 15-1 Head Coach Kelsey Bennett incorporates yoga into the club’s weekly fitness program. “Yoga helps improve balance, strength, flexibility, and body awareness. All of which are important in keeping our athletes well rounded and successful on the court” states Bennett. These things will help each player stay healthy and performing at their highest potential.”
- It teaches players how to harness their breathing and focus on the present. Being able to visualize the serve or game winning block can help improve their game.
- It teaches players how to slow down, regenerate from their strenuous workouts and relax. With the intense pressure to do well in school and sports, most kids don’t take the time to reap the benefits of their hard work.
Merging yoga with strength and conditioning training requires mindfulness. Mindfulness begins with connecting with breath. This connection increases an athletes’ presence in the moment, it sharpens focus and recruits muscles from areas that we previously didn’t know were connected.
Kokoro Volleyball incorporates mindfulness into each athletes training to develop overall mind, body and spirit.
“Since implementing this program we have noticed a significant increase in our athletes’ ability to remained focused for longer periods of time in practice” shares Kokoro Club Director R.T. Luczak. “We have also noticed an increase in execution of techniques and processes under pressure with the increased ability to shut out distractionsand remain focused on the technique/process at hand.”
As a Club Director or Coach, consider adding yoga into your strength and conditioning program this season. Many times the upsides are the gifts that keep on giving long after they leave the sport. But first, find out what upsides you will see this season.
Here are 7 poses for young athletes to get you started.
For related reading on fitness and mental training click HERE. The Academy of Volleyball Cleveland, Cobb Atlanta, Ethos Volleyball Club and Kokoro Volleyball are members of the JVA. To learn more about the JVA click HERE.
About the Author
Thomas Andrews is the Founder and CEO of T3 Power Ready. He is also the creator of the weekly workout series “Take5 with T3 powered by the JVA” available in the JVA Dig It App. His approach to fitness and life is about developing the will to prepare to win. Through his experience, “Missing the mark” on aspects of living has helped him develop tools to assist athletes on their journey, beginning with The T3 Power Bag. Visit www.t3powerready.com for more info