Healthy Bodies
  • Southeast Wisconsin
  • May 2013
Written by  Brian Bankenbusch, CSCS, CES, PES

Athletic performance for high school athletes


High school athletics has become more popular and competitive than ever, and the demands of the athlete have never been more crucial than right now. This article is meant to briefly explain how high school athletics, the athletes themselves, and the need for proper athletic training and performance is at an all-time high.

Competitive sports have been around for centuries, and with the progression of sport, the athlete has also progressed. Young athletes these days are stronger, faster and have greater ability to perform skill sets at a higher level. Because of this, sports themselves have gotten faster, more physical and, as a result, more competitive. The question in this day and age now becomes how to properly educate and train our young athletes to not only compete at an elite level, but also to excel at that same level.

There are multiple factors such as proper nutrition, speed and agility preparation, cardiovascular training, resistance training, mobility and even supplementation that young athletes need to dedicate themselves to when working towards optimal athletic ability. We will briefly discuss each individual factor and the basics to success for each one in regards to athletic performance.

Just like for any of us, the nutritional component for athletes has many common similarities. Getting the basics in will help foster not only muscle growth, but also proper energy requirements for demanding sport movements. Since young athletes are still growing physically, it is imperative to consume meals every 2-3 hours that consist of quality protein sources like chicken, fish, lean cuts of beef, etc., complex carbohydrates like grains, beans and vegetables, as well as good sources of fats. Supplementing with a quality multi-vitamin is also a good idea for athletes since they are very active and still growing. A crucial element that is often overlooked is post-workout nutrition. After a physical bout of activity, athletes will lose water and many nutrients. It is very important to replenish these to grow more lean muscle. Taking in water and a post-workout meal like chicken breast with brown rice or chocolate milk is a good start. It is important to teach our youth that the saying “you are what you eat” is as true as it gets. If you want to outperform the opponent, you must start with a good diet.

Speed and agility preparation is the body’s ability to be able to speed up and/or stop at any given time to change direction. Every sport utilizes speed and agility in some way, shape or form. There are many camps out there nowadays that address speed and agility, which is a great first step. The key to better performance is always trying to improve on speed and agility exercises that mimick the sport/position an athlete plays. The basic components for any athlete to work on to create optimal speed and agility are sound running mechanics like arm position, foot plant position and push off speed, to name a few. By implementing sport-specific speed and agility drills into a young athlete’s program, he or she will be able to have better control of their body during any sport.

It is more common than ever for today’s athlete to play two or even three sports per year. By playing other sports in the off-season, the athlete will be able to keep up with the demands of the cardiovascular endurance needed and have a much better transition for the next season of their desired sport. If your athlete does not play an off-season sport, keeping active with running, swimming or any other intense activity will also help with this transition. Proper resistance training and mobility for young athletes are still often underutilized. Sport is a very specific activity, one that requires specific strengths, and with that, proper alignment, flexibility and mobility. By not training the body properly for the sport being played, an athlete will have a much harder time advancing in skill set and level (i.e., high school football to college football).

So for your young athlete’s upcoming season, seeking out a professionally recognized strength coach with the CSCS (Certified Strengh & Conditioning Specialist) certification is the key to optimized strength and conditioning programming for any athlete. 

Brian Bankenbusch, CSCS, CES, PES, is the owner of Epic Fitness & Sports Performance LLC. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist with over 10 years of experience training high school and collegiate athletes. He is devoted to bringing proper education and superior program design to the community. Brian is also a certified corrective exercise specialist, wellness coach and personal trainer. For more information, visit or call 414-464-2156.


Subscribe Today
Community Partners Directory
Find a Complimentary Copy
Community Calendar