I overheard a comment this past week from someone at the YMCA saying that she did not need to lift weights. She is already faster and more explosive than most, if not all, of her competition. If the point of lifting weights is to get faster and stronger, she did not need it because she was already that ... And quite frankly, I agreed with her.
If this athlete is happy with her ability, then she should not concentrate on lifting weights. Her efforts should go more towards skill work and increasing her on-field intelligence. The majority of her time should be spent practicing her ball handling, shooting range, passing, footwork, reading defenses, vision, and mentality. She should concentrate on her weaknesses rather than her strengths.
BUT, she still should lift weights. Lifting weights will keep her on the court for longer, build her grit, prevent injuries, shorten injury recovery time, increase her athleticism (never hurts to be more athletic), hold her position against bigger opponents, and keep her lean. As competition starts to get better, her natural athletic ability will not be as special.
I have a feeling that she fell victim to many of the misconceptions about weight training.
- The belief that gaining muscles will make you slower.
- Gaining more muscles gives you a greater ability to produce force; the ability to produce force quickly increases your acceleration. In other words, it will make you faster.
- Lifting weights is dangerous.
- Lifting weights is actually safer than most sports if you have the right training. Lifting weight is a very predictable activity (first you squat, then bench press, then deadlifts, then go home) and you know what forces you are applying to yourself. In sports, there are countless unpredictable events going on (field conditions, reckless play, bodies moving around you at high speeds, etc.) and forces placed on yourself are incalculable.
I am a big proponent of turning your weaknesses into your strengths! But that doesn’t mean your strengths do not need maintenance or could not be better!