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Enhancing Motor Learning with Sled Training

by Joel M. Bergeron, MS, CSCS,*D
NSCA Coach November 2012
Vol 1, Issue 4

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Sled exercises provide a training stimulus that closely mimics real-world physical demands of sports. This article provides examples of how to implement sled training into a program.

Strength and conditioning programs for athletic performance can be broken into two main components—physiologic improvement and motor learning. While physiologic enhancement to strength, power, and endurance play a role in athletic success, they are relatively easy things to improve with consistent training.

Sport-specific skill acquisition such as swinging a bat or shooting a basketball, however, takes thousands of quality repetitions in order to master and generally progress at a slower rate. Most coaches do not realize that strength training, plyometrics, and core conditioning all contribute to motor learning, when used appropriately.

When setting up a comprehensive strength and conditioning program, it is important to choose a variety of exercises that set up foundational strength yet still link the exercises back to the three common sport moves. While development of absolute strength and power with conventional strength training and conditioning is an integral component to performance enhancement, it is even more important to be able to convert this into usable athletic strength. Using sleds on a regular basis provides coaches with an avenue to complete this challenge.

This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach »

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Joel M. Bergeron, MS

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Joel Bergeron is the Director of Coaching Education for the United States of America Track and Field (USATF) New England Chapter. Bergeron previously ...

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