There’s training and then there’s pro training. For most of us what we see of the rigorous life of professional athletes is only on the court, highlight videos, and magazine covers. Mark Caron of Focus Athletics Pro in Manila trains professional and national team athletes in sports ranging from basketball, soccer, volleyball and knows exactly what it takes to make it at the highest level . We asked Mark to give us a little insight on the dedication needed and what is needed for aspiring athletes and weekend warriors:
Mark, you train some of the top athletes from the Phillipines and around the region, what is a common trait you see in among all these athletes?
The most common trats that I see with all the professional athletes that I trained are hard work, internally motivated and attention to detail. For me, hard work really separates the best athletes from the rest. They always give their 100% every single time. They are internally motivated that’s why they do different kinds of training to be better. And lastly, their attention to detail is incredible. They always ask questions how to do it right or if they are doing it right.
Are there common mistakes you see young athletes make early in their career that should be avoided?
The most common mistakes that all young athletes, as well as the parents, is focusing to much on playing a lot of games and less on sports skill development and most especially forgetting movement skill development. Playing a lot of games takes up a lot of quality time for rehearsing different skills such as sports skills like ball handling, shooting, and passing for basketball and movement skills like running, jumping, coordination, balance, and agility, which should be done at an early age. These skills set them to be a better athlete by equipping them with better skill and movements to play.
What is your favourite strength / conditioning drill?
My favorite drills are movement skill drills. These include Acceleration, Absolute Speed, and Multidirectional Speed drills. These drills are very humbling since not all athletes can do it very well. I consider athletes who can do these drills fluidly and effortless as athletic.
Any tips / workouts young players can do at home to improve their strength?
I always tell athletes to master their own body weight first. I love circuits that can be done at home with minimal equipment. All athlete should be able to do these no problem:
- Split squats
- 1 leg squat
- Push Up
- Chin Ups/Pull Ups
- Plank Exercises
Do I need to lift weights to get basketball strong?
Not all times. As I stated above, you will really get really strong if you know how ot handle your own body weight. Once you learn that, then that’s the time you will use weights to put overload to the movements and get stronger.
Do you have any fool proof diet or nutrition tips that everyone should be including in their lifestyle?
Yes. I’ve been doing this for many years already. It’s very simple, here it is:
- No SUGAR
- No PROCESSED FOOD
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits
- Eat more lean meats (fish and chicken)
- Eat less carbs (especially pasta and bread)
- Drink lots of water
Finally, you work with current pro athletes and help those about to enter the big leagues – what is one piece of advice you’ve given or been given to perform at that level?
I’m always an advocate of working hard and smart. I always tell my athletes this “Are they willing to do what others are not doing?” It might be a bit of a cliché but this gets you where you want to be. Things like doing extra stretches, sets, or weight; going back to fundamentals; unlearning bad habits and learning the good ones; taking care of their body better (sleeping and eating right), will make you better than others and perform.