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Sports Conditioning: Four Keys to Becoming a Div 1 Athlete

Game On Camps sat down with NCAA DIV 1 Sports Performance Coach Stephen Reich to find out what it takes from a sports conditioning standpoint to become a Division 1 athlete. Reich, who served as a sports performance coach at The Citadel, Northwestern and Georgia Tech before becoming the Assistant Director of Sports Performance at Grand Canyon University, says it comes down to these four elements:

· Coachability

· Quality of Movement

· Mastery of the Basics

· Faith


“Coachability is the key to everything,” says Reich. “It doesn’t matter if your strength coach is giving you an Olympic level program: How coachable are you? Are you allowing the coach to push you outside your comfort zone? Are you receptive to things you may not want to hear? How good are you at listening and following instructions? Are you willing to stick to a plan and see it through?”

If the willingness and discipline is there, Reich says that the next most important thing to remember is that quality of movement is always more important than the quantity of the load.


“I’m always surprised at how many incoming freshmen are not proficient at basic movement, and it sets them up to be at a higher risk for injury. My training philosophy when it comes to athletes is, Quality of Movement is more important than Quantity of Load. Athletes don’t train to see how much weight they can lift (unless their sport is weightlifting); they train to be able to perform at a high level playing their sport.”

Reich advises that if you want to make it to Division 1, instead of focusing on how much weight you can lift, instead train your body to perform these five basic movement patterns:

1. Squatting

2. Pulling-off-the ground

3. Hip Hinging

4. Lunging

5. Upper Body Pushing/Pulling

Reich says that these five movements will not only set an athlete up for success at the next level but will also protect them from injuries that can steal their success as soon as it is achieved.