By Joey Lee
What is the one thing all athletes, no matter their age or gender, dread most of all? Injury. Even a minor injury can sideline us, keep us from doing what we love – off the field, off the track, out of boot camp class, out of the pool or wherever it is we train or compete.
The Madison Healthplex Performance Center specializes in not only preventing those injuries, but also in helping athletes and other active individuals reach maximum performance levels in their chosen sports. And, if an injury has already occurred, they can help get us back at it and make us strong enough to keep other injuries at bay.
An individualized approach to performance training and injury prevention
Veteran trainer Hap Hudson, and his team of professionals, uses a unique approach to combine performance training with injury prevention. Through their performance training component, clients of all disciplines, skill levels and ages develop explosive strength, core stabilization, speed and agility. The team combines this with strengthening exercises for shoulders, elbows, lower back, hips, legs, ankles and feet to minimize the chance of injury. And all of this is tailored to the athlete’s specific sport or fitness goal.
Hap, a native of Clinton, MS, has spent most of his life training and rehabbing athletes of all ages and skill levels, from elementary children to some of the biggest names in sports. A graduate of Mississippi College, he’s worked with organizations like the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays. Among the athletes he’s worked with are names like Fred McAfee (NFL), Ozzie Smith (MLB), John Kruk (MLB), Anthony “Booger” McFarland (NFL), Paul Ranger (NHL), Curt Schilling (MLB), Lenny Dykstra (MLB) and many, many more, recently including Jose Bautista and Scott Rolen of MLB. He was inducted into the Mississippi College Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and was named alumni of the year in the kinesiology department in 2013.
Each member of Hap’s team has extensive knowledge and expertise in training athletes who are dedicated to taking their performance to the next level, and dominating the field, court, track or pool. The training staff focuses first on injury prevention, strengthening people and developing individual programs to help them achieve their specific fitness and training goals. But they are also adept at creating programs that will work to heal injuries, regain strength, and return to or exceed previous performance levels.
“We like to focus on maximizing performance, but if you’re injured, we can help get you back out there, hopefully better than before,” Hap notes. “But we really want you before you get hurt, so we can keep that from happening.”
The first part of the process is the evaluation. Hap and his team assess where you are with your balance, speed, agility, strength and other physical elements. Then they ascertain your goals and design a specific program to help you achieve whatever they may be. If you want to run faster, throw harder, hit the ball farther, or just get in better shape, their goal is to make it happen.
For those who are injured, the process is a bit different. The team spends the first segment of training getting you healed. From there they work to “build the house” as Hap says. Meaning they work on general fitness to get you stronger so you can get back to your sport. Once your strength is back to a satisfactory level, that’s when you move to a program that is more sport or goal specific and designed to help you maximize your potential and achieve your aspirations.
“We found there was a need for this kind of performance facility to fill the gap between an athlete being cleared by his doctor to return to his or her sport and actually getting out and being able to perform at the level they desire,” says Hap.
Maximum training for all ages and stages of athletes.
It’s never too early to start building your strength and working out to help prevent injuries. The Performance Center has programs for people starting at age seven and going up to the professional athlete.
Performance Level 1: ages 7 through 11 is designed to instill a healthy lifestyle and focuses on building a solid foundation so when these children reach middle and high school they’ll already be ahead of their competition. This level emphasizes general fitness, conditioning, coordination, stability, core strength, body awareness, body positioning among other things.
Performance Level 2: ages 12-14 is more intense than the previous level, but still safe and effective. It’s designed to enhance athleticism and promote injury prevention working on flexibility, core strength, agility, foot speed and athletic conditioning.
Performance Level 3: ages 15-18 is geared toward the high school athlete who wants to maximize his or her abilities and build confidence. Participants learn intense levels of functional strength and force output development in this level.
So, what if you don’t want to compete in any sport but just want to get in great shape? There is something for you too. Adult Fitness Programs are available that were developed for the fitness enthusiast in search of a fast-paced, high-energy workout structured for total body conditioning. These classes combine a range of athletic-based activities and dynamic movements designed to improve full body strength, function, shape and definition with functional, real-world benefits.
“Our training always has a purpose,” Hap explains. “We always start with determining the goal. What does this person want out of their efforts? And then we build a program to get them there.”
Whatever your desired result may be the Madison Healthplex Performance Center is designed and staffed to help you achieve it. From the professional athlete to the student dreaming of becoming one – to a working adult who just wants to stay fit, this facility is equipped to offer a variety of options that will help you reach your performance goals.