AMPing up Athletic Performance
by robyn fogle | photos by arianna skoog
What does it take to be an extraordinary athlete? Talent for the sport certainly helps, but as basketball champion Magic Johnson said: "Talent is never enough. With few exceptions the best players are the hardest workers." So what does "hard work" mean? Does it come down to hours spent practicing? Is the formula the same for everyone? What if a strength-based program works well for the tackle and guard football players but ends up slowing down the running back who needs endurance and speed training? How do you find a training program that's right for the whole team in the world of team sports?
The answer is you don’t!
And that's where Dayne Dyer's sports-specific, position-specific performance training comes in. "It's not a group program," says Dyer, owner of Beartooth Performance and the new Director of Performance for Athletic Medicine & Performance (AMP). "Nothing we do is a broad program...it's athlete specific and position dependent," he explains.
After moving to Montana, it didn't take long for Dyer to observe that student-athletes here were not given the same opportunities he had as a young high school and college baseball player in St. Louis, MO. He noticed that colleges like Montana State and the University of Montana were recruiting athletes from other states rather than area high schools. "It made me realize there was something being done to help develop that skill set in other places," he recalls. It got him looking into what that missing piece might be.
While it wasn't his initial goal to help change the opportunities Montana's student-athletes were given, at the nudging of his wife, he decided to be the change he wanted to see.
In 2017 he started with four young high school athletes and developed a science-based, sport-specific training program. As a result, all four were successfully recruited to play collegiately. The following summer, his program increased to 20 students, and the numbers have continued to grow. The success of his program caught the attention of several AMP board members who wondered what Dyer was doing differently.
"It's not really that I'm doing anything different than any other strength and conditioning coaches from around the country," says Dyer, but he'd noticed that many other local coaches and trainers were trying to mold athletes to a program rather than building a program around the athletes.
Excited about what it might mean for more young athletes to benefit from Dyer’s expertise, AMP approached him about becoming their Director of Performance. As such, he is now responsible for the Performance Training Program for AMP athletes.
Powered by SCL Health, Ortho Montana, and Yellowstone Surgery Center, one of AMP's goals is to offer performance training to area high schools and colleges. Their team of professional Athletic Trainers works with athletes at Montana State University Billings, Rocky Mountain College, Billings Central, Billings Senior, Laurel, Lockwood, and other outlying schools to keep athletes "safe, healthy, and doing what they love." By bringing Dyer on board and gaining Anna Kasperick, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, as a bonus, they anticipate more and more area athletes may earn athletic scholarships and college recruitments.
Ashley Roy, Marketing Coordinator for AMP, says they are excited about what's to come, adding that "these two are a game changer, offering sports-specific, position-specific science-based performance training coupled with science-based nutrition."
So how does Dyer build training programs that turn out extraordinary athletes? "I spend about three quarters of my time sitting down with coaches, diagnosing what they want out of their players," he says. These discovery meetings help him determine what coaches and recruiters are looking for and expect from each player on the team. Is it strength? Speed? Endurance? He and the coach discuss each player to determine what is expected of that player and where they are currently.
Only then does he begin to build a program and strategy specific to each athlete and position. "There is no one-size-fits-all," asserts Dyer, who says that everyone on the team should be doing something different.
But even then, it's not a one-and-done program. "What was done last year is already outdated," he explains. "We take a very scientific approach - what do studies show? We're constantly trying to learn and evolve," he continues, adding that he and Kasperick devote plenty of time to continuing education and staying in contact with other professionals in the field to stay cutting edge.
"I anticipate the athletes and teams that are training with Dayne during season and off season will be some of the top performers," beams Roy, who says Dyer's passion for his career is inspiring.
But whether you're an aspiring collegiate athlete or simply seeking to live a healthy lifestyle, if you have a body, you are an athlete, and you are meant to move. So find a way of moving your body that gets you excited about being active. Make it fun! Hike the mountains, bike the trails, climb the Rims, dance a crazy dance...just move! It's what our bodies were meant for.
Tips For All Healthy Athletes
Just like an important meeting or appointment, put it on your calendar and preserve that time.
Work with a professional trainer, commit to exercising with a friend, or sign up for a group class.
If you’re new to working out, start slow. Plan for one workout per week and build from there. Consistency is the key to success, and don’t beat yourself up for missing a workout.
Set Realistic Expectations
Physical changes take time, and it's better to focus on continually moving in the right direction rather than seeking overnight changes.
Don’t Neglect Nutrition
Be sure to fuel for your workout. Physical changes are often 90% nutrition.
Take Rest and Recovery Time
Allow muscles time to recover and grow. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night, and be sure to take at least one day off per week.
Though not native to Montana, Robyn Fogle is now proud to call the Treasure State home. She and her husband Rob are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy rock climbing, hiking and finding new ways to wear out their Aussie, Whipper. She balances outdoor adventures and road trips with quiet nights at home spent cooking and reading while enjoying a glass of wine or pint of craft beer.