Chris Sharrock knows about injuries. That’s why he’s doing what he can to help young athletes prevent them.
“As a young athlete, I was not taught the proper form in the weight room or how to implement recovery strategies, which led to some nagging and more serious injuries that significantly limited the length of my playing career,” he said. “That’s why I feel so strongly that only the most qualified and highly trained individuals should be working with their kid. Any trainer will tell you that they can work with your kid and put them through a workout that would bring the hardest Marine to his knees. But, only those with expertise related to development and maturation cycles can make a young athlete better. Giving them the information is something that I wish I would have had when I was at a young age.”
Sharrock, a 2002 graduate of George Rogers Clark High School and a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball, played running back at Georgetown College and is the career rushing leader at both schools. He is owner of Rock Sports Performance, which specializes in strength and speed training for athletes of all ages, particularly those ages 6-18.
“We’re all about building athletes,” Sharrock said. “You have to have a basic level of athleticism to be a good player in sports and that’s what we’re all about.¿We build athletes who can play any sport. I use a comprehensive, holistic approach to training young athletes and basically identify dysfunction and intervenes with corrective strategies.
“Next, I teach athletes to perform fundamental movement patterns properly, that are necessary for all sports. Once this is established, we begin to integrate those skills into higher level resistance-based activities after they are able to properly move.”
Sharrock also is a physical therapist at Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team (KORT) in Winchester and works around his schedule to train young athletes. He is a doctor of physical therapy, specializing in sports medicine and orthopedics, and also is a certified strength and conditioning specialist
“I do on-demand,” he said. “I am a full-time doctor of physical therapy and it gives me the opportunity to access and identify movement and other problems with kids. So once I am able to identify those problems and fix them, those kids move better, they feel better and they perform better and it keeps them from being injured. My work as a therapist goes hand-in-hand with what I do with the strength and conditioning (program) and they build upon one another.”
Sharrock said his training regime helps provide a starting point for athletes of all ages in sports training.
“It lays a foundation of athleticism for all sports, (helps to) prevent injury, prevents chronic health conditions, increases performance, promotes life-long fitness, improves confidence and prepares them (in strength and conditioning),” he said. “It teaches kids to take care of their body for the rest of their lives, not only in the short-term, but also in the long-term.”
The awareness level for strength and conditioning programs is “starting to grow a little bit,” and “people are starting to understand the value (of strength and conditioning programs).”
“For decades, strength and conditioning has proven to be affective, safe and healthy for athletic development,” he said. “This is not anything new, but it’s been gaining a little bit more buzz recently.”
In Sharrock’s view, today’s young athletes are “much more sedentary outside of athletics than ever before.”
“This has created a generation of deconditioned athletes who are at a tremendously higher risk for injury,” he said, adding that playing just one sport over a variety of them also creates an issue. “This is not recommended and greatly inhibits a kid’s overall athletic development and leads to significant imbalances by performing the same skill repetitively.
“Practicing a sport skill such as hitting or pitching will not make a child a better athlete. They must focus on gaining qualities such as strength, power and mobility, which are the precursors of all sport skills. That’s why I am so passionate about using my knowledge and skills to better the next generation of athletes.”