The initial goal of a strength-training program must be to analyze the mechanics of a specific sport and then to focus on the areas of the body that might be susceptible to injury. To truly assess potential injury sites, analysis should be performed on an individual basis, but this is not always possible. In a general evaluation of all sports there are four main areas of concern. The mid-section, more specifically the abdomen and the lower back, the ankle, knee and shoulder joints. To protect against injury to these areas, it is important that the muscle groups involved in these regions are focused on in the training program. Proper strength training of the specific muscles can solidify the joint regions of the trouble areas and thus decrease the chance of injury. This will allow you to maximize your practice time by eliminating potentially long hours of rehabilitation.
The second goal of a strength-training program is to allow the athlete to develop to their maximum physical potential. The development seen from such a program goes well beyond that of basic strength levels. Aside from strength gains, a training program will also enhance neuromuscular responses, thus improving muscular control and reaction time. Specific exercises, especially those that incorporate more than one joint in the movement enhance coordination of the muscles being trained. This improves the athlete's balance. It should also be noted that there is a conditioning aspect of strength training that is often overlooked as muscles are trained to replicate movements from the first repetition to the last and to overcome fatigue.
Physical development is not the only area that can be trained. A common aspect that is overlooked is training for that 'mental edge'. You will be challenged in the weight room and during games. Everyday, you will find a way to succeed; failing no longer becomes an option. "The harder you work to succeed, the tougher it is to surrender" - Vince Lombardi. Late in the contest, the winner will be decided on who wants it more, which is tougher physically and mentally.