I think it is one of the most important "areas" to train for an athlete, or anyone for that matter. It not only assists in a strong athletic base on the playing field, it assists in the weight room with major lifts, and also helps keep the athlete stable and healthy (low back problems anyone?). I refer to it as an "area" because the core is comprised of many muscles both deep and superficial (surface). No, I am not talking about the "six pack" - those are only a small fraction of the core.
I often refer to an athlete's core as the "powerhouse" because I believe much of the strength in our upper and lower extremities would not be nearly as efficient with a weak core. It may seem surprising to some, but a lot of core work is done throughout exercises not specific to the "abdominals" - what I mean by this, is during a squat movement, you activate many of the muscles in your core if you are breathing, bracing and positioned properly.
Exercises that may help build a strong foundation of strength in the core are planks, reverse crunches, leg raises, and rotational movements.
QUICK TIP: For exercises done on your back, always push your belly button the floor! This will allow your back to sit flat against the floor and allow you to recruit the appropriate deep tissue muscles.
Follow @training2xl on instagram for samples of core exercises (pictures and videos) and feel free to leave a comment if you need more ideas of how to build a strong and stable core!