This archived article was written by: dmond James Sanders Jr.
Sports performance is mandatory to athletic enhancement and professional enrichment; it’s the Cheech to Chong. If you didn’t understood that analogy, I just assigned you with your first homework assignment. However, training can’t be something you dabble in if you plan on dominating the collegiate ranks, getting drafted to the professional ranks and actually being a force.
If you want to dabble in strength training, friendly weekend games at the park may be more suited for you. Efficient sports performance training is necessary for anyone who considers “Ball is Life.” I express emphasis on “efficient” because many high school athletes and junior college collegiate athletes are unaware of what efficiency in strength/conditioning training looks like. Many do a few sets/reps of different exercises with a five-minute recovery between sets or go straight to throwing big boy weight on the bars.
I see athletes train as if “Body Building is Life.” They train body parts, usually the more visible ones biceps, triceps, quads, abdominals, calves or don’t train at all or enough. High school, junior college, Division 1, professional, we’re seeing a series of athletes of different sports go down to injuries. Most of the time, the reason is simply they are out of shape for the demands of their sport.
Athleticism is accelerated mass, not the ability to move heavy loads of weight in linear motion at slow rates of speed. Athleticism is coordination, balance, proprioception, flexibility of muscles, foot/ankle strength, rhythm, reactivity, biomechanical efficiency and variety of different strengths; absolute strength, accelerating strength, explosive strength. Athleticism is a neurological ability that can be trained and enhanced no matter who you are.
Developing the perfect athlete must include all of the above; you have to develop a perfect foundation. It’s the same process when constructing the perfect building; you have to have a flawless frame that keeps every afloat because one flaw in that foundation and that building is no longer stable, at risk of collapsing and financially depreciates in worth. Like the building, you start from the ground up; therefore, with an athletic foundation it starts with feet as they control the body’s ability to move in space.
Leonardo Da Vinci discovered, “The body has geometric proportion to it. The human body works maximally only at specific joint angles, completely dismissing the notion that athleticism is only a genetic trait because it can be taught.” For those we see with great athletic ability who seem to inherit it, is solely based on their activeness and choices early in childhood.
Gavin MacMillan, founder of Sports science lab said, “All muscles and tendons are elastic in nature and therefore, their ability to accelerate and produce force is determined by their ability to store elastic energy and heat in the muscle/tendon complex. The elastic-strength capability of the muscle complex determines the level of athleticism that can be achieved.” Rapid eccentric to concentric changeover speed creates athletic power. One of the main lifts all athletes do is a squat; however, squats are biomechanically not the correct or most efficient movement. Squats develop absolute strength and that is the strength needed for elite athleticism, however, it loads the heel to avoid patella-tendon damage creating undue stress on the vertebral and femoral, training the incorrect muscle sequences used in jumping, running and lateral movement. The force created by those movements is positioned in the forefront of the foot that initiates a totally different muscle-firing sequence than the heel.
Anyone who wants to feel and move like a world-class athlete, the way you train determines your career altitude. Stop going in the weight room and stacking three plates on each side of the squat bar and sacrificing form or bench pressing all the time followed by dumbbell curls.
Focus on technique, correctly performing each exercise to maximally fire that muscle; focus on moving your body and weight biomechanically correct. Focus on movement prep, exercises that fire up the muscle you are about to work, to gain greater strength in that session. Put emphasis on stretching/foam rolling as it will prolong your career and unlock athletic ability.
Strengthen the feet and ankles as they produce more force in the starting phase of jumping and running than all of the muscles in the leg combined; all aspects of athleticism lies in the feet. Those Swiss balls you use to sit on in the gym, great for athletic achievement as it stretches and strengthens the limbs while stabilizing the core, making it one of the most dynamic yet simple exercise tools available. It’ll also have you feeling sore, tight and uncomfortable, however, it leaves you feeling relaxed, loose and develops muscle symmetry/aesthetics. Pool work doesn’t get much better on the limbs, and is great for rehabilitation, sports performance, contraction speed and aesthetics. The water demands fluid movement to generate velocity; therefore, working on biomechanic efficiency and speed of movement at a decreased risk of injury.
If you want to become the athlete you always dreamed, start breaking down a blueprint step by step of what needs to be done and improved. Acknowledge what your athletic weaknesses are, muscle imbalances, etc., and be honest with yourself, your career lies within your hands.
Start training more efficient and consistent and stop training like a body builder or CEO of bank who has no intentions of being a world-class athlete. Your work ethic, your grind must match your dream or it will never be more than just a dream. One exercise creates ballistic stretching and elasticity and that’s jumping roping, however, there is always a catch and that’s jump roping correctly will lead to greater explosion, more spring and efficient movement. It creates a rubber band effect in muscles that will have them fire just as rubber band would if you stretched it completely out and released.
With all this new information let’s get better and become the best athletes we can. Good better best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best. Just don’t work hard, work smart and efficient.