What differentiates the good players from the poor ones? Athleticism!
There are three core “positions”, or motor patterns, that ALL athletes must master in order to become good at their sport: running/moving (in various directions); jumping (in various directions); and holding a proper stance. The sooner the athlete is introduced to these principles during their development, the better they will master their sport in the long term.
Let’s quickly look at them individually. All sport requires some form of horizontal movement such as running. This can be linear, multi-directional, forward, backward, and lateral. Think of basically ANY athlete running towards the ball, away from a defender, getting into position. This requires proper synergistic use of several muscles of the body. Research shows that the leg muscles are synchronized with the movement of the arm swing when running. So, proper coordination and use of the upper body will improve speed.
Jumping is a vertical movement in sport. However, it too can be multi-directional meaning forward, sideways, backwards and can be done off one foot, or both feet. Think of the volleyball player jumping up to block a spike, or a baseball player diving to make a catch. Jumping also requires synergistic use of several muscles. Using the upper body will significantly improve any jumping movement.
Finally, holding a proper stance is paramount in being ready to move in any directions, or to perform a technical move for the specific sport. In basketball, for instance, a stance is warranted in the defensive position or in receiving a pass from a team mate, as well as in the ready position to take a shot such as a free throw, or a jump shot. A stance is also warranted in subtle ways, in other sports, such as in maintaining a stable leg during a glide in cross country skiing.
Each of these “positions or movements” requires a balance of muscles and a synchronicity of muscles fired in the right sequence. If one of the required muscles is weaker or not firing at all, this will prevent proper function of the motor patterns, thus reducing the effectiveness of the athlete. At the Center for Strength and Athlete Development, we focus on identifying which muscle imbalances are preventing this proper functioning of the motor patterns.
For a proper identification of this, please contact us to schedule an assessment.