How Undersized Athletes Can Get Ahead

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One of the unfortunate part about being in Massachusetts is that there are not a lot of huge athletes.

I do not think I have every seen someone 7 ft tall nor have I met someone who would be classified as an NFL type body.

I know those two attributes are not everything but the point I am getting at is that the Boston area is not known for producing freaks.

Lets scale it back. Some athletes will have a size advantage over their competition. No two people are the same so this is bound to happen.

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What the undersized athlete does about it is important. They could use it as an excuse and never be any good at sports because they are small. Or they could use it to fuel the fire.

Being undersized gives athletes advantages that might not be so easily seen.

Skill

Undersized athletes must be highly skilled to have success. Bigger athletes will always get a chance and looks just based on size. Smaller athletes need to let their skills do the talking.

The infamous story of the bigger athlete goes a little bit like this. Athlete A is a basketball player that uses their size to rebound and get layups over everyone. This does not take a lot of skill when he is taller than everyone. Everyone else must work on their ball handling and shooting to counteract this. Athlete A just relies on size. When everyone starts to catch up in height, now it is not such an advantage. Athlete A starts to struggle because they never developed other skills in their game.

Use skill development to get ahead.

Speed

Speed kills. The fastest athlete on the field is going to have more chances to make plays. The best part is that speed can be trained.

Working on sprint ability and technique will help make an athlete run faster. Now, size will not be such an issue if he/she can get into open space with ease.

Improving knee drive, foot strike, and upper body positioning during sprinting can help improve speed almost instantly.

Agility

An athlete that changes direction quickly will be able to make their own space very easily. Being able to stop on a dime and go in the opposite direction is going to help create separation from defenders.

Most athletes do not possess great agility without training.

Working on slowing down and loading the lower body is important for quickness. When someone can quickly load the hips and explode in the opposite direction they will be able minimize the size difference.

Strength

When a game gets physical, everyone thinks that smaller athletes are at a disadvantage. It doesn’t have to be that way.

The shorter an athlete is, the lower their center of gravity. A low center of gravity makes for good balance.

If a shorter athlete is able to get as strong as they can through the whole body, they are going to be able to absorb contact without trouble.

Combine this with the other two qualities above and we have a dangerous recipe for helping an athlete.

Conditioning

Conditioning is a very straight forward point. If a smaller athlete is in great shape, they will be able to outlast the competition. Having more juice at the end of a game is going to result in more opportunity to make plays. They will be able to have a higher level of focus while still being able to play fast and quick. This is how comebacks are created and games are put away.

I will admit that a lot of things that I have mentioned above are also available for tall athletes as. There is nothing you can do about a larger athlete that is fast, quick, strong, and highly skilled. Sometimes that is the (un) luck of the draw. The point is to control what you can and give you or your athlete the best chance to succeed.