There are a lot of areas that athletes are always trying to get better at in order to improve their performance.
It is hard for most kids to learn the skills that they need to be successful. They spend way too much time sitting down and not enough time playing freely.
And don’t give me this Pokemon Go bs that it is going to get kids off of the couch and active. That riddle has already been solved. You can now use a drone to play the game so that you do not have to walk around. Problem solved.
The unfortunate truth is that most kids are missing fundamental movements that they need to be successful in sport. There are a lot that we try to teach but we are limited in what we can do.
The best strategy for an athlete to become very good with movement is to start them at a young age doing many different things. It would actually be perfect if all kids did gymnastics when they were young. Gymnasts are strong as hell and it transfers to when they are older.
9 Movements that Athletes Need are as follows.
It is truly amazing how much time it can take to teach a kid how to skip. I played a lot of hockey growing up. I also had “asthma” because I found it hard to breathe during practices, etc. I also weighed more in the 8th grade than I do now. Maybe it wasn’t asthma and it was being fat.
Anyway those things meant that I really never had the opportunity to skip. An athlete that cannot skip is going to lack coordination and the ability to run. I doesn’t matter if hockey players don’t run on the ice, the best athletes are always the best players. The best athletes can skip.
A lot of kids come in on their first day and do not know how to jump. Their arms are all off and they sometimes barely get off of the ground.
Every kid jumps in their lives. This only gets ruined when they get older and stop moving. This is what makes watching 4-7 year olds bombing around the gym so entertaining. They can run and jump very well and they do not even know whats going on.
Landing a jump is just as important as taking off. A good landing should be soft, balanced, and quiet.
What happens most of the time is that it is loud, straight legged, and a lot of impact going into the body.
Athletes should think about bending their knees, pushing their hips back, and landing as quietly as possible.
Hinge their hips
There is a different between pushing your hips back and bending over. Bending over means flexing at the spine and reaching over. Hinging the hips back is much more difficult to master.
To hinge the hips we keep the back in neutral and push our butt back. There should be a little bend in the knee and the athlete should only go as far as they can.
The hinge is necessary for building strength, jumping, landing, and changing direction. I would say it is the most important movement quality for an athlete.
There is nothing magical about jumping rope but I feel that young athletes should be able to do it.
That’s it- no scientific backing or anything. Good athletes can jump rope.
Ok, so it is very rare that someone comes in on their first day and can do perfect pushups. The athlete usually has to be a little bit older.
I have seen more athletes unable to push themselves off of the ground than bang out proper pushups. That’s not good.
Even if it isn’t perfect, an athlete should be able to start with their chest on the ground and push themselves up.
The fix? Do pushups at home. Start by accumulating a few at a time throughout the day. Use the dead start. By pushing up from the ground you can’t cheat.
Run through (low) hurdles
At my first internship, one of the coaches said something that will stick with me-“Athletes don’t hit hurdles.”
Good enough for me.
The only reason athletes hit these hurdles is because they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Its that simple. Focus on the task at hand and you will succeed.
*I am not talking about track hurdles here. That is not my forte.
Run around cones without stopping
Too many athletes come to a stop when they are running around a cone. This means that they are losing speed and momentum. The results are a lack of quickness and poor endurance.
When rounding a cone, using short choppy steps to keep your momentum. Do not come to a stop and go around because you will need to build all of that speed back up. This is inefficient.
Clean up decelerating around a cone and you will get quicker.
Pull their body weight
I’m not sure it is fair to ask all athletes to be able to do a chinup but successful athletes can. I am only looking for one for young athletes and I do not expect most of them to do it right away.
It is something to work towards. That way when they get there you know that the athlete is getting stronger.