The "Big 6" Questions, Part 2

The "Big 6" Questions we get about training athletes and sports fitness!
Part 2

Phil Hueston, NASM-PES; IYCA-YFS

Q: I bought a ladder and some hurdles. I can google some speed drills and make my son/daughter faster, right? That's what you guys do, right?

A: Wrong. So wrong, in fact, I should be allowed to kick you in the shins. Okay, maybe not kick you, but NO! Speed development is based on science. Bio-mechanics, neuroscience, kinesiology, kinetic chain alignment and strength development and application, to name just a few aspects.

For example, watch this video: The "W Drill."

Now, would you know how to correctly cue that drill? Would you know what signals to look for to indicate issues with alignment, bio-mechanics, mobility or even weakness? Exactly. And you shouldn't have to. That's our area of expertise.

Speed, strength, power, agility and sports performance are our business. You could google some videos about how to drill your kids' teeth, but you wouldn't, right? Why not? Because some things are not made for amateurs and in fact, can be downright dangerous in the wrong hands.

Here's an example of what I mean: We all grew up hearing coaches yell "on your toes," right? Well, it's wrong. When an athlete is constantly on their toes, they cannot balance their center of gravity and have to work twice as hard to accelerate, decelerate and change direction. What coaches were trying to do was put athletes in an advantageous physical position to generate power through the ground and increase acceleration.

What we do is look at the athlete, determine how they move naturally, then teach them techniques for maximal force application, efficiency of movement, hip and ankle mobility, movement mechanics, deceleration and advantageous body positioning for changing direction. Then we teach them to put it all together under a broad variety of training and game-like situations.

So stop googling stuff and step away from the ladders and hurdles. Instead, bring your athletes to All-Star and let us do what we do best: make athletes better.

As a bonus, here's a look at a favorite game in our facility, Toe Tag. Can you see the bio-mechanical issues in these two athletes? Can you identify the sports performance and physical movement skills being reinforced?

Q: What's the best sport/activity to get my child ready for (insert sport name here)?

A: That depends. Signing your child up for sport "X" to "stay in shape" for another sport may be exactly what they don't need. Playing one sport to get fit for another (especially if it is your child's primary sport) might be doing more damage than good!

Example: a few years back, we began working with a female athlete who was suffering severe shin splints. As a high school field hockey and lacrosse player, she also swam in the winter. When we asked what her primary sport was, she didn't hesitate to say lacrosse. When I asked why she was swimming, she said it was to stay in shape for lacrosse. I asked a simple question:

"Does swimming look anything like lacrosse?" Of course not. She was swimming in the winter to "keep up her cardio." Ok, so we had a discussion about what lacrosse looked like and the type of movement abilities that were required for it. Variable intensity, ground-based, rapid change of direction, stick and ball management during movement and an ever-changing game landscape. Swimming? Not so much any of those.

So over the next year, this young lady dropped swimming and spent the winter training with us to get ready for lacrosse. When the season arrived, she trained through the season with us. She also stopped playing field hockey, but continued to train with us. She broke every scoring (and nearly every other) record in lacrosse at her high school. She was recruited by over 130 colleges. She ended up taking a scholarship to play lacrosse at Stanford University.

What's the best activity to get ready for (insert sport name here)? If your child is in high school or knows what sport he/she wants to play in college, training activities that improve the activities required to be successful at that sport are the right ones. Not sure what that means? Click here to contact us and we'll help you figure it out.