Mastering The Machine
By Loren Landow, CSCS, Denver Broncos
As coaches and trainers, we have many different equipment options for training our athletes. Barbells, dumbbells, isolated equipment, medicine balls, TRX, kettlebells, Run Rockets, Elastomers, Sandbells and bags, weighted sleds, battle ropes and the list goes on. All this equipment exists to further exploit our athletes’ strength, explosiveness, speed, agility and stability. Ultimately all these tools are only as good as the mechanical efficiency the athlete possesses on the playing field. So, if you have poor mechanical efficiency on the field of play, adding greater power, strength or endurance won’t solve the efficiency problem. “Adding resistance to dysfunction won’t fix the dysfunction.” In many instances, it will make it worse.
Before adding power, athletes first need to be accountable for how they move. They should learn general locomotion skills such as acceleration, deceleration, planar movement (shuffles, slides, carioca patterns, etc.) transitional steps (jab step, crossover step, drop step, rhythm/false step, power cut and speed cut). Arming your athletes with this general movement arsenal, while mastering the skill of deceleration with each skill, will do more for their play making ability.
If you attend a Broncos off-season workout, you might see me do this to emphasize the importance of speed:
Hand a stopwatch to an athlete and have him start and stop it as fast as he can. Most results will be .18 -.22, basically 0.2 of a second.
Then explain to the athlete that that is the difference between a 4.6 and a 4.4 40-yard dash.
This lesson creates the buy-in for technical training.
Regardless if the opposition is faster than our athletes, if we play with proper movement mechanics, we have the advantage over someone who has blazing, straight line speed.
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