When working with young athletes one of the first things that we can teach them is how to get into an “athletic position”. Watch the following video to understand what that looks like…
If a young athlete can learn to put their body into the right position to be able to react quickly they’ll be one step ahead as they build their speed and strength.
One cool concept that is simple to understand is that “joint position dictates muscle function”. What this means is that when our joints are positioned in certain ways our muscles can either work better or worse.
The “athletic position” sets the joints in a great way in order to have the muscles ready to adapt when called upon.
Sport is more than just being fast and being strong. There are so many qualities that make a good athlete. Having your athletes able to react faster than their opponent will give them the advantage even if the opponent is faster and stronger!
Here is a fun drill that you can use in order to help your athlete understand being “ready” in an athletic position and how it will dictate whether or not they can respond fast enough to make a difference in their sport.
The star drill:
- Create a box with 4 cones 5-10 yards apart.
- This box can be used from the grid during the warm-up.
- The athlete will stand in the middle of the box in a good athletic position.
- The coach will call out different cones “top right”, “back left”, etc, for the athlete to explode towards and then return back to centre.
- Perform this game for a designated amount of time and then rest or have the athlete perform an “active recovery” exercise.
- Repeat this activity after adequate rest.
- The better conditioned athletes won’t require as much rest, those looking to build their conditioning will require more rest.
- This game can be progressed by calling out multiple cones for the athlete to move towards before returning to centre.
- Visual Acuity
You can get creative in so many fun ways to help your athlete get set, get ready, and explode! Here’s a few other examples to have fun at your next session: