The question always arises, “how does the elite athlete make what seems like the impossible play in high pressure situations”? While there are certain intangible qualities including emotional and psychological control, of which are beyond the scope of this article, we can all agree that their training and preparation to succeed in high stress situations was highly focused. Similarly, the heightened focus on sport-specific, functional training has never been at the forefront of discussion and application as it is in today’s training programs.
Coaches, parents and athletes conclude at the question of how one can best improve their athletic performance. Joey Greany, CSCS, states, “High School athletes must train to improve sports performance. Anything else is a waste of time.” I believe this is a powerful statement for those athletes focused on exceling at their chosen sport and/or position. What they lose sight of is the dramatic impact basic movement patterns have on highly specific movements and tasks. Identifying those fundamental movements that are dysfunctional, painful or demonstrate asymmetry are key in returning the body to a minimal level of ACCEPTABLE function. Likewise, it becomes critical to maintain these basic patterns during the course of a competitive season.
In a previous article, Building an Athletic Foundation for the High School Baseball Player (joeygreany.com/Building-an-Athletic-Foundation-for-the-High-School-Baseball-Player) Joey points out the strong impact of simple exercises like the chop, lift and farmer’s carries. These movements are simple in design and execution, yet they yield an outstanding carryover into your chosen functional activity. Ultimately by maintaining basic movement patterns, we make the response to unpredictable movement variation in sport more efficient and effective. Simply put, an athlete built on a foundation of fundamental movement demonstrate the unique ability to react to game speed changes, making the unbelievable play of the elite athlete.
Stephen C Gamma, MS, ATC, CSCS holds a Master of Science in Athletic Training from the University of Idaho and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Stephen is a former Minor League Baseball Strength and Conditioning Coach and recipient of the 2010 Appalachian League Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year award. Stephen is the Assistant Athletic Trainer at Mount Saint Mary College (NY) and Director of Sports Performance at Pro Prospects Training Center (NY). Stephen has presented research (poster) at the 2014 FWATA Annual Symposium and 2015 World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy World Congress. Publications include the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, The Sports Digest, and Joeygreany.com
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