Sunday, April 19, 2009

Athletes' Performance Training System: Movement Skills

Movement Skills: Transitioning to a Dynamic Environment

Within the Athletes' Performance Training System (APTS) we place a heavy emphasis on movement quality, performance and durability. For these reasons we have a session that is solely focused on developing movement efficiency and power in an effort to mimic the demands of an athlete’s sport in addition to addressing their individual needs. Each Movement Skills (MS) session will focus on linear movement qualities and/or Multidirectional movement qualities, and will be broken into movement technique (Motor Learning Emphasis) and movement application (Power and Speed Emphasis) components. Additionally, the movement application component can be further broken down into pre-programmed drills and random drills.

At Athletes' Performance we will have two days dedicated to linear speed development (ex. Monday and Thursday) and two days dedicated to multidirectional speed development (ex. Tuesday and Friday). The actual MS session will last about 30-45min depending on whether the athlete is with us twice daily or once daily. On a linear speed day we will address one or more of the following qualities: Starts (ex. Flying, Falling, 2pt and 3pt), Acceleration (ex. 5-20 yards), Transition, Absolute Speed (ex. 20+ yards) and Deceleration. Note that these individual components will initially be taught on separate days and as the athlete shows proficiency we will start working on linking everything together.

On a multidirectional speed day we will focus on one or more of the following qualities: Shuffle, Cutting, Crossover Patterns, Backpedal, Drop Step, and Base Position. It should be noted that linear speed components can still be addressed on multidirectional days. These drills will initially be taught individually in a pre-programmed environment and eventually will be linked together in a random environment reflective of sport.

The eventual randomization of drills will be essential to the athlete’s success. Within sport they will be faced with various stimuli that include (Harbin et al. 1989):
Average Reaction Time

-0.142s (Auditory Stimuli)
-0.155s (Tactile Stimuli)
-0.194s (Visual Stimuli)

The reaction that results from these stimuli can be broken into two phases that include the latency phase (i.e. Time from sensory input to EMG) and the response phase or electromechanical delay (i.e. Time from EMG to motor action or movement). It has been stated that the latency phase is highly genetic and the response phase is trainable (Siff, 2004). For these reasons we must eventually place the athlete in a random environment as the actual learning and motor response is different than that experienced in pre-programmed drills.

As previously stated the session will be broken down into technical and application components. The technical component uses methods that focus on motor learning and reactive neuromuscular training techniques (See Athletic Body in Balance by Gray Cook). Methods may include the use of wall drills, harness drills, resisted-assisted bungee work and sled pulling. Note that the initial use of these methods focuses on teaching the athlete how to move correctly and increase movement awareness, but eventually can be used to overload movements patterns as is the case with sled work. Following the technical work is the application component which focuses on developing movement speed and power. Within this component we will focus on full-speed drills under no resistance or assistance. The goal is to apply the movements at speeds and within environments that reflect the athlete’s sport. For example, on a linear speed day with an acceleration emphasis we may ask the athlete to do 4-6x10 yard sprints with an emphasis on speed of movement. Each repetitions time would be monitored and once we see a drastic time decrease then the session is over (i.e. 10-20% decrease in time and/or speed). It should be noted that a new athlete will spend the majority of their time working on technique and as they achieve mastery they will focus a greater amount of their time on the sport specific application of those techniques.

Athletes' Performance Training System: Movement Skills

Linear Speed Day: Acceleration Emphasis
Technical Component (20min):
Wall Drills (45degree body lean):
o Posture Holds 20s ea
o Load and Lift w/ Contra-lateral Hip Flexion x5-10ea
o Load and Lift w/ Contra-Lateral Hip Extension-Flexion x5-10ea
o Marching x10-20 contacts ea
o Single Exchanges 1-2x5-10 ea
o Double-Triple Exchanges 1-2x5 ea
Harness Drills (45degree body lean): Note that the videos depict the proper movements without the harness.
o Marching 1-2x10-15yds
o Skipping 1-2x10-15yds
o Acceleration Runs 1-2x10-15yds
Application Component (10-20min)
Free Acceleration Runs (Falling Start):
o 4-6x10-15yd runs (1-3+ Minutes Between Repetitions)
(Session will stop once form and/or speed has decreased below the desired level of the coach)

Additional Acceleration Workout Example

Cook, G. Athletic Body in Balance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2003.

Gambetta, V. Athletic Development. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2007.

Harbin, G., L. Durst, and D. Harbin. Evaluation of Oculomotor Response in Relationship to Sports Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 21:258-262, 1989.

Siff, M.C. Supertraining. Denver, CO: Supertraining Institute, 2003.

Verstegen, M. Coordination and Agility. In: High-Performance Sports Conditioning. B. Foran (Ed.) Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2001.

Nick Winkelman CSCS, *D; NSCA-CPT, *D
Education Manger/ Performance Specialist
Athletes' Performance (Tempe, AZ)

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