All training is not created equal!
I had 2 new athletes in for an assessment last week. I’d name where they trained, but they don’t even deserve me giving their name any sort of recognition. After what I saw, I was pretty angry. Mainly because I really love what I do and take it incredibly serious. I’m lucky that my job also happens to be my passion. That being said, there are way too many people in the area making up credentials and being dishonest. I’ve had to correct a lot of issues from athletes coming from these “performance” centers.
When an athlete comes in for an assessment, I get their full background and run them through an evaluation. I don’t coach them during the assessment. I just want to see how they naturally perform a lot of basic movements. If they have previously been training, I will ask them to show me some of the exercises they routinely perform.
Here’s What I Saw:
Were they doing balance circus acts on a bosu ball? Yes.
For example, they told me they balance on an airex pad ON a Bosu ball doing a curl to press. Welcome to the circus. Are sports played on unstable ground? Is there an earthquake when you’re playing soccer? Have numerous studies not shown how unstable surface training has no role out of a rehab situation? Have numerous studies not shown that training on these surfaces decrease force production?
Yet, if you want to be strong and fast, you need to increase force production and output. But, it probably seems really cool to balance like a clown because it’s seemingly “hard” and unique. It’s a shame a guy like Ben Johnson never had a Bosu Ball, he could have been really fast.
Could they perform 1 proper push up? No. Not one.
But were they bench pressing every week? Yes.
Young athletes need to display that they can handle their own bodyweight as external resistance before you need to load them. 12-14 year olds who have been “training” for 5 months, 3x a week, should certainly be able to do 1 proper push up, no?
Had they been taught the proper way to land or do a box jump? No.
But they showed me 10 different fancy jump variations that they do. Master the basics before you move on. Simple progressions and if necessary, regressions at times. If you can’t even perform the basic movement correctly and safely, you don’t need advanced plyometrics.
Do they have good sprint mechanics? No.
Yet they sprint with a sled and weight attached to them. Think about how dumb this is. It’s always good to add a load on top of an improper or inefficient movement pattern (sarcasm). Instead, you’ve now ingrained poor sprint mechanics and developed compensatory movement.
Could they do a proper bodyweight squat? No.
But they squat and deadlift “heavy” every week. Once again, it’s easier to throw a weight on someone’s back than it is to spend the time coaching them to master the movement. This is what happens when clueless people are training athletes. Strength is ONE factor of being an athlete.
The last time I checked, powerlifters weren’t running 4.3 40’s and dunking basketballs. The most important factor for an athlete is MOVEMENT. They only need enough strength to perform their sport safely and efficiently. A perfect example is NBA MVP Kevin Durant who couldn’t bench press 185lbs (less than his body-weight) for ONE rep, yet he still manages to be arguably the best player in the NBA.
Did they spend a lot of time using the “speed ladder” Yes.
The speed ladder is a useless piece of crap. It simply exists to take up time. Movement is specific to movement. All you are doing is learning how to use the speed ladder. Growing up as an athlete, I used to do the speed ladder until I was blue in the face. I was incredible at it yet it never made me faster. It didn’t make sense, I mastered all of the moves on it and could execute them flawlessly yet every coach still told me to improve my speed and “agility.”
Because this is a copycat profession, you see someone on TV use a speed ladder or your coach in high school made you use it, and now you think it’s useful. You don’t know what you don’t know. Why does it suck so much?
- Do you take short choppy steps on the field/court? No.
- Does it teach you to go nowhere fast? Yes.
- Are movements in sports pre-planned? No, they are chaotic.
- Is looking at the ground while you move a good idea? No.
So please ask your “coach” why you use it. My guess is they’ll say, “speed and agility,” which are buzzwords to cover their idiocy. Want to be fast? SPRINT. Does Usain Bolt use the speed ladder? Of course not, because he is actually worried about being fast.
I could keep going but I won’t. It isn’t about how many different ridiculous exercises you throw at people. Stop trying to appear smarter than you are. The goal isn’t to keep your client entertained, it’s to get them better. So please stop trying to re-invent the wheel, especially if you don’t even understand a damn thing about the wheel.
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