[http://active.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/stop.jpg]With it being summer time, I've been outside quite a bit working with my athletes on various movement techniques. This has also given me the liberty to watch some local baseball games and soccer and tennis matches. Young athletes running and jumping around playing their hearts out! It's great!
But the one element that I see lacking in a major area of these athletes is: STOPPING
No, I didn't type that incorrectly. Stopping or decelerating is a primary problem with young athletes. There is so much information out there to the public on how to become faster and speedy, but very little is addressed about knowing or learning how to decelerate!
The amount of deceleration can be determined by speed of the athlete and if a change in direction is required. Proper body control and angle are of major importance when trying to slow ourselves.
The athletes need to pay attention to their chin, shoulder and hip position when slowing from a rapid movement or attempting to change directions.
So, start adding in basic deceleration drills into their training or skill work. Pay attention to their body positioning. By learning how to accept their body weight and force they will be much more efficient on the field when changing directions.
A couple of things that I always relay to my athletes:
If I was teaching you how to ski jump, I would teach you how to land first; the jumping part is easier!
I wouldn't ask you to get into a sports car and drive at 100 mph. if it didn't have brakes!
Teach them how to STOP.
Until next time, keep working hard!
Shawn is an independent performance coach. He was an all-conference defensive back in college and attended CFL/NFL tryouts. He maintains two top websites: www.gamespeed.biz and www.speedladderdrills.com