Written By: Ryan Bishel, BA, PES
Ok, so what does "Squeeze the Sponge" mean?
Well I'm talking about "Effort." All to often I see athletes just going through the motions, which will cause a plateau in their performance. In order to progress as an athlete, all of the quick & explosive movements need to be pre-programmed into your neuromuscular system at 100% effort. Let me explain, if you perform 5 20yd sprints at 75, 80, 78, 95, 89% effort, then that is what you have pre-programmed into your system for "Game Day." You can not expect to be the quickest athlete out there if you haven't trained your body to do so on a consistent basis.
We as humans are creatures of habit, I know, you have heard this before. But... We really, are. Our bodies by nature, are wired to "Program" all motions into our neuromuscular system so they become "learned." Think of every rep and movement your body makes is just the same as writing your name over and over again when you were little. Why were our parents and teachers so pushy about it... so we could one day write our name faster than say it. Well cutting on the field to change direction before your opponent beats you on the play, needs to be "Programed" just like writing your name, tying your shoes, walking, saying the alphabet, ... ok I'll stop there, but you get the point. Multiple reps a week aren't enough if you want to prevent injury and become faster than you have ever been... those reps aren't just reps, they are vital programming sessions and should be taken seriously. Every angle your joints make are very important for biomechanics & movement efficiency, so those reps, need to be Perfect Reps and Repeated Perfect Reps. Expect more from yourself, and squeeze the mental sponge.... because you have more potential than what your old self told you yesterday.
So the moral of the story is ...
A) "Train your body at the speed at which you want it to perform on "Game Day" and except nothing less!"
B) "Train your body for perfect athletic movements, you are programming speed, not just working out!"
By: Ryan Bishel, BA, PES
~~~Thank me for posting this by IMPLEMENTING IT! ~~~
I read this article from a sport psychology resource that I have followed for years. Check it out:
Does your young athlete have trouble coping with mistakes? Do your athletes check out during games because they can't let go of mistakes? In fact, 35% of sports parents we surveyed said that their young athletes struggle with letting go of mistakes.
In other words, if your kids can't let go of mistakes, this can spiral into real "mental game" challenges in sports. When this spiral begins, young athletes become frustrated, lose confidence, and get angry or give up altogether.
Some parents have described this syndrome as "checking out." Their kids stop caring because they are in the grips of frustration and anger. We admit that this sounds harsh, but this is the reality. In fact, some kids, like the one mentioned below, are even threatened with getting kicked off their teams!
In order to be successful, your young athletes need to learn how to let go of mistakes and remain composed. If they can't stay composed, they risk not playing up to their potential. Then one mistake snowballs into more mistakes, which snowballs into the fear of more missed goals, missed putts, turnovers, lost rebounds....and more bad performances.
This is what it looks like: A young basketball player begins a game with high hopes. But after a few missed shots, he stops shooting. He's afraid of missing more shots. He stops taking risks and plays very tentatively. He's not very effective, and starts to feel frustrated--even angry.
Check out this Link: http://www.kidssportspsychology.com/public/department66.cfm
After so many years of meeting well over 1000+ athletes I have noticed some common "ingredients" that the most successful ones possess. Do you have at least 1 of these ... or better yet, all 3?
1) A commitment to their priorities.
2) A burning desire to achieve their goals.
3) A willingness to learn & to be taught.
Here is what I mean by a commitment to their priorities. Once an athlete picks a goal to achieve, there must be an adjustment of priorities. We all have different life balances and things going on in our life so an athlete must take the time to sit down and write out a list of priorities and stick to it. All to often I see athletes "change on the fly" (so to speak) due to things like: their friends influence, entertainment distractions, poor decisions on food intake, etc. For example: If your goal is to become a starter on your team, and it's the 3rd priority behind family and getting a 4.0+ in school, then you should never let your social life get in the way of your training schedule. That being said, both the type of athletic development training you are getting and the volume of it will need to be improved.
The next point I'm making about having a burning desire to achieve goals that are set is very important. This is the nucleus of the 3 ingredients. The reason being that this is "willpower" and that has to come from within, not taught. Coaching and teaching it can only bring perspective the the situation. If you truly, deeply, down in your soul want to decrease your 40yd dash time then you will... simple as that. If you don't then other distractions will de-rail you from your mission at hand.
The third ingredient of having a willingness to learn & to be taught is often overlooked. Here is what I mean, you can't bring your ego to the table every time. If you knew everything there is to know and your body is programed neuromuscularly to be at optimal performance, then you would be at your goal and wouldn't be reading this article. Blunt, yes, but it's the truth. The mental toughness of an athlete is either their best friend or their enemy. Part of being mentally sound is having your "student" hat on at all times around both your training staff & your coaching staff. You will make the progressive strides you are looking for even if you just put that student hat on 50% more of the time... so could you image if you always did? I'd like to also add that having quality coaches around your is vital to this athletic success formula.
To help you get moving forward, I want you to post in the comment section below, your "Declaration of Action" that your are going to start taking as of today. I'm saying this because you don't possess the magical ability to rewind the clock ... all you can say is either: I should have... I could have... or I did.
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