When working with athletes there is a direct correlation between the athlete’s ability to control their body position during movement and their ability to produce speed and power on the court. As the athlete transitions from deceleration to acceleration during a cutting based change of direction (agility movements) the timing and intermuscular coordination of the movement patterns, as well as positioning of the body, posture, and rhythm play a major roll in the efficiency of the movement, as seen in the comparison graph.
In this study, 300 athletes between the ages of 9 and 24 were screened in a lateral change of direction screen by their effective use of positioning, posture and rhythm. As they improved the movement efficiency, their speed in a change of direction (agility) improved somewhat proportionally. These types of studies bring us a step closer to justifying the additional time allotted to improving movement in athletes. Not only will the extra time pay off in decreased occurrence of injuries as seen in the graph below from the fall season, but it should also improve performance.
When writing or implementing a workout, make sure to include a 15 -20 minute section dedicated to perfecting foundational movement. We consider foundational movement to be:
- Positioning – power position or the athletic stance from which you decelerate into, or move explosively out of
- Acceleration – the ability to quickly and efficiently reach top speed or jump height, without compromising the ability to control your movement
- Transition – the moment of a directional change where the athlete is rapidly decelerating and starting to accelerate at the same time (laterally or vertically)
- Hitting – The transfer of energy from the lower body through the core, to upper body with explosive acceleration