At Sparta, our goal for our athletes is not just about improving their strength, speed, or size. Our goal is really about improving their movement efficiency. While most coaches would agree with this concept, few have a starting point for actually evaluating movement efficiency in an objective way.
If you have been following our blog for awhile, you understand how Sparta signatures are the gold standard for evaluating movement. Of course, in the process of improving movement efficiency we are also focused on improving the physical attritbutes of strength, speed, and power that help each athlete excel at their sport and position.
With an increased understanding of movement signatures, one concept that has become more important is the concept of tempo. Tempo is the speed, pace, or timing of a movement. Tempo has a significant impact on an athlete’s LOAD, EXPLODE, and DRIVE. As a coach, you can quickly develop your eye for how an athlete moves and the tempos that they use to complete a given task. Once you have identified their Sparta signature, a whole new world of understanding is opened up as you connect the dots between their L-E-D needs and the tempos that they use. Additionally, you are able to individualize your coaching cues based on the goal of improving tempo for each athlete.
Short vs. Long Tempo
Athletes who need LOAD must work on their ability to perform quick movements. This is particularly true for stiff,vertical contact with the ground. We work on short tempo movements like the depth jump in order to improve this ability.
Athletes who need EXPLODE must work on their ability to accelerate quickly. The key factor here is the bracing of trunk position to allow for rapid transfer or force. We work on short tempo, lateral movements like the base jump in order to reinforce this bracing and change of direction.
Athletes who need DRIVE must work on their ability to finish movements. This is seen as the ability to achieve deep flexion and full extension with the hips. We work on long tempo movements like broad jumps and lateral bounds with a goal of covering maximal distances in order to train this smooth production and absorption of force.
Lateral Bound – 1 Leg Stick
The Lateral Bound – 1 Leg Stick is a reactive strength exercise that we use to train long smooth tempo with our athletes who need DRIVE. The two goals are to cover as much distance as possible and control the landing with a short time to stabilization. For athletes in more advanced levels we add a drop from a box in order to increase the reactive demands of the movement and produce greater distance on the jump.
- Shift the weight to one leg as you sink into smooth, deep load
- Drive out laterally working to get full extension
- Absorb the landing and control your center of mass as quickly as possible
Tempo is an important component of every movement that an athlete does. By understanding an athlete’s Sparta signature you can use specific lifts and jumps to reinforce movement efficiency. Re-evaluate your goals and think about how tempo can be the difference maker in your strength, speed, and power.