Our guest post this week comes from Andrea Hudy and Dani Niemann at The University of Kansas. Hudy joined the Jayhawks in 2004, after a 9 year tenure at The University of Connecticut. In her time with the Jayhawks, 25 of her athletes have gone on to the NBA. Kansas was the first collegiate program to use the Sparta Software and have been integral in the development of the system.
Would you rather have an athlete score twenty-five points in one game, four in the next, and zero in the game after that? Or would you rather have a player who consistently scores fifteen points each time he steps on the court? The scenario is the same regarding other performance statistics such as rebounds, steals, etc. I know I would much rather have a player be predictable and consistent; one who takes out the guess work out of the competitive game.
With the results we obtain from the Sparta Science software, we have empirically seen that the most consistent force producers are the most consistent game performers. In other words, the athletes who we count on the most for game results are those who are most persistent with their effort on the court and in the weight room.
As a coach, it is also important to promote consistent healthy behaviors and habits such as nutrition, sleep, time management, and stress management. These behaviors can effect consistent force production on the court as well.
Consistent force production derives a great deal from an athlete’s effort and attention to detail. Every movement in the performance facility has a specific purpose and should be performed with deliberate intent. There are days when neither load nor velocity are factored; we focus on the movement.
Other things that effect consistent force production are recovery and the management of fatigue buildup. The amount of physical and mental stress athletes often face effect their force production and play. In season, we are offsetting basketball reps that occur on the court with long, slow, healthy contractions in the performance facility. Basketball players are constantly breaking and creating extreme amounts of stiffness. It is important that they create elasticity through mobility, flexibility, and a full range of motion to elongate force through the ground. Alongside movement repetitions, everyday we educate the athletes on the proper nutrition and sleep it takes to fully recover. We work together with our nutritionist to give them all of the resources they need to live a healthy lifestyle.
The above components drive constant force production in athletes, resulting in consistent performance. Throughout the season stats are taken on every player, some include: minutes played, rebounds, steals, etc. There is a direct correlation between the players with consistent force production and consistent performance. We have created a culture in which consistency is important. This culture is the driving force behind our behaviors, habits, and results. In the end, it is about the results.
Our culture’s focus is not just about weightlifting but rather the components it takes to create, maintain, and repair athletes to their best performing states. We choose to measure the quality of movement and emphasize proper sequencing and mobility versus measuring the quantity of a load. We no longer use GPS or heart rate monitors to regulate athlete’s effort or output. Instead we develop consistent force producers through a variety of modalities centered on quality not quantity of movement. With the help of Sparta Science we have made changed the focus of training to create a healthy and efficient athlete.
With regards to the basketball performance, these behaviors stem from deliberate efforts to create, maintain, and elevate proper sequencing with consistent force production. Mobility and stability exercises are incorporated into the program in order to avoid heavily skewed performance force production repetitions (specifically strength) during the season.
Changes in force production can be caused by fatigue, muscle soreness, injury, stress, etc. With time, these changes can alter an athlete’s habits, in turn skewing the results. Our results significantly drive our culture, bringing us full circle: culture drives behaviors, behaviors drive habits, habits drive results, and results drive culture.
by Andrea Hudy and Dani Niemann