With our pro baseball players training this winter, we have had a unique opportunity to train both 13 year old and 30 year old athletes on the same day. Last week, we were teaching a young team to skip, and I was struck by how these young kids were struggling in some of the same ways that our pros had struggled earlier that day. The takeaway message is really the importance of fundamental movement skill in athletic development. As a coach, it is important to remember that your athletes are never too young or too old to start learning fundamental movement skills. Teaching Movement Skill When training athletes, it is very easy to have your focus narrowed around just getting stronger or just improving conditioning. At Sparta, we include "skills" as one of our primary modes for developing an athlete's Sparta signature because of the importance of reinforcing fundamental movement. We start our skill learning progressions with movements like skips that we categorize as "rhythm" movements. One of the rhythm movements that we have been employing more recently is the base rotation. It is great for teaching athletes how to dissociate the hips and shoulders and transfer forces through the torso. It is great for rotational athletes to understand what it feels like to be connected through the trunk, and it is also great for teaching agility athletes what it feels like to flip the hips.
It is tempting to jump right into strength work, but never underestimate the importance of fundamental skill movements like skips and base rotations. Not only will they prepare you for your lifting, but the are a key link between the strength that you develop in the gym and the skill that you are able to display on the field or court.
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