Athletes need resiliency; here’s how to build it


Athletes need resiliency; here’s how to build it

One of the traits of legendary athletes is that they usually had to overcome multiple obstacles along the way. That ability to overcome setbacks is part of the trait we call resiliency. As a parent or coach, you can take steps to help athletes develop this quality. After all, you know they will need it eventually.

What Is Resilience

Resilience is not about avoiding obstacles, it’s about what we do when they happen.  It’s that ability to bounce back when there is a setback.  Challenges in an athlete’s path will cause feelings that are uncomfortable, stressful and can be painful, but to be successful they must continue to move forward.

Some of the attributes you’ll see in an athlete who is resilient include:

  • Heightened problem-solving approach to obstacles
  • An ability to bounce back after setback
  • A generally positive outlook on life
  • An ability to manage strong emotions and stress with a clear mind

Resiliency doesn’t have to be left to chance.  It is a trait that can be nurtured. Parents and coaches can help athletes with key steps in developing resiliency.

How to Help Athletes Build Resilience

As a coach or parent, you are often in a position to help frame how the athlete approaches a problem.  While it is something the athlete must experience and deal with personally, those around them can help them explore how they view the setback.

Start in the Past

Revisiting past experiences can be a good place to start.  This can be used to show the athlete where they have previously navigated obstacles before them.  This can positively impact how they interpret the uncomfortable feelings they may be experiencing and envision a way past them.

Ask: What challenges have I overcome in the past?  Finding past success can help lead to a positive outlook and show a path to forward.  Past experience might also provide insight into the strategies that helped.

Ask: Where do you get support and success from?  Most athletes will have someone or somewhere they turn for help.  Can they build on this more and focus on their potential sources of strength instead of an obstacle or perceived weakness?

AskWhat makes you feel energized and optimistic?  It may be connecting with a specific person, going for a run, or playing a game. The key is to find a way to see the bigger picture, so you’re less overwhelmed with the details of a stressful situation.

Build Toward the Future

Along with looking for past success and creating a positive framework, athletes need to develop the skills to deal with obstacles when they occur.  Daily habits can fuel someone’s resilience and are opportunities to build skills, before bigger problems arise.

Nurture strong bonds.  Having a sense of community and support from family, friends and team members can create a stable foundation they need if a problem arises.

Focusing on solutions.  Problem solving is a trait that can be practiced daily.  It’s a lot easier to focus on solving a big problem, when you’ve been practicing this mindset on lots of small problems along the way.

Focus on small goals. When an athlete has big dreams and goals it can be inspiring and fuel them.  However, when things get hard or go wrong those same big goals can start to make it seem impossible.  Adding smaller manageable steps along the way can assist an athlete having a proactive outlook, instead of one of being a victim.

Resiliency for Success

Resiliency is a trait we appreciate in athletes in part because, we all know overcoming obstacles is part of life.  Whether it’s sport, school, career, or relationships, life will throw some road bumps in the way.  The resiliency to get back up and overcome setbacks is always a key to success.

 

3 Effective exercises to make you explosive without a barbell


 

3 Effective exercises to make you explosive without a barbell

Athletes need power, which means a combination of strength & speed.  The reason Olympic lifts are so popular among elite athletes around the world is that they are really effective.  However, what if you don’t have a barbell and bumper plates, or no coach to teach you the technique?

While Olympic lifts are great, they aren’t the only way to train your explosiveness.  Here are 3 exercises that are really effective and don’t require the barbell.  You still need to use good form; it just may be a bit easier to get it even without a coach.

Standing Broad Jump

There is nothing new about this one, but it’s been around a long time for a reason.  Like any jumping exercise it combines the speed of rapid muscle contraction, with the application of large forces into the ground.  It also takes coordination through multiple joints in the body.  That’s a great recipe for athletes wanting to improve explosiveness.

Using a rapid counter-movement, you put the muscles around the hips, knees and ankles on stretch, then explosively contract them to get full extension in all 3 joints.  This “triple extension” action is key in many sports and why this exercise pays dividends.

An important added benefit is in the landing.  By focusing on landing soft and balanced, you are training explosive deceleration.  That’s the ability to absorb forces rapidly and it’s critical in most sports.  Its also a huge help in preventing injury.

Jumping on turf or grass surface.

3-5 sets

3-5 jumps

Skater Jumps

Another tried and true favorite, skater jumps have all the advantages of the standing broad jump, while adding a lateral movement component as well.    These might have you looking like a hockey player jump sideways from one foot to the other, but they benefit athletes in so many sports.

In addition to generating explosiveness in the take-off leg and eccentric power in the landing leg, they are really functional.  Functional, because you’ve added the challenge of moving on a single leg.  This is needed in so many sports.

Add in the the lateral movement and you are really working on all the stabilizers of the hip and some aspects pf balance.  All combined, these are things almost every athlete needs.

Jumping on turf or grass surface.

3-5 sets

3-5 jumps on each leg

Depth Jumps

Not for the beginner, depth jumps are an intense plyometric exercise guaranteed to stress your body.  That stress, when done in small doses, can have a big impact on increasing strength and power.  This is the plyo exercise where you step off a box, land and then go right into another explosive jump.

The benefits in this jumping drill are magnified because of the step off the box.  Dropping from a height lets gravity accelerate you towards the ground.  When your feet make contact all the involved joints and muscles must absorb and then generate even higher forces.  To protect yourself, the body is going to do this reflexively and you’ll put more force into the jump that immediate follows.  The key is to not overdo it.

Jump from a box 12-36” high

2-5 sets

2-4 jumps.

No Barbell, No Problem

While Olympic lifts and their variations are great for athletes wanting to build power, they may not be possible for everyone.  These 3 classic exercises have been proven for decades to help athletes improve their power.  They are also a great addition when you can do Olympic lifts.  Give them a try and see some gains.

Research Proves How Strength Can Make You Faster


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Research Proves How Strength Can Make You Faster

Research from the worlds leading sport scientists at places like Harvard University and SMU’s Locomotor Performance Laboratory have shown that faster sprinters are able to apply more force to the ground. They’ve proven that if you want to maximize your speed, you need the strength to apply big forces to the ground quickly.

The Velocity Speed Formula has 4 main components and two of those are BIG FORCE and SMALL TIME. In multiple studies over the last decade, researchers have confirmed that these 2 components of the Speed Formula are a big difference between faster and slower sprinters.

To propel your body forward, and to keep you upright, your leg has to produce a lot of force into the ground on each step. That’s what builds your momentum during acceleration phases and keeps it going during your full speed sprinting.

You create that big force, by first getting your leg up into the right position on each stride. Picture a sprinter with their front thigh up high, about parallel with the ground. Then you use the explosive strength in your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings to generate power and drive your foot down into the ground.

Your speed dictates why the big force you generated has to be applied in a small time. Think about. As you sprint faster, your body is moving over that piece of ground your foot hit faster. The faster you sprint; the less time your foot is in contact with the ground. That’s just simple physics.

Now let’s combine that big force with the small time. This is the hard part, and where some athletes fail. You need the explosive strength to get the leg attacking down at the ground as hard as possible AND you need the reactive strength to apply it efficiently and quickly.

When your foot hits the ground, it’s driving down with a lot of power. There’s only 90-150 milliseconds of time to get all that force into the ground. Your ankle, knee or hip all have to stay “stiff” enough to apply the force and not bend or absorb it.

This doesn’t mean stiff as in lack of flexibility. It means that the muscles and tendons in your lower body can hit the ground and deliver all your power without stretching or relaxing. An analogy to help visualize this is to picture 2 bouncing balls. One is a bouncy, superball made of a “stiff” rubber. The other is more like a beach ball and soft. Which one bounces higher when it hits the ground?

The stiffer superball does because it applies the force to the ground and stores elastic energy. The beach ball absorbs some of the force and doesn’t have the eastic energy to rebound. That’s like reactive strength. Your muscles and tendons don’t relax and absorb the force. They store elastic energy and use it to help you go faster.

To generate a big force with your lower leg you will need explosive strength and to apply it you need reactive strength. The good news is that research has also shown that getting stronger correlates with getting faster. You can develop these specific strength qualities by working in the weightroom using Olympic lifts, doing plyometrics properly, and learning the optimum mechanics for sprinting.

The Velocity Speed Formula is built on science and proven in sport. The research is starting to catch up and show why we can help you get faster.

Selected References
Faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid leg movements
Weyand, et. al , J Appl Physiol 89: 1991–1999, 2000.
Are running speeds maximized with simple-spring stance mechanics?
Kenneth P. Clark, Peter G. Weyand, Journal of Applied Physiology Published 31 July 2014
Relationships Between Ground Reaction Impulse and Sprint Acceleration Performance in Team Sport Athletes, Kawamori, et. al, The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 27(3), April 2012
Increases in lower-body strength transfer positively to sprint performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis, Seitz, et. al., Sports Med. 2014 Dec;44(12):1693-702

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Discover 4 Types of Regen You Need To Know


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Discover 4 Types of Regen You Need To Know

Athletes from pros through weekend warriors have recognized the importance of using regeneration techniques to recover faster, feel better, and train harder. However, with all the different options to choose from, it’s hard to know which one works best.

The first thing to remember is that everything isn’t for everyone all of the time. So, when someone asks “what kind of regen tool is best?” the answer is, it depends.

Here’s what you need to understand to get more benefit from your regen strategies.

Regen works by helping your body through it’s natural processes of returning to a state of internal balance. Training, competition, injury, and even life, are all stresses that add up and push your systems out of balance. Regen means something to help bring you back into balance.

Returning the body to a state of equilibrium after stress requires you to address the specific type of stress you just endured. This is where a lot of regen plans and techniques fall apart. If you don’t target the right type of stress or systems in the body, the regen you try won’t make a difference. It’s like putting more insulation on a house when the real problem is a hole in the roof.

The Velocity regen methodology was developed for the world’s elite athletes – to keep them at their best under enormous pressure. One of the foundations of is that there are 4 big categories of stress. We classify them as:

• Tissue
• Physiological
• Mindset
• Neuromuscular

Tissue
This is physical damage to your tendons, muscles, bones, and joints caused from contact, pressure, and tension in sports. It might be microscopic, but it takes a toll. Repeated foot strikes while running, repetitive tendon stress on a pitcher’s elbow, or contusions and damage from collisions in rugby, football, or MMA are exactly the kinds of things that add up to potential or actual injury. Tissues need to heal properly on the microscopic level after each practice or competition.

Physiological
When you are putting in long hours of training, doing high intensity MetCons, or logging long distances, there’s a large metabolic and biochemical demand on your system. The numerous physiological elements all need to be returned to normal and metabolic wastes need to be removed.

Mindset
Whether it comes from sport or life, mental and emotional stresses have an impact on both mind and body. It can come from from emotional challenges, learning new tasks, or just intense focus for practice and competition. Our bodies’ physical recovery mechanisms are tied to our mental state. States of mental stress and anxiety trigger particular functions of our nervous system and release stress hormones. While these can be useful during competition or training, they inhibit or even completely block natural recovery mechanisms. Therefore, in order to achieve physical recovery, the mind must be in a state of relaxation.

Neuromuscular
Often overlooked, neuromuscular fatigue doesn’t necessarily make you feel tired in the way you might think. Instead of feeling stiff, sore, or a generally fatigued, you just might lose that “snap” in your movement. When you perform high power exercises like sprinting, jumping, and weightlifting, you stress the nervous system as well as your muscles. Until you recover, you won’t be able to fire them at full speed or intensity.

Make your regen specific
Knowing that all regeneration methods aren’t the same or equal is the first step towards getting it right. Make sure you know the specific type of regen you need at different stages of training and even different days of the week to make to make your recovery process better.

At Velocity, our coaching and sports medicine staff can help you decide which combination of regen and recovery tools you need to help you stay at your best.
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BE A SUPER BALL TO SPRINT FASTER


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BE A SUPERBALL TO SPRINT FASTER

If you want to be fast, it’s better to be a superball than a beach ball. It’s physics.

Visualize this by picturing 2 bouncing balls in your mind. One is a bouncy, superball made of a “stiff” rubber. The other is more like a beach ball and soft.

Which one bounces higher when it hits the ground?

The stiffer superball does because it applies the force to the ground and stores elastic energy. The beach ball absorbs some of the force and doesn’t have the elastic energy to rebound.

That’s like the reactive strength you need to sprint fast. If you’re stronger, then your muscles and tendons don’t relax or absorb the force. Instead, they store elastic energy, and use it to help you go faster.

This is important because the faster you go, the less time your foot can be in contact with the ground. Being like a superball helps you to achieve two parts of the Velocity Speed Formula; Big Force and Small Time.

To become more like a superball you need to develop specific strength qualities including Rate of Force Development and Reactive strength. Both of these should be developed both in the weight room and on the track or field.

Olympic lifts from a “hang” start position help develop that rate of force development. Muscle and tendon stiffness contribute to your reactive strength, and need basic levels of maximum strength through squatting, deadlifting and lunging.

Plyometrics with a short ground contact are a way of developing both RFD and Reactive strength. You also develop this type of strength by doing sprint drills at high speeds.

If you want to be faster, be more like a superball. Get in the weight room and out on the track and to become stronger.
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30 BIG REASONS NOT TO SPECIALIZE EARLY. FROM THE NFL.


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30 BIG REASONS NOT TO SPECIALIZE EARLY. FROM THE NFL.

30 Big Reasons Not to Specialize Early. From the NFL

The debate over specializing in a single sport at an early age, isn’t a debate. The ones who think you should specialize in one sport are parents who mean well but, who are uninformed.

The 2017 NFL draft just helped reinforce that fact.

In the 2017 NFL draft, teams put their money behind multi-sport athletes, showing that the idea of young athletes giving up other sports to just play football was a bad idea. Take a look at the numbers;
• 30 of the 32 players were multi-sport athletes in high school.
• All of the top 20 played at least 2 sports.
• 14 of the players played 3 sports in high school.
• 92% of the 107 players taken in rounds 1 through 3 were multi-sport athletes.

Yes, there are some sports where you will have to specialize early to be elite. Think about gymnastics or figure skating for example. However, in team sports, such as football, this is not the case. Yes, you probably need to be exposed to the sport or develop some of the skills early, but you don’t need to give up every other sport and just play one.

It’s understandable how people could think early specialization would be good.

How is a parent, or a maybe a local travel coach supposed to know better? There is the popular myth about having to specialize for 10,000 hours to be elite. On the surface, it also seems to make sense that if you start specializing in one skill early, you’ll be better at it. Then there’s the fears of falling behind or getting shut out if you take time to do another sport.

What a lot of individuals do not know is that team sports and athletic development are far more complex and dynamic. We have motor learning, motivation, repetitive injuries, movement dysfunction, cognitive development and just plain fun that all need to be part of this equation.

Some will of course continue to make the case for picking one sport early. The science of development and motivation, the experience of successful coaches, and the choices of NFL teams, all say “don’t specialize!” Instead go play multiple sports if you want to increase your chances of having an athletic career.
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Athletes have the hardest time with this one exercise.


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HOW TO DO A PULL-UP

PULL-UPS ARE LIFE SAVERS

Pull-ups are a survival skill. Pulling strength is extremely important for all athletes. We need to be able to hang and support our own body weight, and if we need to pull or climb ourselves to safety. For survival and of course for performance. Having strong pulling muscles helps stabilize the shoulder and can help generate much more power for our athletes.
So how do I go about getting my first pull-up?

Let’s be honest. As an athlete we want efficiency. We want more bang for our buck. Being an efficient athlete, means being a lean athlete. In general the more mass an athlete has the more work it is to move it. The same is true for pull-ups the more mass we have, the more mass we have to pull-up. Our long armed athletes can understand this problem because they have much farther to go. Everyone has their own problems, but the fact remains they must find a way to get their chin over that bar. No excuses!
Best way to start is by ditching the bands. In our many years of experience coaching athletes and adults the band never really helps anyone. It just gives them the illusion that they are doing work. When in fact they are pulling only part of the time and bouncing around the rest of the time.
Isometric holds, and eccentrics are the best way for everyone to start. Climbing a rope is also a great way, but not everyone has that and we want to do a pull-up. So your best bet is to start with Isometric holds. This could be even just hanging on the bar. If you have never done this before this a great place to start. We need to see if we are able to hold just our own bodyweight.

To start try and hold for :20. Try and achieve this 8x. :20 hang, :20 rest.
If you can’t hang from the bar you need to get horizontal. When we lack the strength to do a pull-up we only try practicing vertical pulling, and don’t just pull vertically. We can strengthen our pulling muscles by lowering down, and pulling horizontally like a ring row or horizontal row.

Isometrics are a great way to help develop the strength to start doing pull-ups. At some point doing your hangs you are going to realize that you need more core strength. When you are hanging there you notice that when you keep your core tight it is much less taxing on the grip as you hang. When you get tired or forget to keep your core tight it becomes much more taxing on the grip, and you slide your hands on the bar making callouses or blisters. Don’t wreck your hands! If you’re slipping don’t fight, fall get back up in a better position.

Best drill to understand this tight core position would be hollow bodies and superman rocks. Transitioning from one to the other is also really good helping to understand keeping your core tight. If your core is tight it’s going to be easier to pull-up.
Eccentric work is where the strength is going to come from. This time instead of holding isometrically now we want to lower eccentrically. Fight gravity as long as we can. Best to start with horizontal row first. Start with chest to bar and lower down as slow and controlled as possible.

If that was easy jump up onto the pullup bar. Try to get chest to bar and then lower as slow as possible.
When working on doing pull-ups it is best to focus on it for 10 min at a time. We do not want to over train. 3x a week is best and give a rest day between to give your body a chance to get stronger. Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure to even yourself out. With all of this pulling work we want to make sure we balance it out with some pressing movements. Overdeveloping in certain areas can lead to overuse or cause imbalances and effect efficiency.
These exercises are basic, but stick with them. We need to develop a strong base to pull from first, and this is a way to do it.
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Want to be fast? Learn this simple drill.


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Jumping Rope

Short Time

Time is short we don’t have a lot of it, and most parents want to know something their athlete can be doing every day to help them get faster. To be a faster athlete, you have to focus on one of Velocity’s speed formula principles: short time. The longer an athlete is on the ground the slower they will be.
What is the best way an athlete can practice this at home to help them get faster and improve their coordination?

JUMP ROPE!

We have our athletes jump rope in our warm-ups all of the time. We love this exercise because it teaches our athletes about ground contact time and coordination. When it comes to running faster you need to have both coordination and quick feet. The jump rope helps us to practice how our feet strike the ground, how we absorb and push off the ground. What forces are involved and what muscles are used. It also forces us to pay attention and focus.

The most important thing when starting to jump rope is to make sure that you have the right size jump rope. If it is too short then you will have to jump really high or have a large arm swing making it inefficient. If it is too long it drags on the ground longer and usually whips you in the legs, which is also inefficient and painful. We never want that. We want a rope that when we stand in the middle of it we are able to pull it up between our armpits and our sternum.
Once you have the right size jump rope we can start. I tell my athletes to pretend they are a popsicle, they can only move their wrists to spin the rope and feet to jump up in the air. Everything else needs to stay tight. Doing this creates tension throughout the body making it spring like. This spring like effect is what we want. We want to keep the body as straight as possible to be efficient.

Start with the rope behind you. Don’t jump rope. Rope jump. Spin the rope with the wrists over your head and jump over it as it passes. Try to keep the feet together when you start to teach your body how to be one strong piece.
If you mess up trying its ok. You won’t be perfect the first time this is part of the learning process. Spend at least 10 minutes a day practicing jumping rope. Here are some goals for you to work towards start with the first one and see how many you can do. Remember start at the top and work your way down. Master the basics first. Just like with running you have to walk before you can sprint.
100 jumps in a row
25 single foot jumps each
20 yards Jump rope 2 feet together (no misses)
20 yards Jump rope single leg (no misses) each leg
Double-Unders
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What do you know about Weightlifting?


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Weightlifting

Weightlifting (one word) is an internationally recognized sport. The sport of weightlifting literally transforms its athletes in a way in which no other sport does or can. Weightlifters are the strongest and most powerful athletes in the world, but they didn’t start that way! They started like everyone else from humble beginnings, and found their success through careful training with free weights that deliver results no other sports can do.

Weightlifting helps athletes develop: strength and explosive power, body control that produces lean functional bodies, increased speed, flexibility, balance and coordination.
The results from an athlete who trains seriously and regularly can be truly spectacular. Weightlifting has the power to build up a body that is weak and undersized, to helping someone lose weight and get in shape, to rehabilitate injured and ill bodies, nothing else we have seen comes even close.

If you want to get stronger, become more explosive, get faster, grow bigger, lose weight, become more flexible, improve your balance and coordination or just live a healthy lifestyle then weightlifting is for you!

It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, boy or girl. Weightlifting is a community that welcomes all individuals as long as you are willing to work hard and try to improve yourself. Everyone can enjoy the benefits of weightlifting. Results can appear quickly, and although major changes require work and persistence, improvements are guaranteed.

For all of the great reasons listed above, this is why we teach our athletes at Velocity Sports Performance Weightlifting. Now we do not teach them the sport of Weightlifting. We teach them the same lifts that weightlifters do: the snatch, the clean and jerk. We teach them these lifts not because we want them to be weightlifters and compete in the sport, but we want all our athletes to be more explosive, faster, more flexible, stronger, and much more. We use weightlifting as a tool to give athletes numerous amounts of benefits that they can use in their given sport!

Don’t be afraid of Weightlifting. We teach all athletes proper form first, and will not let them add weight until they are comfortable with the movement. Safety is always on our minds in the weight room, but we are also striving to help your athlete improve!
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How to do a Push-Up


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