Athleticism vs. Strength
Does one hand wash the other? Sort of. There's no doubt that your strength training program should make you more athletic, but what's the most effective way to do it?
Training and Coaching athletes requires a great deal of attention to developing their foundation of STRENGTH. The stronger an athlete get's, the more coordinated, explosive, faster, conditioned and durable he/she becomes. For a naturally athletic person, gaining strength dramatically and noticeably improves their athletic ability. A prime example is the young athlete that is clearly 'fast twitch' amongst his/her peers. The fastest and seemingly most gifted athlete in their grade school class will usually react relatively quickly to a strength training stimulus. This type of athlete get's strong quickly and can execute complex, athletic lifts such as cleans, snatches, kettlebell maneuvers, split jerks etc. The stronger they get, the more their freakish athleticism stands out. On the other hand, the young athlete that lacks athleticism should not focus on a training program that makes them more 'athletic' by utilizing mostly speed, agility, quickness drills. Those types of drills certainly have their place, but they should not be the main focus. Let's define athleticism- coordination, balance, power, speed, quickness, explosiveness... Now, consider the athlete that lacks all of those qualities. That athlete is usually underdeveloped, lacks muscle, or carries too much body fat. It makes sense to think that in order to improve the qualities these athletes lack is to get them in a 'speed training' program that values movement more than strength. But, the reality is that an un-athletic person won't move faster, jump higher, change direction faster without developing the strength to maneuver their body that way. All of those aforementioned qualities of the gifted athlete require a great deal of strength. That same gifted athlete in grade school class can usually knock out 15+ pull-ups, 50 push-ups, and execute a squat correctly in gym class. Can the less gifted athlete do the same? 98% of the time, absolutely not. The final example is about the big, super strong meathead who put's no emphasis on athletic movements and solely focuses on lifting big heavy weights. Getting them to move with simple plyometric drills, explosive jumps, dynamic movement will increase their athleticism relatively quickly. They already have the strength to produce high amounts of force, they just need to learn how to apply that force quickly and athletically.
To sum it all up- Consider the qualities an athlete lacks and tailor their training to improve the weakness. If they're already athletic, get them stronger so they become more athletic. If they lack athleticism, get them stronger so they become more athletic. If they're already mega strong, incorporate fast, athletic movement in conjunction with their strength training. Did this help clear up some questions? If anyone has a story about a situation like this or cares to provide some feedback, I'm all ears! Thanks for listening. Dominate Another Day.
- Coach Hoke