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Updating Your Athlete’s “Software”

By: Coach Chris

In today's age, I'll bet you’re pretty tech savvy huh?? So I can drop some tech lingo and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about, right? Well, I hope so - cuz I'm NOT tech savvy at all. My wife tells me I'm really an 80-year-old curmudgeon telling the kids to stay off my lawn. OK - maybe I'm not that bad. But I'm not great with technology. So I'm going to try a little comparison here between athlete training and a computer - and if it's terrible and I don't know what I'm talking about hopefully the point still hits home. I like to think of any athlete as a computer - they have both physical and systems hardware as well as software.

An athlete's genetics are their physical hardware - they can't really do much about their genetics (their height isn't going to change with effort). But after genetics, there are some things we can do to change some systems' hardware in them. In an iPhone (I'm a blue-bubble guy) any time it is being finicky I know it's time for an iOS update, and we're back in business. Similar to this in an athlete, the system's hardware for them is agility, speed, and strength. These are things that aren't taught in sports but are necessary to be an effective athlete. If one of these areas is being finicky, it can affect an athlete's performance.

But once addressed and we "download" some speed/agility training or "update" some strength numbers, it can have a very noticeable effect on the athlete's in-game performance.

When an athlete has these speed/agility and strength skills onboard, all the other sport-specific "software" skills come so much easier. Conversely, the best sport-specific technique may not matter if an athlete doesn't have the speed or strength to keep up with the competition.

This is why training those hardware skills must be the foundation for any athlete. YES, practicing your sport is essential to being good at your sport (obviously, maybe?), but if that's all you do without the hardware skills you may not be able to "download" those sports skills fast enough to matter.

So hopefully that was somewhat of a helpful analogy - when an athlete builds a foundation of hardware skills the software skills come onboard faster and more effectively.

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