Happy Midweek Solstice everyone! This week we have a quick look at a big key to making athletes (and everyone else) go. The most useful performance tool in an athlete’s toolbox, at least physically, is the muscles in their hips. If you’ve played any sport where you must try to defend or shadow someone, the old standby is, watch their hips. The reason being is because the hips are likely going to be the key to what the body does next, with a few exceptions.
When it comes to the hips, the primary thing most will think of is their glutes, and they’re not wrong for that. The hip complex is often talked about as the powerhouse of the body, it’s the truth. This post is not to overlook the many complexities that involve training the hips. There’s many stabilizers for the hips that need to be addressed to keep things from going awry, but in terms of what adds timber to the fire to provide the punch, it is those glutes.
When training power, spoiler alert, the main focus is the hips. When I’m coaching things like jumps, throws and the like, the first thing I look at, especially for a beginner lifter, what are the hips doing. If they're not getting the proper rotation or extension, I know the athlete is leaving power on the table. Most sports require this mega power that the glutes provide and the 2nd source of that comes from is, shocker of the day, the strength basics on leg days. Squat, hinge/deadlifts, single leg movements like split squat and 1-leg RDLs, and so on, all add power the athletes can use in competition.
Even for those not participating in sports, the hips & glutes tend to be the key to many success stories in terms of feeling strong, healthy, powerful and just generally more athletic. So yeah, if might be weird to say, but it’s not totally off-base when folks say, no glutes no glory. That is the bit I have for you all today, hopefully everyone now remembers to take thing seriously with their glutes and overall hips. Thanks for reading, and feel free reach out with questions or thoughts otherwise.
Someone posted an article the other day about travel youth sports and the impact it has on young athletes. Well today, I’ll give my two cents on the matter with what I do and definitely don’t like.
Too much specialization- With travel club teams, we see athletes specializing in sports way too soon in my opinion. This often leads to athletes plateauing earlier than they normally would in their chosen sport. I get it, I had a favorite sport too when I was younger and could not get enough. Guess what though, it wasn’t rugby, it was hockey. If I had not branched out to other things, I definitely would not have found the glorious oval ball of rugby (still a big hockey fan mind you). When athletes crossover to other sports they find new skills that can be implemented into their “main” sport that they certainly would not have developed otherwise. I’m not saying every athlete that does multiple sports will turn into Lebron James or Bryce Harper, but it certainly will help them achieve full potential of their ability.
Higher risk for overuse- Building off the above, ever heard of overuse injuries? Yeah, they’re happening at younger and younger ages because of things like travel clubs. Yes, overuse injuries are literally as they are described. Simply the sheer volume of a single action can cause problems down the road, and not that far down the road lately. Even if an athlete does something else, simply to manage the volume of certain actions, it’ll help them tremendously. Less time on the athletic trainers table or laid up in bed, more time enjoying their sports and getting better at them.
Less free play and free time- Free play is coming back slowly but has been wildly underrated for years and years. Free play evokes some sort of creativity in athletes, especially for the sake of ball sports. Think back to the last unbelievable piece of skill you saw an athlete do. Do you think they just did things like that in games and practices? Of course not, they likely tried it in some sort of pick-up game scenario and said “no big deal if this doesn’t come off, it’s just pick up” or you know something like that. I can tell you for me, I give periods of practice where players are encouraged to try stuff and make mistakes, but still I’m watching them so they probably hold back, athletes need creativity in their game. Also, let kids be kids, I probably sound like an old grouch there, but doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Give them time to be kids.
Some goods- The upside of traveling like this often leads to traveling in cars with parents or friends’ parents. Often this produces forced conversations. Whether that’s with a parent or a friend, it will get them to talking to some capacity. Communication like this actually tends to bring out some stronger bonds between these people, can’t be mad about that. Also, there does tend to be a nice community aspect to these clubs, always a good thing to lean on.
For the most part, I see more downside to upside with these travel clubs (also helloooo money money). Call me biased, but in my opinion, playing different sports mixed in with some resistance training is more likely to see an athlete reach their true potential. I do hope some found this informative or at least interesting, enjoy the week everyone and thanks for reading!
Today is going to be something really simple, but I hope hits deep with many, or at least one of you. When you're doing things as independent coach or trainer, something bigger has to drive you. For me it's below message and the following paragraph that makes me want to be the best coach I can be.
I believe everyone should be looked after so they can look after themselves. I want people to be empowered to go after what they want both in the gym and also in life. My purpose is to make sure people feel like they have a pack behind them, because the strength of the wolf, is in the pack.
I don't believe any of the above to be ra ra or just hyped up nonsense, because this evokes a strong emotional reaction for me. I feel this in my gut, if it makes me weird or odd, I'm good with it. It speaks to me, I hope it speaks to others.
With that, I'll end today's writings and promise something with a bit more educational next week. Thanks for reading today and hope you have yourself a week!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS