In a previous article we discussed the commonality every professional and elite-level athlete possesses. That of course was the accumulation of training years, a simple concept that states: the accumulation of time spent working and practicing a skill, the better/higher reward will be for the future.
The concept itself is simple, but what goes inside those years to create that accumulation? Is there another key that elite-level athletes possess? The answer is...yes, that is their movements patterns.
Every athlete that has ever had great success in their trade all have fundamentally developed movement patterns. These are the way one moves their body through time and space, but they don't just move, they move in a way that creates an optimal response. A huge key to success is learning this skill at a young age, the best athletes/lifters are those who understand their body. They pickup verbal cuing faster, they adapt to movements quicker, they create better ways to facilitate a response from the task at hand, and they possess body awareness.
At Institute 3e we make movement patterns a huge focus for our youth athletes; but why? Like discussed in our age-specific training article, there are points in an athlete's life when learning certain skills become almost impossible. We use animal flow with our younger athletes to improve their movements patterns and here's why...
- Locomotive skills - these are skills that can only truly be developed at young ages, this is the ability to coordinate limbs together in an optimal way (ex: crawling, running, skipping, animal flow movements, etc). An athlete who doesn't understand their body and how it specifically moves will have a harder time picking up on sport-specific movements and lifting patterns.
- Body awareness/propreoceptiveness - this is understanding where your body is at any point in time, an athlete will understand how to move to create an asked response. For example: if an athlete is back squatting they understand why and where they're moving the bar, they can quickly grasp what they should be feeling and how to move to achieve the best results.
- Improved mobility - the best way to stay mobile and flexible is to never lose mobility and flexibility. Animal flow demands the body to move in different ways to stretch and improve the body, which will carry over to other athletic aspects.
- Range of motion increase - maintaining flexibility and mobility is important, but so is improving them. Animal flow will do so by creating a specific movement demand that may not already be possessed by the athlete, aka increasing their range of motion.
- More coachable - as an athlete grows their demands become greater and more in-depth. A coach needs them to do progressively harder tasks as competition becomes greater, if you understand your body and move to your best ability-you better believe you'll be easier to work with. There will be no time wasted teaching basic movements, you already possess them.
The bigger picture - if there's one point to be taken away from this article, it's being able to see the bigger picture. Once certain ages/times of development have passed, certain skills are near impossible if not completely impossible to learn. Development needs to start at young ages, while you think its just another youth focused drill; you're wrong. Every bit of time practicing these skills at young ages act as bricks, these bricks create entire athletic foundations. Younger athletes are especially important, it's easy to learn a movement, it's hard to understand a movement.