The first thing I want to say is that this is not just a list of things you need to do in order to become a better athlete or even a better person. It’s not like that at all. There are so many other factors involved with becoming an elite athlete that it would take me too much time to go into them here. What I will say is that there are certain skills and movements which are essential to being successful in any sport. These include strength, speed, agility, balance, coordination and power. All of these must come together in order for you to perform your best. If one part isn’t right then you won’t be able to perform the skill properly.
There are two types of athletes. Those who excel at one or some of these skills and those who don’t. For example, there are those who have perfect technique but lack power.
They may be good at jumping high or running fast but they aren’t going to win any races because their legs simply aren’t strong enough to propel them forward quickly enough. On the other hand, there are others who possess great power yet struggle with technique. They may be able to throw a punch or kick harder than anyone they know but their lack of skill means they will always struggle to perform techniques properly.
Luckily there is an area which everyone can improve, that being flexibility. Even the strongest person and the most skilled athlete can benefit from improved flexibility. This means that if you want to be successful in sports you need to improve your flexibility.
Now I’m not going to lie and tell you that it’s easy, because it isn’t. You’re going to need to put in some time and effort if you really want to see improvements.
A lot of people will look at athletes and assume that they must be born with natural talent. They see them on TV or live and think that they were just blessed with abilities that others don’t have. The sad truth is that this couldn’t be further from the truth for the most part.
Yes, there is a small amount of elite athletes out there that have had natural talent since birth but the majority spend most of their time training and practicing just like anyone else who wants to be successful. Even I didn’t start out as a world class athlete. Sure, I was above average when I started out but I practiced and put the time in in order to reach new heights. Sadly, this isn’t something you see a lot of people doing. Instead, most people want everything right now and if it doesn’t work right away they quit.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen people join a gym and then never return after the first month. This is extremely frustrating to me as I have personally supervised all of our gyms. I make sure that the equipment is in top condition and proper instructions are given at the front desk.
You’d be surprised how many people join a gym, get all excited then hit the machines without even reading the instructions or asking for help. Or they try to lift too much weight and hurt themselves. Those people are going to have a hard time becoming successful quickly if they are impatient or don’t follow the instructions in front of them.
I think that’s one of the reasons why people like sports. You get to be part of a team and everyone has a specific job. For example, you wouldn’t expect your short fielder to also be your power hitter and you certainly wouldn’t expect your power hitter to be covering second.
They each have their own responsibilities and jobs to do. The same should go for you in exercise and fitness. If you want to improve flexibility then you need to focus on flexibility exercises.
I’m sure there are probably some people out there who think they’re already doing everything they can by exercising or playing their favorite sport.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Martial arts in artificial reality by A Rui Olds – Child Care Information Exchange, 1994 – EXCHANGE PRESS INC
Total training for young champions by P Hämäläinen, T Ilmonen, J Höysniemi… – Proceedings of the …, 2005 – dl.acm.org
The mindful child: How to help your kid manage stress and become happier, kinder, and more compassionate by TO Bompa – 2000 – books.google.com
“You gotta try it all”: Parents’ experiences with robotic gait training for their children with cerebral palsy by SK Greenland – 2010 – books.google.com
Cartwheels on ice: A phenomenological exploration of children’s enjoyment in competitive figure skating by B Beveridge, D Feltracco, J Struyf… – … Therapy in Pediatrics, 2015 – Taylor & Francis
A new view: Exploring positive youth development in elite sport contexts by TV Ryba – The Online Journal of Sport Psychology, 2007 – researchgate.net