Speed Kills, Part 1: Proper Development of Speed for the Athlete
The first thing to understand is that there are two types of athletes in sports; fast athletes and slow athletes. There are those who have natural ability, and then there are those with innate talent. Athletes can be classified into one or both categories depending upon their level of skill and physical attributes.
Athletes with natural ability are those who possess great athletic abilities at birth. These individuals do not need any special training to develop their talents, but they must train hard and work extremely long hours in order to achieve their goals. They may be able to run faster than most runners, jump higher than many basketball players, throw farther than most football players, etc., but they will never reach the same level of performance as someone like Usain Bolt.
An example of an athlete with natural ability would be Michael Jordan. Another example would be a sprinter such as Usain Bolt. An athlete with innate talent is one who possesses all the necessary skills and physical attributes to excel at sport, but does not have to practice them very much in order to attain their potential. For instance, if you were born without legs, you could still play baseball just as well as someone who had legs that were twice your size. However, you would most definitely need crutches in order to get around.
It is much like this. An athlete with innate talent has all the necessary tools to become great at their sport, but they may not be able to achieve this success without training in that particular sport, or at least they will not reach their full potential without it. For instance, Usain Bolt can run at near world record speed after warming up and with hardly any practice at all. However, had he not been born with superior speed, he still could have used the proper training to achieve world record performance.
An example of an athlete with innate talent would be an NBA superstar such as Lebron James. Another example would be a football player such as Calvin Johnson. In general, people who play team sports such as football or basketball tend to be born with innate talent, while those who participate in individual sports such as sprinting, Olympic lifting, or long distance running tend to be born with natural ability.
While many people believe that within each athlete there is a world class athlete just waiting to get out, this simply is not true for every athlete. While some may possess more potential than others, most people are born with specific physical abilities that will either aid them greatly in certain aspects of sports, or hinder them from excelling in a particular area.
By understanding the difference between these two types of athletes, coaches and parents will be able to help their children excel in their chosen sport. If a child shows natural ability in a particular area, then it is very possible that they may have innate talent in that same area. By encouraging such a child and helping them to hone their natural abilities, they can become very good at what they do. However, if a child shows no signs of natural ability in a particular area, then it is highly unlikely that they will one day become an athlete.
It is the same as with any job or career choice. Some people are just born with the ability to do something better than others. However, some of these people never achieve their full potential in whatever it is that they do. They may have been born with the ability to be a great artist, but if no one ever teaches them how to draw, they will never discover this hidden talent. They may have been born with the ability to run fast, but if they never practice or train for it, they will not be able to achieve superior performance.
Whether you are an athlete or not, understanding the difference between natural ability and innate talent can help you achieve your maximum potential in whatever it is that you do. While some people are just better than others in certain fields, this doesn’t mean that you can’t improve upon your abilities. However, if you are not born with the ability to excel in a certain aspect, then no matter how hard you try, you will never be the best.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Should I Lift or Should I Sprint—The Case for Speed by C Josse – elitefts.com
Developing speed by I Jeffreys – 2013 – books.google.com
Training for speed, agility, and quickness, 3E by L Brown, V Ferrigno – 2014 – books.google.com
Elastic energy storage in the shoulder and the evolution of high-speed throwing in Homo by NT Roach, M Venkadesan, MJ Rainbow… – Nature, 2013 – nature.com
Assessing the force-velocity characteristics of the leg extensors in well-trained athletes: The incremental load power profile by JM Sheppard, S Cormack, KL Taylor… – The Journal of …, 2008 – journals.lww.com
Sports power by P Ward
Benefits and limitations of block periodized training approaches to athletes’ preparation: a review by D Sandler – 2005 – books.google.com
Preventing Common Athletic Injuries by VB Issurin – Sports medicine, 2016 – Springer