The event was described as “a workshop for coaches who want to understand and teach how to increase power for all levels and age groups”, and I certainly came away with a lot to think about…not to mention aches and pains from muscles that only rarely get called on when I am coaching!
Mark has a background in martial arts, and a lot of the ideas behind his very practical demonstrations come from this field – next time you see a batter throwing punches at a coach with boxing mitts, check out the batter’s feet and hips.
If he is really generating force, expect to see feet firmly planted, knees flexed to lower the batter’s centre of gravity, and transfer of weight into the punch.
Otherwise, what you will probably notice is that the mitts are being slapped, not thumped.
I shall certainly be using the demonstrations of the stable base position for power hitting and throwing in one-to-ones and group sessions with older players.
Perhaps not for all – I can’t see the Little Legends (3-4 years old) performing the “squat-shift”, just yet – but we can still make sure they are learning good movements patterns from an early age, so there is less need to un-learn bad habits later in life.
Across the ECB CA Conference, several of the presenters spoke about the opportunity (and need) for coaches to make a real difference at the participation level – we were exhorted to be “the difference that makes a difference”; we were told that “thinking differently [was the key to] performing better”.
Frank Dick even challenged the assembled coaches to each come up with a way to become that “winning difference”.
As a Community coach, I think I might have found one – to try to develop in “my” players what Fuzz Ahmed called “skill ability” – the ability (mental and physical) to learn new skills – and, more specifically, to help them to develop the physical competencies needed to train to participate at any level.