Why Strength Fundamentals Win Over Specilization in Young Players – Part 2
By Chris Chase, Memphis Grizzlies, S&C Development Coordinator
In case missed part one, Chris explained some of why he believes the fundamentals of movement should be developed at a young age, check it out here:
Guys who get into college, maybe, higher level high school or AAU or college where they’re getting exposed to strength and conditioning. Maybe, that strength and conditioning coach says, “Hey, we’re going to deadlift.” I guarantee you 90% of them are not using what you want them to use. They’re probably using their back to finish hip extension. Maybe, they have some hip extension. But I guarantee you those last whatever many, 10, 20 degrees of hip extension, they’re probably using a back strategy to get upright.
They’re living their whole lives establishing upright position with low back or some portion of their back extension versus any sort of hip extension. So then what does that mean in development? If we hammer that home, these principles of how you hinge, of how you squat, then does that, if done over time, and there’s continuity from middle school to high school, college, pro,and I get a guy that comes to the Grizzlies and he says, “Oh man, I know what squatting movement is right for me because I’ve been doing this for a long period of time. I know what implement I need to use to flex at my ankles, knees, and hips with a relatively upright torso, with good foot interaction with the ground.” I know that it’s goblet squat for me. I know that allows me to cater to the musculature and the pattern and the neurological interaction that we’re going for when we’re squatting.
Along with the answer to this question, if we go back and say, “Hey, what do you see with development?” I hate to say it’s like, “Oh, it’s education.” I’d love to get some specifics to say, “How do we do that?” That’s where I think a lot of coaches go wrong. There’s too much variety, there’s too much stuff that gets thrown at these kids. Kids that may be power clean or do weight lifting or this and that. When they’re young it’s like, “Man, I’m not doing that with my guys now.” These are some of the most talented athletes in the world and they don’t have these fundamental concepts down with these patterns.
The trouble with basketball is you’re never getting in a situation with continuity and you’re not really getting in the situation where you’re being exposed and establishing a culture or habits around solid fundamental foundational strength and conditioning concepts.
If you think about a kid that goes from AAU, if they’re really good, they’re just playing AAU and, maybe, they’re playing on their high school team too, it’s kind of like, “Eh, will I have to do this.” Then, if you go from high school, AAU/high school, college you get one year, you’re one and done. Then, an NBA team says, “Okay, you’re a full-blown adult now. Let me give you millions of dollars to be a fully developed NBA player.”
It’s like, “Where did this kid get any fundamental concepts down?” The development piece is tough. It’s, definitely, a buzz word a lot of people are throwing around, but sometimes I want to say to those people, “I’m sorry, but he’s 22-years-old now. We missed the developmental phase.” We missed the time when this person was 10-years-old and I was teaching them how to do a push-up.” Now we don’t know.
Now these guys are like, “What do you expect?” They’re patterned up. What I mean by “patterned up” is, there has been consequences over time to doing these things as we would say, maybe, in the wrong way, or doing them in a way that had more negative consequences than positive consequences. You’ve been doing a push-up in a way that had a lot of negative consequences, maybe, for the position of your spine and how your scaps articulate on your rib cage. Then, what do I expect when they get to the NBA? They’re hyperextended at their mid-upper back and they have no interaction with their scaps and rib cage.
It is what it is.
I wish I could go back and have that athlete when they were 10, 12-years-old. Which is why I think it’s so, so important to start implementing these programs and enticing good strength coaches to get into youth athletics in some way, somehow. I don’t know if it’s at the scholastic level or something with the government or something where we’re involved in gym classes but someway, somehow we got to start getting these guys earlier. Everybody knows that but we need to subject them to good training concepts earlier, but we also need to figure out what those concepts are and how to implement those things. Because we’re still not even there at the pro level with strength coaches.
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