The world has changed, at least in the short term, and left us with what seems to be an endless amount of extra time on our hands. If you pay attention to social media, or your kids do, you will see an infinite amount of challenges and self-made videos of players practicing at home. The time to focus on the basics is now, what better time will there be?
Master the Athletic Position
At the core of every foundation, no matter the sport is the good old athletic position. The athletic position is the basis for just about everything in every sport. Yet, if you pay attention at any given tournament, you will see very few players that can stay in that position for any amount of time. If this is the foundation, then everything we show beyond that is flawed if the player has not mastered the position. Can your players sit in that position for significant amounts of time? If not, then it should be something work on daily until mastered.
Master the Basic Mechanics
Once the athletic position is now part of what they do, you can move on to the fundamentals of throwing and hitting. Note, “fundamentals,” not advanced mechanics. Work on the most fundamental parts of a player’s mechanics, make sure they can execute with ease. If they can’t, then that player needs to continue to work on it. Make sure the athlete slows down, teach them to focus on the mechanics, not how fast or how many they get done. Bad repetitions are just that, bad reps. The goal is to reinforce good habits, not bad ones.
Increase Flexibility and Range of Motion
One of the biggest things coaches and players overlook is flexibility. As flexibility increases, so does strength and speed. The question then is, why do so many coaches and players neglect this aspect of their game? Simple, it is easy to overlook, and most athletes do not think it will help them, and most coaches see it as an injury prevention tool, not a skill improvement tool. Yoga should almost be mandatory for any athlete that wants to excel at what they do. There are a lot of free offerings online where players can participate in yoga no matter what their level of flexibility is.
In the end, these are not magic thoughts that will make every player into an all-star; no, these are common sense things that we overlook often.