Drills=Skills Show 35 – Basic Elements

The full crew is back together for show 35, discussing basic elements of skills.

Tip: Stretching Before & After

Most coaches know their athletes should stretch before and after practice. It doesn’t always happen, but we at least know it should. What many don’t realize is the stretching should be different before and after a practice or workout.

Stretching before practice is done with the intent of getting your body and muscles ready to perform. The goal is to let you body know it’s time to put on the hard hat and boots and get to work. Stretching after practice is to let your body know it can put away the hard hat and take off the boots and after practice is when you should work on flexibility. Flexibility is improved by a controlled tearing of the muscles that leads to them repairing themselves in a more flexible state. Doing this before practice will prevent the muscles from operating at peak performance.

In practice, this means before practice you should hold each position for a shorter count, like an 8 count, and be more gentle, hitting each position or stretching each muscle multiple times. After practice you can hold each position for a longer count, like a 24 count, and be less gentle because the muscles will have time to recover before needing to be a peak performance again.

This is based on my interpretation of conversations with Debbie Love and a couple others. Debbie would also emphasize the importance of a Dynamic Warmup, which will be covered in a couple weeks.

Drills=Skills Show 34 – Preparation

On the 34th episode of Drills=Skills Shea and Sean discuss preparing for competition.

Tip: 2 Down, 1 Up

When stunting your dips should be 2 counts down and 1 count up. Going slower down will help maintain control over the stunt during the dip. Going faster up will provide the power for the upcoming skill. The ratio of coming up in half the time it took to get down emphasizes that coming up needs to be twice as fast and powerful as dipping down.

I believe Saleem Habash, former coach at the University of Kentucky and Dunbar High School, was the first one to tell me to do this, but several of my coaching friends use it. Kenny Feeley would add the depth of the dip should equal the length from the bases’ wrist to elbow.

Drills=Skills Show 33 – SceneZing

Ben Hazlerig of SceneZing joins the guys on this week’s Drills=Skills.

Tip: Celebrate Small Victories

Everyone likes a good celebration. As a coach you should celebrate the small victories of your teams and athletes. Everyone celebrates Sally getting her tuck, but why not celebrate Sally progressing from throwing her head back to keeping it in when learning her tuck too? Add celebrating Sally landing that tuck for the first time when running the routine at practice, and again the first time landing that tuck at a competition. The more you celebrate, the more your athletes know they are making progress and you are proud of them, the harder they’ll want to work. I also think it makes the athletes that are around the celebration work harder so they’ll be the ones celebrated next time.

Drills=Skills Show 32 – Bounding Skills

Bounding Skills is the topic for the 32nd version of Drills=Skills.

Tip: Stunt on Lines

During practice you should stunt on lines. This makes it clear when stunts are moving side to side, which is more noticeable to judges than moving front to back. Not only does it make it clear to you, the coach, it makes it clear to the stunt group without the need for you to say anything, and having self-correcting athletes is the ultimate goal.

Remember, I’m saying you should do this at practice. In competition do what makes your routine look the best.

This is something I made my teams do in the past, but got away from. Kenny Feeley of Spring Tumbling reminded me of this at their Helsinki coaches conference. It’s a simple thing that will make your stunts more aware of their movement, allowing them to fix it on their own.

Drills=Skills Show 31 – Arabians

David, Sean, and new father Shea discuss Arabians on the 31st edition of Drills=Skills. Be sure to stay to the end for a special guest appearance.

Tip: Drink More Water

The first tip is probably going to be the easiest and at the same time the least followed. It is to drink more water. A significant portion of your body is water and you need to refresh and replenish it to keep your body healthy. It will have a positive impact on your life. It will help your body better recover from practice so you’ll be more ready to go at the next practice or workout. My minimum recommendation is to add drinking a glass within an hour of going to bed and to drink another glass as soon as you wake up. This will at least start and end your day the right way.