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General, Living Legacies, Tips & Tricks
By Pete Arroyo

The eggbeater is the most important kick for water polo players. It provides the base of support for vertical passing and shooting and must be continually conditioned (trained). The eggbeater kick movement is an alternating rotating kick to maintain body height and position” {2}

Outside of swimming ability, the eggbeater is the most valued key skill that a good water polo player can possess. “Egg beater is one of the foundation skills of water polo. Without having a strong egg beater, the rest of your skills will be impacted. Whether it’s trying to push a defender away, shooting a ball or blocking shot, egg beater is the main way to get yourself up out of the water.” {6}

These skills allow a player to become a force in the set game (like the half-court offense in basketball). Offensive and defensive field players that can repeatedly perform a powerful eggbeater set the basis for pre-positions for key actions such as unimpeded shooting, passing, and transitions. Goaltenders also give themselves enhanced ability to block high shots and adjust laterally. If you do not possess this skill, then your chances of playing well are severely limited. In working with athletes of many types I can honestly say that this motion does not exist in any other sport besides water polo itself. This has made training this in a specific way (out of the water) damn near impossible. 

The Basis of all other skills: Throwing to Pass and Score

Goal scoring is essential to winning a water polo match, but goals will not come easy if throwing velocity and transition passing, for an effective set game is lagging. Throwing velocities in elite male water polo players can range from 58 to 88 km·h (36 to 54 MPH). {1} The ability to rise above the water’s surface will have a direct effect on the degree to which throws are made with accuracy and velocity and is two-fold.  Firstly, the egg beater allows you to get up enough, so you can throw a ball without the water impeding your arm path and torso rotation. This alone helps accuracy and speed of your throws. {6}  It is my observation that the role of torso rotation while treading water comes into play as a force generator because water polo players DO NOT have the luxury of pushing off the ground as quarterbacks, pitchers, fast bowlers, or javelin throwers do. Consequently, the more the torso is submerged the more the water will inhibit its contribution to a proper throw. As you can see in the pictures, the perpendicular set of the shoulder girdle to the target for both players is evident.

EC Lines Up his Sniper Shot!                                                

Rowdy Rylee rises above the water and opponent to rock the cage!

Secondly, the ability to rise will in the throw also allows you to clear from your opponent. If you look at the second pic Rylee’s arm is not only well above the surface but also above the head of her defender. This allows her to have a clear shot on goal despite some tight blocking position. The defender is damn near slapping her across the face. (More on the violent nature of the game later). Get the body up and your chances of Athletes must rely heavily on arm action in this case. A good general target would be to get from the top of the abdomen on up, out of the water. This will allow that all-important instant of an unimpeded window to shoot or make a quick pass to an open player. In a game that is as fast-paced as water polo, the game is made or broken in these split-second windows. 

The Basis of all other skills: Shot blocking and denial defense

On the other side of the coin, we have defense. In the same light of the team that scores the most wins, the team that can’t score will certainly lose. 

(Cue the defense wins championships cliché…NOW!)  

The height above water is imperative for set game defenders as well as goalkeepers. Especially during the duel between the center forward and 2-meter defender, where the battle for position and possession of the ball is key. {3} Firstly if the pass is denied in the 2-meter zone by a stifling outside and inside defense, then the goalkeeper will have a much easier day lining up and reacting to shots from longer distances. Here, outside defenders can wreak havoc on entry passes by getting to the same height as the passers release point. Secondly, height out of the water will give shot blockers and goaltenders that same advantage. The initial block attempt will be made by the closest defender and will depend on their reaction and how fast they can get to the level of the release point. Goaltenders are the last line of defense as any shot that gets by them ends up as a score. Height above water can mean the difference between an easy block at a high shot or an easy goal. Think of this as the inverse of the “5-hole” in ice hockey. Instead of between the legs, the polo “5-hole” is directly over the head and between outstretched arms. The art of shot blocking can be summed up into three components:

  1. Vision
  2. Reaction
  3. Hustle  

The visual component is the primer to the reaction and I will cover that in another article. Seeing as this article is about the key physical movement, the egg beater; we will delve into the HUSTLE part. To “boost” oneself up fast enough, athletes are best served using a violent and aggressive egg beater. Imagine climbing up water with your legs circling up and out trying to push off water. A combination of cyclical power and coordination is the order of the day.  More on technique later.

Goaltenders must also maintain a “hang time” of sorts.  If a block attempt is misread or a potential blocker succumbs to a “fake” the ability to maintain height for a split second or longer will allow the blocker room for the timing error.  In an interview with one of my former trainees who is now at the University of Redlands, KJ stated,

Q: If the ability to “jump” out of the water can be used as a fake to the defender?

A: Yes, and sometimes it’s the most effective. As an attacker, when I change my elevation and look like I’m about to shoot, the defender and goalie should react to that. As a shooter, I look for over reactions from both the defender and goalie. If I get both to jump to one side hard when I tread up, I can shoot to the other side of the goal. Most of the time, fakes are all about body position. And if I have the ball up and I’m high out of the water, the goalie and defender have no clue if I’m about to shoot or pass that ball

 

In this case, hang time is created by maintaining the speed and ferocity of the AEK long enough to make a block on a delayed or misread shot.

Technical Execution

The eggbeater kick is a form of treading water that allows water polo players to keep afloat in an upright position (which occurs for half the game {7}). Athletes should have a still head during the eggbeater (for optimal vision up pool) while the arms are free to shoot, pass, dribble and control the ball. The player’s torso is upright while the thighs are parallel, knees bent at about 90 degrees with the lower legs perpendicular to the water surface. The most efficient and optimal “in game” technique is the alternate eggbeater kick (AEK).  The AEK technique averages greater pushing forces than the simultaneous eggbeater technique (SEK) in which both legs are used in unison. The SEK technique somewhat resembles the breaststroke kick used by swimmers in which both legs kick in unison in a mirror opposite fashion. The AEK technique also favors postural economy for the goalkeepers that need to maintain an upright position in a short box, allowing them to see the entire pool. {3}

As the left leg makes a clockwise rotation, the right leg makes a counterclockwise rotation. Imagine lifting your knees directly in front of you then flicking the feet down and outside of the knees. From here, the kick is “finished” by aggressively circling the feet outward and downward attempting to push the water with the soles of the feet and snapping them back together. {5} The keys to technical proficiency in this movement is to modify speed and amplitude of the leg motion to match what each athlete needs. Use a larger more aggressive action to get out of the water, or a smaller more rhythmic motion to maintain position in the set game. 

Important muscle actions and muscles

Optimal eggbeater kick performance should encompass a fast-horizontal motion with the feet, a large abduction and flexion moment of the hips, and fast extension and flexion of the knees. {4} I would also add the importance of eversion and more so; inversion of the foot and ankle complex in finishing more aggressive AEKs. In other words, an effective eggbeater kick, (AEK) and (SEK) alike, takes a coordinated and powerful effort of the hips, knees, and ankles occurring in the frontal plane. This action keeps players in vertical position for 50% of the game {7}. These factors make training this key movement outside of the water tremendously difficult but a necessity to help athletes prepare for in the gym. 

From my experience and most recent investigations, it is my opinion that the egg beater movement is extremely unique and not seen in any other sport. The movement itself doesn’t lend itself well to efficiency. The crux of the leg action occurs frontal plane. Imagine trying to run in place with your legs flailing to the sides. Now imagine trying to run ON WATER (not IN WATER) attempting to keep your head above it so you don’t drown. Sound Like fun? Last I checked humans were not meant to thrive in water.

The question now becomes what role does gym training play in the critical movement?  With respect to what we do in the gym, track, fieldhouse, or anywhere we can train; our objective is to PREPARE every athlete for the demands of their respective sport, without being a second practice. 

In the water

When beginning to learn the eggbeater, learning the Breaststroke with emphasis on the kick action can serve as a developmental drill in the water. Even though the action utilizes the simultaneous action of the legs; the overall action resembles that of the eggbeater.  In terms of dynamic correspondence (a la Verkoshansky and Bondarchuk) breaststroke kicking can serve technical developmental drill as one would not only have similar leg action but also develop a feel for the water. The unique interplay here lies in the how the feet “push” the water. The effectiveness of your finish will depend on the power that the feet culminate the kick it with. If you merely need to tread, then the finish would require a rhythmic action that maintains balance. If you need to climb or jump then the feet must finish powerfully against the water. {8}  This would put the BSK into the special strength category (SDE for you transfer folks). I’ll emphasize that without getting a feel for the water the following drills will have a dampened effect as it is hard to bring water to the weight room.  Suffice it to say, in early development it pays off to swim.

Out of The Water

Out of The Water This next section will cover some “weight room” drills (I put these in quotes because you can certainly train these elsewhere) that I have found to help my water polo players over the years.  I will also categorize them them from general to specialized (I’ll used specialized as opposed to specific because unless it’s done in the water it cannot truly be specific), for reference into your programs.  A note of importance here but I do believe that identifying exercises for each sport (in this case water polo) creates a positive psychological effect regarding athlete “buy-in” and connection.  Knowing the terminology of each sport and linking it to their training lets your athletes know you care.  Even if you don’t know as much as they do (as is my case with this sport) it tells them you are invested in their success and is imperative in gaining the trust of them and the coaching staff.  {9} Verbiage and terminology are crucial answer to helping them find their “why” is the key to eliciting intent.

General Strength

Forward mini band duck walks

When used: Warmup or as a filler between upper body pairs

Objective: Load the eggbeater pattern while walking forward and backward to mimic the coordinative pattern when treading.

Execution:  load mini band around, legs above the knee. Take a squat position. Perform the AEK while taking small steps forward for 5 yards.  Return going backward. 

Lateral mini band duck walks

When used: Warmup or as a filler between upper body pairs

Objective: Load the eggbeater pattern while walking laterally to mimic the coordinative pattern when treading.

Execution:  load mini band around, legs above the knee.  Take a squat position. Perform the AEK while taking small steps forward for 5 yards.  Return going backward. 

Lateral Lunges When used: as a frontal plane lower body single leg strength movement Objective: train dynamic flexibility in the adductor of one leg and strengthen the abductors of the other Execution:  from a standing position begin by shifting your hip to the lunge side.  Step to one side while keeping a forward foot angle, push the ground in opposite direction with the off leg.  Flex at the hip, knee, and ankle sinking the hips.  Keep your head over the foot of the lunge leg. Lateral Step Ups: When used: as a frontal plane lower body single leg strength movement Objective: strengthen the adductors and leg muscles respective of egg beater motion Execution:  stand to the side of a knee height or slightly higher box or bench.  Step on box with leg closest to it. Knee should be pointing laterally of the body.  Raise the body up by stepping down through the box while bringing rest of body toward working leg.  Flare foot no more than 45 degrees.    Keep your head over the foot of the step leg.   Off Set Squat to Lateral Step Up When used: as a frontal plane lower body single leg strength movement Objective: strengthen the adductors and leg muscles respective of egg beater in a greater range of motion. Execution:  stand to the side of a knee height or slightly higher box or bench.  Step on box with leg closest to it. Knee should be pointing laterally of the body.  Perform a regular squat with the one leg on box before raising the body up by stepping down through the box while bringing rest of body toward working leg.  Flare foot no more than 45 degrees.    Keep your head over the foot of the step leg.   Feet Plate Slides: When used: as a filler between upper body exercises or in GPP circuit Objective: strengthen the feet with respect to inversion and the finish of the egg beater kick. Execution:  while is a seated position and preferably barefoot, push a plate with the outside sole of your foot toward the other foot.  Make sure you have a weight and floor surface that doesn’t have to much friction. You can perform for rep or time. Seated 90/90 hip rotations Medial/ lateral rotations; seated and standing When used: as a filler between upper body exercises or in GPP circuit Objective: strengthen the muscles of the hip rotators. Execution:  While is a seated position, and hip and knee at 90 degrees, attach a cord or band around ankle.  From here keep turn the lower leg in or out keeping the knee in place.         General Power Jumping Lateral Step Ups When used: as an explosive warmup/ interval cycle/ or in a crawl cycle. Objective: Build power in adductors necessary for a powerful Egg beater. Execution:  assume position as in lateral step up.  Leap up in air as you do the step-up motion, draw body to other side of box to land on the other leg.  To build technique use in an extensive, repetitive manner using a rhythmic, relaxed, and replicable tempo.   To build power reset body after each jump aiming to jump as high as possible.     Dynamic Off set Squat to Lateral Step Up  When used: as an explosive warmup/ interval cycle/ or in a crawl cycle. Objective: Build power in adductors necessary for a powerful Egg beater. Execution:  assume position as in Off Set Squat to lateral step up.  After lowering into squat, leap up in air as you do the step-up motion. Version 1 can be done on one leg at a time.  Here you will draw legs together momentarily at the peak of the jump before landing.   Version 2 can be done in alternating fashion.  Here draw the body to other side of box to land on the other leg.  To build technique use in an extensive, repetitive manner using a rhythmic, relaxed, and replicable tempo.   To build power reset body after each jump aiming to jump as high as possible.     Feet plate flicks When used: as a filler between upper body exercises or in GPP circuit Objective: strengthen the ankles with respect to explosive inversion needed to finish egg beater kicks aggressively. Execution:  Using the same set-up as in feet plate slides, flick plate with the outside sole of your foot toward the other foot.  Make sure you have a weight and floor surface that has very little friction.     Specialized Slider Circle Ins: simultaneous (breastroke) and alternating (egg beater) When used: During interval sets like Tabata, 30 on 30 off, or in a “medley” Objective: strengthen the muscles with respect to the egg beater motion while maintaining specific timing and duration of the movement. Execution:  Set-up in a classic front plank and place each foot on a furniture slider.  From here flex at the hip raising knee toward head, without hesitation circle the foot laterally while returning to extended position.  When learning both the simultaneous and alternating techniques, the movement stop each rep before before going to the next.  You can utilize a more continuous technique as your skill and strength progress.  

{1} Strength, Endurance, Throwing Velocity and in-Water Jump Performance of Elite German Water Polo Players

Christoph Zinner,1,2 Billy Sperlich,2 Malte Krueger,1 Tim Focke,1 Jennifer Reed,3 and Joachim Mester1

-Although goal scoring is essential for winning a water polo match, a high level of throwing velocity and precision is also of crucial importance. Elite male water polo players achieve maximal throwing velocities of 58 to 88 km·h

Several investigators have noted that the eggbeater kick is the most important skill in achieving high vertical reach above the water surface to clear the opponents defense and reach high throwing velocities

{2} Testing and Training of the Eggbeater Kick Movement in Water Polo: Applicability of a New Method

Melchiorri, Giovanni; Viero, Valerio; Triossi, Tamara; Tancredi, Virginia; Galvani, Christel; Bonifazi, Marco

https://journals.lww.com/nscajscr/fulltext/2015/10000/Testing_and_Training_of_the_Eggbeater_Kick.10.aspx

{3} The Examination of Different Tests for the Evaluation of the Efficiency of the Eggbeater Kicks

Igor Stirn,1 Jernej Strmecki,1 and Vojko Strojnik1

Our results show that when performing alternate eggbeater kicks greater average pushing forces were produced by the water polo players with respect to consecutive simultaneous eggbeater kicks. This suggests that the players should use this technique when they are “wrestling” with an opponent which is a common situation in modern water polo. This situation is especially typical for the duel between the center forward and 2-meter defender (Dopsaj and Matković, 1999D’Auri and Gabbett, 2008). The goalkeepers are also using alternate eggbeater kicks when trying to maintain the high position of the body for a longer period of time. Sanders (1999)

{4} Kinematic Patterns Associated with the Vertical Force Produced during the Eggbeater Kick.

Oliveira N1Chiu CYSanders RH.

-For high performance in the water polo, eggbeater kick players should execute fast horizontal motion with the feet by having large abduction and flexion of the hips, and fast extension and flexion of the knees.

{5} Breast Stroke Kick Drills.  Chris Burton. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v61nEYUb5_0

{6} Email Interview with Intercollegiate Polo Player: Kyle Jackson  (10/10/18)

{7} Repeated Sprint Ability in Elite Water Polo Players and Swimmers and its Relationship to Aerobic and Anaerobic Performance Yoav Meckel,1,*David Bishop,2,*Moran Rabinovich,1,*Leonid Kaufman,1,*Dan Nemet,3,*and Alon Eliakim1,3*

Despite this, players spend only 50% of game time in a horizontal body position; during the remaining time, they perform activities in a vertical body position, at moderate to high intensity, with and without contact with an opponent. Therefore, the velocity of horizontal displacement may not adequately reflect the intensity and the intermittent nature of the activities performed in the game, particularly for acceleration and deceleration movements in the vertical plane or in contact with opponents. It was also found that players’ heart rate usually exceeds 80% of the maximum at any stage of the game, suggesting that the intervening lower-intensity activities were of insufficient duration for complete recovery

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3873665/

{8} http://easeswim.blogspot.com/2015/06/why-you-find-eggbeater-hard-to-learn.html

The sole – the power! Most beginners fail to realize that most of the magic in the eggbeater kick is coming from the sole. Yes, the bottom of your foot! If you swim using the breaststroke, then you will understand this better. You must feel the water on the bottom of your foot being pushed away. One good way to develop this is to use a kick board and swim with only your legs.

{9} The Manual: Volume 3, Central Virginia Sport Performance 2018.  (Chapter 2: Bob Alejo, pg 28.)
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General, Tips & Tricks
In part I we looked at the effect of high repetition strength training and its effect on the strength spectrum.  For me, the discovery of the multiple types of repetitions trained in a single set of twenty reps was a validation in the effectiveness and efficiency of this method.  Especially in regard to training the “year round” athlete that has limited “developmental” time and a limited reserve capacity due to the demands of their sporting commitment.   In this part of the series we look at the effect the high repetition set has had on the positive transfer of multiple athletic qualities for these young athletes.   Quality I: Power Measures I’ll begin with power measurements.  I will not go on and on about how broad jump and vertical jump improvements are correlated to athletic performance as these are well known.  But I will attempt to explain how improving the basic ability of power not only underpins the quality at which our sporting movements are done but also bridges the gap of a strength exercises to applicable movement. The quality of power production (and absorption) is evident in a sport such as soccer especially with the many cutting and start stop actions in pursuing or defending the ball.  “In order to make a change in direction while in motion, especially a quick one, you must have adequate levels of strength (eccentric, concentric, and isometric), speed-strength (explosive strength), flexibility (ROM) and coordination (technique).  Also included is speed of movement which is related to your strength levels.” {1}   For optimal projection to occur the muscles of the hip, knee, and ankle must absorb, stabilize, and contract in a quick, powerful, and coordinated manner.   I do understand that the transfer of more specific drills (plyometrics, altitude drops, etc.) do play a vital role in the development of these movements but in my opinion; these means incur a large cost if the athlete is not prepared.  In other words, our athletes are only as strong as their weakest link. Especially in the over competed and under trained populous such as women’s soccer players.  The way I see it, it is vitally important to develop needs sequentially from base to peak during the developmental stages.  Even though each of the young women featured in this article series are division one signees, their base athletic metrics were at a relatively low level. Here is a glimpse into the improvements of the broad jump, vertical jump, and average power (as measured on the COACHING TOOLS link on XLATHLETE.COM) that were taken about one month apart. As you can see substantial progress was made over the respective time periods for both athletes, especially in the broad jump.  The beauty of the utilizing the BABA (build a better athlete system AKA 1×20) was that employing one high rep set for broad spectrum (AKA general) exercises not only help build strength along the repetition spectrum but allowed us the time to work on other aspects of athleticism (cutting technique, sprinting, specialized exercises and variations of broad and vertical jumps in this case) without draining the neuro reserves. SIDE NOTE:  This phenomenon became evident especially as the Meg and Katelynn had their team early morning “conditioning” requirements as well as side jobs that included babysitting and shoveling snow for multiple hours in a day.  Circumstances like this were mentioned by Jeff Moyer in his presentation as he explained the “why” behind the minimal effective dose philosophy.  What’s also interesting are the improvements is average power.  This metric includes Jump height in relation to body weight.  There are two ways to look at improvement in average power.  First way, jump height remains relatively unchanged as body weight rises.  Which would apply to athlete’s looking to put on quality muscle mass.  This scenario mainly pertains to athletes in weight class dependent sports looking to bump up a class or two; as well underweight footballers or rugby players.  I don’t believe in gaining weight at the sacrifice of our power production capabilities.  The second way, is that body weight remains relatively unchanged while vertical jump (counter movement style) rises.  Which happened to apply to our athletes in this scenario.  The low exposure to total volume (and time under tension) in the minimal dose, broad spectrum strategy aided in keeping their body weights at bay.  The total volume remained stagnant (20 rep sets in ½ squat) as each exercise was executed for the same amount of reps aiming at improving technical execution of the jumps and specialized exercises while making minimal jumps in the strength exercises from week to week.  This is unlike classic strength approaches in the West where overall loads of barbell (volume and intensities) and number of exercises are increased over time.  While this approach may be optimal for those in barbell sports or the gym rat that wants to work out longer and harder; it will most likely eat away at the adaptive reserves of those in merely need to “use” strength to develop athletic abilities.       Quality II: Agility   Having the ability to devote time (while sparing the adaptive reserves) to the specialized drills and jumps was imperative to bridge the gap between our strength exercises and “on-field” drills.   While at the same time these young women improved their strength, they were able to learn how to apply that strength without running the well dry. Here is a glimpse into measurements in the pro agility (***no hand touch as they will never touch their hand down to change direction in game play). As you can see here both  made some great progress in the basic 5-10-5 test.  What should be noted here is that I did not introduce the specialized exercises for the side and forward cord lunges (as described in the many resources provided by Dr. Micheal Yessis and better shown in the Coaches Corner video section of the CVASPS Community site) until the second week of January.  This may be why we saw the larger improvements in Megan’s time from December to February.  Part of this decision was two-fold for myself 1) I felt meg needed to develop strength in the spinal erectors, abductors, and adductors 2) My comfort level with teaching the exercises which was made easier with the (excuse my shameless plug for Jay DeMayo) videos on the CVASPS Community.  In hindsight I probably would have introduced the lunges in a more basic manner (IE with dumbbells or possibly isometric holds) so that we could’ve made a smoother transition into the cords, but there is nothing wrong with the progress we made.  My takeaways on how this was done…
  • The protocol of half squats was not simply doing a set of 20. I may get flack for this; but I utilized a form of triphasic modalities in two warm up sets preceding the 20 rep set (what we term our push set).  The importance of eccentric strength in cutting cannot be understated as it is a key strength skill (a coordinated strength effort) in executing effective change of direction movements {2}. I waved the method of slow lowering to the half squat position (for a six count), holding the half squat position (for a six count), and slow lowering with a bottom hold (each for a three count).  In three week waves a piece.  My reasoning here was for them to learn the position, posture, and “pace” of the pattern.  (I apologize for the tongue twister.)  The loads represented fifty and seventy five percent (respectively) of the load in the push set, which was just enough to prime them for it.   In the grand scheme loads this light may not have been enough to completely train eccentric or isometric qualities “enough”; but given the training age of these individuals I felt it was necessary to use the TP method as a learning tool to effect posture and position more than anything else.
Some may ask, Why the half squat?  In short, a real smart guy in Whitewater Wisconsin told me in a phone conversation that ½ squats transfer to cutting and ¼ squats transfer to sprinting.  Thank again Ryan.  
  • As mentioned before the ability to spare training time and the nervous system allowed us simultaneously develop technique. Featured here are a series of pictures at the “plant point” of a cut.
  Here is meg in her second test in the 5/10/5.  And you can see a couple of things going on from this perspective that standout as inefficient.  Firstly, her head and shoulders are in front of her hips (center of mass).  Secondly, her hips are closed and not turned and are too late in positioning her body to run in the opposite direction.  The lack of strength in her erector muscles is evident as the angle of the torso is dipping into the angle of the shin. This lack of position causes her to swing her head and hips around her plant foot (as she pushes off) which forces her lead foot to swing back and to the side roughly at a 45 degree angle from her intended direction (as marked by the circle) detracting from the ‘sharpness’ of the cut.  In this case her lack of technique and postural strength force her to lose a step in the direction she wants to change direction to.                   Here is meg in her third test of the 5-10-5. Notice the more balanced and centered posture along with a pretty good hip turn.  You’ll also see that megs lead foot is nearly parallel to the plant foot as well as “in the air” ready to receive the ground off the push-off.  What used to take Meg two movements (and more time) to execute she now does in a single movement.  Take a look at that torso and shin angle nearly perfectly parallel and into that ankle beautifully, she can now apply the developed strength optimally.     Quality III: Confidence   A quality often overlooked in the development of young athletes is that of confidence.  I believe I heard Joe Kenn say in one of his presentations that “Confidence tranfers.”  Given the experience I’ve had with these young ladies as well the ones I’ve been so fortunate to work with over years; I’d be hard pressed to disagree.  It is easy for us coaches to get lost in the numbers but if there’s one intangible I’ve learned in this project if we can measure we can motivate.  These two things go hand in hand as well as give both coach and athlete an idea of where we are going together.  Giving equal ownership in progress to both.  Gratification is great thing both as an athlete and coach as it keeps us both in check with athlete on the intent of effort end and the coach on the critical thinking end.  I believe it was Tony Holler that wrote in a recent article (or one of his million twitter posts per day) about a dopamine release when kids see their numbers.,,Record, Rank, Publish I say he got it right.  If this is true, is this not the neuro rich environment we want our kids in?  Hell yes I say, because is they can see it we can sell it!  All this talk about buy in is then made simple.  In working with this group of girls thus far they gave me crap about having to go pants shopping because their legs out grew their current size.  I of course joked, “Like you women need another excuse to go shopping?!”  This type of interplay is vital in relationship building.  My young eight grader (numbers were not featured in this article as her training his largely to garner technical competence and basic strength) has also experienced the confidence boost.  Recently she scored a “defensive” goal in her indoor season (basically on a shorter pitch she was able to score form a long distance kick); which left herself and her parents surprised and elated.  Her mother told me she would never have had the confidence to try that before.  A couple weeks later her father told me how she now pursues offensive attacks with her arms up, unafraid to engage with larger players as she plays a level up against high schoolers.  With that said it is hard to argue with positive effects of a minimal effective dose approach that does not bash our kids into some archaic and ass backwards mantra of no pain no gain.  But rather keeps the needle moving forward for them making the training experience more enjoyable for athlete, parents, and coach. My take away items from this project and writing were many and I’m sure more will reveal itself as I put this project into practice more often.  I certainly hoped you gained a newfound appreciation and understanding for general (like I said let’s call it broad spectrum) means in reading this. I know writing it has helped me better understand and discover what can be done when you can the simple meaningful.       {1} “You must have adequate levels of strength (eccentric, concentric, isometric)…pg. 47” Yessis, Dr. Micheal, Women’s Soccer: Using science to improve speed. 2001, Wish Publishing. {2} “Strength along with coordination is very important, especially eccentric strength.” pg 130.  Yessis, Dr. Micheal, Explosive Basketball Training. 2003 Coaches Choice.  
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