PSTM Conference 2019 – Summary #6

Over the following days, I will briefly go over some of the lectures at this year’s PSTM conference in Wroclaw. These short articles will not be exhaustive summaries but rather a collection of bullet points on the most important concepts and ideas (in my opinion). Today, I cover Dr. Ian Jeffreys‘ lecture on From Speed & Agility to Gamespeed. Speed and agility are difficult to measure. The most common athlete question is „can you make me faster“? Coaches often want strength and power, athletes want speed. Speed and Agility are highly context dependent, not general. Nowadays, scientific evidence seems to weigh heavier than the demands of coach and athlete: something that helps them perform better. Science does not answer everything. The traditional process to speed and Agility training is structured in three steps
  • Definition (what is speed)
  • Measures (how to measure it)
  • Drills (how to train it)
This approach can quickly take the coach from team sports to track and field, where the fastest athletes are. A lot of that does not transfer to the playing field though. We often assume the research on track speed will apply to everything we do – That is untrue. There are other things than force production contributing to speed that needs to be trained.
Agility can be defined as the ability to explosively brake, change direction and accelerate again Alternatively, it can be considered a rapid while body movement with change of velocity or direction in response to a stimulus. Drills built on top of these generic definitiond are slightly abstract and removed from the game because we can measure them that way. We need to understand context.
Start with why. A defender in soccer does not necessarily move at max speed. Moving faster would not make his result better. Traditional agility training looks nothing like soccer. How do we learn skills? By doing them consistently. If I do something consistently wrong, I might make my athlete worse.  We like to think as speed as a physical componentIn skill, there is a lot of unscientific, ie, non measurable, wordsWhat if the fastest cod puts me in a position where I can’t play the game? The players who score best on tests (strongest, fastest, etc) are not necessarily the best players. Specificity requires an understanding of the game. Reverse Engineering Start with a sport. Follow a process
  1. Look at tasks 
  2. Look at phases of the game
  3. Key objectives
  4. Specific capacities
  5. Underpinning capacities
Roger Federer is not necessarily going to be a fantastic mover on s football field. What determines effective movement? Many constraints have to be considered. Most are unknown unknowns, though. The goal is sports specific, the journey can be more generic
Tomorrow I’ll release the next summary, so stay tuned. So long, don’t get hurt

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