Over the past year, I have shifted much of my early warm up training to medicine ball training. The type of medicine ball training I use is geared to supporting deceleration, which in turn helps acceleration.
When an athlete can decelerate with greater stability and posture, then the chance of re-accelerating much faster improves. For example, when an athlete’s body sways or bends in the opposite direction of the way they want to travel, it causes a slower movement. The medicine ball training I have been using forces the athletes to control this unwanted movement much quicker.
Here are a few examples:
- Jump Landing Fake Throws- The athletes will jump into the air and land in a good athletic landing position. The athlete should feel the landing posture and notice the angles. Now for the next several repetitions, the athlete will hold a medicine ball at chest level during the jump. On the landing, just before the athlete hits the ground, he/she will forcefully thrust the ball downward to knee level and stop its momentum immediately. The important aspect of the landing is his/her the posture should be the same as if a medicine ball was used. The exercises helps load the posterior chain and trains it to decelerate the body quicker.
- Shuffle Fake Throws- This time we are going to challenge the athlete to stop his/her body with a lateral fake throw, which challenges the transverse plane. Simply shuffle for Five yards while holding the medicine ball in front of the chest at half arms length. I refer to this level 2 horizontal). In this first shuffle the athletes isn’t actually moving the ball or fake throwing it. It is simply being held as still as possible. Because the athlete is moving, the ball has its own mass and momentum to be controlled. Upon stopping the athlete should not have unwanted movement. With the next few repetitions the athletes should start the ball out in front of the back shoulder. If shuffling to the right, start the ball in front of the left shoulder. Just before stopping, quickly swing the ball and stop it in front of the right shoulder. The athletes should not rotate or bend to the side.
- The final exercise using the medicine ball is to backpedal. In this exercise the athletes will start with the ball at chest level at with the arms half extended. The athletes should backpedal for five yards and upon stopping quickly bring the ball just overhead and stop it quickly. The anterior chain must engage and control extension. The athlete must maintain a good posture position.
The above examples are only a few of many progressions I have developed. These exercises have helped my athletes to gain stability and body control. I believe the level of the athlete’s concentration has gone up due to the fake throw and having to control the extra mass and momentum. Overall, I believe the medicine ball fake throws can enhance your athlete’s performance.
To learn more go to http://sportsspeedetc.com/mb_speed.shtml and download the Medicine Training for Speed Video. It will give you a great foundation of how to set up your program using a medicine ball.