What does this statement really mean and how do we apply this motto to each client?
The Individualized Approach is a highly detailed 3 step process:
- It all begins with a trial session, otherwise known as the evaluation session. In that first session we have athletes perform a standard set of movements to look at body mechanics and then 5-10 athletic tests that focus primarily on evaluating an athletes speed, agility, power and endurance. Following these first 2 facets of the session, the athlete will then complete a set of drills that pertain to their sport/position and allow us evaluate their relative skill level for their age group.
- Following the session, I will go over how the athlete stacked up in each category of the evaluation. We will highlight the best parts of the session, but also go over areas that require the most intervention. We use data on the various athletics tests from the internet, as well as all the athletes that have come through the program to determine a general chart of what is average, above average and what is below average.
- Using what the athlete has told me about their goals and the evaluation, BAT will formulate a plan of attack that is specific to the athlete and their needs. There will be plenty of similarities in each athlete’s customized plan, but there are also key differences.
Here is an example of how the “Individualized Approach” is applied. This is a hypothetical of the key difference in our approach of 2 athletes with similar athletic ability:
- In John’s evaluation session, we learn the following:
- Age: 16 / Height: 6”4 / Weight: 175 lbs / Position: Wide Receiver
- Very tight in the hamstrings, cannot complete an air squat without bending his knees completely forward.
- Has average-above average (Runs a 5.0 40 yard dash time)
- Average Vertical and broad jump
- Does not move well laterally and struggle with quick cuts
- Average catching ability
- In Frank’s evaluation session, we learn the following:
- Age: 16 / Height: 5”8 / Weight: 185 lbs / Position: Wide Receiver
- He has tight Hips
- Has average-above average linear speed (Runs a 4.9 40 yard dash time)
- Above average vertical jump and an average broad jump
- Does not move well laterally and struggles with quick cuts
- Excellent catching ability.
In this specific case, both athletes are 16 years old, play the same position and both struggle with lateral movement, quick cuts and have decent straight line speed (using the 40 yard dash as the measure). The noticeable differences: John is much taller than Frank. Frank has a solid vertical, while John is just average. John has average catching ability, while Frank is exceptional. Lastly, John has tight hamstrings, while Frank is tight in the hips. Their programs will differ quite a bit based on that initial session.
John’s program will include…
- Warm-up will emphasize dynamic movements/stretching to improve hamstring flexibility.
- Spend the workout portions of sessions on power production to increase power (specifically vertical power).
- Lots of hand-eye drills, catching balls and playing the ball in the air (jump balls).
Frank’s Program will include…
- Will emphasize deep air squats, reverse lunges and progressions (quick feet and high knees) to ensure a loosening of the hip joints and improve those quick cuts.
- Spend the workout portions on linear speed (especially hip-turnover time – quicker steps to improve top speed).
- Skills work will be all about getting off the jam and running high quality short-intermediate routes.
The Detailed Explanation:
Looking at John, we have a kid with great height, who clearly needs to work on strength and improving his hands. He doesn’t have the muscle development yet at just 175 lbs for that long 6”4 frame. The goal early in our sessions will be to emphasize high knees and proper stretching/activation, followed by a challenging plyometric workouts full of form jumps, broad jumps, box jumps and much more. Lastly, we will work plenty of time in to improve his hand-eye and catching ability, while putting it together in his routes – emphasizing high pointing!
With Frank, we have a receiver on the shorter side, who is quite strong and has great hands. His biggest issues are his inability to make quick cuts and that he doesn’t have elite speed. With Frank, we need to maximize pure speed and fluid cuts, so that he can get space from the defender. His ability to cut quickly should come from a good stretching routine and progressions. The linear speed gains will be all about hip-turnover and focusing on that top-end speed (acceleration is how quick you get to top speed – roughly 25-30 yards into a sprint, while pure speed kicks in around that point). With his already exceptional hands, Frank needs to be diligent about his linear speed, getting off the jam and route running.
While John is a big target, he needs to work on pure vertical power to use that height advantage. Frank is a strong kid with great hands, but he needs more speed to be able to take advantage of his strengths. As a result, these 2 would have very different sessions.