To understand deceleration in sports you must first understand how it works in regularity. Deceleration/slowing down means an increase in speed opposite to the initial direction the body was moving. This occurs in running, throwing and kicking. In running, the body would have to initiate force production against the ground the opposite way to counter the given speed the body was moving at. Now when we look deeper into the biomechanics behind deceleration, we can see a high correlation to eccentric, concentric strength and ground force production and vice versa for other movements. As we already know Newton’s 1st Law of Inertia, both eccentric strength and concentric strength acts together on the body to initiate that change in direction otherwise you can not slow down efficiently. Outside of sports, deceleration happens all the time through the eccentric movements we do on a daily basis, like going down a staircase. However, in sports, specifically multi directional sports, efficient deceleration is a must skill.
When an athlete performs in a particular sport, the ability to increase speed then to spontaneously cut and turn for either recovery on defense or juking through a defensive back is a skill that will 100% bring the spotlight on you. That is called being agile, and to get agile you need to work on getting that quick force production and deceleration to be able to cut efficiently. To enhance your agility skills you would have to include both power and strength training in your routine. That would help the muscles in your body learn how to recruit more motor units for that power output that you need. However there is a big factor that is the muscle fiber types that the body comprises. The athletes with fast twitch muscle fibers will look quicker when doing the same movements compared to the slow twitch muscle fibers. The reason behind that is because fast twitch fibers are quick at recruiting all the motor units in your muscles to create either positive or negative force that you need for acceleration or deceleration.
For kickers, throwers, baseball, tennis, golf players and so on, the follow through of the swing is very important. The deceleration of the limb while transitioning the rotational force produced to the ball will not only equate to a better throw or swing but also prevent you from getting injured. You can easily hurt the vertebrae when twisting without good eccentric strength. This is where proper biomechanics training with stability becomes super important and a huge part of it includes decelerating in the transition when transferring power. When those factors don’t align, you will see athletes go all over the place with their body with no stability, trying to compensate for the intense movements they have to do.
- Coach Andy Louis
Generally speaking we often hear certain myths about resistance training and we tend to take that information out of context. All sorts of rumors about resistance training go around and it’s usually from people who did not get a proper introduction and just don’t know anything about it. Like, resistance training will stunt your growth/kids should stray away from lifting weights too early, or even adolescent girls and grown women thinking they’ll get too bulky. Now you can say there can be truth to some of those statements but the truth that we need to focus on are not even in our perspective.
When parents come to us professionals, they often worry about the system we utilize in the weight room with their kids. They’re worried about their kids squatting, deadlifting etc… Those moments are when we get that opportunity to break down our system to them and show the real truth behind resistance training. Resistance training at a young age won’t stunt your growth but it can damage your body with injuries if not done properly. Every kid grows differently and they all can be at different stages while being the same age. When we’re training kids we don't just give them a program full of exercises that aren’t tailored to their own body’s capabilities. We assess their movements on a fundamental basis prior to starting their program. Then we address the red flags by giving them movement prescriptions they need the most. Another thing we focus on is their level of maturity. Do they have that level of autonomy to start taking resistance training seriously? Are they at a stage where they’ll mostly benefit from a fundamental training environment and learning basics or are they going through puberty and growing superfast and need a mobility/balance based program? These thoughts really matter when we’re talking about kids doing resistance training and issues would only occur when the professionals don’t follow the right protocol. If you have that goal for your kids whether in sports or overall health then you can’t let word of mouth stop your kids from getting the advantage of being a step ahead.
In the women population, we often hear them worrying about bulking up and looking too muscular. Some women see the advantages of being strong and healthy, some are badly informed and focus on the wrong things. Resistance training for women is as good as resistance training for men. It’s not rocket science just because it’s women working out. There are hormonal and fundamental body structure differences to consider but that’s less than the other things you need to know/achieve just to bulk up consistently. Your physique is not just the result of the work you put in the gym, you have to consider how much work you put into nutrition and recovery/sleep. So yes, you can get bulky from working out but only if those other factors are not in check and if it’s not your goal then you’ll be far from being bulky. The choices you make are accountable for your results. When you set a goal, whether it’s losing weight, staying fit or bulking up, you will be the one making the choices that can lead you to that goal.
Ultimately, it’s all in the process. It’s always easy to assume and not choose to know the process when others are telling you the answers. Once you choose to know the process, you can save yourself time from focusing on the wrong side of things.
Coach Andy Louis