The Athletic Position
No matter what sport the athlete plays I’ve always been a big believer in teaching them the role of the athletic position (or stance) while training them. It plays a huge role for athletes in sports such as volleyball, football, baseball, tennis, and basketball. While I think that many coaches try to get their athletes into this position, I’m not sure that they try to explain the importance of this stance to them.
What is an athletic position?
An athletic stance is one in which your feet are about shoulder width apart, your weight is centered on the balls of your feet, your knees and hips are flexed, your torso is leaning slightly forward, and your head and shoulders are up.
Why Is It Important?
While for many athletes, being in an athletic stance my come somewhat naturally, that may not be the case for all of them. Athletes need to be comfortable in this stance and they need to be able to get into (and out of) this stance quickly. Why? Because this stance is involved in many sports. This stance is the one that athlete get into before jumping vertically, it is a defensive position in basketball, it is part of a power clean, and the list goes on and on. If you look at the beach volleyball picture above, the 2 players that are on the ground are in variations of an athletic stance. It’s true that neither one is a perfect example, but we are also looking at an isolated picture. Think about the position that the two other players were in just one second earlier. Right before they jumped, they both would have been in an athletic stance so that they could maximize their vertical jump. Athletes may only stay in an athletic stance for a brief time, but they must be comfortable getting into and out of that stance. If not, it will impact their speed of play and efficiency.
Make sure to include teaching of the athletic stance in your training. It plays a vital role in many sports and your athletes need to be comfortable in the stance. They also need to understand why this stance is important, not only for their specific sport or position, but also the role that it plays in jumping and other skills. With today’s athletes asking “why” more and more, this may help them to understand the importance of this position better.