Athletes that dominate their sport (or profession) have several things in common but one skill / trait stands out more than all the rest. For now, let’s look at some of the most common similarities like… Strength, Speed, Confidence, Determination (work ethic) and Heart.
Strength: When comparing dominating athletes, being stronger than your opponent(s) isn’t as critical for success without great conditioning as well. We can look at Tiger Woods for example, without a doubt he is stronger than most of his opponents, he flat out dominates his profession and he’s also in great physical shape. Most agree that he changed the way the game of golf is played, and more importantly how his opponents have to prepare to compete against him.
How about Usain Bolt ? He probably isn’t the strongest and FASTEST man when compared to All of his opponents, however the strength he does have certainly helped him shatter all the records he now owns in dramatic fashion.
Strength (power), Speed (quickness), Confidence (mentally strong), Determination (work ethic) and Heart are all qualities that nearly every dominant athlete displays during competition.
One trait is rarely mentioned when studying
dominant athletes and that’s superior BALANCE or body control. Think about Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and LeBron James.. These athletes compete in non-contact sports and their balance and control seems to go un-noticed. When discussing Football, Wrestling, Mixed Martial Arts or any other “Contact” sport, balance is what separates the best from the rest.
J. Jaggers, the wrestler in the photo above is a 2x NCAA Champion for the Ohio State Buckeyes. For those that seen him compete would instantly learn how important balance is when it comes to wrestling. Jaggers has and quite often displays ridiculous balance and body control during his matches. Balance alone can instantly help you become a better athlete.
Balance is the most overlooked element of sports and total fitness. It ranks right up there with strength, endurance and mental toughness, but gets overlooked until you have a problems or an injury. (i.e. Tom Brady)
Test your balance by trying this simple test:
Stand on one foot for 15 seconds with your eyes closed.
When training an athlete to improve his / her balance, I’d recommend sticking with compound exercises. The reason I recommend compound, multi-joint exercises in a balance training program is, simply put, because we’re training athletes, not bodybuilders.
Examples of Compound Exercises
- Squat (for better balance squat on a bosu ball and stability discs)
- Lunge (for better balance lunge on stability discs)
- Lunge with a Twist
- One-Leg Squat-and-Reach
- Kettlebell Swings (on bosu balls and stability discs)
- Standing Military Press (then walk a few steps forward and backwards)
- Jumping Rope
Bottom line, all sports require MOVEMENT. In most cases,the athlete that moves the best, WINS. Improve your balance and you’ll win more matches.
Make Today Better Than Yesterday !