Sunday, November 15, 2009

Strength, Timing & Technique

I look at my training these days, and over the past year or so, and see how much more emphasis I place on the upper body with all kinds of bars, drills and lifts. Every since I stumbled across a way to get more pressure on the pole and keep it on, this has become key. Here's the story of that "discovery" -

I see young kids at practice and they don't really have much strength so they are totally dependent upon timing. The great coach/author, Alan Launder says, "that which is technically desirable must be physically possible". What I say to the kids is that it's easy once you learn the timing but it takes strength to learn the timing. Once THAT is easy you then move to a bigger pole and again you need to be stronger until you refine THAT timing. Or as Gary Hunter's professor used to say, "whatever you're trying to do it's easier if you are stronger".

In this photo I try to hit the pole with my hands and upper body as hard as I can to stay upright and not get knocked backward by the sheer forces of running into the pole. You can kill a fly with a flyswatter or with a sledgehammer. I prefer the sledgehammer. Too many young kids try and "meet" the expected impact of the pole. I try to annihilate it.

This shot was at 4m (13' 1 1/2") in Sydney on the biggest pole I have jumped on since my return on 2005. It's at this point where you either become the "bug" or the "windshield" as DJ says. You stay upright and the pole rolls forward like a wheel, you get knocked back or your hips get sucked in front of you and you have no control. Today my body was trashed and it was this photo on my refrigerator that got me out the door to do my work. Whatever it takes.

Bob Fraley says that once you know how to vault that 70% of your progress will come from getting stronger and faster. Not all that encouraging to those of us on the decline in those areas. It's a constant and daily battle but it must be fought. Learning to jump higher on small poles while trying to get stronger and faster seems to be working. Again, whatever it takes to get me out there each day. Have a great Sunday! Bubba

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