Back again after a few weeks layoff. Things are busy here in Western New York. A few weeks back I had the chance to sit down with the old Coach and talk shop. Surrounded by some good background music, the conversation jumped right into GPP and motor skill development.
A great amount of skill training in motor activities rely on enhancing proprioception. Are we meeting these needs? Numerous benefits have been written about GPP here on this site so you can thumb back through the archives to see the benefits.
Benefits Of GPP
All the benefits of GPP play a vital role in the full development of an athlete. The evolution of GPP is fascinating. In the opening stages of GPP, workloads challenge your athletic toughness and threshold development. Later, as one progresses, movements become effortless and good quality motor skills are frequently reinforced. In this period, GPP also lays a solid foundation for plyometric work.
One benefit we tend to overlook with GPP is motor skill development. In a recent training session with a high-level hockey player, I noticed something that Coach Davies has been stressing since day one: GPP is great for developing motor skills.
As I was watching this hockey player perform his box jumps, I couldn't help but watch the quick contacts and the eccentric loading that was occurring. The hit and go off the box looked like poetry in motion. It had a rhythm that is so needed in sports. In fact, the movements become automatic or second nature. He can now feel what hitting the ground and applying the force in rhythmic movements is like. This rhythmic motion sets a tempo that allows the athlete to feel the generation of power and its quick responses.
In the later stages of GPP, you perform the same tasks while mentally and physically fatigued. Actually, this is another horribly overlooked area in the development of an athlete. The overlooked area of focus would be lack of submaximal jump training to enhance explosive endurance.
The key to success in athletic performance is often making the difficult easy. True strength and power lay in unleashing motion such that is fluid and seemingly effortless. This again engrains the motor patterns into your subconscious mind, even when fatigued!
Soon you will perform the movements without thinking about them; you will perform them while talking, and with the added skill of catching a ball. Watch the learning curve explode! All should be outcomes of advanced GPP and motor skill development.
Simple rope skipping is also great to enhance your agility and movement skills. Used as a warm up, a finisher, or a challenging motor skill task, when done properly it has tremendous value to your overall development. Foot speed and hand speed are some of the products of hardcore rope work.
In a recent training session with the coach, I found as the workout progressed, Coach Davies became stronger, and I gave into fatigue. When fatigue sets in, we all know that your basic rhythm and tempo begin to break down. If this were a game in the closing minutes, I would have lost!
In short, GPP will help you "go harder, longer." Use a progressive system that will lead into more complex skills. GPP should be done on a daily basis to not only enhance your work threshold and motor skill development, but your concentration level during difficult training.
We need to learn how to perform difficult tasks under extreme conditions (the game environment). An old Clint Eastwood line: "adapt, improvise, overcome." The element of motor skill development spreads through the entire work period. In our training reactive strength and reflexes become conditioned!
In closing, your workouts should be infested with motor skill development. Your testing environment should be conducive to your goals. As Coach mentioned, your tests should be diverse and measure all qualities of an athlete. In a future issue, we will continue to look into each of these tests and what they assess.