There is often a debate in fitness on the best exercise for any given situation. As most people who really pay attention know, the best exercise is the one that is most needed. This is why we assess and address.
Let’s shift to youngsters going through the developmental process, kids that are 9 years old or less. I can think of a lot of exercises that are important for their development and of course, based on their needs, some exercises are better than others. But there is one exercise that can trump them all if used properly…Throwing!
Fundamentals of Movement
There are many fundamental movements that are key to athleticism and movement in general. Here is a quick list off the top of my head:
- Flexion to extension
- Extension to flexion
- Weight shift
- Frontal plane transitioning
- Sagittal plane deceleration
- Transverse plane acceleration and deceleration
- Summation of parts
There was a time when we had to know how to throw rocks and spears to kill food to eat. Throwing was fundamental to our survival.
When a young person learns to throw at a young age they accomplish a lot. They learn to master control of their bodies in all planes of movement in both acceleration and deceleration. They learn to control the speed, distance, height, accuracy, and touch of an object (most likely a ball).
Fundamentals on How to Throw a Baseball
There are many ways to develop the tactical and strategic components of throwing. Teaching young people in stages brings confidence and efficiency. Possible stages:
- Teach the technical aspect of throwing in order to be efficient (how to hold the object, how to transfer weight, how to follow throw…).
- Teach the targeting aspect of throwing (stationary or moving targets, release points…).
- Teach the difference between the variable of a throw (how far, how much touch, how high, how much lead time…).
- Teach the manipulation of the ball in time (how to spin the ball or not spin the ball during the release).
- Teach different release angles with the arm to meet the task (release high, side arm, or underhand).
- Teach all the above variable from stationary and from running, shuffling, or retreating (throw while chasing or being chased).
Throwing is a great skill that can offer a young person a valuable tool to improve performance of a particular sport or just as an overall athletic movement skill.
And you know what? It is valuable to teach them to throw with the right hand as well as the left hand.
At www.leetaft.com you will notice a series of videos that are based on the concept I described above. This concept is teaching. Teach your athletes skills so they can improve performance and stay safe and healthy. One of my favorite teaching tools is Low Box Training for Athletes. The purpose of Low Box Training is to enhance the body control of athletes so they can manipulate their body, through the positioning of their feet, at any time.