Clearing Up the Athleticism Confusion

In this day and age, athleticism is something widely admired.  We all, in some shape or form envy some of the great athletes for the feats that they can accomplish.  However, I think we've grown confused about athleticism.

I love watching the combine and seeing some of colleges strongest and most powerful athletes. For many of us, this is what we think of when we think of athletic.  We think of Usain Bolt's incredible speed, or Byron Jones jump a world record broad jump.  These are by any definition of the word, athletic, feats of skill, power and strength that leave us scratching our head to how they did it.  And yet, I think the biggest trap we've all fallen into at some point or another is thinking, that's all there is to athleticism. 

One comparison I've heard that I like is that between two of the NBA's best point guards.  Steph Curry, and Russell Westbrook. I think those of us who know who each are agree that their both athletic, especially Russell Westbrook, we've all seen his spectacular dunks.  However, when Steph Curry comes into the discussion we hear about his remarkable behind the back passing, and ankle breaking dribbling. What gives?

Power, speed, mobility and strength by all means play into the athletic discussion, but let us not forget coordination, skill, reaction, and the ability to read the environment. When it comes to setting up an athlete for success both need to be incorporated.  

I would even argue that coordination and reaction are the foundation for long term athletic success.  When an athlete relies solely on their raw power an injury could shake them to their core, because some of them may have to change the way they play. 

Where-as an athlete that relies on their ability to react to their environment may get hurt but their game still won't have to change nearly as much.  They can come back, shake off some rust, and get right back it with far more ease then above type athlete. 

Don't get me wrong all the qualities I've talked about are super important. When you train you need to train all these qualities effectively to get you ready for competition.  The trap we fall into is getting all starry eyed about combines and forgetting that combines don't win championships.

Working on your coordination, reaction, as well as strength, mobility, speed and power will present you more potential for a longer more successful career then simply focusing on combine numbers.