“Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage in war than audacity.”
-Clausewitz, On War
“A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan next week.”
-George S. Patton, U.S. Army General
The two quotes above are among my favorites in regard to military strategy; and while I am hesitant to employ the, often overused, comparison of sports to warfare it is often true that the competitor who is quickest act typically dictates the pace and direction of play on the field (or the court).
Sports often come down to a matter of fractions of seconds and inches. In sports they say: “speed kills”, but more than speed, the competitor who is quickest to exploit openings that wins…
Dr. Eric Cobb of Z-Health Performance Solutions teaches that quickness relies on a hierarchy of attributes:
At the top of the hierarchy are sports vision skills which aid the athlete identifying opportunities in the playing environment and formulating a plan.
Following is the ability rapidly take action through the employment of a transitional step. Transitional steps are described in detail in this excellent S-Phase DVD.
Thirdly comes raw horsepower; strength is never a bad thing, but in reactive sports great vision & transitions are paramount.
I have found that many athletes spend a larger amount of their training time developing raw strength than vision and transitions simply because they are unsure of how to practice. Athletes ask me all the time,
“How do you practice transitions?”.
I typically respond that I just visual a situation, on the field / court, where I would utilize a transition step and then walk myself through it until I’ve become familiar and confident with it.
I put this video together to assist athletes in visualizing transitions in action on the basketball court. I attempted practicing a 3/4 speed to demonstrate some of the athletic transition steps from the S-Phase DVD. As you will see I am not currently a great basketball player, but having a template (or framework) to work from has allowed me to steadily improve with each practice session. In fact, I do not even need a court or ball to practice my transitions; I can practice Short Focused Sessions (SFS) whenever I find a free moment and a little space to move in.
My aim to give you the ability to visualize how you could employ transitional steps into your practice. Annie Plessinger of Vanderbilt University writes:
The reason visual imagery works lies in the fact that when you imagine yourself perform to perfection and doing precisely what you want, you are in turn physiologically creating neural patterns in your brain, just as if you had physical performed the action. These patterns are similar to small tracks engraved in the brain cells which can ultimately
enable an athlete to perform physical feats by simply mentally practicing the move. Hence, mental imagery is intended to train our minds and create the neural patterns in our brain to teach our muscles to do exactly what we want them to do (Porter, 17).
How has this video encouraged your athletic practice? Please comment below…
Porter, K., Foster, J. Visual Athletics. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Publishers, 1990.