Boxers are famous for working on their skills – hitting the speed bag to work on hand speed/coordination and working on focus mitts to help develop speed, timing, accuracy, strategy and offensive/defensive skills… just to name a few.
Yet speak to any endurance athlete and ask them how often they dedicate time to working on their skills and form and the answer will likely be slim to none.
TRIATHLON – Every second counts
Are you a triathlete? How often do you practice stripping out of your wetsuit and practice executing flawless transitions? In a sport where lowering your time by a second here or there could mean the difference between 1st and 2nd, why wouldn’t you drill these areas until they are second nature – especially since transitions are the one aspect of the sport where a lot of time can be lost or gained without having anything to do with one’s fitness level.
CYCLING – Risk Management
Unfortunately, crashing is almost an inevitable part of cycling, regardless of whether you’re a cyclist or a triathlete. The most common injury is a broken collarbone – typically the result of landing with one’s arm outstretched. By practicing tumbling in a controlled environment, you can train your mind/body to fall correctly, with the purpose of minimizing the damage when you fall.
Of course, it is better not to fall at all. This is where the following drills help to avoid crashing in the first place:
- Touching wheels: Learn how to react when your front wheel touches the rear wheel in front of you
- Rear wheel slides: Learn how to react when your rear wheel begins to slide out from underneath you (see image above)
- Bunny hop: Learn how to jump your bike to avoid a hazard in the road
- Physical contact: Learn what it feels like and how to properly react when another rider bumps into you from the side
- Cornering drills: Learn where to enter/exit a turn, what body position you should be in and how far you can lean your bike.
- Bad road surface: Ride a mountain bike to learn how to handle a bike on unstable surfaces
Whether it be working on your swim stroke, running gait or spinning/out of the saddle form on the bike – maximizing your efficiency is critical not only to a good race time, but reducing your chance for injury.
While intensity and endurance-based training sessions are important for an endurance athlete, don’t forget to focus on your skills and the technical side of training. It can mean the difference between winning and losing and staying upright or nursing a bad case of road rash!
So, be like a boxer and keep skill development at the forefront of your training program!