One of the biggest problems most athletes have is that they don’t understand the relationship between skill acquisition and recovery. You’ll likely
A) Train too hard, too frequently
B) Not train enough
Take a look at a high class athlete in ANY sport you can imagine. Darts, bowling, football, gymnastics, hockey, etc. Think about how much time these individuals devote to their sport. You’re on the right track if you guessed: a lot. Break it down further and take a guess at how often these guys and gals spend physically practicing something that is a component of their sport. I don’t mean actually engaging in a real game, just practicing a skill that may be present or what have you.
Skills are best obtained through frequent practice. It doesn’t have to be an intense effort, or at 100% sport speed. It just has to be practiced. Take any of these sports and tell me what one would benefit from less frequency: darts, bowling, billiards, curling, etc. If you picked any out, you’re a moron.
Now take a look at the following sports: hockey, soccer, football, basketball, etc. Would any benefit from less frequency? You may say to yourself, “there’s no way you can play these sports every day,” and you’re right…to an extent. Yet, this is where our problem lies. People fail to realize that each sport is a collection of specific skills. The actual sport or event may not be able to be performed daily but specific skills sure as hell can.
Basketball? Shooting, dribbling, boxing out…
Hockey? Shooting, passing…
You should get the idea, so I’m not going any further. Besides, I know you don’t care about these sports anyway.
This concept can easily be related to tricking for a multitude of reasons. First, tricking is a very demanding activity. It involves a lot of jumping and high impact landings. Going at it hard on a daily basis usually isn’t recommended. Think of a hard tricking session as a competition of one of the above mentioned sports—we need rest and recovery (and as Jujimufu wrote about, recovery in itself is a skill).
BUT, certain aspects of tricking can be practiced on a daily basis depending on your current ability level—and this is where breaking the barrier between skill and sport comes into play.
We’re going to consider someone that has the basics down pat, a clean and beautiful sexy sauce 540, 540 crescent, aerial, backflip, double leg, butterfly twist. These may not be considered basics now a days, but back when I started, they were so that’s how it’s going to be.
Next, we need to evaluate our skill set and the effort it takes to perform each move. Also consider the effort it takes to recover from each trick. Rate your most difficult tricks at a 10. Using the example above, that person would give all of the basic tricks a difficulty level of 10. Next, assign the basic kicks component of the trick a value of a 1. Lastly, subjectively evaluate each prereq a value in between the two. It will look something like this
540 – 10
Tornado Kick – 3
Inside crescent – 1
These numbers represent the intensity level that is necessary to complete each trick. As you progress, they will have to be adjusted. But for tricks you can land on a consistent basis, the highest value will always be a 10. If you’re awesome sauce and can do a jacknife (coolest trick ever), that will now be your 10. Depending on the comfort level of your 540 it will fall under the jacknife but before the tornado kick.
Jacknife – 10
540 – 5
Tornado – 2
Inside crescent – 1
SETTING UP THE SYSTEM
You heard it from me—more frequency is better as long as we can manage the fatigue level. Skill development thrives on frequency. Everything we do in life needs to be treated as a skillful endeavor. Tricking is a skill. Don’t think of it as anything else.
In addition to frequency, skills need to be practiced when fresh. We need to learn how to balance the two for optimal learning. Here are the rules you will follow:
Never train with high intensity on two back to back days. High intensity is classified as a 5 and above on your scale. This means your tricks rated above your half way point should not be trained on back to back days. This will allow for optimal recovery.
Here’s a hypothetical table:
Jacknife, Double Cork, Hyperhook – 10
540, Cork, Hypertwist – 5
Tornado, backflip, Butterfly twist – 2
Basic Kicks (butterfly included) – 1
Monday you throw your 5 and above moves. Tuesday we need to recover, but we can also practice the skills that don’t require such a high intensity level. Anything below 5 is fair game. Wednesday, if you’re feeling good again, go back and throw more 5-10 rated tricks.
How much is too much? Five days a week is your cut off point. At least one day a week should involve complete recovery. However, remember that your training should never include two high intensity days back to back.
Where do to-be-landed never attempted tricks fall on the scale? Rate them above the scale. Value doesn’t matter because all new tricks will require the same concentration and intensity! With this in mind, new tricks should never be attempted more than three times per week. New tricks require a huge boost in mental awareness, coordination, and psychological arousal.
Don’t be fooled though! If you want to learn how to brandy, your roundoff will surely be below the 5 so they can (and should!) be practiced on your low intensity days.
This method is a surefire way to help prevent injuries for three reasons:
1) High intensity training never occurs too frequently. This allows recovery to take place.
2) The low intensity days actually help you recover from the high intensity days!
3) The high frequency with varying intensities allows the body to adapt faster and in a safer manner.
GO GET IT
Give this method a try, I doubt you’ll regret it. This is a method that was a favorite of Charlie Francis (famous speed coach) as well as James Smith (physical preparation coach).
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