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  • Shawn Myszka 4:27 am on November 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    2017 Play of the Week – Week 12 

    Game: Packers at Steelers AND Buccaneers at Falcons

    Play: Déjà vu!

    AB84 pic 1

    Julio pic 4.jpg

    What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?

    We have been featuring the top play, from a movement standpoint, every week of each NFL season since the beginning of 2013. Each week I scan the games that occurred, leaving no stone unturned (I have my lack of social life to prove it); to ensure that I give credit where credit is due and feature the player who I strongly feel was deserving of the nod.

    Through all of those players, over the span of nearly five full NFL seasons we have never had what we are about to in week 12 of this 2017 season: a player being awarded our top movement play of the week on consecutive weeks. Coincidentally enough, it wasn’t just one player! If you will recall, in week 11, we featured both Antonio Brown and Julio Jones as our top dogs. Well, welcome to Groundhog’s Day because the same is the case here this week. It may seem as though I am taking the easy way out here, but I can assure you that you won’t find better movement performances across the league than that which is displayed on these two plays by these two extraordinary players.

    What happened movement-wise on the play?

    As ironic as it is by itself to have the top performers be the same ones on back to back weeks…it’s even crazier how the plays were carried out in comparison to last week’s and the movement qualities which underpinned the processes which led to their success. Well, like clockwork, en route to days leading to 10 catches for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns (Brown) and 12 catches for 253 and 2 touchdowns (Jones), the top two wide receivers in the game brought us a déjà vu moment in every regard when they once again shined bright through the use of what I referred to as the sixth sense of movement…kinesthetic sense & awareness. Last week, we also discussed what I feel what we can do, as football movement specialists and performance coaches, to develop this quality in our players.

    AB84 pic 2

    APTOPIX Buccaneers Falcons Football

    As you will see when you watch the plays, these Houdini-like movement solutions, with the sixth sense as their drivers, bring together perception and action, information and movement, like no other play you are likely to see in an annual NFL year. Both of these individuals, Brown with his cool, calm, and collected snag and toe-drag, and Jones with his opposite shoulder, fluid contortion with his body, hands, and feet, show us what it’s like to be still amidst chaos and make even the most challenging and novel of movement problems no match for skill and mastery. Of course, I could ramble on and on as I so often do when discussing exceptional, adaptive movement behavior but instead I am going to shut up (don’t get used to it) and let these two guys, who are playing at otherworldly levels right now, do the talking for me.

    Here is our former Mover of the Year (2015) working his typical magic:

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-cant-miss-plays%2F0ap3000000883788%2FCan-t-Miss-Play-Antonio-Brown-makes-toe-tap-catch-of-the-year

    Finally, here is Brown’s equal, Julio, showing that he won’t be outdone:

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-game-highlights%2F0ap3000000882738%2FJulio-Jones-shows-body-control-to-make-20-yard-catch

     

     


     
  • glennpendlay 10:25 pm on November 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Go for it. 

    Glenn.jpg

    You should never make 100% of your lifts in any session.    If you do it tells you one thing, you are training too LIGHT!!!  Many people talk endlessly about the evils of too many missed, and there is no doubt lots and lots of misses are a bad thing.  But making all of your lifts is probably even worse.  That means that you haven’t even had the guts put the weight on the bar.

    Putting 100 kg on the bar is the absolutely necessary first step in snatching 100 kg.  Have the courage to load the weight.  Of weights that you do load on the bar, my belief is that you should make about 85% of those lifts.  I have put this number between 70% and 95% at various different times, when I was in various different moods.  But 85% is a good middle ground.  If you usually make too many more than this, you may be training too light.  If you make too many less than this you may be training too heavy and not developing good motor patterns as quickly as you could be. This applies mostly to singles and doubles, but when using an RM of 3 or 5 reps, when do you call it quits?  I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule.  BUT, if you are doing a 5RM and rep number 5 is picture perfect and your name is not Caleb Ward, you are training too light.  Form breaks down with heavy weight.  And for a normal humans it is impossible to be moving picture perfect on the last rep of a 5RM.  Period.  On the other hand, if rep number 1 is dangerously bad, take weight off the bar.  Most 5RM’s will break down between rep 2 and 4 to some extent.

    But every weightlifter should remember that the whole point of weightlifting is to lift the most weight.  So if you are going to err, err on the side of GOING FOR IT!  Don’t fail for lack of trying.


     
  • glennpendlay 6:49 pm on November 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Weightlifting Diet addendum III 

    Glenn.jpg

    My last blog on the weightlifting diet focused on eating the right carbs.  In a nutshell, ditch the bread, pasta, rice, and white potatoes in favor of more nutrient dense and high fiber foods.  Sweet potatoes, squash, zucchinis, carrots and other vegetables like these are much healthier because they contain way more nutrients, are more filling because they contain more fiber.  They also don’t lead to overeating like the “lazy” carbs do.   It is hard to get fat on zucchinis and carrots. It is easy to get fat on bread and pasta.

    The weightlifting diet also needs to contain protein.  Just like the carbohydrate choices, your protein choices should be  nutrient dense.  Eggs are a great protein source.   Better if you eat the whole egg including the yoke, even better if  it comes from a free range chicken and not one that lives in a cage and eats only chicken feed.   Chickens that get plenty of exercise and eat a natural diet have a higher percentage of a omega 3 fat versus omega 6 and this helps a hard-traning lifter fight inflammation.

    Other nutrient dense protein sources are organ meat and wild game.   Organ meats like liver have some of the densest nutrition of any food and I recommend eating liver  at least every couple of weeks. We had liver once a week the whole time I was growing up, it’s not my favorite but it certainly didn’t kill me to eat it.   Any wild game is usually more nutritious than what you buy at the supermarket.  It is almost always lower fat and the fat it does have will contain a healthier ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats.  Venison, pheasant, quail, and rabbit are all healthy and tasty.

    The protein sources that are probably the least healthy are the ones most of us like the best, higher fat cuts of beef and convenient sliced lunch meats.   A good corn fed ribeye steak is probably the tastiest piece of meat you can eat. It is also one of the least healthy. Not only does it have more fat than it should, the ratio of a omega three to omega six is not the greatest.  It’s probably better for you than highly processed meats like most sandwich meats, but is being healthier than salami and pepperoni really enough to recommend it?

    Protein is important for the hard training lifter, and should include a variety of protein sources. But cutting down on the lunch meats like pepperoni and salami and eating more wild game and organ meats instead will make you a healthier person and a better weightlifter.

     


     
  • glennpendlay 1:48 am on November 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Weightlifting Diet Addendum 2 

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    For most civilians, adopting a good diet usually involves losing weight.  Since you are a competitive weightlifter losing weight is usually not a problem, nor should it be your chief concern.   Being in optimal health should be your chief concern.  After all, the healthier you are better  you will recover from training.

    If you are training 3-5 times a week (and you should be) you will have an above average activity level and above average muscle mass.  Both of these things mean the accumulation of excess body fat should not be a problem.  If you do need to push your bodyweight up or down you can do so by controlling what I call the “lazy foods”.  Bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes.  If you need to push your weight up like David Hamor, chow down on some pasta, bread, and the like.  In his case, chow down on a LOT of it.  If you need to drop a kilo or two or if you are dropping a whole weight class like Sal Badali, be extra strict with consumption of foods like bread that aren’t nutrient dense, and that are easy to overeat.

    You will find that if you get most or all of your carbohydrates from foods that are also high in fiber and bulk, it will be very difficult to put on body fat.  In the same way that we have devolved into eating   carbohydrate sources  that are less than ideal the protein sources often aren’t ideal either.   We will talk more about healthy protein in addendum 3.

     

     


     
  • glennpendlay 8:00 pm on November 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Weightlifting Diet Addendum 1 

    5961860-orig_orig

    One of the benefits that you will notice immediately when you cut candy and junk food from your diet is a change in your taste buds.  If you constantly eat candy and crappy food, you will have a drastically decreased ability to taste normal food.  You will NEED crap like tons of salt and sweetener for food to taste good.  This is not normal, and it is not healthy.  After about 10-14 days of no concentrated sweets, and no super salty processed foods like pizza, and your taste buds will revert to their natural ability to taste.  You will find that many foods that you used to eat now taste way too salty.  And foods that you never realized were sweet, start to taste sweet.  Like milk.  If you have not had concentrated sweets for a while regular non- sweetened milk will taste sweet to you as will many things.  And I am not just talking about fruit, but you have to stop eating candy and junk food for a while before you can taste it.

     


     
  • glennpendlay 11:23 pm on November 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Weightlifting Diet 

    There is no doubt that the diet of an average American stinks.  But as a weightlifter, you shouldn’t be eating like the average American.  How should you eat?  Well, many books have been written about that, but I think I can boil it down to a couple of key rules.

    Rule 1:  Do not eat candy or sweets.  This takes zero smarts to figure out.  This includes candy bars, Pop tarts, most breakfast cereals, potato chips, cokes, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and other crap like that.  Including anything that has high fructose corn syrup.  When you start reading labels you will be amazed at how many things are made using this crap.  It is literally everywhere.

    Rule 2:  Little as you can of high carb items such as bread, potatoes, corn and rice.  These are filling, but low nutrition foods.  They are also easy and convenient.  Actually too easy convenient, which is why I call them lazy foods.  For many people, if they took junk food and lazy food out of their diets, they would starve.  These are the foods that are making America fat and unhealthy.

    Rule 3:  Eat more vegetables of all kinds, except the really high carb ones like potatoes and corn.

    Rule 4:  Eat a variety of protein items like meat, nuts, and eggs. 

    Now, if you are anything like me, when you first start eating like this you will struggle a little bit because out whole society is based around eating a certain way, with bread being a major part of most meals.  At first it will be a struggle to replace all the bread you used to eat with other items.  It might be hard to maintain your weight at first.  You will find that you have to eat A LOT of vegetables to get enough calories to replace the bread that you used to eat.


     
  • Shawn Myszka 2:41 am on November 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    2017 Play of the Week – Week 8 

    Game: 49ers at Eagles AND Texans at Seahawks

    Play: A Pair of Pick Sixes

    NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles

    Earl pic 1

    What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?

    Here we are…already halfway through another NFL season! Week 8 has come and gone and with it we were brought another laundry list of plays that could’ve worn our top nod hat. From rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster for the Steelers getting out and turning on the open field jets versus the Lions to my man Melvin Gordon showing patience and precise timing to perform a proficient cut which sprung him to show off his movement toolbox en route to a 87 yard touchdown run versus the Super Bowl champs. The more plays I broke down though, the more that two particular plays stuck out to me for their supreme playmaking displays…ironically, both of these plays just so happened to come by defensive players returning interceptions for touchdowns; 1). Jalen Mills of the Philadelphia Eagles and 2). Our 2014 Mover of the Year, Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks (https://footballbeyondthestats.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/2014-bts-mover-of-the-year-earl-thomas/)

    It seems as though at least once each year there comes a time when a defensive player gets a ball in his hands and behaves so much like an offensive player that he gets my recognition as the movement performance of the week. Additionally, it also seems as though at least once per season I get so conflicted on a given week between two or more plays that I have to praise both players. Well, with this week’s breakdown, it looks as though we will be checking off each of those boxes for the year on the same week! So, without further adieu, let’s go give credit where credit is due.

    What happened movement-wise on the play?

    Arguably, no type of play can single-handily change a course of a game more dynamically than a pick-six. There’s just something special about a defensive player flipping script on their offensive counterparts and taking one the opposite way to the house.

    Honestly, I believe that this doesn’t happen as much as it could for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s normal verbiage to hear a coach say something along the lines of, “that’s why you play DB and not WR” when a defending player drops a ball on a play. To piggyback on this, I find that defensive players too often possess “too defensive” of intentions so there are times that they almost don’t give themselves permission (whether this is conscious or more subconscious) to go attack a ball in the air heading towards a receiver. Additionally, when catching of the football is actually practiced for DBs, it’s often done in too static of conditions to ever really allow the individual to truly get comfortable catching the football when it happens in more organic, game-like conditions. Finally, I also don’t believe the act of turnover-caused possession change is practiced enough in various contexts so when players do get these opportunities, they don’t really possess the refined capabilities towards shining within them. All of this equates to a player not truly acquiring the all-encompassing, problem-solving skill of intercepting a ball in space and then doing what’s necessary to evade offensive players to gain a hearty return and potentially score like our two special performers today did.

    Note: Because we are featuring two plays today, it won’t be the same step-by-step, moment-by-moment breakdown as usual. Instead, we will highlight some of the nuances of what popped out to me that made them possible.

    Jalen Mills

    It seems as though the Philadelphia Eagles are representing well on this year’s plays of the week. It should come as no surprise that with this proficient movement they are also gathering up victories in the process. This time, it is cornerback Jalen Mills that is carrying on this 2017 Eagle movement tradition. The explosive second year man out of LSU appears to now be finding a feel for the game at this level including enhanced visual perceptual skills that lead into sharper actions; all on this display on today’s play.

    1. Trust; to pick off the ball at the 38 yard line, Mills has to fully trust not only his abilities to attack the ball and accelerate to/through it to get to it before the ball reaches the 49ers intended receiver, but he must also trust what his perceptual system (namely his visual system) tells him about where the ball is going and when it’s going to get there.
    2. Kinesthetic sense/awareness; once Mills has the ball, he must know where he is in time and space in order to make the most out of his opportunity. Through proper skill acquisition, expert movers will take in sensory information from all sources in order to give them the most telling picture to guide their subsequent movement behaviors. From around the 28 yard line till the time 15 yard line, we see Mills not only moving controllably in space but also scanning accordingly to understand how the problem is dynamically changing in front of him.Mills pic 3
    3. True agility; After Mills comes to a screeching, proficient stop at the 12 yard line, he hits a jab to crossover cut followed by changing his path to head east & west to run back to the middle of the field (at one point even losing ground back to the 14 yard line). From this initial cut at the sideline (the one previously mentioned at the 12) till he reaches the end zone, we see Mills on several occasions just looking to make something happen and doing whatever was necessary to make people miss in space.

    You can see Mills and his interception here:

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-cant-miss-plays%2F0ap3000000868652%2FCan-t-Miss-Play-Mills-snags-INT-navigates-way-to-37-yard-pick-six

    Earl Thomas

    If you’ve followed my blog for any period of time, you will know that one of my very favorite players to watch in today’s NFL (or ever) is Seattle Seahawk safety, Earl Thomas. Though Earl was surpassed last year for the top spot on my All-Movement Team by the Giants’ Landon Collins, Thomas remains without equal for many of the things that he is capable of when manning centerfield for the perennial knockout (and supremely moving) Seahawk defense. In today’s featured play, we get to see some of these rare skills on full display.

    1. Deception; usually, the word deception is only used to describe offensive players in elusive agility situations where they get a defender to over-anticipate, bite on one move, and be fooled into another. However, masterful defenders, especially defensive backs, seem to be equally adept at deceiving quarterbacks (especially young quarterbacks) and getting them to throw the football where they will later regret. It would appear that this is a perfect exhibit of it as Earl fools rookie Texan QB Deshaun Watson into throwing the exact ball that Thomas desired to head the other way with.
      1. Offensive-like elusiveness; once he has the ball in his hands, Thomas possesses not only the physical qualities (namely quickness and speed) but also the problem-solving agility skills of some of the game’s most elusive offensive playmakers. Take a peek at what he does to Watson (poor rookie!) between the 35 and 40 yard line. Often times when defensive players have the ball, they often are out there just improvising and compensating. But Earl literally sets Watson up with a two-way go that once Watson gives his tell that he believes Thomas it headed to the sideline, Earl executes a high-speed crossover cut and brings it back to the inside of the Texans QB.Earl pic 3
    2. Burst to speed; as soon as he has the rookie QB on skates, we see what world class acceleration and linear speed for a safety looks like as Thomas doesn’t risk getting sniped by a Texan player and wastes no time getting up to speed to ensure that no one stands a chance at bringing him down. When we watch the more bird’s eye view of the play unfolding, we can first begin to appreciate how much faster Earl Thomas is compared to everyone else. Coupled with the instinct and swagger, this type of speed is almost unfair.

    Click below to watch Earl doing his thing here:

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-cant-miss-plays%2F0ap3000000868910%2FCan-t-Miss-Play-Earl-Thomas-takes-off-for-pick-six

     


     
  • Shawn Myszka 10:57 pm on October 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: uncategorized   

    2017 Play of the Week – Week 6 

    Game: Buccaneers at Cardinals

    Play: ALL-DAY Long in Arizona

    AD28 pic 7

    What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?

    A week ago, in week 6 of the season, the Arizona Cardinals made what could end up being a blockbuster trade to alter their season and change the landscape of the NFC (and NFL) in the process when they traded a 6th round pick for the individual who is undoubtedly the best RB in the last decade, in Adrian Peterson (from here on out listed as AD; All-Day).

    Honestly, when AD was traded a week ago to the Cardinals I was ecstatic for him for a number of reasons mainly oriented around the fact that I strongly feel as though he is still the RB who led the league in rushing in 2015 (and I also strongly believe he can be that guy given the situation present in AZ). People will scoff at that statement but those people don’t get what makes AD tick especially from a movement skill-set standpoint. People say RBs can’t play after 30 (note: he’s 32 now) and point to his yards/carry average from three games in 2016 (when he missed 13 due to a meniscus injury to his right knee) and five anomaly games in New Orleans where he never really got any semblance of a fair shake at finding his groove and rhythm as a runner (note: AD is the definition of a rhythm runner who needs reps to get his style matched to the demands of that specific game). People will also say he’s lost a step and without that speed there is no way that he can be as effective as he once was. Thing is; he doesn’t need to have the same processes towards execution as he used to (with a reliance on physical characteristics) as long as he finds ways to reach the same outcomes. On Sunday, in his debut for the Arizona Cardinals, you will see just that and the way that he did it is something that actually is near & dear to my heart as you will come to find out.

    What happened movement-wise on the play?

    Before we go further, I will add the disclaimer that as some people are aware, I do personally know and have spent a bit of time working with Adrian in the past. If you feel the need to cry wolf and scream that I am biased, please realize that as any player I’ve ever worked with will tell you, I am WAY more harshly critical on their movement skill execution and performance than anyone else out there could be (I mean, c’mon; I still have yet to put Everson Griffen on the 1st Team of my All-Movement Team so that should be indication enough!). Additionally, to a blog post like this one, it allows me to bring a really unique perspective as 1). I know at least the work that the player and I deliberately partook in to address the respective movement skills that we see being displayed and 2). I have watched, broken down, and analyzed an extensive amount of film on that player; as I may have said before on the blog, there is no player that I have studied more closely over his career than Adrian Peterson (even well before we worked together). Thus, I think this helps me bring unique perspective to this week’s post.

    This play begins just across midfield with the Cardinals up by 11 with 10 minutes to go with a 1st and 20. Adrian is lined up 8 yards deep as the single back. He takes one read transition step with his right leg and gets into three tempo acceleration steps to take the handoff from QB Carson Palmer at the 47 yard line with the RB’s eyes up and scanning early. With an early, gapping running lane to his left, he takes a directional step to his left straddling the 49 yard line. This attempt is quickly thwarted as two Buccaneers defenders come just free enough to deter his path. Honestly, this lane is likely an affordance that would have invited AD into it with his old short-distance acceleration (which was of world class levels for at least the first six or so years of his career).

    Under these particular constraints though, Adrian elects to take two short & choppy re-gathering steps in a staggered fashion which ends up evolving into a lunge deceleration (with right leg forward) to a quick crossover reacceleration step with his left foot to reorient his directional path towards his right where there is a lot of green grass and a rather lackadaisically-standing Brent Grimes who has no idea as to what he’s in for next. He pushes that left foot down sharply back and behind him to pick up the first two steps of this reacceleration in a quick turnover fashion while also assessing the affordance field in front of him (this is a fancy way of saying the contextual problem that lies ahead).

    He actually begins performing this sensory-perceptual assessment from approximately 5 yards away (while he is running laterally from left to right across the formation) while he’s near the 50 yard line and Grimes has his right foot on the 45. This is an aspect of the skill execution that is imperative to the successful organization of it in response to what the opponent gives you as it helps one understand what options are present. Here now, as the next two steps go down he zeroes in on Grimes as the defender closes potentially realizing he’s got a very bad man approaching quick!

    With Grimes now 3 to 3 and ½ yards away (which is an adequate, closer to optimal spacing for where agility actions should occur for most) firmly in AD’s cutting action crosshairs, Adrian can begin some feinting and faking actions performed from eyes, head, and shoulders in an attempt to either deceive or confuse the defending opponent. Well, for most defensive backs in the open field here we will see the eyes’ visual gaze begin to drift distally to this faking action as they do here for Grimes. If this would be a RB who may be more ‘scat-like’ in their style, it’s likely that the DB will stay zeroed in proximally at the hips/bellybutton.

    This sequence from Peterson causes Grimes to not only stop his feet but also bite enough on the fake that dictates a shifting of his weight to his left (towards the sideline) and out of position for the action AD is about to execute next. Once he reads the position and balance that Grimes is in, AD understands his two-way go has worked perfectly and he elects to bring it back inside to his left; Grimes’ right.

    AD28 pic 9

    AD28 pic 8

    This position from Adrian is set-up by a widening-out deceleration action with his last two steps going into the plant. From here, he executes his cutting action then from a really wide, sharp right foot plant away from his body which creates an efficient position to lean into and reaccelerate from. His left foot snaps down up and underneath him which springs him back towards his left (when AD is “off” with his cutting solution, his left foot will reach out in front of him and his foot will land with a vertical shin and maybe even a strong heel strike that he then must pull himself over the top of to get to accelerating again).

    Don’t get it twisted; though Grimes did in fact get juked, he was actually in a relatively decent biomechanical position (though he lacked in perception and decision-making and thus his action response timing was off) to be able to still counteract here in catching up to AD now. Thus, Grimes himself now matches Adrian’s reacceleration (just accelerating with his right foot first) and takes a number of rapid steps before diving at AD’s feet and getting just enough of them to catch him off-balance and only allow the Cardinals RB to pick up a few more yards after he carried out such an appropriately timed cut.

    You know how I mentioned at the onset of this post that this particular movement skill was near and dear to my heart? Well, one of the main overriding objectives in our work together last year was that while AD worked to return from a meniscus injury that required surgery, we deliberately worked to develop coordination (in relation/conjunction with other movement patterns), control (variable stance width, depths, and angles of deceleration/re-acceleration), and organization (executing it/variations of it at the right time and right place versus changing situations) with this style of power cut executed particularly off of his right foot (with the right leg being the surgery side though we always focus on improving both sides symmetrically of course).

    AD28 2016.jpg

    This type of power cut is one that I feel as though in order for AD to be in possession of the most well-rounded movement toolbox for him, one that represents the most diversity (possessing multiple solutions for the similar problem) and dexterity (control of a solution for any problem) is this style of cut. When “on”, I’ve seen him be able to have more directional options in time and space as well as re-acceleration options, as well (such as when he executed it with a spin move to make Earl Thomas look silly in Seattle and with a plyo-step versus Lance Briggs back in 2013). Thus, from my perspective it’s a hallmark cutting solution for AD and becomes a signpost for him to have an adaptable movement skill-set as he heads into the future.

    AP decel preaccel 11-4

    Bears week 2 open field COD w Briggs

    Honestly, we never got to see the full fruition of this work together in that by the time his season was complete we never were able to fully test its use under the ever-changing conditions of his demands. Well, it’s quite obvious that he has been working by himself on the fine-tuning and polishing of this strategy and adjustability of it as a solution while on-field since. Thus, when I saw him execute it with such supreme control and at appropriate timing not only once, but also a couple other times under other contexts (at a different place on the field with different intentions or changing problems) it made me smile from ear to ear.

    AD28 pic 10

    I did have a hint that it was in his toolbox and he was starting to feel comfortable executing it when I saw him play in week 1 in Minnesota versus the Vikings and a version of it showed itself there so I was hoping it was just a matter of time till it emerged again at the right time & space (note: one should never force the execution of a respective movement strategy but instead it should emerge connected to the problem that needs to be solved).

    AD28 pic 4

    The great thing about this all is I hope and pray as well as believe that this is only a beginning glimpse of the special sauce that Adrian still has in store for 2017. If he can remain adaptable in his movement strategies and the control of the execution of the actions being carried out in response to multiple contexts, there are very few problems that he won’t be able to solve. Yes, even at 32 years old and yes, even with diminishing steps lost. Let’s all watch and see!

    Click below to watch AD doing his re-inventive thing here on this week’s play:

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-game-highlights%2F0ap3000000861874%2FAdrian-Peterson-shakes-defender-on-11-yard-run

     


     
  • Shawn Myszka 10:57 pm on October 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: uncategorized   

    2017 Play of the Week – Week 6 

    Game: Buccaneers at Cardinals

    Play: ALL-DAY Long in Arizona

    AD28 pic 7

    What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?

    A week ago, in week 6 of the season, the Arizona Cardinals made what could end up being a blockbuster trade to alter their season and change the landscape of the NFC (and NFL) in the process when they traded a 6th round pick for the individual who is undoubtedly the best RB in the last decade, in Adrian Peterson (from here on out listed as AD; All-Day).

    Honestly, when AD was traded a week ago to the Cardinals I was ecstatic for him for a number of reasons mainly oriented around the fact that I strongly feel as though he is still the RB who led the league in rushing in 2015 (and I also strongly believe he can be that guy given the situation present in AZ). People will scoff at that statement but those people don’t get what makes AD tick especially from a movement skill-set standpoint. People say RBs can’t play after 30 (note: he’s 32 now) and point to his yards/carry average from three games in 2016 (when he missed 13 due to a meniscus injury to his right knee) and five anomaly games in New Orleans where he never really got any semblance of a fair shake at finding his groove and rhythm as a runner (note: AD is the definition of a rhythm runner who needs reps to get his style matched to the demands of that specific game). People will also say he’s lost a step and without that speed there is no way that he can be as effective as he once was. Thing is; he doesn’t need to have the same processes towards execution as he used to (with a reliance on physical characteristics) as long as he finds ways to reach the same outcomes. On Sunday, in his debut for the Arizona Cardinals, you will see just that and the way that he did it is something that actually is near & dear to my heart as you will come to find out.

    What happened movement-wise on the play?

    Before we go further, I will add the disclaimer that as some people are aware, I do personally know and have spent a bit of time working with Adrian in the past. If you feel the need to cry wolf and scream that I am biased, please realize that as any player I’ve ever worked with will tell you, I am WAY more harshly critical on their movement skill execution and performance than anyone else out there could be (I mean, c’mon; I still have yet to put Everson Griffen on the 1st Team of my All-Movement Team so that should be indication enough!). Additionally, to a blog post like this one, it allows me to bring a really unique perspective as 1). I know at least the work that the player and I deliberately partook in to address the respective movement skills that we see being displayed and 2). I have watched, broken down, and analyzed an extensive amount of film on that player; as I may have said before on the blog, there is no player that I have studied more closely over his career than Adrian Peterson (even well before we worked together). Thus, I think this helps me bring unique perspective to this week’s post.

    This play begins just across midfield with the Cardinals up by 11 with 10 minutes to go with a 1st and 20. Adrian is lined up 8 yards deep as the single back. He takes one read transition step with his right leg and gets into three tempo acceleration steps to take the handoff from QB Carson Palmer at the 47 yard line with the RB’s eyes up and scanning early. With an early, gapping running lane to his left, he takes a directional step to his left straddling the 49 yard line. This attempt is quickly thwarted as two Buccaneers defenders come just free enough to deter his path. Honestly, this lane is likely an affordance that would have invited AD into it with his old short-distance acceleration (which was of world class levels for at least the first six or so years of his career).

    Under these particular constraints though, Adrian elects to take two short & choppy re-gathering steps in a staggered fashion which ends up evolving into a lunge deceleration (with right leg forward) to a quick crossover reacceleration step with his left foot to reorient his directional path towards his right where there is a lot of green grass and a rather lackadaisically-standing Brent Grimes who has no idea as to what he’s in for next. He pushes that left foot down sharply back and behind him to pick up the first two steps of this reacceleration in a quick turnover fashion while also assessing the affordance field in front of him (this is a fancy way of saying the contextual problem that lies ahead).

    He actually begins performing this sensory-perceptual assessment from approximately 5 yards away (while he is running laterally from left to right across the formation) while he’s near the 50 yard line and Grimes has his right foot on the 45. This is an aspect of the skill execution that is imperative to the successful organization of it in response to what the opponent gives you as it helps one understand what options are present. Here now, as the next two steps go down he zeroes in on Grimes as the defender closes potentially realizing he’s got a very bad man approaching quick!

    With Grimes now 3 to 3 and ½ yards away (which is an adequate, closer to optimal spacing for where agility actions should occur for most) firmly in AD’s cutting action crosshairs, Adrian can begin some feinting and faking actions performed from eyes, head, and shoulders in an attempt to either deceive or confuse the defending opponent. Well, for most defensive backs in the open field here we will see the eyes’ visual gaze begin to drift distally to this faking action as they do here for Grimes. If this would be a RB who may be more ‘scat-like’ in their style, it’s likely that the DB will stay zeroed in proximally at the hips/bellybutton.

    This sequence from Peterson causes Grimes to not only stop his feet but also bite enough on the fake that dictates a shifting of his weight to his left (towards the sideline) and out of position for the action AD is about to execute next. Once he reads the position and balance that Grimes is in, AD understands his two-way go has worked perfectly and he elects to bring it back inside to his left; Grimes’ right.

    AD28 pic 9

    AD28 pic 8

    This position from Adrian is set-up by a widening-out deceleration action with his last two steps going into the plant. From here, he executes his cutting action then from a really wide, sharp right foot plant away from his body which creates an efficient position to lean into and reaccelerate from. His left foot snaps down up and underneath him which springs him back towards his left (when AD is “off” with his cutting solution, his left foot will reach out in front of him and his foot will land with a vertical shin and maybe even a strong heel strike that he then must pull himself over the top of to get to accelerating again).

    Don’t get it twisted; though Grimes did in fact get juked, he was actually in a relatively decent biomechanical position (though he lacked in perception and decision-making and thus his action response timing was off) to be able to still counteract here in catching up to AD now. Thus, Grimes himself now matches Adrian’s reacceleration (just accelerating with his right foot first) and takes a number of rapid steps before diving at AD’s feet and getting just enough of them to catch him off-balance and only allow the Cardinals RB to pick up a few more yards after he carried out such an appropriately timed cut.

    You know how I mentioned at the onset of this post that this particular movement skill was near and dear to my heart? Well, one of the main overriding objectives in our work together last year was that while AD worked to return from a meniscus injury that required surgery, we deliberately worked to develop coordination (in relation/conjunction with other movement patterns), control (variable stance width, depths, and angles of deceleration/re-acceleration), and organization (executing it/variations of it at the right time and right place versus changing situations) with this style of power cut executed particularly off of his right foot (with the right leg being the surgery side though we always focus on improving both sides symmetrically of course).

    AD28 2016.jpg

    This type of power cut is one that I feel as though in order for AD to be in possession of the most well-rounded movement toolbox for him, one that represents the most diversity (possessing multiple solutions for the similar problem) and dexterity (control of a solution for any problem) is this style of cut. When “on”, I’ve seen him be able to have more directional options in time and space as well as re-acceleration options, as well (such as when he executed it with a spin move to make Earl Thomas look silly in Seattle and with a plyo-step versus Lance Briggs back in 2013). Thus, from my perspective it’s a hallmark cutting solution for AD and becomes a signpost for him to have an adaptable movement skill-set as he heads into the future.

    AP decel preaccel 11-4

    Bears week 2 open field COD w Briggs

    Honestly, we never got to see the full fruition of this work together in that by the time his season was complete we never were able to fully test its use under the ever-changing conditions of his demands. Well, it’s quite obvious that he has been working by himself on the fine-tuning and polishing of this strategy and adjustability of it as a solution while on-field since. Thus, when I saw him execute it with such supreme control and at appropriate timing not only once, but also a couple other times under other contexts (at a different place on the field with different intentions or changing problems) it made me smile from ear to ear.

    AD28 pic 10

    I did have a hint that it was in his toolbox and he was starting to feel comfortable executing it when I saw him play in week 1 in Minnesota versus the Vikings and a version of it showed itself there so I was hoping it was just a matter of time till it emerged again at the right time & space (note: one should never force the execution of a respective movement strategy but instead it should emerge connected to the problem that needs to be solved).

    AD28 pic 4

    The great thing about this all is I hope and pray as well as believe that this is only a beginning glimpse of the special sauce that Adrian still has in store for 2017. If he can remain adaptable in his movement strategies and the control of the execution of the actions being carried out in response to multiple contexts, there are very few problems that he won’t be able to solve. Yes, even at 32 years old and yes, even with diminishing steps lost. Let’s all watch and see!

    Click below to watch AD doing his re-inventive thing here on this week’s play:

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-game-highlights%2F0ap3000000861874%2FAdrian-Peterson-shakes-defender-on-11-yard-run

     


     
  • Shawn Myszka 4:26 pm on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: uncategorized   

    2017 Play of the Week – Week 5 

    Game: Nelson Agholor getting creative & showing authenticity 

    Agholor pic 6

    Play: Cardinals at Eagles

    What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?

    With the plethora of outstanding plays that are coordinated in highly skillful manners across the League each week, it’s somewhat rare for us to see our top movement performance come from the same team in consecutive weeks. However, this week’s top play was just too good to not have this rarity become reality for us today. That is, despite pushes by some incredibly clutch plays by 2016 All-Movement Team Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, as well as fellow All-Movement Team returner, Tyreek Hill. But the movers of the Philadelphia Eagles are flying high right now and showing a proficient style of movement across their skill players.

    Picking up where Eagle RB LeGarrette Blount left off last week when he went Beastmode, Philly WR Nelson Agholor went and executed not only one of the most creative plays we are likely to see all season, but maybe the most swagger-filled ones as well. On the play, it’s as if the former first round draft pick out of USC, Agholor, seemed to let off a whole lot of steam from the past three seasons which have been filled with a fair amount of ups & downs. However, in just this one play alone it’s also as if he showed the realization of game-breaking, playmaking potential that the Eagles saw in him when they made him such a high draft pick years ago.

    What happened movement-wise on the play?

    On this play, though up big at 24-7, the Eagles find themselves with a 3rd and 19. Quarterback Carson Wentz (who I should note has started to really display some rather proficient movement behavior both inside and outside of the pocket thus far this season), is lined up in the shotgun with trips to his right. His inside slot receiver on the play happens to be the feature of our highlight today, Nelson Agholor, who initially has Cardinal safety, Tyrann Mathieu lined up over him (but if you ever watch any Cardinals games you know there is a high likelihood that he’s going to rush the quarterback here with hopes that he will be able to make a big play happen).

    Because Mathieu did in fact blitz, Agholor has a clean and free release off the line of scrimmage; which is something that you may not want to give a guy that runs 4.4’s even on this type of 3rd and long. Agholor uses this release to get a whole lot of steam built up; so much so that if we are watching the sideline view only, by the time he comes back into the picture he’s already at the Arizona 40 yard line (this play began at the Eagle’s 28 yard line!) and is well-separated from Cardinal safety Budda Baker (who last year at Washington I felt was among the most complete movers in the entire class). Things on this play were only about to get worse for Baker.

    Wentz hangs up a perfect ball for Agholor to run under and snag which is does with his outstretched arms at the 30 yard line (note the distance of this Wentz throw!). With the nature of the instability that often occurs on these types of plays when players have to reach out and away to catch a ball this far outside of their body, it often ends with a player falling or rolling to the ground in order to adequately bring it in (especially with the high amount of velocity and momentum he has built up here). However, Agholor shows some impressive athleticism here as he reels it right in and gets immediately back into his stride without so much of a hitch in his gait to show for it.

    Agholor pic 4

    The Eagle WR takes a few steps before feeling the presence of Baker who is in hot pursuit and is looking to better the play after having been handily beat on everything that happened prior to this. Unfortunately for Baker, he is about to get a welcome to the NFL type of moment here which honestly every player gets at some point. Agholor turns and readies himself for a stiff-arm on Baker. We can actually see Baker’s eyes go up to Agholor’s shoulders, arm, and head as soon as the stiff-arm hand is flashed. This is enough distraction to allow Agholor to begin decelerating over a number of steps beginning at the 22 yard line as he prepares to attempt to finish this play in the end zone. Baker’s movement actions match Agholor’s here as he does the same in this movement dance that we see unfold.

    NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles

    At the 20 yard line Agholor shoots the hand; once it makes contact with Baker he can feel that Baker has too much momentum built up and he is likely to get off balance rather easily here (most of this is due to being the defender and being in a completely reactionary state at this moment where as Agholor exists as the dictator of the movement that will emerge). When Agholor pushes him by, he uses this is the set-up to decelerate more fully between the 17 and 16 yard line and flows into his change of direction sequence which exists in the form of a spin to his left followed by a hard jab step to plant off of his right (which Baker over-reacts to as he thinks Agholor is going to re-accelerate hard back to the middle of the field) which Agholor then brings back to his left when he realizes that Baker has crossed over and is now in a VERY suboptimal position. Major advantage now to Agholor.

    Agholor pic 2

    Some tremendous movement authenticity here emerges for Agholor in the way that he re-accelerates out of this position he’s in as he’s straddling the 15 yard line. That right foot jab step gets picked up hard while keeping the left foot down. His right becomes the foot he accelerates off of and he drives it forward quickly to get his body lean and mechanics back into the optimal position to accelerate the final 15 to pay-dirt.

    All the above is happening while Baker is trying to regain some movement control but it’s all too little too late now for the Cardinals safety. Baker hit two rapid acceleration steps from his angular plant and elects to take a dive at Agholor’s feet, which at this point he already had plenty of separation between him and the Arizona defender. Thus, this last ditch effort to bring him down is diverted by a slight hop over the tackle attempt and Agholor now prepares to celebrate after his dazzling play. He does this staring down his opponent in Baker, who is now up on his feet to see the whole thing go down as Agholor turns his back to the end zone and trust falls into it and up into a final roll of celebration.

    Click below to watch this week’s spectacular play:

    http://www.nfl.com/m/share?p=%2Fvideos%2Fnfl-cant-miss-plays%2F0ap3000000858062%2FCan-t-Miss-Play-Nelson-Agholor-toys-with-defender-trust-falls-into-end-zone

     


     
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