Athletic development: the basics

When I was growing there was a TV program about two detectives on the LA Police department. It was called Dragnet, the main character was Sargent Joe Friday, Badge 714, his famous line was “just the facts” when talking to a witness. To paraphrase Sargent Friday in coaching athletes to be better it all comes down to “just the basics.” That being said I have come to the realization that there is often not a good understanding of what the basics are.

What are the basics? What do you have to do to develop the physical qualities appropriate for the sport or activity you are training for? It starts with walking gait. In walking gait the arms and legs move in opposition along with a counter rotation of the hips and shoulders. Throwing, running, jumping, freestyle swimming is all based on gait. Therefore, when we look at what underpins the basics it is walking gait.

The basics are the building blocks of the foundation! Here are the basic qualities that you must develop and components that must be worked on:

  •  Speed
    • Starting
      • Stationary
      • Moving
    • Acceleration
      • To optimum speed to C of D sports
      • To maximum speed in Athletics
    • Maximum Speed
    • Speed Maintenance/Endurance
  • Agility
    • Recognition & Reaction
    • Starting
    • Change of Direction
    • Stopping
  • Strength
    • Relative
    • Maximum
    • Strength Endurance
  • Power (Ballistic/Explosive)
    • Plyometrics
    • Jump
    • Hop
    • Bound
    • Throws
  • Endurance (Energetics – Anaerobic and Aerobic)
    • Short Term (2 minutes or less)
    • Medium Term (2 to 5 minutes)
    • Long Term (5 minutes and longer)
  • Flexibility/Mobility
    • Static
    • Dynamic


  • Warm-up (Active/Dynamic)
    • Appropriate for the activity being trained for.
  • Recovery/Regeneration
    • Sleep
    • Nutrition
    • Hydration
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