I'm a bit of a sucker for (some of the) superhero movies and TV.
I've recently gone into a mini-mourning on learning that the latest series' of Arrow and The Flash have both gone on mid-season breaks. I will write through my tears.
My questionable taste in this genre aside, I'd like you to think for a second about the powers of some of the superheroes that come to mind.
Spiderman can shoot web and is very limber and pretty strong.
The Hulk is super strong and very angry (if that's a power).
The Flash is faster than the speed of sound.
Batman is a billionaire with amazing technology and training in all sorts of combat forms.
Superman is quite the all-rounder.
The powers that these and their fictional counterparts have are beyond our wildest dreams but thinking about them can give us great insight into our own athletic powers.
Of all the attributes or powers an athlete can have, what is the most valuable? Which trumps all of the others?
On the surface of it, this will differ greatly with sport but at a more fundamental level, it won't. You will see what I mean.
Let's look at strength first. The Hulk and Superman are winning out of the list above – probably. Spiderman must be pretty strong to keep his arms in their sockets. The Flash runs at hundreds of miles per hour meaning he will create MASSIVE ground reaction forces. His muscles and bones must be very strong to create and withstand these.
Without strength, there is not much super anything.
Strength is a prerequisite for speed, power and (if it were a superpower) endurance. There is nothing to endure if we don't have the strength and speed to move as we want in the first place
There are prerequisites for strength, speed, power and endurance. They are primary.
They are movement and know-how.
What could The Hulk do with all of his strength with no mobility with which to use it? There is no power at a standstill. The game will pass him by.
Superheroes like Batman, Ironman and Arrow are the ultimate illustrations of know-how creating power and ability. Even beyond them, thinking of somebody like Superman not knowing what he needs to do shows that he would be useless and actually dangerous.
Moving well and knowing how to play your game are elementary to your ability to play your sport.
I concede that depending on your sport all of these qualities will be developed to different levels (rugby players need more strength than distance runners, both need less mobility than gymnasts) but I also believe that given the gym era that we live in, it's easy to overlook being able to cleanly, without compensations perform the bodily movements necessary to excel at your sport and to know what to do, how and when.
Get fundamental. Be super.
Arton “Supergeek” Baleci
Float Sting – Sports Injury Clinic and Performance Centre, Harley Street, London W1
P.S. want to start your new year with an athletic bang? Come join me in Feb to elevate your game.