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Posted by Steven D.

That's your ritual.
By Gray Cook

Most great athletes have a ritual that helps them focus. An infielder may fiddle with a spot on his glove. An elite tennis player may adjust the racket strings after a hard shot even though the strings do not need, adjusting. A football kicker or punter may take a deep breath and shake his head right to left before the snap. A batter might swing a heavy bat. A golfer may do trunk twists while holding a club across her shoulders.

The push-up with a clap and the shoulder-tap push-up are two basic activities that are safe and require little time, space, and equipment. While doing these exercises, consider the fundamental essence of becoming quicker and developing speed, learning to relax in a situation that normally does not encourage relaxation. Body stress and tension only deplete energy and misdirect focus.

Between each set of jumping rope or push-ups, develop a relaxation ritual. It may be as simple as leaning left and right and stretching the back or leaning forward and backward and performing toe touches and backbends. It may mean pacing back and forth with eyes closed and focusing on the movements just performed. It does not matter what the ritual is; it matters what the ritual does. It should redirect focus and help the athlete relax. When developing a ritual to use between bouts of speed, quickness, and power, consider these four words: relax, recover, recall, and repeat.

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