October 1, 2016

Weightlifting, 2-Man Coverage, and EMS

A couple of years ago, I took up weightlifting. I am lucky to work out in a gym that provides trainers and coaches who work to improve my form. They also watch out for my safety. I wouldn’t have thought it, but picking a weight up from the ground and lifting it over your head is complicated as hell. Details matter. How far apart are my feet? Are my feet parallel or toed out? Ankle position. Knee and hip relationship. Hamstring tension. What is the position of my femur relative to my pelvis in three dimensions? It goes on and on. Even my thumb position relative to the rest of my hand matters.

It isn’t a matter of “…try not to curve your lower back.” Picking up something heavy from the ground is something cavemen did, but it is extremely complicated to do well.
Not me...
By Sasan-sj [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Recently I ran across an article that explained one of many football defensive coverage schemes: 2-man coverage. Check it out – the detail is incredible. And this is a basic look at what football players deal with dozens of times per game. This barely gets into the physical aspect of football defense – a cornerback’s hip position, whether a linebacker’s break uses his left or right foot. This just explains some of the intellectual concepts that go into the coverage scheme. An example quote (because I don’t really expect you to read the article):
As you can see, both safeties will gain depth at the snap to play from a deep-half alignment. This allows the free and strong safety to drive downhill (top-down) versus the deep dig (square-in), 7 route (corner), post, etc. while also having the ability to get over the top of the 9 (fade) route or overlap the inside seam.

Huh? Can you go over that again, slowly? I knew football was more complicated than John Madden let on during a game (“The best way to gain more yards is advance the ball down the field from the line of scrimmage”), but aren’t football players supposed to be dumb? A person with the ability to understand play concepts like that isn’t dumb.

How about fly fishing? Want to hear about the details of thumb and wrist position during a backhand cast versus a roll cast? How about different flies, or how barometric pressure affects fish, or which caddis fly is hatching, or different ways to read a stream? There are anglers who work on the details of elbow position for months, to make their cast slightly better.

It is easy to spend time focusing on the details of hobbies we choose to do. When you love something it is fun to work on improvement. All it takes is finding a coach or mentor with knowledge, the willingness to share that knowledge, and hours upon hours of hard work.

Do you spend as much time or burn as many synapses improving the tiny important details of your EMS game? Or did your knowledge base peak on the day you got out of class? How aggressively are you challenging yourself to improve?

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