Med Ball Drills for Youth Athletes
Throwing a ball against a wall is something of a past-time. The idea of utilizing med ball drills reeks of nostalgia. Perhaps it is more reminiscent of a simpler time, when playing “Wall Ball” in grade school (or more like 2 years ago) was the cool thing to do. Do any kids even do that now, or is it faux pas to play outside?
In any case, the rationale for including med ball drills within a youth athletes program involves several physiological benefits.
Motor Unit Recruitment
Med ball drills provide a fantastic medium with which the central nervous system can improve the drive to specific muscle groups of the hips, abdominals, along with the upper body.
Simply, ask someone to throw something relatively far away very slowly – it is unlikely to reach the intended target within a respectable amount of time. The athlete will need to throw it FAST with INTENT, which will also recruit fast twitch fibers, which will help with speed of delivery.
Increased Rate of Force Development
The very act of slamming and throwing provides a chance for the uninitiated athlete to experience what it feels like to apply a massive amounts of force within a given direction.
To take a step away from the act of explaining the physical benefits, often times I find that the sheepish or shy youth athlete begin to “come out of their shell” after explaining to them I want them to slam the med ball like it is Loki and you are the Hulk from that one scene from the Avengers.
Increased Reaction Time
Once an athlete has commanded efficient movement quality within the drill, there may be an added benefit if the aim of the exercise drill is to increase speed, reactivity, and reaction time. This may be enhanced by moving closer to the wall in say a Side Standing Med Ball Shotput, and requesting the athlete to “rebound” off of the wall as fast as possible.
These are simply just a few benefits that medicine ball training can provide. For more information on other benefits, follow the link to read (and watch) an article I wrote on STACK.com.
Keep it funky.