Thursday, July 3, 2008

Improve Your Game Skills This July 4th Holiday

Along with alot of good eating, I have a habit of watching many professional games (live, re-runs and "instant classics") on July 4th weekend. One of the things that I like to do is watch the skills and fundamentals of the players. Afterall, they are pros for a reason. Some of them have better skills and fundamentals than others. And, some of them are good enough to "cheat on the fundamentals" and still succeed.

So, here are a few of my favorite players to watch when I want to learn how "to play the game the right way:"

Quarterback Play: Joe Montana, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. They all have great decision-making, footwork, timing and accuracy. Field Generals.

Baseball Hitting Mechanics: George Brett, Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn, Ichiro and Lance Berkman. They all keep the hitting mechanics simple by not trying to do too much. Ichiro has his own style but it works for him.

Basketball Jump Shooting Mechanics: Jerry West ("The Logo"), Rick Barry, Ray Allen, "Rip" Hamilton and Michael Redd. Just watch the footwork, setup, catch and shoot. In the cases of "Rip" Hamilton and Rick Barry, watch how they run to get open and how quickly they get the shots off.

Football Defensive Back Cover Skills: Lester Hayes, Deion Sanders and Champ Bailey. They all have the speed, agility, make-up speed, closing speed and swivel hips. They also study the receivers very well.

Football Defensive Back Tacklers: Ronnie Lott, John Lynch and Bob Sanders. These are tough guys who have great tackling mechanics.

Crazy Basketball Skills: MJ and Kobe. Just watch 'em play and learn.

Crazy Baseball Skills: Ken Griffey and Alex Rodriguez. Both are the representation of "5 Tool Players."

Best Infielder I've Seen In My Opinion: Ozzie Smith. He is called "The Wizard."

The Best Football Player In My Opinion: Lawrence Taylor. He literally "took over" games as a defensive player (linebacker) which is incredible! He is the only "LT."

Winners: Derek Jeter and Jason Varitek. There are captains of the Yankees and Red Sox for a reason. They are All-Stars. They play the game hard every day.

Golf: Tiger, of course, for his tenacity, talent and work ethic.

Soccer Skills: Pele and David Beckham. Both have the footwork and can really control the ball.

Baseball Pitcher: Nolan Ryan for power. Greg Maddux for pinpoint control and command of his pitches.

Softball Pitcher: Jenny Finch for power. Cat Osterman for pinpoint control and command of her pitches.

You could come up with your own list. The point is this: learn from the best while you're enjoying the game.

And, if you need a personal trainer to help you improve strength, power and speed, then learn from me!

Happy 4th! Stay safe out there!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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