Returning the The Seminar docket in 2013 is Dr. Michael Yessis. Doc has been a regular contributor to the site and a presenter in the past. We are really excited to have him back with us and to be able to sit down with him and go over his training program. For the first time, at least first time I know of, Doc is going to sit down and explain his programing, including the how’s what’s and why’s of it, to our audience. I, for one, have found nothing but fantastic results with my athletes of all levels (ranging from freshmen in high school to professional basketball players) utilizing Doc’s methods. I cannot express how excited I am to have Doc back, and hope you are as well. Without further ado, let me reintroduce, Dr. Michael Yessis.
Q: Doc, it’s great to have you back on the docket! Let’s catch up with our readers and attendees and update them with what is the latest and greatest with Dr. Michael Yessis.
A. Jay, I’ve been doing a multitude of things that have kept me quite busy. Foremost has been the revision of my book, Kinesiology of Exercise. This has been a well-accepted book for the past twenty years. The revised edition however, titled Biomechanics and Kinesiology of Exercise is a greatly expanded book especially with the biomechanical considerations of exercise.
I’ve interwoven this information with even more kinesiological aspects of exercise. I have also added new exercises and more information on the training program, especially for the high school and collegiate athlete. Most notable is the 1 x 20 RM routine that has proven to be extremely successful. The book should be available early November.
I’ve also been doing podcasts with Yosef Johnson. These are downloadable and available on my website, DoctorYessis.com. In addition, I’ve turned out a few more DVDs and training articles. Some of this has been made available on YouTube. I’ve also done a few workshops for trainers and of course, continue to work with and consult with athletes and coaches.
Q:That’s great Doc, I’m glad you’re still pushing and putting out great resources for coaches all over the place. In a recent conversation we discussed the difference between being a biomechanics and a sports technique analysis specialist (I believe that was the term, if not feel free to change).
A: Because many people have a tendency to confuse the various roles of people specializing in biomechanics I thought it was important to bring out the differences in specialization. My forte is in the technique analysis of sports skills. This is a highly specialized area in which I have been immersed for over forty years.
My interest in this area probably came from the Russians when I was translating some of their coaching material in 1960s and 70s. They had specialists who analyzed world-class and world record performers. In the initial stages I was unable to really understand their analyses as they consisted mainly of fine tuning the major actions of the athlete as for example, the knee drive of sprinters.
Even though I had a strong background in understanding technique I had a hard time comprehending the information because their level of analysis was not only highly quantitative but qualitative. In the US at that time we accepted that a world-class performer had perfect technique. When I got this concept out of my mind, I then began to understand more fully their comprehensive analyses. As a result, I began to look more carefully and understand more fully what I was seeing when analyzing an athlete’s film.
A typical sports biomechanics person does mainly quantitative analyses. Very few however, are involved in total sports technique analysis, especially quantitative analyses. Thus rather than being put into the typical mold, I prefer to distinguish the differences between sports analysis and sports technique analysis. The latter is much more comprehensive and deals more with why a particular technique t is or isn’t effective. I will discuss this in more detail in my presentation.
Q: Doc you have been preparing athletes for quite a while, could you please discuss how you came upon, what your primary topic will be “The Yessis Method for the Initial Preparation of Athletes”. What should our readers and attendees expect from this presentation?
A: I’ve been using this method of preparing athletes for many years. It is based on information that most coaches have already learned or know (or should know) from experience. Coaches who have used this system say it is based mainly on common sense. In essence, it utilizes the principles of familiarization of the exercise or technique, learning how to execute the exercise or technique, and how to make progress in a gradual, systematic manner.
It is based on how the body adapts to training loads and how certain types of development must be completed before moving onto the next. For example, I address the need to strengthen ligaments and tendons before doing high-intensity exercises. I do this by using low intensity exercises for faster and more effective adaptation of the body to the training loads. Strengthening the entire body, i.e., all the joints and muscles surrounding the joints so that the body can withstand the stresses placed on it during competition and high-intensity work.
I will explain this in greater detail in my presentation with specific examples of the workouts and the progression of exercises and training loads.
Q: With your PhD in Biomechanics and your knowledge of technique there must be a technical aspect to this program though, which is the 2nd half of your presentation, please discuss how critical technique is from the get go when a coach is preparing an athlete for performance.
A: I have found that there are only two factors that determine the success of an athlete. They are: how well the skills involved in the sport are executed and how well developed are the physical qualities as they relate specifically to the athlete’s technique. In other words, the athlete must be able to execute the skills involved in his sport on the highest levels. This is the bottom line. If the athlete cannot execute the necessary skills and execute them well, he will never be successful.
For example, if a quarterback cannot throw the ball well he can never be successful. If the football running back cannot execute effective cuts he will never be successful. If a pitcher cannot throw with ample speed he will rarely be successful.
This is why the bulk of the exercises that we do for most athletes consist mainly of specialized exercises that couple technique with strength or explosive power. These are the two components that make for a successful athlete.
Thus my emphasis on skill technique. By improving the athlete’s ability to execute the necessary skills, he will automatically become a better performer. Improvement of the physical qualities such as strength, speed and explosive power must be related to the athlete’s technique. In other words, the exercise execution must transfer to the field. Technique must be coupled with development of the physical ability. If not, the exercises may make a more fit athlete, but not a better athlete.
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