Nine times out of ten I pick up more chatting to delegates at conferences than I do listening to keynote presntations. Recently I was sat next to rehabilitation specialist, Bill Knowles on a bus on the way to a conference and we were chatting about all things S&C.
We were talking about plyometrics and discussing the use of very simple ankle hops and jumps (in place or moving) to improve reactive strength (I know, we're very boring!).
Bill asked me if I knew of a game called 'ding dong dash'. For a second I was perplexed but quickly realised he meant the game that I call 'knock down ginger' and that also goes by a range of names depending on where you grew up (chap door run, cherry knocking, ding dong ditch, ginger knocking, knock-a-door-run, knock and run, known down ginger, knock knock run, nicky nicky nine doors, rat-tat ginger, ring and run).
Bill explained that he uses the example of playing 'ding dong dash' when he is coaching ground contact for plyometric drills. I was intrigued. Bill explained that when you play knock down ginger you knock on that door as hard as possible and as quickly as possible, before you then leg it (unless like me, when you're 9 and playing it with your older brother and his mates, you have a fit of hysterical laughter that roots you to the spot immediatly after knocking on the door and end up getting an almighty bollocking from the old man that lives in the house) anyway, I digress!
When you are coaching ground contact think about how you knock on the door when you play knock down ginger. The ground contact should look, feel and sound like hitting that door bloody hard but as quickly as possible. It's not 'passive', it's 'active. Hit it hard and fast and get off and away again.
No â€œsoft landingsâ€, no - â€œland quietâ€, no - â€œlight but superfast taps", no â€œhard but super slow hitsâ€, no â€œhysterical laughter and no movementâ€ (that's just me then!).
There needs to be a 'density' to the hit, but you're not trying to smash the door in.
It made perfect sense and I couldn't wait to try the coaching cue out on a couple of football players I was working with. Their contacts were pretty good but I thought I would see if this worked. It did (after they had stopped looking at me like a weirdo when I explained the whole knock down ginger thing).
The whole idea of hit and run builds an image and transfer into performance.
I know it's not very scientific, but give it a go.
NOTE: This may not work with athletes under the age of 25, they may have no idea what knock down ginger is and will think you are just some sort of weirdo S&C coach!