It is an understatement to say that Andrew Wiggins is an athletic specimen. What is the cause of his unparalleled athletic ability? (leaping ability, speed, and body control). Obviously genetics play a huge role as his Father (Mitchel Wiggins) is a bona fide NBA veteran and his Mother (Marita Payne-Wiggins) an Olympic track and field sprinter for team Canada. However, genetics can not account for the entirety of his athletic ability as his older brother Nick does NOT display the same jaw dropping athleticism Andrew exhibits on a daily basis.
So then what separates Wiggins from the pack? His ability to run well. You may say wait a second, you are telling me NBA players do not know how to run? If someone had told me that before my I began my NCAA track career I would laugh right in their face. I used to get offended when track teammates would make fun of me during workouts and admonish me that basketball players can not run well. But as I got further along in my track career I really understood that these statements were true because I began to see the beautiful nuances and intricacies of running, which you can only appreciate if is your main goal to run faster.
For the vast majority of basketball players running is NOT something they are concerned about. I know this was the case for me and it is something I dearly regret. For any aspiring athlete, I would absolutely mandate they take part in some form of Track and Field training/competition. It not only will drastically improve your speed and first step (it is night and day for me) but it will also develop a more refined body awareness and teach you how to truly achieve proper hip extension.
Andrew Wiggins is a perfect example of the power of consistent and focused track and field training. The reason he is so night and day above his peers athletically because he is essentially a world class track athlete with basketball skills They are quite a few phenomenal track and field athletes right now in the world, but what separates Wiggins from them is his ability to display and use his athleticism in the context of a basketball game.
But how can you leverage this knowledge right now to start to take your athletic ability and therefore your game to another level? Well the first thing, is that the majority of this work needs to be done in the summer, while NOT competing in other tournaments in a structured and progressive manner to allow your body to adapt appropriately. But there is one thing you can being to do right now to begin to improve your athletic ability. It is walking. I have mentioned this in a previous post, and it may seem counter intuitive, but just like a baby crawls before he/she walks. You need to walk before you run. Walking is much more inefficient then running which allows you to rapidly build up strength and cardiovascular training. In addition, it does so in a very low impact way that also has great benefits for body composition and cognition. I recommend the first thing you do in the morning is go put on your running shoes and go walk for ~ 15 min. Then every day after try to increase the distance you walk. Once you begin to plateau how far you can walk then begin to increase the time you walk.
I unfortunately do not have rigorous double blind randomized clinical trials to substantiate that this will definitively help your athletic ability but in my experience instituting this ritual has had a super positive impact on my athletic ability, body composition and cognition. For those of you who are super keen I will be posting more detailed posts later on about how to build a structured program to improve your speed and therefore athleticism. However, in the mean time if you have any questions please feel to reach out to me on Facebook (Pavan Mehat) or LinkedIn.