The Difference Between the ‘Average’ and the ‘Elite’

21 Oct 2020

The Difference Between the ‘Average’ and the ‘Elite’

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
-Michael Jordan

In today’s case study we show how using data, and training smarter, is the difference between the ‘average’ and the ‘elite’ when it comes to athletic performance. At Better Faster Stronger Science, we believe the difference is in the details, and we have the data to prove it.

One of the many metrics we assess at BFSS is the Eccentric Utilization Ratio (EUR). This test shows how much an athlete relies on the stretch-shortening cycle (springs) and eccentric (breaking) contraction of their muscles for power.

Here is an example of what a difference this one metric can mean, when it comes to measuring an athlete’s vertical jump:

Initial Assessment:

Athlete Comparison Collegiate Volleyball Player A Collegiate Volleyball Player B
Maximal Vetical Height 20.4″ 20.4″
CMJ Height 18.9″ 19.4″
Squat Jump Height 11.2″ 18.9″
EUR 1.69 1.03

Instead of looking at the raw data of max vertical jump height and saying that these athletes are the ‘same’ when it comes to force development. We were able to look deeper based on our performance assessment metrics, and see that HOW these athletes develop their power is very different.

Athlete A is more reliant on the ‘spring’ and ability of her muscles and tendons to absorb and recreate elastic energy, but is limited in her ability to concentrically produce force. On the other hand, Athlete B is able to produce a great deal of force concentrically, but does not efficiently use her elasticity during high-speed and maximal force movements.

Therefore, the training for these athletes had to be completely different in order for them to improve their vertical jump height, and ultimately to maximize their athletic potential.

Here is how each athlete performed only 6 months later, following different training recommendations they were provided at their initial assessment:

6 Month Follow-up Assessment:

Athlete A improved her vertical jump by 12% and made drastic improvement upon her squat jump height, showing better concentric force-producing capacity.

Athlete B improved her vertical jump by an incredible 16% and made a 12% increase in her CMJ height, showing significant improvement in her ability to utilize her elastic energy when executing maximal explosiveness. This type of in-depth analysis and training recommendations is only found in our professional and premium packages.