Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I used to have Strength shoes in high school

Here's their site:

I used to play basketball and run track between '89-'93. Since running and jumping are pretty important to both of those sports, I wanted to get some advantage in that area.

A bit of a background on me: In high school, I was known for two major sport-type things ... 1) I had leg muscles like steel springs incased in bricks, and 2) I had a remarkable vertical leap for my height and melatonin, and in fact I could frequently and repetitively go from a standing flat stance underneath a basketball rim, jump straight up & grab said rim two-handed in a 180 position (i.e. behind my back). My major obstacle was that I played two years of elementary school b-ball and was fairly tall for that population, so I was trained as a center; when I went to high school, I was by far not the tallest player on the court, so I was moved out to forward and had a hard time adapting my game. I played fantastic ball, if I were to have been 6'8" to 6'10", but 6' even was not a center born.

Alright, anyway ... Strength shoes. I worked out almost constantly to get my vertical leap more dynamic. Not only did it and would it help in the realm of basketball, but also it would help me develop an explosiveness to my speed for running the sprinting events for track. So from out the back few pages of Sports Illustrated, I ordered these things called Strength shoes. If you've checked the link above, you already know this, but Strength shoes maximize the focus of energy into the calf muscles; this is done by a hilariously obnoxious platform attached to the front half of the shoe. This platform is remarkably well-proportioned to the shoe itself, and just walking around for an hour in Strength shoes is like walking around on your tiptoes for that hour. Your calves get tight, solid, and thick.

I was one to wear ankle weights during the day to bump up my leg strength. Do a quarter jump exercise - jump up for 10 reps and tap the backboard, lather rinse repeat - with ankle weights on, then take those off to play a quick pick-up game, and you'll soar. So my thoughts were, do my regular track/b-ball exercises in the Strength shoes, and my calves will get so strong they'll rip through my skin. Q: What could possibly go wrong? Right?

A: Shin splints; hairline fractures that run through the length of the bone. To the tune of five or six per leg. I had to take about two weeks off from any sports, and there was a point where I was advised by a doctor that I might even consider not walking for those same two weeks, since a hairline fracture could end up - with the right circumstances, of course, said Dr. Scare Tactic that was in charge of my physical therapy at this time - shattering my shins.

So I quit those things with a quickness. Healed up pretty well, and actually shortly thereafter I could play above the rim with some of the best of my peers, up to my senior year in high school when I could overcome earth's gravity with almost minimal effort. Of course, the other part of this equation was my body weight, which hovered around 165-170 lbs for the sake of track. When I went to college, I added and extra 10-15 lbs and never looked back, baby! Which was a shame, because I learned too late in my high school track career that I was an accomplished distance runner, where I would run about a mile minus the last 50 yards or so, then full-out sprint to the finish; this strategy helped me finish the last third of my races no less than third, with times that would have put me at least in regionals ... if I had found this out before the regional time submission deadlines. My coach tried to fudge the time frame, but it didn't work. I could have walked on track for college, but my decision to waste four semesters in a pre-med degree that went nowhere stopped that.

No moral to this story. Mostly just reminiscing about high school at the age of 35, while I sit in the local library looking for jobs that can accommodate my unemployed ass. Shit, and it's almost lunchtime too.

1 comment:

Geno Crusto said...

I have the strength shoes and I wanted to ask this question. If I were to walk around school with them, will it be beneficial to the jumping process?