I must admit, I really did enjoy watching this video about Ronaldo’s speed and physical ability even though it has some flaws. I loved the side by side comparison of the 25 meter dash and then the agility test with the Spanish sprinter Angel David Rodriquez. Ronaldo had a slower straight line speed but a much faster change of direction test score. That is to be expected. Ronaldo then had a 17 inch standing vertical jump (no arms which makes it much harder) and then a 30 inch one step vertical jump. Here is the video then my brief analysis of the 3 tests and I mention the body analysis.
Angel is a world class sprinter. Angel is obviously blessed for sprinting and he is probably much stronger and does more lifting than Ronaldo. With the emphasis on pure speed and the focus of weights in his training, he produces more power per unit of his own body weight. This is true despite what looks may tell you. Angel has much better technique and understands how to use the starting blocks. As a soccer athlete, Ronaldo never uses blocks. Angel has his head down, great leg extension at the start, great arm action compared to Ronaldo, and good leg turnover (watch how his legs cycle at the end with great knee lift) . Ronaldo is simply a strong powerful guy with average running form (head up, arm swing across body, average knee drive). I think he can get a lot faster if he learned a little sprint form but he is still pretty damn fast.
2. Change of direction: Ronaldo (6.35) beats Angel (6.86). .51 tenths of a second is a lot, but the change of direction gives more room for time discrepancies. Reasons:
First of all Ronaldo has soccer cleats on and Angel does not!!!! Hello!!! That makes a huge difference on that surface. That alone is enough to not look into the times too much. What the sports scientists say about technique is true, Ronaldo does get lower and all that good stuff about planting off of the outside leg. Ronaldo also has much more leg strength for stopping in the way the test demands compared to Angel who is designed to run straight ahead. Soccer is all about stopping and starting, the 100 meter dash is not.
3. Body exam of fat and circumference: Only Ronaldo studied in this one. Low bodyfat, big thighs, average calfs. They draw the conclusion that he is gifted in many ways for soccer. Sure he is. My analysis:
First of all too much emphasis on thigh size and not on glutes. Glutes or hips are prime drivers of speed and power. Low body fat is essential for optimal human movement as I have discussed many times. His big muscular thighs which when comprised of fast twitch muscle and not body fat are producers of power. Reason being a bigger muscle has more potential for strength and therefore power. Average calfs are not a huge concern as calves come in all shapes and sizes. Generally, good caucasion athletes typically have bigger calves, but not always. The function of the calves is to be like a stiff spring that allows the legs and hips to transfer power through the ground. If you have questions on that email me.
4. Jump tests: Again only Ronaldo tested. He jumped 17 inches with hands on his hips, and 30 inches with a step. Analysis:
First of all 17 inches with no arm swing is not great, but not terrible. As mentioned in the episode, soccer players do not jump from a stand still very often like that. In addition, arm swing can contribute a lot of power to the vertical jump so don’t get too caught up with the 17 inches. (J Sports Sci. 1999 Jun;17(6):449-66.Upper extremity augmentation of lower extremity kinetics during countermovement vertical jumps.Feltner ME, Fraschetti DJ, Crisp RJ) There are even more studies like that. The second jump Ronaldo gets much higher and jumps 30 inches. He also gets to use his arms so it doesn’t give a true difference in his reactive strength abilities which is what the real investigation should be. Adding in arm swing and a reactive component is sure to improve the jump a lot. Is 30 inches amazing? No. But, its not bad for a guy as fit as him since being ultra-fit will decrease displays of absolute speed and jumping ability. Although his jumping is a factor, he also wins headers because he is tall and he times and positions himself well. If his legs got stronger he would get higher, no doubt.
Overall I think Ronaldo is a hell of a player and a superb athlete. I don’t think his anyone has maximized his athletic gifts because based on his tests, there is plenty of room for him to get faster and more powerful with a little more emphasis on strength training. Considering he is already such a blessed athlete, perhaps at Real Madrid and his other clubs coaches were more concerned with keeping him healthy and developing him as a player than developing even greater athleticism. I guess I can’t blame them. Carl Valle says: “Was this the first time he was clocked speed wise? Every time I do agility and speed tests for soccer players they are excited to get their times like I am Santa Claus. My belief is that the obsession of keeping guys from getting injured is the reason why they are hurt, slow, and eventually out of shape from doing constant rehab assignments. If people are just blazing in everything to the point the genetic ceiling is met, perhaps a program that touches on everything will be sufficient, but most of the time athletes can improve past the age of 20 by just having a well rounded program. “ I would have to agree. Testing speed, jumping, etc. should be part of any smart program. Coaches and athletes should know if they are getting better. It is not just about feeling fast, or looking fast. Be fast- knowledge is power and everyone is better of knowing the reality and making changes then fooling yourself that “training is going well” or whatever other bs you want to believe.
Move with speed, play with grace.