Tyreek Hill and Pierre Gasly linked up during the Miami Grand Prix weekend and reminded us pro athletes are freakishly skilled.
It’s Miami Grant Prix weekend, which means Formula One, for a time, becomes American-ized, influencer-ized, and nearly unrecognizable compared to the other Grand Prix on the 2023 circuit (except for, perhaps, Las Vegas, which will take on a similar tone). But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some good to take from the event.
After all, there is still some racing to watch, a relatively new track that has yet to become familiar to each team and driver, and the clash of Formula One drivers and (for Americans, at least) familiar pro sports stars in town for the weekend. Those that aren’t at the Kentucky Derby, that is.
Pierre Gasly and Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill connected during the weekend, which is one heck of a pairing. Gasly put Hill through the typical “tennis ball reaction drill” that we see drivers do to train and warm up their reaction times before getting in cars going several hundred miles an hour.
It involves a partner holding two tennis balls and dropping them at random. The trainee puts their hands on top of the partner’s hands and has to catch the balls before they hit the ground. It requires peripheral vision and lightning-quick reflexes, two important characteristics for any racer.
Getting off the line before your grid-mates when the lights go out at the start comes down to milliseconds. And when you’re going beyond 200 miles per hour, your reaction time means everything to get a few milliseconds shaved off your lap times. Sure, the car is one thing, but the driver matters, too.
Tyreek Hill and Pierre Gasly remind us pro athletes are skilled in different ways
Check out the drill:
Hill gets the job done, but nearly fails, bobbing the balls around a bit. Compared to Gasly, it looks like Hill’s reaction time is terrible.
That’s not necessarily true, though. The reality is that Gasly and Hill use their reflexes and reaction times very differently in their day-to-day.
Gasly’s body gets shoved into the small carriage of his car for hours at a time, and his reaction time is limited to his hands, fingers, and to some degree his arms and shoulders. He has to have elite dexterity and the ability to control parts of the car without looking at them directly.
Hill, on the other hand, needs to use his whole body at once in his athletic career. Getting down the field fast, putting his body in a position to make the play, and ultimately extending his arms and hands to grab the ball. So it makes sense that he uses his whole body to get the drill done here.
Go ahead, try the drill for yourself. I bet your first few tries won’t be as good as Tyreek’s!
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