“Centre” – a little anecdote

Posted: November 23, 2011 in Uncategorized
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The table I am sat is wobbly and to say the least annoying.  I look around for an obvious solution to the problem presented.  I find an old magazine, newspaper or bear mat and I fold the object to a suitable size and place it under the affecting leg.  The table ceases to wobble (for now) and my issue is solved.  Until of course the object deteriorates or the dog chews it or it is removed for some reason and the table reverts back to its old self of wobbliness.  the table has no way of adapting to this situation as it has no mind but it does rock to its so called or perceived centre.  It is just when the table is called upon to be functional the problem presents itself.  The degree of the problem is also a question in that the problem has to become suitably bad before anything is done about it.

The human body can be likened to this situation where there is a compensation or an inhibition but the body can adapt to function (or perceive to function) until one day it decides no.  The body adapts to what the requirements are but the degree at which it can perform the requirements are dependant on how the body currently functions.  If it functions optimally (or as close to as possible) the outcome is arguably good in the required function.  At least it gives the person the best possible chance. 

We could simply replace the table with a new one that doesn’t wobble but in the case of the body this isn’t a solution (apart from in obvious situations and I am not referring to enhanced aesthetics).  

In my work as a tennis coach I have been presented with a child who is struggling to serve due to techniques I have instructed previously.  Not that these techniques are wrong but since I have been with Anatomy In Motion (www.anatomyinmotion.co.uk) I have recognised that there is no wonder the serve is struggling. I have looked at segments of the chain where there are problems and low and behold a foot issue presented itself where the player struggled to absorb weight into the foot when performing the serve and had to constantly reposition the foot to accommodate the action.  This led to mishaps up the chain and hence affected the outcome of the serve.  Attention to improving the foot function allowed a smoother transition of weight into and up through the serve. 

In this case there was no wedge to place under the wobbly table but to educate the body to function optimally (or closer to optimum) to improve the serve.  

There are other situations where I have seen children essentially being prescribed wedges to stop their table wobbling.  What happens when the wedge is moved?  the table wobbles again.  This is the same for the child with a wobble stopping wedge.  Once it is removed the body reverts back.

As a sports coach I am starting believe in a relationship between body and requirement and that the body is our primary tool.  We need allow time to focus on allowing the body to function optimally if it is not and this will help players in their development.  

The question is do we as coaches need to skill up our knowledge in body function, posture, gait etc or do we outsource this to another professional?  I have chosen to delve into this subject as it fascinates me. For me this is a definite requirement of the modern day athlete but who is responsible for it?  

  1. Hi 3D.

    Fabulous post. many thanks.

    Some of the deepest misalignment that the body necessarily compensates around, is in those joints which have more to do with force transmission that with locomotion – that category of joints which are unable to be moved independently by volition, and only move by taking part in a more global movement, and which are spanned by only ligaments, or minimal dedicated musculature – sacro-iliac/intertarsal/intervertebral/costovertebral. Due to this quality the joint surface positions of these joints may only be returned to a more optimal relationship by kinetic intervention from outside. They cannot be acted upon sufficiently by the owner’s movement alone.

    I feel that trainers and coaches could do well to include a hands-on skeletal aspect in their work, to be employed where there are deep joint-based issues that cannot be reached even by such wonderful approaches as those pioneered by AiM.

    Best Regards – Phil

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