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Sports' Common Denominator...

July 31, 2017

The whole world loves sports! 

 

In the United States it's all about Football, Baseball, and Basketball. In Canada they love their Hockey. Indians love Cricket. Kiwis and Aussies love Rugby. Slavic nations love Weightlifting and Wrestling. The Chinese dominate Gymnastics, and the majority of the world is abundently passionate about Football (the real football).

 

Sports have been around for thousands of years. The Olympic games originated in Greece and were competitions to find the best athletes in the known world.

 

Ancient sports included Boxing, Wrestling, Weightlifting, Swimming, Track and Field, and Archery to name a few. These sports are still practiced today and while the equipment may have changed, the principles behind the sports remain the same.

 

Sport is an expression of athletic ability through a specific discipline. Some sports are played as a team and some sports are played as an individual but what they all have in common is that they're a balance between art and science and take a lifetime to master.

 

Sport, like most new disciplines has a learning curve. At first you learn a lot about the sport and become proficient in a fairly short amount of time.

 

There comes a time however when the learning curve begins to show diminishing returns and that's when you start to separate the good from the great and the great from the legendary.

 

Take the sport of Golf for example. Golf is a global sport played by 60 million people worldwide. The average golfer shoots ~100 while only 10 percent of golfers shoot in the 80s and a mere 1 percent of golfers shoot in the 70s or better.

 

This shows that the learning curve starts to flatten out around the time the player consistently shoots 100. At that point, their ability to perform to a greater degree starts to diminish and progress comes down to time commitment, intensity of practice, and quality of coaching. That being said, there's always room for improvement regardless of what level you're at.

 

Just look at the greatest golfers in the world. They're always working with a coach to improve their game, even if only incrementally. At the highest level, 1 shot over the span of 72 holes can be the deciding factor. At that level, every detail matters.

 

So how do we get through these incrementally smaller and smaller gains in performance?

 

To a certain point, continuing to work on the fundamentals of our discipline will only do so much for us. That being said, one thing we can do to improve, regardless of discipline, is increase our mobility and range of motion.

 

In today's world, most mobilization is done post injury, typically by a Physical Therapist or Chiropractor. While this is great that we have the ability to reduce recovery time and increase our range of motion, it seems silly to me to wait until it's too late.

 

What if we could increase our range of motion, decrease our pain and risk of injury, while at the same time increasing our performance? It's possible!!! All it takes is a little discipline and a little bit of time.

 

When I say it only takes a little bit of time I really mean it. 10-20 minutes each day is more than enough time to increase our range of motion so long as we're consistent.

 

Here's a great example of some mobilization you can do to improve your swing plane and it only takes a few minutes.

 

 

While we could make change by mobilizing for an hour at a time whenever the mood strikes, we'll still fall behind the benefits of consistent everyday mobilization.

 

This is exactly why when anyone comes to see me for a golf lesson, the very first thing I do is teach them a "Pre-Session Mobility Routine" and introduce them to "Power Stretching".

 

This routine has both short term and long term benefits to their golf swing. I encourage them to do the 5 minute routine before any practice session, before going on the course, after waking up in the morning, or after spending a long time in a car or at a desk.

 

The routine opens up your shoulders and hips as well as primes the Central Nervous System (CNS) and gets them ready to make athletic swings at the ball.

 

Could my players hit good shots and improve their golf game without pre-session mobility? Sure! But it won't be optimal.

 

A lack of range of motion in the body causes compensations in our movement. In golf this could easily translate to slicing the ball, or hitting it thin. In weightlifting it could mean the bar path moves out in front of the body or maybe it leads to missing squat depth in the receiving position of a snatch. In baseball it could mean the loss of 5-10mph on a pitchers fastball. In basketball it could mean inconsistent release through a free-throw.

 

The bottom line is this...

 

If you're serious about improving your performance, you need to increase your range of motion. This is not optional. The fact that you're reading this gives you an advantage over almost everyone else. Mobility is the secret that high performers use to out play their competition and they've done a great job keeping it a secret. But now the secrets out!

 

10-20 minutes of intentional and targeted mobility will make a world of difference for your performance.

 

So whether you're a collegiate golfer trying to go from the low 70s to the high 60s, or just someone who wants to tie their shoes more easily, increased range of motion is your answer.

 

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