May the Force be With You…

DSC02265I’ve just returned from presenting at the Pre-Wimbledon combined conference of the International Society of Science and Medicine in Tennis(ISSMT) and the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports Medicine (ACPSM).  I was allocated the nifty little topic of Effective Rehab Throughout the Kinetic Chain, and to me, this is a discussion on force management in the body. Understanding force flow makes sense of the connections from one end of the body to the other that are so critical in coaching and in rehabilitation.

I have mentioned before that every movement requires that we create force and control force. How well we do that dictates our injury resistance and our potential for technical performance.

One of the key principles of force management is that whether you are a bridge, a building or a body, you need to share forces over a large surface area if you are to avoid breakdown somewhere. Forces also need to be able to move through the body, and interruptions or breaks in this flow can create both technical and injury issues. There are many reasons for these breaks, and the fun is in determining what they might be in a sport or occupation.

Even in formal lectures I can’t bear people to have to just sit and listen when they could feel and understand through their own bodies, so with a bit of jostling and the help of adjacent audience members, we had some fun playing with control zone integration as judo athletes, controlling our central longitudinal axis as kayak paddlers, and making sure we are not messing up golf swings with naive postural cues. Nothing nails down a point like feeling it in your own body!


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