Footwork is a fundamental component to performance. A misstep on the field could be as costly as a poorly executed approach on the court. Every sport, from soccer to Olympic Weightlifting, puts a specific expectation on foot movement and placement. Although each discipline requires different footwork skills, attacking the footwork limiting factor in training can be approached similarly across the whole spectrum of sports.
The purpose of footwork in training is for an athlete to learn the most advantageous position to dynamically display the required power necessary for the sport-movement or task. The ability of an athlete to execute these tasks seamlessly and effortlessly often determines what level an athlete will reach in their respective sport. Imagine a soccer player who is never able to take eyes off their feet while dribbling, or an Olympic lifter who always has to look down to check their foot position in a split jerk.
A loss of this footwork purpose occurs in training when athletes are tasked with acquiring complex sport-movement skills before mastering basic movement patterns and developing kinesthetic awareness of their foot position. This misguided approach leads to frustrated athletes that just "don't get" a movement, and coaches ramble off wasted cues to the point of lost patience. A different approach needs to be applied.
Common signs for footwork as a limiting factor include athletes consistently missing Oly lifts because of foot placement, weddings steps in lunges or step ups, wasted steps during change of direction, and even miss stepping a barbell out of the rack from a squat.
Within the purpose, there are three main objectives to accomplish when attacking this limiting factor in training:
These are attributes athletes of any sport can benefit from improving, and will put them in a position for rapid improvement in their sport-movement performance. This article will breakdown the approach behind the ABC’s and present movements to implement into training no matter what an athlete is training for. #ToesForward!
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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
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