Maybe you’ve noticed that we’ve been using a new tag line below our company name and logo:
Safer – Stronger – Longer
The logic behind it is this:
I feel ethically obligated (and pleased!) to teach what I understand to be the safest movement patterns for swimming and running, and I practice what I teach. I am continually studying the topic, especially from researchers and actual movement experts, in order to improve that understanding.
What I am convinced of through my studies is that the safest movement patterns happen to be those that allow the athlete to build greater strength with lower risk for injury. Less injury means they can keep building more strength with less interruption, up to what is appropriate for their body and event. Then it becomes much easier to maintain that strength.
Athletes that are moving more safely, with more strength, are going to be able to enjoy their activities a lot longer in life. Safer leads to stronger leads to longer.
Maintaining a priority for safest movement patterns is going to slow down the development process at first, while the athlete acquires the awareness of, the habit for and the loyalty to holding proper movement patterns. I take a conservative approach to this because, especially with older adults, injury is more than a set back, it is a liability to their longevity in the sport and in life in general.
But once that awareness, the habit and the loyalty to proper movement is in place, we have a wiser athlete, one that can work with the coach to make decisions about what their body needs next to get stronger. Each training experience is providing feedback through that athlete’s nervous system and that information needs to guide his/her progress forward in injury-free training.
However, there are quicker ways to get into higher performance. There are different movement patterns that can produce more speed more quickly. There are different ways to build more power. And they differ on how safe they are for the body. No two forms or methods or programs are the same in terms of their benefits and their costs. Therefore, you need to chose carefully.
The movement patterns you fall into, especially under the most stressful, fatiguing training conditions will be the patterns you build strength and habit around. You will get stronger no matter how you move, but if those patterns are inferior, they are less safe. If they are less safe, they increase your risk of premature wear-and-tear and injury the more you move. The sooner you wear out your body, the shorter your athletic life span is. Because of this, ‘safer ‘has to be the first priority in movement.
Motivation To Seek Better Movement
There are wonderful exceptions, but younger athletes tend to be more impatient with this careful process. They may not feel much of the consequences for moving in inferior ways, other than getting exhausted too soon. But if they keep pursuing their sport this way, more dire consequences will be delivered down the road. It is a challenge to persuade younger people to care because of this delayed negative feedback. They have to take the instructor’s word for it, and few do. The more pressure they feel to get to their podium, the less likely they will care about the long term consequence of moving in a way that doesn’t seem to cost them much right now.
This is one of the reasons I enjoy working with older athletes, because we have felt enough consequence to finally be motivated to seek proper movement with a lot more attention and patience. We’ve had more life experience and exposure to patient systematic processes that take years to produce quality things, and we are more eager to participate in such processes. A few years does not seem like as big a deal as it does to us when we were younger.
A Camp For Hurting Athletes
All our training events and activities infuse this sequence of values: safer > stronger > longer.
This has guided how we define our Levels Of Proficiency. We know we need to see certain skills and capabilities (which prove those skills) before moving too far into the next level of training. The wise builder will make sure a solid foundation is in place to support the whole weight of the structure they intend to build upon it. The higher one intends to go, the bigger that foundation needs to be.
This July 19-21, I am excited to be invited to work with Coach Lorna Richardson from Los Angeles to lead a swim/run/yoga camp in Ojai California (campus in photo above), focused on swimmers and runners (and triathletes) who are feeling aches and pains in their movement.
We are reaching out to adult athletes who experience much…
Discomfort (both good kind and bad kind)
Tightness, Soreness, and Injury
We are excited to help these folks explore safer, smoother, more stable movement patterns through specialized instruction in swimming, in running, and with yoga. Not only in movement, we look forward to introducing a better mindset for becoming aware, interpreting and responding to the sensations and emotions that come from our body under the stress of training.
Being safer to get stronger and go longer is not only about taking care of the body, but integrating and taking care of the mind as well.
Maybe that speaks to you right now?
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