Training19th July 2017
Mastering The Basics Of Skillful Movement
IntroductionWhen learning a new or advanced movement skill, there are often two trains of thought: either we want to learn the skill ‘right now’; or we think we’ll never be able to do it. When we watch athletes and performance artists moving skillfully, we often forget the time, effort, and patience they’ve put into that skill. While it doesn’t look like it, they’ve all put time into learning ‘the basics’ – the fundamental building blocks of the skill. What’s more interesting is that the basic building blocks are universal to all skill.
Movement building blocksThe basics are more than beginner exercises – they’re the essential building blocks for higher level skills. From an early age, we had to master the simple movements of lifting our heads, rolling, sitting, crawling and standing, before we could progress to walking, jumping and running (high level skills).Skill is made up of three key building blocks:
- Strength – the ability to exert force
- Mobility – the ability to move without restriction
- Control – the ability to activate and coordinate movement
Breaking it down – an exampleLet’s use the handstand as an example – a common movement that many find challenging to fully master. Consider some of the basics:
- Wrist strength and mobility – often overlooked in handstand training, the wrists need to be mobile and strong enough to support the body
- Upper body strength – balancing on your hands requires a base level of strength in the shoulders, arms and upper back. Without this strength, your ability to get into position and hold it will always be limited
- Shoulder control – coordination at the shoulder joint and scapula will allow you to achieve a straight position. Weakness here often manifests in a ‘banana’ shaped handstand because the shoulder cannot fully flex. This also increases the demands of balance.
- Midline strength and control – keeping a tight midline (core) maintains balance and optimal alignment. Weakness in the core can also create a bent handstand as the back arches