Here’s my confession: Despite working with many athletes to recover from injury and/or improve performance, I’m rarely that invested in seeing who (or which team) wins their game. My game is function, and my frustration with sports is how often an athlete’s training for their game sets the stage to harm the player.
If you agree, you should read the WSJ’s recent story on Tayshaun Prince’s training regime (Murphy 2016). The 35-year-old former Detroit Piston recently signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves for his 14th season. In a sport where the average career lasts 5 years, Tayshaun Prince is winning the bigger game: continuing to play.
Prince believes strenuous lifting isn’t the secret to becoming faster and stronger, saying, “Movement is key to performance.” He strives for consistent performance from “repetitive exercises that focus on muscle balance and symmetry,” because this “puts less stress on the body but yield(s) the same results.”
Though the words are somewhat different, Prince and his trainer, Arnie Kander, are following the “Move Well to Age Well” premise of the StrongPosture® concepts and protocols. We all agree on the importance of training granular control of weak links in the kinetic chain with focused motion exercises. And we all use “stability points” to focus balance training, correlating internal perception with external function. Kander is spot on to observe one leg balance, because as he puts it: “Small movement tells me a lot about the strength of the standing leg and whether he has tightness in his hip joint.”
Kander goes on to say, “The goal is energy efficiency. If players pick up bad habits, the body will twist and torque to compensate for weaknesses. That stress leads to wear and tear.”
Prince agrees, noting, “Most trainers tend to work big muscles, but we tackle the small muscles first” – advice that also applies to clinicians seeking to rehab injuries or help people win the game of life.
Prince, Kander and I also all agree on intelligent nutrition and rest, and on the value of salt baths and saunas. However, regardless of his performance this season, Prince is a better athlete than I ever hope to be because we are playing different games (although I am envious of his one-leg balance workout…on a balance board…with a 25-pound weight!)
I’m a posture expert and Doctor of Chiropractic, and I unlock links of the kinetic chain first, and then teach people to use that motion well. The NBA’s Final Four holds far less interest for me than Steven’s Final Forty (having just turned 60, my personal winning game would include reaching triple digits). And while treating athletes is fun, for most of us winning the game is to keep playing as we age. The points being scored are how many years we play and live well.
Trainer Kandar says, “Efficient movement is a major contributor to longevity.” In other words, the key to continuing to move is to move well.
And all motion begins with posture.
Murphy, Jenn (25 Jan 2016). What’s Your Workout? Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/tayshaun-prince-a-king-of-nba-longevity-1453746019