What is “correct” technique really, when you think about it?
As far as I can see (and I’m sure you’ll tell me if you agree or not), the idea of “correct” only comes from one of two places:
1. An outstanding athlete who achieved better results than everyone else (most likely using a different technique – think Dick Fosbury, High Jump)
2. A textbook (which has most likely been written based on what happens in the majority of cases or mathematical modelling)
Regardless of where the “correct” technique originated from, if your client isn’t that outstanding athlete, creating their own results from a technique anomally, essentially all we’re doing is taking what suits either ONE other individual, or MANY other individuals and trying to force our clients bodies into movement patterns and/or positions that may not actually be optimal for them as a unique human being.
Each one of our clients has had a lifetime of unique physical and emotional experiences that have led them to their current physical state, and when we insist on them moving in a given way, we may actually be causing them more strain.
An analogy I like to use is pushing a shopping trolley.
The conventional or “correct” way to use a shooping trolley is to stand behind the handle, have two hands on the handle and push.
Most of us make the trolley turn the corner by maintaining this position and moving our arms.
But let me tell you, when you have knee pain, or hip pain or lower back pain, this is the LAST thing you want to do.
Because it puts HUGE strain on the body.
Yes, the trolley turns the corner, but it would just as easily turn that corner if I spun the trolley first by holding its side and that would place far less strain on me.
Does it look odd?
Only if you view holding the handle with two hands the “correct” way.
And actually, the easiest way to move a trolley around is to hold it behind you and pull it with one hand (I learned this while I was transporting patients in wheelchairs around the hospital during my time working at Harrogate District Hospital on the elective surgery wards).
When the trolley is designed to have as little friction between the wheels and floor of the supermarket as possible, why on earth wouldn’t you take advantage of that?
Even a full trolley is easy to spin around, push backwards, pull next to you and more.
It only gets difficult when we insist on pushing it “correctly”
And the same applies to your clients.
The problem is, the industry has us so focused on what LOOKS “right”, that many coaches will never even recognise that their clients are using MORE effort to achieve this “correct” position – and it’s this extra effort & strain that leads our clients to injury.
And that’s not even the worst of it!
Focusing on the “right” technique is actually a SLOW way of achieving results, and there are loads of unintended consequences too!