If there’s one teaching point that’s GUARANTEED to cause injury…
Kicking in swim training is one thing that a lot of adult swimmers and triathletes struggle with.
There’s a sinking feeling of dread that goes through their bodies when they read the word “kick” on the session plan.
They know that by the time they reach the other end of the pool, they’ll feel like they just did a thousand squats with a super heavy weight as fast as they possibly could.
Because their kick is ineffective and weak.
An ineffective kick can happen for many reasons:
- feet too wide
- bending at the knee
- kicking too deep in the water
- poor body position
- and a whole bunch more
In most cases, the feet swing around as the swimmer swims and one of the ways that coaches are taught to prevent this is to teach their swimmers to turn their legs/toes inwards so that the big toes brush against each other as they swim.
STOP RIGHT THERE!
This practice is GUARANTEED to cause injury.
Because excessive muscle tightness down the inside of the thigh that causes an internal rotation of the thigh bone is the underlying cause of almost every lower body injury you can think of:
- lower back pain
- knee pain (all of them including IT Band Syndrome)
- Achilles problems
- shin splints
- the list goes on…
So, the practice of ENCOURAGING the body to be in that position, by teaching swimmers to roll their legs inwards is both ridiculous AND dangerous.
So, why does the fitness industry recommend it?
Because it makes swimmers’ technique LOOK better.
But looking better does NOT make the technique more efficient.
In fact, in most cases, we’re simply adding more strain to the body, in places that need it the least, in order to make things look “correct”.
In reality, there’s no such thing as “correct”.
What really happens, is that someone outstanding in a given sport comes along and consistently outperforms everyone else (usually by doing it differently).
We watch how that person performs the things we’ve been struggling with and try to make our movements look like theirs.
Or, massive injuries happen on the big stage (like the Olympics), so everyone else changes their technique to avoid the position the person was in when the injury happened (this used to happen a lot with knees “blowing out” in weightlifting)
These are the reasons there’s a “correct” way to do something.
The problem is though, that whether we’re forcing bodies into positions that only LOOK better, or we’re exclusively performing movements with the same “correct” technique (think hips back and down for squats) – the truth is that this has huge injury implications.
As coaches, we’ll never know what the most efficient way for someone to move is, so insisting that someone moves “correctly” will have consequences beyond what we can imagine.
The only thing we can do to help both improve technique AND confidently avoid injury is to help our clients expand the ways that their bodies can move in, which will help them:
- achieve better body positions in any given activity
- reduce strain on the body (which redcues the chances of injury)
- helps their body choose what’s “correct” for them (not what we THINK is best)
- and much more
Many coaches wrongly assume that if we take away their teaching points, their clients’ will have no reason to come for coaching, but the truth is quite the opposite.
When you help someone feel better in their bodies and you can help them have a great workout – and they DON’T get injured, they’ll tell everyone how amazing you are, and before long, you’ll have more clients than you can handle!
Helping coaches to expand the ways that their clients’ bodies can move is just ONE of the founding principles on the SMARTT® Coach Certification course (the next one is starting in January).
If you’d like to help your clients, or you’d like your coach to be able to help you avoid injury at the SAME TIME as improving your technique, check out the SMARTT® Coach Certification here
This ridiculous and dangerous practice of insisting on “correct” technique has got to stop if we’re to stamp out sporting injuries for good.