Wednesday musings, 4/6/16 and 4/13/16: Grounding and finding the pause

Wednesday musings, 4/6/16
During a recent session, my 92 year-old client looked at me and said, “Jennifer, I want you to know you’ve really helped me. I think about grounding my feet since we talked about it a couple of weeks ago. I am feeling much more stable and it’s helping my balance.” (I have been training her for the last 12 years and can only hope this isn’t the only way I have helped her). 

The feet provide information to the brain about where we are located in space. They help with our ability to orient ourselves and provide a sense of stability or grounding. Curiously, they aren’t a body part we spend much time thinking about until they hurt (funny how that happens). By taking a few minutes to feel the different parts of our feet on the floor and explore where the strongest balance point is, we can alter how connected we feel with the ground, sometimes changing how we carry ourselves. I am frequently surprised how many people lack an awareness of how their feet interact with the ground. Feel the weight even across the balls of the feet and centered in the heels to experience a change in perspective during standing. 

Wednesday musings 4/13/16
I was chatting with a client recently about quality repetitions. We were discussing an exercise he was rushing through, when I mentioned it might be helpful to find the pause in the exercise. He looked at me thoughtfully, and said, “Jennifer, that’s very interesting. During the Masters this weekend, Jordan Spieth lost because he rushed one of the holes. He didn’t find his pause during the swing.”

When you watch athletes move, there tends to be a certain grace in their actions. They have an innate rhythm within the skills they have deeply ingrained. These types of motions include things like baseball throws, tennis serves, cartwheels, and golf drives. In the context of a game or competition, these movements are performed quickly, with a goal of maximizing power. However, when you watch professional athletes perform these moves in slow motion, the rhythmic nature of the skill becomes evident. Finding the inherent pause when practicing a skill slows things down and gives the client an opportunity to find the natural cycle within what he is trying to accomplish. One way to figure out where the pause belongs is to practice skills at different speeds. Something that can be done quickly can also be done slowly, and can also be done moderately. Find your natural rhythm and watch it translate into higher levels of proficiency.