My new partners constantly talk about movement. Movement is more than changing space geographically. Movement has everything to do with how you get there.
If you dump a handful of sharp gravels into your running shoe, you can still get from place to place, but there will be consequences.
Not so long ago one of my students could not execute a move correctly. In the past she could do it well. I knew something was wrong and sent her to one of my favorite doctors. He quickly discovered the issue, did some adjustments to put things in the right place, and immediately she was a different pitcher. It would be great if all movements could be corrected so easily.
I recall a kid who was not making progress after a couple of sessions. I asked a great strength trainer to take a look at her. Within minutes he had found the issue. It carried an injury risk serious enough that he advised me not to let her throw another pitch until he had a chance to correct it. Pushing through it would have been disastrous.
Poor movements are not always that serious. Sometimes they may prevent the hips from firing correctly, they may limit scap mobility, or they sometimes cause nagging pain. I have been guilty in the past of trying to make adjustments in a bullpen situation that should have been handled before she every touched the mound. I have seen kids excoriated for being lazy or having a bad attitude. The reality was that they were incapable of making the move that someone wanted.
I see kids arrive with tight hamstrings, knots in the traps, shoulder blades that protrude like angel wings, and ankle or knee braces. They have bought every tool in the world that promises to make the arm circle faster, make the arm stronger, keep the foot straight, or make a more explosive takeoff. They have tried every drill they could find on the internet. If the body cannot move in a certain way, trying to push through it is like trying to run a race in cowboy boots or stiletto heels. Or, my doctor friend says, “Think about trying to throw a ball from center field with your shoes nailed to the ground.” If the right parts of the body are not able to move in the correct sequence, no tool and no drill can correct it.
In coming weeks you will hear much more about this subject and the exciting ways we will be addressing it. Special thanks to my new partners for helping us all raise our game and for pushing me to think in better ways.