It’s all in the hips. Small or wide is normally the accepted description from the general population. Thankfully for us, that’s not of a particular interest at all. What we are really looking for is the range of the hip mobility, if it's stable, and has the brain coordinated a perfectly executed motor program based on the movement pattern. How do you figure it all out?
Well let’s tackle the mobility part. Most athletes we work with don’t have limitations in their hip range of motion. During our assessment period, we are looking at acceptable degrees of range that allow a pattern to occur. We’ve notice some limitations with older athletes or pros that have sustained a prior injury around the joint area, but for most, hip range of motion is fluid, check marked and ready to go for most athletes. The pelvis is a key indicator here and proper assessment abilities are needed to ensure a correct diagnosis.
The area of stability is quite a bit different in terms of asymmetrical function. While most younger athletes have adequate range in most of the important joint combinations, targeted stability both bi-laterally and uni-laterally are areas that have identified serious dysfunction. It’s important for younger athletes to be athletic. Balancing on 1 foot moving in and out of different ranges of flexion and extension of the hip can help build necessary stability. It’s important to start all types of stability work bi-laterally and move to uni-lateral exercises with various degrees of complexity to promote the neural pathways that allow the musculature around the joint to activate.
Some athletes lack the strength, some lack the neural connection, and some lack both. It’s important to have a trusted program, trained in movement science specific to hockey athletes assess, plan, and implement a strategy which will allow a movement pattern to occur while reducing the risk of injury.
Now the micro pattern. Think of it this way. When Connor McDavid was flying down the ice in his recent All-Star Game fastest skater competition WIN, he exemplified a bunch of different movement patterns and while those movement patters are happening, there is an internal ticking clock, like a timepiece of neural connections coordinating the numerous small micro patterns that make the big pattern role. We call those Motor Programs. Down the straight stretch of the entire movement pattern Connor is in Linear Front Stride, one of the +30 platforms in our method, but for “LFS” to fly a micro hip pattern of external hip rotation, abduction, extension, adduction and flexion occur and that’s just at the hip! What about all of the other joints and limb coordination needed to all work together in unison just like the open face of a timepiece? That’s going to have to wait for another blog...
But even better get in to see one of our many PS coaches all over the world as we are continuously super fired up to help the on-ice movement, skill, and game transfer of hockey athletes while increasing their life performance. That’s our mission and when think it’s so cool.
So, next time you’re thinking of upping your athlete’s game, be sure to research method. Research assessment. Research correctives. Can the program in question deliver? Most right now are side businesses that don’t understand the limitations, assessments, anatomical proficiency and correctives to increase performance.
Combine everything we talked about with a high IQ of hockey knowledge packaged with a love for people and you now begin to see why PS athletes are performance rockets; hip mobility, hip stability and hip motor program coordination, just like Connor!