Athletes must have great breaks before they are able to hit the gas. When they don’t, that is when they find themselves in a sports physical therapy setting.
If you are an athlete that wants to jump higher, run faster, and be more explosive, you must first know how to slow down. In fact, this is one of the first things that we work on with athletes during physical therapy and performance training.
Athletes that struggle to absorb the impact of their bodies during explosive movements have a far greater risk of lower body injury. This can be seen when landing from a jump or cutting to change direction as the foot contacts the ground.
A recent example occurred in the most recent Super Bowl. In the 2nd half Odell Beckham Jr. tore his left ACL when he landed on his left leg as he slowed down to make a catch. While doing so his upper body was turned to the right creating a twisting motion at his knee as he attempted to slow down. He was unable to control the rapid breaking and twisting forces occurring at his knee, resulting in a large amount of stress to the ACL and the subsequent rupture of the ligament.
While none of us are athletes like Odell, we must all be capable of controlling the breaking forces that we experience when exercising, running, or playing recreational sports. The more aggressive and competitive the sport, the more force you must be capable of controlling.
This is especially true for youth athletes.
They play very competitive sports and are growing at the same time. Their soft tissues are adjusting to the changes occurring in their bodies and they have yet to develop all their athletic capabilities. These are just a few of the contributing reasons why lower body injuries like ACL tears are so prevalent in youth sports.
Below are 2 of the first drills that I teach to athletes when they are in physical therapy recovering from or seeking to prevent lower body sport-related injuries during personal training or performance training sessions.
Once you master these seemingly simple drills, you can step things up in a variety of fun ways!
Give these 2 drills a shot and let us know if you have any questions.