Were you taught to move better after an injury? When I was two or three years old I did something to my neck because shortly thereafter I started faining whenever I moved fast up or down or in circles. Doctors claimed it was because of a heart murmur, yet the fainting did not stop when the heart murmur resolved itself. I was quite stiff at a young age, I wanted to be a ballerina but my body simply would not cooperate, and the fainting was a real problem when I tried to do pirouettes!
The stiffness and false trailing me into adulthood and caused limitations in any activity I tried. I thought the stiffness was just the way I was born, and many people confirmed it. Today I know it is not normal to be stiff at any age . I had an accident very early in life that affected how I moved in all activities. I was destined to never be “great” at physical skills that require excellent balance and flexibility. What skill does not? Fortunately, I am no longer stiff and encumbered by major limitations because I learned the cause of the problems and how to bypass them.
How many millions of us have stories like mine to tell; such as the client that was in a terrible car accident at four years old, or the client who had casts put on his lower legs at a year old. And then there are people who learned a skill very early in life, who excelled at it, and then had injuries that made it virtually impossible to recapture the skill they once had.
Injuries often end careers in sports, but do they have to? Every normal baby naturally learners new skills with no conscious oversight. If an injury or neurological event cause some part or all of a movement skill to be lost, we can rarely relearn it on our own because we do not consciously know how we learned it in the first place . For example, golfer Tiger Woods has blown through several instrucers trying to help him recapture his former formidable skill, but it is proving elusive.
The current approach to refine, regain, or learn a skill is to focus on technique. We watch how a movement sequence such as an 'ideal' golf swing is done and then we try to recreate the mechanics of it. We focus on what muscles to use, how the various body parts should move and when. However, this is not how our brain works.
- First, our vision has no relationship to what we feel. The reason dancers and individuals trying to learn a movement must look in a mirror as they move is to see if what they feel is congruent with what they see.
- Second, if you can feel a muscle working you are misusing it. Why would your brain “pat your back” by letting you know the muscle you are using is “right”. If you do not feel muscles working and you have full range of motion and flexibility in a movement, that is when you are functioning optimally.
- Third, If you can not feel muscles working yet you DO NOT have full range of motion and flexibility this means that you have habituated the movement such that your brain feels it as 'normal'. You can not change what you do not feel. You must employ techniques to feel muscles that are chronically contracted.
- Four, you must understand how the body is optimally organized to move so that you can change how you move in a better way.
- Five, every movement you do affects the entire body. You can not isolate move to particular body parts like a machine. To get trajectory, timing, what causes another part to move and so on can not be learned just by watching, it must be felt .
To move the way your mind and body optimally learn check out a new book called Move to Excel . In it you will find the explanations and practices that are the foundation of how your mind and body function as a seamless whole to learn or re-learn any skill. The book does not address specific skills because what you learn is the foundation that underlies every skill or movement you do. Move to Excel shows you how to consciously learn to move again just as you learned non-consciously as a very young child.