PAN AM Squash Footwork

pan am squash          Squash players maintain a continuous physical, mental and emotional connection with the ball.  This parlays into skillfully executed footwork and winning shots in a graceful game of active deception. At the highest skill level, players try to outwit each other – anticipating not just the bounce of the ball but ‘reading’ their opponents’ moves, adjusting their counter-moves, and trying to make their own next move even more ‘unreadable’.  Good judgment lies behind good predictions which can then lead to good reactions. A player must get to the ball before his opponent even hits it.

Anticipating the Moves

What are the keys to early anticipation?  A squash player uses the ball’s travel time to read his opponent’s body language in his set up and stroke. He checks all the visual cues, weighing them against his familiarity with the player. He assesses footwork relative to the ball’s position, weight transfer, length and height of back swing, racquet grip, and angle of wrist.  He knows what to do…unless, the opponent ‘pulls a fast one’ and strategically pauses, leaving his shot option to the last microsecond.

Making the Moves

Anticipation doesn’t take place in isolation.  The squash player uses the ball’s travel time to position himself to retrieve all possible shots. In between shots, he generally moves back to the ‘T’ at centre court and gets ready. He does a fast hop and quarter squat, a ‘split step’, landing on feet shoulder width apart to regain balance.  The split step stretches all the muscles that will propel the player instantly and powerfully to the ball.

Squash players do not ‘run’ through the ball in the way that tennis players are trained to.  By the time they get within striking distance of the ball, squash players have already stopped their centre of gravity, transferring weight into the shot and then moving back to the ‘T’.  Lunges are the move of choice with the many directional demands on the body, especially if the ball is low.  A reaching lunge can be elegant; the non-racquet arm counterbalances the outstretched racquet arm. The ball gets a good whack, hopefully as the opponent was blinking.

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/squash

http://www.bettermovement.org/2011/movement-of-week-squash/

http://www.squashgame.info/squashlibrary/9/19

http://squashmagazine.ussquash.com/2014/05/movement-and-shot-mechanics-full-court-press/

http://www.colorado.edu/StudentGroups/squash/movement.html/

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM

PAN AM Softball Footwork

pan am softball       Softball bears a striking resemblance its first cousin baseball but for a few distinguishing features. Its ball is bigger, its field is smaller and its game is shorter.  Softball has a wild card trait.  The pitch is thrown underhanded. As it moves through the air, the ball can loop up, curve or drop down. Pity the waiting, watchful batter. The catcher is well aware of what the pitcher is delivering.  Having weighed the innings and outs of the game, the catcher selected the right pitch for the moment and covertly instructed the pitcher. This is the same trusting rapport that their cousin pitchers and catchers enjoy; they collaborate in besting the batter before she knows what hit will come of it.

Softball’s groundwork begins with the players preparing their routine footwork before the ball is even thrown.

Catcher Sets Up

She crouches: feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent with weight distributed through the inside balls of her feet. She doesn’t sit back on her heels nor do her knees go beyond her toes. Her back is straight and she is balanced in this low squat.

Catcher Signals

Before moving into the receiving stance, the catcher has a slightly different set up while signaling. She is slightly forward on her toes, dropping her glove to block the signal from the wrong eyes but ensuring it is visible to the pitcher.  She moves into receiving stance.

Pitcher Sets Up

Ball in hand, before stepping onto the 24-inch rubber on top of the pitcher’s mound; she stands square to home plate with hands apart.  Within ten seconds, she brings her hands together then separates them, takes a backward step with her non-pivot foot, still on the rubber, as she begins the one arm wind up for the pitch.

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources:

http://www.toronto2015.org/softball

http://softball.isport.com/softball-guides/softball-catchers-guide-how-to-get-into-a-stance

http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/asa-fastpitch-softball-pitching-rules-1842.html

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM

PAN AM Shooting Footwork

pan am shooting          Competitive shooters name stances for their innovators or for their appearance. There’s the ‘Weaver’ and the ‘Chapman’; there’s also the ‘Natural Stance’ and the ‘Isosceles’, which may refer to a triangular set up.  Hobby shooters, however, who follow doves or waterfowl have the catchiest monikers for their shooting footwork: the ‘British Churchill’, the ‘American Step’, and the ‘Foxtrot’. The ready position for the Foxtrot begins with the heels 6 to 8 inches apart and the toes pointing at 12 and 2 o’clock. The bird in flight orchestrates the next move. (1)

Skill-testing target shooting with pistols or rifles begins in three stationary stances – standing, kneeling or prone.  Shooting at a moving object with a shotgun, on the other hand, requires dynamic but practised moves.  The goals are the same: control of the firearm and accuracy in aim. While individual shooters may vary their foot positions within a stance (of whatever name), every marksmen tries to duplicate his grip and footwork on every shot. 

Pistol and Rifle

          Standing

The shooter finds his comfortable stance. He may stand square to the target, with feet shoulder width apart, and toes pointed at target. Or, he may stagger his feet with a supporting foot six inches ahead, in a ‘nose over toes’ style. The shooter’s weight is on the balls of his feet, leaning forward to balance and absorb recoil.

          Kneeling

The shooter is permitted to touch the ground with the toes of one foot, one knee and the opposite foot.  Kneeling lowers the shooter’s centre of gravity, increasing his stability.

          Prone

Lying face down and directly behind the firearm, the shooter draws his dominant leg up, bends that knee and points his feet in the same direction, the toes of that foot pointed outward. His other leg is stretched out and relaxed, with the toes of that foot turned inward.

Shotgun

Standing, the shooter’s eyes are set to focus on the high-flying skeet or clay pigeon, released on his instruction.  Prepared for anything, he is balanced on feet shoulder width apart, weight on his front foot, leaning into the shot. This is the natural predator position.

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/shooting

http://thearmsguide.com/2561/shooting-stance-theories/

http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/gun-shots/2013/03/shotgun-shooting-tips-footwork-key-more-hits  (1)

http://www.best9mm.com/shootingtip.html

http://www.usacarry.com/modern-modified-isosceles-shooting-stance/

https://www.ipsc.org/ipsc/handgun.php

http://www.targetshooting.ca/reframerize.cfm?redirect=http://www.targetshooting.ca/train_r_prone.htm

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM

PAN AM Sailing Footwork

pan am sailing

On Board

The windsurfer races on a board,

On water in the wind.

His feet ride and steer in the chop and the swell;

Windsurfing, by nature, is elemental.

The rider watches the wind, its direction and speed.

Two feet planted so his hips can turn.

Facing upwind, the cold starts to burn.

Hands steer the boom, arms straight out.

He stands, bends, and leans as need be.

He takes the weight off both feet, switching them up.

The wind blows high; he curtsies low in the curve.

Weight forward to his toes, his sail foot hits his back leg.

Watch the luff! Take control! He brings his weight inboard,

Slips the new front foot forward; he knows where to go.

Done slogging, now hydroplaning, the fun begins!

It’s like low-level flying up on this board.

Front foot forward, lean in, back foot across.

Shoulders squared up to his knees and hips,

Can’t look down or he will get tossed.

He feels with his toes and maintains his grip,

Pivot at the ankles! Press on the toes!

Twist the front foot forward, up to the nose.

Point the toes! Get the weight off the board!

Get the speed up, flatten the board, ride it on the edge!

Heading upwind, finally on flat water and in control.

He lifts his front heel, forcing its arch in the strap,

He sees all his toes. OK good.

Weight riding fine on the ball of his foot,

He feels with his feet, the water’s not choppy.

His body moves left as the rig moves right,

His back foot’s flat, not carving the turn yet.

Ready to jibe; feet to the tack.

The wind picks up, his pulse instep.

Foot straps on, plane sailing ahead.

[Apologies to true windsurfers.]

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/sailing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windsurfing

http://pritchardwindsurfing.com/how-to-get-planing-on-your-windsurfer/

http://howtowindsurf101.com/how-to-windsurf-in-the-footstraps/

http://www.windsurfing.org/train05.htm

http://www.magma.ca/~slaby/wind/learn.htm

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM

PAN AM Rugby Sevens Footwork

pan am rugby sevens         Seven to each team, rugby players pass the ball backwards or kick the ball forwards towards their opponents’ goal area. Rugby is a multi-directional, full-contact sport. Footwork is aggressive, evasive and varied as they – for example – lift the jumper in a line out, hook the ball with their feet during a scrum, and free the ball with their feet during a ruck. The players hone their skills of acceleration – to move into open spaces when they have ball possession, agility – to move laterally, backwards or forwards to follow the ball, and balance – to withstand a tackle.

Agile Footwork – Swerving and Side Stepping

A ball carrier will swerve to avoid being tackled. He moves right up to the defender, both hands holding the ball in front.  He swerves to the right (or left, with opposite scenario) using the outside of his left boot and the inside of his right boot.  Moving the ball to his right hand away from the defender, he sprints into available space.

The side step, on the other hand, is an instantaneous change of direction by a ball carrier on the run from a defender.  Keeping the ball in both hands, he chooses a new direction, shortens his stride, steps wide with his outside leg, shifting his weight there. Looking like he is going to take off from that angle, he quickly shifts his weight to his other leg, pushing off with his outside leg.  While the defender is off balance, the ball carrier accelerates out of reach.

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/rugby-sevens

http://www.irbpassport.com/?page=beginners&p=21

http://www.rugby.com.au/Portals/18/Files/Coaching/Level3Papers/S.Hedger_-_Fast_Feet_Lvl_3.pdf

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_league/skills/4217044.stm

http://www.teachpe.com/rugby/techniques/sidestep.php

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM

PAN AM Rowing Footwork

pan am rowing         To spectators, rowing looks like an ‘all arms and oars’ sport.  But these are just two components in a whole body effort to propel a boat through water.  The power in a rower’s stroke originates with a push-off from his feet, driven by his legs. Then, as his upper body uncoils, his arms draw the oar blades through the water. The rower’s efficient use of strength is critical in the sequential ‘Catch, Drive, Finish and Recovery’ phases of the rowing stroke. Fractions of a second count at the finish line.

Out of sight, the rower’s feet begin the acceleration of the racing shell on its ‘foot stretcher’. This push-off plate is a stationary surface. The only other point of contact for the rower in his boat is his sliding seat. The foot stretcher remains fixed to the boat even when force is applied. The rower is the mechanical link to powering the oars, generating and transferring force from the foot stretcher.

Foot Force

During an effective rowing stroke, different parts of the foot apply pressure on the foot stretcher. At the Catch phase, the toes push, engaging thigh muscles and helping extend the knees over the rest of the stroke. During the second half of the Drive, downward pressure quickly and smoothly shifts from the toes to the heels.  This movement helps the boat accelerate. The rower relaxes during the Recovery phase for as long as possible. The heels will rise naturally as the shin rises and the Achilles tendon pulls the heel upwards.  Toes are primed to re-ignite the Catch phase. (1)

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/rowing

http://rowingbiomechanics.weebly.com/

http://www.rowpnra.org/about-rowing.cfm

http://www.biorow.com/RBN_en_2008_files/2008RowBiomNews07.pdf (1)

http://www.wpi.edu/Pubs/E-project/Available/E-project-042512-222238/unrestricted/MQP_Final_Report_4_26.pdf

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

   TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM

PAN AM Roller Sports Speed Skating Footwork

pan am roller sports speed skating         Even though roller speed skaters are the antithesis of ‘arm chair athletes’, it may still be a helpful image or a play-on-words to remember them by.  Their stance – the way they hold themselves when they skate – is more of a ‘sit’ than a ‘stand’.  The skaters move at great speeds, lean forward with hips low and knees bent to 90°.  This ‘nose, knees, toes’ aerodynamic body position adds stability as they stride on ball-bearing wheels on the straightaways and even more so, as they do cross-over moves on the corners.

Their arms are rarely at rest; (oops, another word play). Swinging wide, arms pump for speed in the sprints, especially at the finish line.  Some skaters use a single arm pump, to conserve energy or when taking corners.  They also skate tandem in ‘pacelines’ drafting behind other skaters; one arm is slightly extended with fingers resting on the forward skater’s lower back. They watch the shoulders of the people in front and match their rhythm to keep their feet in step.

“D” – Push to Stride

In the shape of a “D”, one skate pushes through heels to the side and then lifts, hips close and toe points inwards towards heel of support skate, looping leg behind body.  At one point, the lifted foot is directly behind the support leg. Weight transfers to new support skate.

“T” – Stop without Brakes

In the shape of a “T”, one skate is behind the other, nearly perpendicular to direction of travel. Weight is mainly on front foot. Both knees bend a little, adding braking pressure with heel to drag wheels. This stop uses the wheels as a source of friction.

“V” – Stop without Brakes

Toes meet in a “V”.  Legs are spread beyond shoulder-width, using leg strength to press inner edges of wheels against the ground.

(Arm chairs and D  T V…. !)

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/roller-sports-speed-skating

http://www.inlineplanet.com/10/04/tuning-technique.html

http://www.inlineplanet.com/11/05b/skating-in-a-paceline.html

http://inlineskating.about.com/od/speedmarathonskating/a/spd_strategy.htm

http://www.skatelog.com/speed/speed-skating-basics.htm

http://www.skatefaq.com/skate.2.1.html

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

    TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM

PAN AM Roller Sports Figure Skating Footwork

pan am roller sports figure skating         With inevitable comparisons to the technical dance elements of figure skating on ice, ‘artistic roller skating’ is more difficult for a few reasons.  The reinforced boot-skates on wheels are heavier for jumps and the cement surface makes for some ouch (!) landings.  In programs lasting four minutes or less, a roller skater’s choreographed routine to music is judged for technical merit (height, speed, strength, and precision) and artistic merit (originality, variety, ease, and overall harmony).

Footwork

‘Footwork’ is a specific aspect of this sport and it is judged separately from the artistic moves. For roller figure skating footwork, think of airplanes on runways – their approaches, take-offs and landings.  But, since an approach to a jump might be backwards skating on two feet, with the left foot crossed in front of the right, the analogy ends there.  Footwork connects all the hopping, spinning and jumping elements of the routine.

Head Spinning Moves

Inverted Camel Spin – The skater is on her right foot with her body and left leg extended outward parallel to the floor, rotating her hips 180 degrees, spinning upside down.

Camel Spin – She back enters into this from a ‘travelling camel’ or by cranking a series of 3-turns with the free leg swinging wide.

Layback Spin – In this back spin, the skater’s torso and free foot point to ceiling, her back is deeply arched and her free leg extends in front.

Heel Camel Spin– She spins on the back two wheels of her skates.

Broken Ankle Camel Spin – The skater rotates on the edge of the two inner wheels.

The roller skates are equipped with tiny ‘dance plugs’ which enable the skaters to stop when the performance is complete.  Total control… go figure!

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/roller-sports-figure-skating

http://rollersports.ca/artistic/

http://rollerskating.com/files_uploaded/b9db12270ac7b3026eaaa51952f1e7e1.pdf

http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/reports/2000-world-roller/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artistic_roller_skating

http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/faq/technical.shtml

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

   TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM

PAN AM Racquetball Footwork

pan am racquetball         The walled-confines of the racquetball court help players line up their feet.  Their optimal ready stance is ‘closed’; this refers to the position of their feet relative to the walls. Both feet square up to the side walls with the front foot slightly ahead.  Once the ball is in play with a serve against the front wall, all the court’s surfaces are strategically alive.  Players are speedy but not reckless, they move into their closed stance before they hit the ball. This footwork (to and into ready position) sets up offensive and defensive shots.   On offence, a good player tries to hit the ball at her opponent’s feet, forcing her to hit ‘wrong-footed’ in an ‘open stance’. A forced error in footwork.

Agility is on display on racquetball courts:  hitting the ball behind the back or between the legs, diving to reach a far-off shot or taking it on the fly.  From serves to returns and the rallies in between, racquetball players’ footwork is a blur of fast feet.

Rallying Footwork

The ball never comes to the player; she must move to it. After every shot she hits, she pushes off her front foot and hustles back to centre court. Ball placement is unpredictable and she can’t dawdle near a wall for a second. When her opponent begins to swing, she might hop into a crouch with her feet shoulder-width or more apart. As the ball is struck, she moves to it however she can – pivoting, walking, running or shuffling… forwards, backwards and sideways – to hit her next shot from a closed stance. When the ball is at or below her knee, she takes a last step with her front foot and swings. She must keep the ball in play. If it touches the floor twice, the rally is over.

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources:

http://www.toronto2015.org/racquetball

http://cemood.people.wm.edu/racquetball/footwork.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racquetball

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM

PAN AM Modern Pentathlon Footwork

pan am modern pentathlon          The pentathlon has always had an intentional military story-line.  The ancient Olympic combination of five sports mirrored their current-day battlefield experiences and techniques. The athletes were soldiers who trained in discus, javelin, long jump, running–in-armour and wrestling. Each sport, with its unique footwork, prepared them in strength and agility for the wars they fought on the ground.  Long ago, the pentathlon winner was celebrated as “the winner of all the games.”

The modern pentathlon – with its five new sports – also has a military tale to tell. A liaison officer was once sent by Napoleon into enemy territory to deliver a message.  This military courier’s horse was shot down; he needed to defend himself with his sword and his pistol. He swam across a raging river and finally – heroically – arrived at his destination by foot.  The disciplines of horsemanship, fencing, shooting, swimming and running reflect this reconstructed battle. Rife with symbolism, the pentathlon embodies pursuit and escape, facing and defying danger.  The significance of ‘feet crossing the finish line to deliver the message’ does just that.

Footnote:  The requirements of war continue to change; the cavalry now rides in tanks. Sport no longer plays a key role in training. Nor do battle experiences inspire combinations of sports for competition.  And yet, the pentathlon models and inspires the modern-day military.  Idealism in soldiering has been revived. The pentathlon’s inherent demands of courage, co-ordination, physical fitness, self-discipline and flexibility in ever-changing circumstances frame a mindset for military leadership training on contemporary battlefields. (1)

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/modern-pentathlon

http://www.northyorkshiresport.co.uk/get-into-sport/sports/equestrian

http://www.champs21.com/pentathlon:-the-olympic-event-of-five-sports-1127

http://usacac.army.mil/sites/default/files/documents/lde/DCL/dcl_Second_Place_Essay_2006_2007.pdf (1)

www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA468972

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM