PAN AM Slalom Water Ski Footwork

pan am waterskiing          An elite slalom water skier doesn’t wobble on his single ski as he cuts inside and then back outside of the wake. He finds and keeps his balance with his feet secured in bindings, one in front and one behind.  The foot in the back binding steers the board, leaning in the direction he wants to go in, turning with slight movements.  That foot is his so-called ‘dominant foot’.

When this skier graduated from two skis to one, he would have taken a ‘test’ to discover which of his feet was dominant. ‘Footedness’ isn’t an automatic ‘pass’ decision.  Ninety percent of right-handers are also right-footers, but only about half of left-handers are left-footed. (1)  In the normal or regular stance on slalom skis, the left foot is in front and the right foot in back binding takes care of steering.  When the right foot leads, the skier is called ‘goofy footed’.

Advanced-level slalom skiers increase their athletic challenge by riding ‘switch-footed’ with their non-dominant foot steering. They aim is to have their performance appear as natural as possible. The names of any tricks or special moves they make would be prefaced by ‘switch’, such as ‘switch ollie’, so that the audience would understand the skill level being tested.

Who is goofy-footed?  Are you? Testing for ‘footedness’ happens on land; there are no ‘sink or swim’ prospects.

Three Tests to Determine Dominant Foot for Slalom Water Skiing:

  1. The Falling Test

Stand with your feet together and close your eyes. Ask someone to gently push you forward from behind. Better if it is done with surprise timing. Whichever foot goes forward first to catch your balance is the one you should try putting in the forward binding.

  1. The Pants Test

Whichever foot you use to put in a pair of pants first is the foot that should go in the front binding.

  1. The Kick Test

Have someone hold a life jacket or something else you can kick in front of you. Kick it without thinking. The foot you kick with is the foot you should put forward. (2)

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

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/water-ski

http://www.wikihow.com/Slalom-Ski-(Water-Ski-on-One-Ski)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Footedness (1)

http://waterski.about.com/od/tipsslalombegin/a/forward_foot.htm  (2)

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 Taekwondo Footwork

pan am taekwondo          In Taekwondo, kicking is the most important technique. They are prolific in variety and can defeat an opponent in a single strike.  Kicks to the head score the most points.  After the ritual bow, the combatant moves into his initial stance. From that position, he launches into an arsenal of forceful footwork. This martial artist can rapidly shift his weight, alternating legs performing in quick succession: a Spin Kick, a Straight Kick, a Jump Kick, a Jump Spin Kick, Double and Triple Kicks.  Apparently, there are even fake kicks.

The foot is at its height of combative power in these knock-out moves.  Depending on which kick he executes, the fighter uses various parts of his foot.

The Heel is used in the penetrating Side Kick. Its relative toughness is also suited to landing a punishing KO on the opponent’s head with the Axe Kick or the Hook Kick.

The Ball of the Foot, the area directly underneath the toes, is exposed when they are pulled back. This area is engaged in Frontal, Snapping Kicks and aimed at the opponent’s solar plexus, stomach or chin. The toes must be pulled back in Front Snapping Kicks or they could be broken on impact.

The Instep, at the top of the foot, is exposed when the toes are pointed forward.  It is a useful surface for kicking the side of an opponent’s body or head. Turning Kicks or Roundhouses engage the instep.

The Edge of the foot is prepared for striking by turning the foot down so the sole lies horizontal to the leg. The outside edge can then be used as a striking surface in Side Kicks much like the heel. Due to the small surface area of the edge of the foot, a more painful kick can be inflicted with this slightly more advanced technique. The edge of the foot is often used to snap boards in displays of Taekwondo breaking.

The Sole of the foot provides a big surface area and is mostly used in Taekwondo to force the opponent backwards. In this way, Pushing Kicks are more of a defensive maneuver. Nevertheless, a well-timed pushing kick can knock the wind out of an attacker.

The Knee is banned for use in Taekwondo competitions for good reason. The knee is a formidable weapon and can knock an opponent out in a single, low-risk strike. Knee techniques may be taught in Taekwondo as part of self-defense. (1)

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

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/taekwondo

http://www.taekwondoanimals.com/taekwondo-kicks

http://www.ir.isas.jaxa.jp/~cpp/TKD/technique/stances-e.html

http://www.talktaekwondo.co.uk/guides/taekwondo_standing_kicks.html (1)

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 Boxing Footwork

pan am boxing      The handiwork of throwing punches, hooks and jabs play a starring role in the boxing ring. But feet play more than a supporting role.  Watch the boxer’s footwork. It takes her in for the punch and then and out of range of her opponent’s deadly return hit. A boxer will even use walking movements to stalk or evade her opponent. Footwork is both offensive and defensive.

A boxer knows that the more time she spends moving her feet, the less time she spends moving her hands. Staying on her feet is critical: no body part other than her feet can touch the floor.  After 10 seconds down, it is a ‘knockout’ ending to the match. Stability and agility are hallmarks of a boxer’s footwork.

Fighting Footwork: The Bounce Step

The boxer keeps his bounces small, jumping downwards on the balls of both feet and landing lightly on both feet. Using the balls of his feet in thin-soled shoes gives him more balance, control, and power. His body weight is distributed evenly over his feet. He can change directions and cover distance quickly, while using less energy. His body twists back and forth with each bounce like the opposite arm movements of a normal walking gait.

While his arms may explode into punches, his feet have a different tempo.  The boxer’s bounce step is relaxed, low to the ground, very fast and yet subtle. He can use this footwork throughout an entire fight.

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

Resources:

http://www.toronto2015.org/boxing

http://www.expertboxing.com/boxing-techniques/boxing-footwork/boxing-bounce-step-footwork-technique

http://www.expertboxing.com/boxing-techniques/boxing-footwork/10-boxing-footwork-tips

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

Walking the Tightrope Metaphor

Image

“Peter Brook: The Tightrope” is a documentary film of actors pretending to walk a tightrope. Simon Brook, son of Peter Brook, directed this film which is as much about actor-training as it is about exposing a metaphor.

In fact, the ‘tightrope’ was a rolled-up Persian carpet on which the actors had to maintain balance but were permitted to perform tricks or stunts. Most importantly, they had to convey that they were genuinely suspended in the air, their feet hugging a thin cord.

Peter Brook, a theater director who is nearly 90 years old, coached the actors using both simple and abstract instructions. The participants soon understood the tightrope as a metaphor for the risks we take in life and the risks inherent in every serious acting role.

A.O. Scott, the New York Times film reviewer extended this metaphorical understanding: “At some point, though, perhaps many years after the encounter recorded here, they will peek down at the chasm under their feet and find themselves possessed of the agility and imagination to keep going.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/movies/peter-brook-the-tightrope-follows-the-theater-director.html?_r=0

Footballers at the Barre

Image

Football and ballet? 

There are more similarities to the footwork than you would think.  Both activities use the same muscle groups and require similar skills.  They even share some of the same injuries.

 What can football players gain by practicing ballet?

  • Flexibility – to avoid tackles and make catches
  • Speed and Agility – to recover speed after changing direction or spinning to avoid a tackle
  • Strength – to increase muscle without bulk, especially important for kickers and other offensive players
  • Balance – to land on their feet after leaping for a catch and to stay on their feet during a tackle
  • Mental Focus – to follow complex plays, track the position of the ball in the air and make decisions on the fly.
  • Endurance – to strengthen their heart and circulatory systems enabling intense muscular work with less tiring.

http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/ballet-football-1747.html

 

For a testimony on a 320-pounder who straps on the slippers, check out:

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/22954120/steve-mclendon-ballet-is-harder-than-anything-else-i-do

 

Picture source:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=football+players+doing+ballet&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=UMhuUveVDM-QyQHJhoDIDA&ved=0CC8QsAQ&biw=1366&bih=566