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…. !)

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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)



PAN AM Trampoline Footwork

pan am gymnastics trampoline          Energy-wise, airborne gymnasts produce enough force through bouncing on a trampoline for 20 seconds to compare to a 200-metre sprint. Beginning and ending the short routine upright on two steady feet, they perform ten moves including somersaults and twists.  They achieve incredible velocity or speed in those rotations. Perfection is the standard.

Getting the Bounce

For the first bounce, the gymnasts’ feet begin flat; pressure is in the mid foot. Pressure moves to the forefoot, then the toes and ultimately to the big (great) toes for the upward push off. With each successive bounce, the gymnasts’ bodies feel gravitational force (Newton’s 3rd Law).  When a gymnast bounces down back to the trampoline, the surface of the trampoline reacts by pushing the same force upwards onto his feet. Olympic gymnasts can soar as high as a two-story building from their trampolines and land with between 15 g and 18 g of force. (1)  When a gymnast’s feet hit the trampoline, they deform the bounce mat.  But as his feet return to the air, the mat returns to its original shape.  Each take-off has a consistent base.

Scrutinizing the Bounce

Aiming for perfection, gymnasts and their coaches try to recapture and improve every move. They even film the bottom of the feet from under the bed/bounce mat of the trampoline. They check the timing, power and angles of footwork. Every aspect of footwork makes a difference in the velocity they can achieve in the air as they perform their somersaults or twists.

“Whatever happens in the air is determined by what happens in the bed.” (1)

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Resources: (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)


PAN AM Athletics – Track and Field Footwork

pan am athletics     A 200 meter foot race called ‘stadion’ was the only event for the first thirteen Olympics more than 2700 years ago. The runners were barefoot (in fact, nude) and they started in a standing position.  The most grueling competition, in those days, was the foot race in full battle armour.  Longer distance running entered the arena of competition in and after the 14th Olympics.

Fast-forward to 2015, track and field athletics are prolific in variety….running short and long distances, jumping high and long, plus several oddball throwing events. There are even combinations of up to ten events performed by one athlete.  Changes overtime are a testimony to athletes’ increasing agility, strength and endurance, not to mention the watching world’s wider arena.


Focus: The Footwork of Race Walking

This most unusual of foot races is deceptively difficult. It is called ‘heel and toe’ walking; the heel of the front foot and the toe of the rear foot appear to be in contact with the ground at the same time.  Staying ‘grounded’ is a rule; one foot must be in contact with the ground at all times.  The other rule is that the knee of the leading leg must be straight when the heel strikes the ground until that leg passes under the body. Race walkers speed up and lengthen their strides by swiveling and tilting their hips.

Race Walking judges, positioned around the track, watch for infractions and enforce the rules with yellow and red cards.  As they rely on eye sight alone, there have been calls for technical assistance in judging. A ‘shoe alarm’, triggered when a race walker’s feet were off the ground for more than 30 or 40 milliseconds, was a passing idea.

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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)


Pan AM Aquatics Water Polo Footwork

pan am aquatics waterpolo    Picture this: soccer in a pool, goalies at either end, players sprinting as they follow the ball…AND no one is allowed to let their feet touch the bottom at any time.  It takes footwork called Egg-Beater Kicks to keep them up and running.

Egg-Beater Kicks

The faster their feet move, the greater the propulsive forces. This gives the players more height in the water.  During their kicks, the right leg moves counterclockwise and the left leg moves clockwise. These alternating circular movements produce an upward force. Their feet trace an elongated oval path almost touching the back of their thighs during maximal knee flexion, finishing in a low position almost under their hips with their knees almost extended.

This is a contact sport. For good measure, water polo players get their toenails checked before games. The nails must not extend past the tip of the digit.

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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)


Kenyan Marathon Training in Kansas


Can a marathon runner from Kansas City train like a Kenyan?

         Here are some tips for that cultural transition:

 Workout Recovery 

  • Do extra slow warm ups
  • Do extra slow cool downs
  • Do extra slow recovery runs

 Diet and Rest

  • Eat local fresh food
  • Sleep 10 hours per night
  • Nap 1-2 hours per day
  • Spend lots of time off-feet

 Live Simply with No Distraction

  • No TV, internet, cell phones or technology
  • Read or go for walks
  • De-clutter your mind

Train in Tough Conditions

  • Run on soft ground for strength, flexibility and efficiency
  • Overdress in extra layers of under clothes, also wear baggy clothes and heavier shoes

Mental Outlook

  • Believe you can win and a break world record
  • Don’t limit yourself; dream big
  • Don’t complain about life or a workout


  • Listen to your body, back off if you are tired or something hurts
  • Otherwise work hard, increase intensity or duration to point of exhaustion
  • Practice block training: build up for 3-4 months, then completely rest for 2-6 weeks before starting next block
  • Train in groups – ‘iron sharpens iron’
  • Do lots of lower leg drills and stretching with little to no upper body, do some basic core work
  • Add uphill running drill with resistance band 1-2 times a week. 
  • Take Sunday off for studying the Bible, going to church and completely rest


  • Run up hills and stride back down
  • Do tempo runs: conservative start, pick up pace to finish at fast pace
  • Do ‘Fartlek runs’ (Swedish for ‘speed play’)
  • Do interval workouts, adding repeats
  • Do periodic long runs at a progressive marathon pace
  • Do two runs per day with a recovery run

Kenyan’s Stance on Shoes

  • They go barefoot by necessity, not by choice. 
  • Those in Kenya will wear ANY pair of shoes without complaining, preferring shoes to going barefoot.
  • Those who have run outside Kenya prefer a simple, lightweight trainer given their well-developed feet.

For more details, read:

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‘Patron Saint’ of Pedestrians


The late Hans Monderman was a Dutch traffic engineer and former driving instructor. His work in redesigning roads redefined the relationship between pedestrians and drivers.

He knew that drivers were more reliant on road markings, signs, and signals than on their common sense and intelligence.  If drivers face more uncertainty and have to choose who has ‘right of way’, they are more likely to slow down.  Everyone, pedestrian and drivers alike, become more responsible. “A wide road with a lot of signs is telling a story,” Monderman said. “It’s saying, go ahead, don’t worry, go as fast as you want, there’s no need to pay attention to your surroundings. And that’s a very dangerous message.” (Quoted in:

Monderman’s simple roads featured public art, landscape and lighting. His early success in reducing vehicle speed in the Dutch village of Oudehaske attracted further work in more than 100 towns and villages.  His redesign of complex intersections and shopping streets caught the attention of professionals and politicians beyond the Netherlands. The EU initiated a “shared space” program based on his planning principles.

TV journalists would interview the humble Monderman in the middle of a busy stream of traffic. He would demonstrate his confidence in the responsible adaptability of drivers by walking backwards into the traffic. 

He died from cancer, aged 62.

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Footballers at the Barre


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.


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


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