PAN AM Wakeboard Footwork

pan am wakeboarding          Recipe for High Water Tricks on a Wakeboard

Ingredients and Directions

Start with an initial base of waterskiing, convert that to slalom, and add a good measure of skateboarding. Blend in five ounces of snowboarding and a cup full of surfing. Switch feet and stir again. Let it set until confidence starts to rise.  THEN, add acrobatics to further leaven the mixture.  Stir again, 180 and then 360.  Whip it until it pops.  Spritz it with ‘rad’ lingo.  Ride the butter!

A Smorgasbord of Images: “Tricks on a Wakeboard” 

1.  A lanky wake boarder on a short, sturdy board towed across water, stands in boot bindings with his feet ducked out for stability when he lands board on the water after doing a ‘heelside backroll’ in the foamy air.  [Caption “This Blender Goes Twice the Speed of Boat”.]

2.  The goofy-footed rider’s heels are along one edge of the board and his toes are along the other. He has pressed down with his heels, digging the edge of the board into the water. The board moves in the direction of the edge.  [Caption: “Carving with Heels”]

3.  The windblown rider has just bounced twice to break the tension on the water. Looking for his pop, he pushes down on his board with his back foot and scoops his front foot up, jumping over an imaginary fish dinner.  [Caption: “Unwrapping His Ollie Pop”]

4.  Three Wakeboard Riders doing High Water Tricks:

  • Fruit Loop (A toeside front flip with a backside 180),
  • Slim Chance (A heelside front flip with a frontside 360),
  • Special K (A toeside backroll to blind, approached with both hands behind the back.)
  • [Caption: “Breakfast of Champions”]

A Feast of Footwork Feats!

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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 Volleyball Beach Footwork

pan am volleyball beach          The switch isn’t automatic. Even an experienced indoor player needs practice finding her ‘sand legs’ in beach volleyball.  Sinking and stumbling as she learns to jump and run barefoot on (possibly hot) sand is a humbling new beginning. Eventually, her muscles stabilize and she gets used to landing on both feet. Movement forwards, backwards and sideways on the sandy court becomes second nature.  By the time her focus is on entirely on strategy, her light footwork barely disrupts the level sand. The court surface isn’t the only difference. Indoor volleyball has six players per side; beach volleyball has two. The pair must pass, set up, spike, block and serve to their opponents.

“Peeling” – Fast Footwork on Defence

Mid-rally decisions are frequent. If a beach volleyball player can track an incoming attacking ball, she steps forward and blocks it back. If she decides a block isn’t possible, she quickly ‘peels’ into a back court position.

In a ‘Cross, Step, Hop’ combination movement,  the player starts from a ‘loaded position’ with knees bent, one foot in front of the other.  On the right side of the court, her right foot is in front and on the left side her left foot is in front. She

  • Pushes off front foot with open body to the court,
  • Crosses outer leg with inner leg,
  • Takes an aggressive step away from the net, and
  • Swings into a large hop to face attacker. (1)

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Resources:…/Fundamentals-of-Sand-Volleyball-Part-3-Blocking.pdf  (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 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 Canoeing Footwork

pan am canoe kayak sprint     The sprint events for canoeists are also called ‘flat water canoeing’.  They differ from the more daunting slalom events which require maneuvering through gates on fast moving ‘white water’. The canoes for each event are also different; the sprint canoe is an open boat – a ‘Canadian Canoe’, whereas the slalom canoe is ‘decked’ with a partial front covering.  There are no rudders under the hull of a canoe. Hence, the canoeist is responsible for steering the craft with the single blade paddle.  The paddler provides stability and power.

Hidden from view, what role do feet play?

Slalom: “Balance the Knees; Balance the Boat”

In slalom canoes, canoeists must kneel on both knees while they paddle. No sitting. In this upright position, they have a higher centre of gravity and get a better reading of the river.

On the forward stroke, the canoeist ‘gets a grip on the water’ pulling his body up to it.  As the blade goes in the water, the canoeist’s knees lightly bear his evenly distributed body weight. He pushes from his hips. His pelvis tilts backward with pressure on the buttocks. He pushes forward from the iliac bones (“sit bones”). His final push with his knees finishes with a straight upper arm. These coordinated moves keep the boat running as straight as possible.

Sprint: “Triangle Position for Stability”

In sprint events, the canoeist kneels on one knee and maintains a ‘high posture’. Her other foot is out in front for balance.  The ‘triangle’ or three points of contact is formed by her knee, back foot and front foot. The wider her triangle is, the more stability she has.

In the paddling motion, she transfers weight through the kneeling knee. Her front foot helps counteract movement and helps steer the canoe.  Changing the pressure of her front foot helps tilt the canoe and assist with steering.  Her back foot stabilizes the transmission of power through her shoulders, back and arms. Her paddle enters the water in line with her front foot, is buried to give her stroke full power and exits near her hip.  Over-reaching her toes would slow the canoe.

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Thanks also to the Ontario Whitewater Association, Port Perry ON

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 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.

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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 Archery Footwork

pan am archery    How much footwork could there be in a sport that values stillness?  Step onto the range and into the archer’s shoes for a moment. The shooting line is parallel to the target line. The archer stands with one foot on either side of the shooting line. The hand holding the bow points towards the target. The centre of the target is directly in line with the archer’s big toes. The setup of his feet ensures greater accuracy.

The ‘Square Stance’:

Stable posture is key. Feet are approximately shoulder width apart. If they were closer or further apart, the archer could sway and thus affect his aim.  His body weight is distributed evenly. His feet are ‘at the root’ of the feeling of ‘being firmly planted’. You would be able to draw a straight line from the top of his head, through his navel to the shooting line between his feet.

Archers using a right hand bow, place their left foot ahead of the shooting line and vice versa. He rotates his feet into the ‘square stance’ with feet parallel to the shooting line. With ‘straight as an arrow’ posture, the archer’s hips and shoulders are ‘in line’ with the direction of aim, perpendicular to the target face.

Once the shooting begins, the feet don’t move.

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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)


Bespoke Limbs

Prosthetics Bespoke limbs

Sophie de Oliveira Barata works out of a bright white, semi-disheveled northwest London studio surrounded by feet and fingers, legs leaning against walls and hands that look real enough to shake. With a background in art and special-effects makeup, she worked for eight years for a prosthetics manufacturer before deciding to become a creator of bespoke limbs. “It meant I could use my creative skills and do something massively rewarding,” she said, dropping an oddly appealing man’s foot in my lap. “Making an alternative limb is like entering a child’s imagination and playing with their alter ego,” she said. “You’re trying to find the essence of the person.”

In 2011, Sophie de Oliveira Barata started the Alternative Limb Project and soon found interested clients. She created one leg with a stereo embedded in it, another with removable muscles and a third, among others, that housed minidrawers. Recently she began collaborating with artists skilled in animatronics, 3-D printing, metalwork and carbon fiber.

“After losing a limb, a person isn’t the same,” de Oliveira Barata said. “So this is a form of expression, an empowerment, a celebration. It’s their choice of how to complete their body — whether that means having a realistic match or something from an unexplored imagination.”


Photo: Ryan Seary – formerly an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, US military

First Step in Prosthetic Construction

prosthetics construction sunnybrook hospital

Toronto’s Sunnybrook Centre for Independent Living (SCIL) has a 25-member team of prosthetists, technicians and other experts. SCIL helps complex trauma patients regain independence and mobility with customized prostheses and individualized rehabilitation.

Prostheses are made in the on-site lab. The first step in creating a new limb is to make a socket in the stump or residuum. The artificial body part attaches inside the socket. The prosthetist takes detailed measurements of the residuum and then creates a cast of it – similar to that for a broken limb. When that cast dries, plaster is poured into it to make a form of the limb. The form is then carefully smoothed down and filed until it becomes an exact replica of the residuum. The amputee is fitted with a test socket and a limb and learns to walk with this set before the definitive socket and limb are finalized.

Technician Paul Russell says there is “a bit of an artistic feel and flow,” as some amputees need their sockets to be very strong and others want them to be light. “You’re trying to walk the line between something that’s strong enough and something that is not too heavy.”

Patients often develop a strong, lifelong bond with their prosthetist. The more the experts get to know the amputees, the better they are able to create sockets that work for their lifestyle. Getting the artificial limb for the first time can be a life-changing experience.—constructing-hope/article20223132/

The Well-Heeled Heritage of Stilettos

“One of the best ways of damning a woman is saying she wears practical shoes,” said Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. ‘On a Pedestal,’ a museum exhibit, examined two of the most extreme forms of Western footwear, the chopine and its successor, the high heel.

The sex appeal of the clunky chopine may not be immediately apparent, but it embodies the same ideals a pair of six-inch Louboutins do today, a simultaneous sense of power and that stalwart of femininity: impracticality. No sensible shoes here

Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum’s exhibition “On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels” ran from November 19, 2009 to September 20, 2010.

(pictured below) Venetian chopines, 16th century, on loan from Museo Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice, Italy

The tallest chopines come from Venice. Some, such as this pair, have pedestals measuring over 50 cm in height. These chopines corroborate the visual and textual evidence suggesting that some women actually wore chopines of such towering heights. This pair has been conserved for this exhibition but will not be allowed to travel again. This pair has been conserved for this exhibition but will not be allowed to travel again.   Photograph © Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia



(pictured below) Milanese chopines, 16th century, on loan from Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy

These chopines are typically Italian in design. Their bases are of carved pine, tapering in the middle and flaring at the base to provide greater stability and are covered in white kid. The uppers are decorated with cutwork in patterns reminiscent of lace from the same period.  Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Applicata – Castello Sforzesco, Milan. All rights reserved