17 August 2016
High jump technique: Balanced approach
By Sean Carey
Sean looks at different high-jump athletes and their method of preparation and run-up. To read the article in full, click here.
Here are some excerpts from the article by Sean Carey:
“As a teacher of the Alexander Technique, a psycho-physical method for restoring or improving coordination, and with a long-standing interest in athletics, I’m always looking at how an athlete’s body works as a whole.
I pay particular attention to the balance of an athlete’s head on their neck because this relationship acts as a master reflex in the body.
How? Well, because any tightening of the large neck muscles, such as the trapezius or sternocleidomastoids, that attach to the base of the skull, necessarily exaggerates the forward curvature of the neck (cervical) and lumbar parts of the spine, and diminishes one’s internal length (the distance between the crown of the head and soles of the feet).
In turn, this imbalance will transfer the basic work of supporting an athlete’s body weight against gravity from the non-fatigable, slow-twitch muscle fibres of the back musculature to the very fatigable, fast-twitch fibres of the leg muscles. If this happens, a kinaesthetically-attuned athlete will register that they are no longer experiencing ‘springiness’ or buoyancy but instead feel heavy or tired.
This deterioration can obviously have an impact on mood and confidence. But if the athlete can improve the relationship between their neck, head and torso, they will come out of that physical and psychological slump and feel more alive, more comfortable in their skin, muscles and joints, and go on to improve their performance.”
Heather Walker is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, based in Nanaimo, B.C. For more information about lessons and workshops, please phone 250-716-3464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.