TRAINING: IMPROVE BALANCE TO INCREASE SPEED
In general, better balance translates into a more coordinated effort and higher precision of movement regardless of sport, so working on balance should be an important part of any good training regimen for any athlete. But how does our balance affect our speed? The answer is – indirectly, but rather significantly and it’s not as complicated as it might seem.
Centuries ago a visionary extraordinaire Leonardo Da Vinci (1452–1519) wrote the following about motion, balance, and foot contact: “The legs, or centre of support, in men and animals, will approach nearer to the centre of gravity, in proportion to the slowness of their motion; and, on the contrary, when the motion is quicker, they will be farther removed from that perpendicular line.”¹
From the Pose Method® point of view, speed is determined by the degree of falling but in order to even start falling you have to be in the position of balance first. As you can see, balance is an essential part of movement. In order for movement to happen there has to be balance first and then it has to be destroyed, then you find balance again and to go anywhere from that point, that newly found balance has to be destroyed again… and voila! you’re moving.
Take a look at this video to help you connect the dots. Gravity – balance – movement – everything is connected. Improve your understanding of this topic, improve your basic skills and you will progress further and faster.
It is not sport specific. Balance is balance. There is, however, static balance and there is dynamic balance. In sports the dynamic balance is more obvious visually and mentally since this is what we see when the athlete is in motion. Only a fraction of a second is given for the static balance to happen, but it happens nonetheless. It has to occur in order for movement to take place and to continue. And because of such a limited time frame of its occurrence, it becomes much more important to get a better handle on static balance.
The dynamic balance is no less significant and is actually more difficult to perfect, but by working on developing your dynamic balance skill you will strengthen what is commonly the weak link. And we all know the old adage – the system is only as strong as its weakest link. The dynamic balance is interwoven with movement. If you only have a fraction of a moment to execute that chain of events, you better believe that you won’t be able to think about it, focus on it too much, etc… It will just have to happen as part of motion. So the better your balance skill is, the better your movement will be.
Within the Pose Method® framework, improved balance serves as a foundation for a better fall, which in its turn serves to produce better forward movement. Your ability to quickly and smoothly transition between the state of balance and the fall, will help you improve your speed.
While there are many exercises that can be done to improve balance, here’s the basic drill that you should start with that relates specifically to running technique. And to increase the level of difficulty – do it with your eyes closed.