Gait Training at Body Brain Boot CampWritten By: David Burns
Some players observed this week REALLY have some challenges with their gait. I hear things like “that is just his or her running style”. No it isn’t. It is the way they run as a consequence of the motor patterns they’ve developed, their coordination and their body awareness. These are all brain functions and functions that can be changed. Additionaly, various asymmetries in joint angulation can be observed which is a reflection of brain function.
Motor patterns are built through procedural learning which happens with repetition. Develop a bad habit and every time your out there running you are “learning” how to perform that motor function poorly. The brain will learn whatever you repeat, whether that is good form or bad form is irrelevant.
Their coordination is a consequence of the appropriate or inappropriate information (e.g. a poorly rehabbed injury) coming in from muscles and joints via their receptors and the peripheral nerves that than send information to the cerebellum and brain via the spinal cord.
The cerebellum is a very important “muscle” that serves to initiate all motor function, other than eye movements and takes in information to make error corrections when things are not going as planned. These error corrections are “judgments” that are made when what the intended action from brain is compared to what actually transpires in body. The accuracy and speed of these corrections can be conditioned through body / brain training that amplifies feedback into the system and elevates consciousness of the motor patterns.
Everything we do is about an action plan, execution of plan, feedback, error correction, new action plan, execution of plan, feedback, error correction, new action plan and so on and so. When you hold out your arm and than touch your nose this whole process is going on but it is happening so quickly that it looks like one smooth and straight action.
Now, you can’t coordinate that which you are unaware of. Body representation in brain is key to control. The greater the body awareness the greater control, the better form. What kind of control do you have over a limb that has fallen “asleep”? And of course balance is also vital to speed, shifting weight, direction change etc. We will talk more about balance in the future.
The Body Brain Boot Camp and the MVP program will include various exercises to work on appropriate motor patterns, coordination and body awareness. Result will be faster, coordinated players that will likely sustain less injuries. Those that want one on one training or an ideal home training tool should look at the Interactive Metronome.
All players should have their balance evaluated particularly if they have had past lower limb injuries. All ISC players get a complimentary balance test with Brain Centers NW. All MVP participants will have a thorough balance, coordination and body awareness evaluation performed prior to participation.