Everyone hates paying for insurance. Whether it is health insurance, car insurance, or life insurance, it feels like wasting money… until you need it. Of course, you are thankful if you never need it, but you also feel a little bit ripped off. At the heart of insurance is a mindset of preparing for the worst. There are a lot of things in life that are outside of your control, so these preparations are necessary, but many people forget about the other side of the coin which is preparing to be the best.
This “prepare for the worst” mindset often invades training in the form of “prevention programs”. There is a whole list of exercises like ACL exercises, rotator cuff exercises, and ankle exercises that are marketed on the premise of preparing for the worst. These exercises all have merit, but there is a critical shift in an athletes mindset when the goal of training becomes performance rather than insurance. This is why we use the force plate as the gold standard of movement evaluation.
By evaluating each athletes Movement Signature, we are able to test performance and efficiency at the same time. Rather than preparing for the worst, we are preparing to be the best.
We have talked a lot about the importance of body position to performance, but this relationship more critical at the shoulder than any other joint in the body. Because of the complex interaction between the thoracic spine, scapula, and gleno-humeral joint, body position and posture have a huge impact on an athlete’s signature. One of our biggest challenges as coaches is to teach athletes the proper relationship between spinal position, scapular control, and shoulder stability.
Educating the Shoulder
The Bent Over Y is a great tool for teaching athletes the proper position and sequencing of all the structures that dictate shoulder positioning. The sequence begins by the athlete pushing the hips back and hinge forward to set a neutral spine that is parallel to the ground.
Athletes are challenged to maintain spinal position while moving the scapulae and shoulders through retraction, external rotation, flexion, and extension. We do this as a part of our activation warm-up everyday as a way to improve posture and shoulder performance.
Thumbs Up! The Coaching Keys
- Pull the elbows up and externally rotate – thumbs to the ceiling whole time
- Reach overhead into a “Y” with neutral neck and spine
- Finish by squeezing elbows to your sides into “W” position
The magic behind this exercise is not in the movement, but in the mindset. Focus on getting just a little bit better at your body position and shoulder control everyday. The goal is to be consistent and determined in your pursuit of performance instead of just going through the motions and “paying your insurance premiums.”
Don’t live in fear. Stop banking on insurance exercises and start investing in performance.