Jan 29, 2015Connecting the Links
By Vern Gambetta
Recognizing that the body is a kinetic chain, we need to always be aware of how we are making connections between all the links in the chain. It is too easy to fall into a reductionist approach that would have us focus on the links. A functional approach focuses on the totality of the linkages.
We get more efficient the better we connect the links. Therefore a major objective of training is connecting. So we must look at our methods and ask: Are we in fact connecting or are we disconnecting?
— If you are intrigued by the thoughts of veteran conditioning coach Vern Gambetta, you will want a copy of his exciting new book, Following the Functional Path: Building and Rebuilding the Athlete. —
We need to understand the end result we desire and how the links in the chain can be connected and timed to reach those goals. Remember that the core is the relay center–it is the center of the action, but not the originator of the action. We should not try to isolate the muscles of the core anymore than we should any other muscles of the body.
We must always take into consideration that we are bipedal land animals so to insure that all connections are made we must build from the ground up based on the gait cycle. It may seem basic, but we need to know what we are connecting and why are we connecting them. Then, we need to examine how we are connecting them.
From there, we need to understand how the exercises we use in training are connecting to the skill required in the movement or the sport. Is the movement similar or the same? Does the athlete make the connection? When all connections are made, the result is coordinated, flowing, efficient, rhythmic movement that allows the athlete to execute flawlessly.
Vern Gambetta, MA, is President of Gambetta Sports Training Systems in Sarasota, Fla. The former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox, he has also worked extensively with basketball, soccer, and track and field athletes. He is a frequent contributor to Training & Conditioning. Vern also maintains his own blog.