Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hip to the Shoulder

The Thin Man (volleyball, 6' 7", 170 lbs) is making progress. Yesterday, he finally felt what it is to have the hip lead the shoulder with an overhand throwing/hitting motion. Our normal warm up hit a bit of a snag when his R knee decided it didn't care for lateral lunges. So we stopped the "get low" lower body stuff for a few minutes and went to some football/med ball throws.

TTM is super-duper tight in his anterior hip musculature. He has also always been a middle hitter, so his approach has always been shortened, with his shoulders/hips more square to the net, rather than open to the setter/court, like a R-handed strong-side hitter typically takes. Thus, he has developed a very arm-dominant swing (with little combined torso/hip extension and rotation). Now the asymmetry between his R and L shoulders is beginning to become prominent--something that has to be rectified.

I had him take a stride stance, with the L foot in front of the R, rotate the his hips to the R, flexing the hip/knee/ankle, and shift his weight back to the rear R foot. I then demonstrated pushing through the ground with my R foot to generate rotation to the left with simultaneous triple extension (ankle, knee, hip) of the R LE. He attempted to mimic my movement, but had trouble getting the hip to rotate and extend. At that point, I put my hands on his hips and manually cued the combined rotation/extension (after asking his permission, of course).

Eureka! He said it felt totally different than anything he'd ever done before--"so there's this diagonal connection going on between the R and L sides." Yes! Big stretch through his R side. I told him he had to practice the motion, R and L, over and over with throwing and hitting; and that it would probably take a little while before he consistently integrated it into his on-court hitting mechanics. The key was getting him to understand the weight-shift from back to front and feel the triple extension of the leg (particularly the hip) as part of the rotation that proceeds the arm motion.

Sometimes you just have to go back to square one and go step by step.

1 comment:

EliteVolleyballPerformance said...

Is there any chance I could see some video of the progression?