Over the winter break I was visiting some relatives at a university campus we were interested in for my daughter. Just for kicks I was having some fun chasing my 8-year-old nephew around one of the campus lawns. As you might imagine, running down a little kid involved jumping onto and off of a medium height ledge, navigating around a bunch of bushes and trees, and making some pretty sharp diagonal movements across a wide open field. Sound familiar? Not too different from what might happen on the tennis court.
The more interesting part of the story is I heard later on that one of my relatives commented something like, “I can’t move like that any more, my knees hurt too much.”
Well, let me explain something about having good mobility. It doesn’t just happen, and it’s not merely a function of having ‘good knees’. It takes commitment, goals and a having a very clear process, not to mention a lot of patience and dedication to deal with the inevitable ups and downs.
Here are my 7 rules for mobility success:
1.Take the first step – you have to start somewhere, get out of your head and into action.
2.Make some goals – keep them small and achievable to start, they will grow on their own as you grow.
3.Make a pledge – like a daily prayer, write it down and say it every day as a constant reminder, it will help you to keep going. See my tennis pledge as an example.
4.Don’t play your way to mobility – real improvements in mobility require specific movement training, strength exercises, stretching routines plus a nutrition program that keeps you at your optimum weight.
5.Make good decisions – consult your doctor and/or physical therapist for general recommendations on your training program, and whenever you have an injury. Slow and steady wins the race, mobility builds over time.
6.Be a student of mobility training – whether you prefer to join a club, work with a personal trainer, or study on your own using online resources and books, don’t try to go it alone. Check out my reading list and learning links for some initial resources.
7.Evaluate – take a step back every 6 to 12 months to see where you are and what modifications might be worth making in order to continue progressing.