Originally Posted by zentune
Two of my old coaches used to get some of their friends together and set up cones on a slightly inclined and traffic-free (they hoped) roadway and have mock slalom races during the summer....a few skinned knees and such but they said it was great!
Chad I think, mentioned something interesting in the "balance everyday" thread. He said that he chops a lot of wood, and that he likes to switch to his off hand in an effort to challenge himself. I think that's great!! I myself write left handed, but I find that I can do somethings equally with both hands (and both feet). Sometimes I get confused as to which hand I usually brush my skis with, as an example (I'm sure that I am not fully ambidextrous, though). I do think what Chad said is also something that could be discussed here. When we practice say, balancing on one leg, most of us will find that it is much easier one one more than the other. This is interesting to me in that it suggests that perhaps the "less coordinated?" leg should be the focus when working on our balance.
I tried at one point to teach myself to write right-handed. I found that I could sort of do it, but I think I gave up too easily. Perhaps.......perhaps that is one of the biggest challenges we face if we wish to improve.
Glad you found it interesting zenny. I would only add that we shouldn't stop at the leg in question. The function of the leg is dependent on the use of the whole self. Everyone can find these side to side inequalities, it is almost as if one side moves through the day differently than the other, I would contend that they do. With regard to the non dominant side having better balance I think we should be sure we're comparing apples to apples. If balance training is merely about task success that is fine, the surfing, wind surfing example is perfect, and anyone mountain locked person can attribute just how difficult sitting on a longboard in waist high swell can be:). However, if the training is about enhancing self awareness/pattern recognition look at the use of the whole self in the activity. While the task may be better accomplished on the non dominant side does it come at the expense of more trunk motion, arm swing, gaze changes, ankle mobility, etc.
Our dominant side is the benefactor of thousands of more reps/day, the structure (soft tissue) is harder, often hyper stable, the neuromuscular orientations(synergy patterns) are hyper stable. So while in the task of maintaining balance it may underperform, it does so usually with less movement variability compared to the non dominant side. Apples to apples, try and maintain the same hyper stable posture on the non dominant side at see what the score is and how much more effort the sensory report gives you.
On the other hand, using Jamt's soccer realizations. Look at how the body has chosen the configuration to best deliver the foot, hip extension, pelvic rotation, left shoulder use, head position, can even see gaze differences with good film. Going to a left footed kick (which if you ever saw me play soccer in high school would be funniest home video material) there will be a completely different body configuration, part based on the hyper stable tissue and function of the now stance dominant side and part because of the inefficient synergy capabilities of the non dominant kicking side.
I love this video. Look at the high degree of symmetry from one turn to the other through the ribcage with respect to the head/eye.
not to mention how mobile these athletes are, it is strength, but strength that allows segmental control, not rigidity.
balance training should enhance our recognition of these segments IMO, it is different than balance task success. Fortunately they are both enjoyable.
Anecdotally, currently my daughter is learning to ride a bike, I have a Carver skateboard to cruise with her. I ride regular footed(toes to the right) Goofing around I tried to change to a goofy foot(toes to the left). Talk about side to side issues, once I switched I couldn't even carve. Finding the trunk rotation and ankle timing has been comical. Balance and movement are in everything we do, find what you enjoy and remain playful.
have fun everyone.