Monday, January 7, 2008

The Developmental Sequence and Patience

Franz Snideman, RKC recently had a baby and that got me to thinking back a few years to when I myself was a new dad. I don't know how most fathers process the whole experience, but one thing (of many, of course) I enjoyed was watching my son develop the prerequisite strength and coordination to stand up and eventually walk.

Seeing babies learn and do complex skills with very little direct teaching is inspiring to me. Before my son had stood on his own for the first time, or taken his first step, he had already done leg lifts, "superman drills", "sit ups" (of a sort), and elementary tumbling for repetitions numbering in the thousands, possibly tens of thousands. Would an adult have the patience to do this? How long would a grown-up perform elementary "drills" before trying to jump into "the meat and potatoes" not even close to being ready?

"Weakness training" is what most intermediate trainees need and avoid like the plague. Some of this is conscious and some of it is unintentional. The key to finding weaknesses is challenging ourselves to different stimuli often enough that we don't lose the functions we spent so much time (or didn't...) developing in our formative years. The trick from there then is improving those uncovered weaknesses without losing training focus.


Brett Jones said...

Fundamental movement and stability patterns from our developmental stages are HUGE - great post.
Gray based the movement screen around these fundamental movements and something as simple as crawling and developing the contralateral movement pattern has far reaching impact (which is why sprinters spend time working on skipping drills).
And I agree watching a child move and learn to move is very educational.
Gray has a great saying - "you have forgotten what every 3 year old knows".
Sums it up pretty well.

Boris said...

Thanks Brett!

I love Gray Cook's stuff and my favorite quote from his book Athletic Body in Balance is this - finding this passage in the book store made me buy the book immediately:

A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and makes the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost.

Gubernatrix said...

Interesting! I love watching my 1-year-old nephew squat with perfect form so that he can put bits of crap from the floor in his mouth, but I hadn't seen it as a 'bottom up' process.

It's a great way of persuading people that they can squat though. "You did it when you were a baby".