It is fresh in all our memories on how quickly a season can end with a knee injury. It happens thousands of time every season, with most being non-contact injuries.

Many times non-contact injuries are something that might not have been helped. There was simply a predisposition for the injury to occur. There are definite measures we can take to reduce the risk.

One of the measures I personally believe can be taken to reduce the risk of injury is proper technique. When an athlete loads the system correctly through proper posture the chances of injury should be reduced.

Let’s take a look at a cut or a lateral change of direction move. When an athlete uses correct technique you will almost always see the ankle joint being dorsiflexed by pushing the knees forward BUT ALLOWING THE HEEL TO STAY DOWN.  Notice I did not say push the knees forward and have the heel come way up off the floor. We should also see the hip being pushed back and the shoulder pushed forward (with a flat back) to load the glutes and hamstrings (and all posterior muscles). When the ankles are loaded, the hips are loaded and as a result the muscles are on tension we are more stable and able to move safer.

Let’s now look at a poor posture that can invite injury potential to increase. The athlete pushes the knees forward but allows the heels to come up. The hips become sucked under the center of mass not allowing the critical hip/glute muscles to turn on effectively and the shoulders stay vertical not aiding in loading the posterior chain muscles. Wow! Talk about a recipe for disaster!

It only takes about three minutes each day to reinforce the proper technique. Here is a simple progression you can use to get your athletes on the path to success, not injury:

  1. Proper static athletic stance- loading ankles, knee, hips…
  2. Toe drops into proper athletic stance (jump landing stance) start tall on toes and quickly drop into the stance your want. There shouldn’t be any valgus action at knees.
  3. Six inch mini jumps and stick landing- have athlete jump up and stick landing. The key to all landings is to get under control in one second or less.
  4. Multidirectional landings- have the athletes perform medium level jumps forward, sideways, angled and backwards always landing in the proper posture

I would love to hear your feedback on how this works for you. I have used it for years and can say my teams have been extremely healthy.

Yours in Speed,

Lee

P. S. – To learn exactly how to get your athletes in the proper stance for any direction of movement, be the best coach you can be and keep your athletes off the sideline… I highly recommend GroundBreaking 2.