-June 7th, 2012-
When most people hear the word mobility, they often think of agility.
I tell lots of players we need to work on their mobility and they all agree, again thinking I am talking about improving their agility.
And in a way I am, just not the way they think.
When I talk about mobility I am talking about the mobility of their joints, not the way they run and change direction on the field.
Certain joints in your body are supposed to be mobile and some are supposed to be stable.
If you lack joint mobility your performance will be impaired and you will be at higher risk of injury.
The mobile joints are: ankles, hips, and thoracic spine (think mid-back to bottom of neck)
(The shoulders are a weird one as they are what is called a controlled mobility. If they are too mobile you risk injury but if they are too stable you have no range of motion)
The most important joint is the hip because it is the biggest joint in your body. If your hips lack mobility you won’t be able to run as fast, change direction as quickly, or shoot as hard as you should be able to due to lack of range of motion.
We’ll use shooting as an example. Every time you shoot the ball you are transferring energy from your legs through your hips into your upper body.
The hips need to be mobile enough to rotate and not lose or dissipate the force as it transfers through that area. I’m going to focus on hip internal rotation as it is imperative for lacrosse players.
Quick drill: lie on the ground with your legs bent at 90 degrees. Place your feet as far apart from each other as you can maintaining that 90 degree bend then without letting your hips rotate drive one knee in towards the ground as far as you can. That is hip internal rotation.
If you shoot righty, your left hip goes into internal rotation shoot. If you shoot lefty, your right hip goes into internal rotation when you shoot.
If you lack hip internal rotation, you won’t generate near as much power when shooting as someone who has a greater range of motion. Increasing this small aspect of training can add miles to your shot without any change in strength or power.
Take a quick look at the video below of Paul Rabil shooting on ESPN’s Sport Science. The whole video is interesting but if you want to quickly see the importance of the hips start watching at the 1:50 mark.
His hips open up and then rotate extremely quickly and his left hip goes into internal rotation as he stiffens the lead leg. If he lacked mobility there the rotation wouldn’t be as great and he wouldn’t shoot as hard as he does.