Monday, May 5, 2008

When Working With Athletes

When I am working with competitive athletes (amateur
or professional) I will make a point of learning
about their training regimens and performance through
their coaches and then from the athletes. I may even
go and watch them train so I can see them in movement
in their activities. I want specifics that includes
whatever training formulas they use. I want to know
when they will compete and when they will have down
time. I also want to know what their goals are for a
given training period and a specific competition.
Remember... training, performance and competition
aren't the same objectives. The questions I ask my
athlete clients is "what are your goals short and
long term? How do you see Rolfing help you prepare for
your sport?"

When working with athletes the change that I look for
is in performance. What is the athlete telling me
about the difference in his/her game, form, and
abilities. What do I see different in alignment,
movement and awareness. What do the coaches say as
being different about the athlete on the playing field
-- physical, emotional, cognitive.

In my opinion, athletes are better served if you help
them find their "line" in their sport. In the language
of athletes, lasting changes translate into improved
performance and the awareness that rises from knowing
the body is functioning more efficiently.

I also find that elite athletes bring a kinesthetic
awareness to the Rolfing studio that the average
client may not. But what is important here is finding
the common language between Rolfer and athlete. That
the language we use as Rolfers and how we apply
concepts and models to bodies standing still or
walking in our studio's, may not play out the same
for a body in dynamic movement. What may work better
is language that helps both Rolfer and athlete
understand the body in performance. Using models that
are fluid can serve to enhance our vision and
interventions in helping the athletes performance.

When working with athletes, I find that Rolfing based
on principles is more effective than working by
formula. For me it is more efficient and for the
athlete it is to the point and more effective in
enhancing performance. I also find it is less
disruptive to the athletes training schedule and
easier to schedule around competitions.

Bob Alonzi
Certified Advanced Rolfer

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