Jordan Burgess' Movement Journey & The State of Volleyball In The World
If you just want the videos, scroll down.
A brief timeline of Jordan's movement history
What we changed:
- From using her elbow to load her arm at a really high point into using her body to load at a lower and more neutral (shoulder joint) point. This point also allows for more whip in the acceleration portion of the swing.
- Created awareness of lack of the external rotation in her right arm. Made gaining more external rotation a daily movement vitamin. Without this essential range of motion, she loses potential whip/velocity and will be forced to compensate in other parts of her body.
- Improved the Quality of rotational patterning into the left side of her body. Notice the differences in her left arm and left leg as she hits and in the image comparison at the bottom of this post. We see improved left hip and knee flexion as a superior rotation point than a locked out left leg.
- Improving, and continuing to improve her rib cage and thoracic mobility. A daily movement vitamin.
- Jumping - using more of her entire foot to jump and land instead of her toes. This allowed for more of the dynamic capabilities of her ankle, rather than excessive plantarflexion and calf over-use.
- More natural and variable follow-through arm position. Rather than the oftentimes coached (and terrible) halting of the arm after contact. Or strict follow-through, that it must always be in one location.
How we changed things:
- We guided her movement actions through creating affordances within her environment, attuned her perception, movement specific tasks, and clear intentions.
- Highly specific weight training. Specific to Jordan, as well as to the task of hitting a volleyball. Or whatever other skill we were working on that day, jumping, passing, etc.
- Lots of throwing to create a moment of inertia for her hand to help pull into external rotation. As well as to teach the feeling of external rotation with whole-body rotation. I find throwing to be extremely similar reps without having constant access to a court.
- Using various clubs of different weights to teach the inertia of the arm swing. If she resists the club, she will lose and the club will win. She must channel her inner Bruce Lee and be the proverbial "water." Flow with the club rather than resist it.
- Immense increase of attunement & perception during sport activities with alterations to intentions, tasks, and environments.
- Lots of journaling, reflection, and clear goals with a clear long-term vision.
- Repetition without repetition. Repeating the same task goals several different ways and with immense amounts of novelty. This also increased her movement vocabulary and body awareness.
- Here's an instructional video series that includes many of the movements we did to alter her arm swing.
Bottom line & the state of volleyball in the world.
- Volleyball coaching & training still has a long way to go. Especially when it comes to understanding the brain, behavior, and biomechanics within the sport. The professional and elite teams are not doing enough to improve their understanding of the body and simple coaching tactics. Only 5-8% of coaches refer to any formal research about improving their athletes. The fragility of careers within sport has resulted in staff doing what it takes to keep their job, rather than be on a world-class learning curve. There is an epidemic of "well this is how it's always been done," and "this is how I was taught." Elite volleyball (and many other sports) have faulty issues at the social and intellectual levels and a near complete absence of art and exploration. The definition of art, in this case, uninhibited self-expression. True authentic movement signatures are a form of art. The no-mind experience. Flow.
- Ego is closely tied with this. When I wrote the Updated Biomechanics of The Volleyball Arm Swing and tried to post in a popular Facebook Group "Volleyball Coaches & Trainers," it was promptly removed. Even though much of the reason I wrote it was because so many people from that group had asked for it. If I stand by with his behavior, I condone it. So I'm calling out any of the guilty parties that read this. I was told by a non-administrator it was because they thought it was shameless self-promotion instead of an honest attempt to educate. I give this information out for free because I want to educate (many people told me to not share these videos). This situation reminds me of two quotes. The first from Robert Pirsig within his book Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, “The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I’m looking for the truth.’ and so it goes away. Puzzling.” I also share this as I am continually inspired by the stories from Josh Waitzkin. One he tells a story how Marcelo Garcia (5-time world champ in Brazilian jiu-jitsu) would live stream his practices before tournaments. Marcelo Garcia would respond with, "If you're studying my game, then you're entering my game, and I'll be better at it than you." (Source, see Tim Ferriss' Josh Waitzkin Podcast.)
- Rehabilitation modalities are still myopic and lack understanding of basic interconnectedness within the body and the very basics of sport movement. Also, education does very little to promote a curious & inquisitive nature to search for the causes of problems. Instead, they opt for the obvious treatment of symptoms.
- There is a massive gap between rehab, training, and coaching that needs to be interwoven rather than three separate entities frequently trying to do everyone else's job on top of their own.
- By no means do I think my methods are the right or even the best way to train for volleyball. I hope to continue to learn and be proven wrong. However, I do believe my methods are better than a majority of the stuff out there. A year from now, I hope I have improved methods than what you will see below. I aim to push my limits and comfort zone daily to have a world-class growth curve.
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