All sports require balance to be successful.
What should a coach look for in their player's at any age? The answer to that question is balance, because a player who demonstrates balance at any age or level is more likely to be successful. No matter what a player is trying to accomplish in their individual sport, male or female, the quicker they realize the connection between their feet and the rest of their body the easier it will be to improve.
Whether an athlete is at the plate trying to hit a fast ball, pitching on the mound, on the tennis court hitting a backhand or serving, shooting a foul shot, throwing a pass down the field, footwork and balance are the keys to positive outcomes. Coaches continue to preach to get the balls of your feet on the ground and when that is consistent in a player they have conquered an important part of the game. No matter what your skill set is, there are many drills that will help develop speed, foot work, timing, rhythm and hand eye coordination. However, knowing that your feet are supported and your lower half is stable and balanced makes it much easier to get results. A balanced lower half will allow the upper half of an athlete's body to become more efficient and powerful.
In my practice the first thing that I determine when I'm evaluating a player is what their feet are doing when they hit the ground. If the player's foot is flat it can lead to balance problems. Whatever age the player is, it is very important to check out their feet to see if they are flat footed. A flat foot is an unstable foot and is more likely to break down, fatigue and become problematic. Flat feet will also affect the athlete's ability to transfer their body weight in all sports. An example of this is if a pitcher consistently collapses his back leg, the pitching coach should check his feet. A flat foot will probably be the reason for the collapse. I always suggest to the coaches that if they truly want to know whether their player will have balance issues, check out their feet. Flat feet or abnormally pronated feet is the major contributing factor to an unbalanced lower half. Flat feet can also lead to foot problems in players such as plantar fascilitis, muscle spasms, lower leg fatigue and not getting the most efficiency out of their lower half.
Many player's have flat feet and are unaware of how it can affect their balance during the game. Arch supports and orthotics continue to be the best way to create better balance in the lower half and change player's foot mechanics. Arch supports are designed to stabilize abnormal foot mechanics and treat flat feet. Arch supports that can fit in the athlete's sports specific shoes and cleats will support the player's feet throughout all aspects of the game.
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