Kinesthetics is our ability to feel the sensations of our movements and the awareness of where our body is in space. Having a kinesthetic sense of one’s body parts relative to a previous position enables athletes to develop and nurture their athletic proficiency.
This awareness that we have and call ‘skill’ allows us to perform each movement with earned excellence. Kinesthetics is manifested in the examples of when the ‘center’ on a football team shotgun snaps a ball accurately to the quarterback, while keeping his eyes rivited on his opponent or the kicker kicks an extra point and knows exactly where to place his plant foot while moving, even though he is concentrating on the football as he is about to punch it through the uprights. Executing a skill correctly over and over allows an athlete to use precise sensory feedback to adjust as they move, integrating information from the ears, eyes, muscles, ligaments, skin and more – kinesthetic awareness.
Agility shuttles are used by coaches and scouts to evaluate players. Strength and Conditioning coaches hence instruct athletes with the appropriate form and have them practice it diligently to minimize their time. The following is an example of some instructions on the ‘Pro Agility Shuttle’ and viewed as good advice:
“Put your right hand down to the ground and get ready to take off.” “Take three steps within five yards and pivot your right foot around so that it is in front of your left foot. Make sure your right hand is on the ground near your right foot.” “Burst out 10 yards and mimic the same pivot and position with your left foot.”
Yet, often instructors training athletes for a drill such as the ‘Pro Agility Shuttle’ may forget the most important coaching fundamental of running a great time, ‘where the head goes the body will follow.’ Touching a line on the ground as you change direction is not a complicated task as the line is not going to move. The athlete need not stare at the line to make sure he touches it, he need only to know where it is and be in tune with his running form.
The athlete need not watch the line
Getting as low as possible and using peripheral vision and body awareness for hand placement is what is necessary as the athlete must pivot the head and foot to burst in the opposite direction. Looking at the line and making sure it is touched prevents the athlete from quickly getting his head turned downfield. The craniums appropriate position brings the entire system into the actions needed to propel the body in the opposite direction.
By being aware of the line not watching it allows the athlete to turn quicker
If an athlete steps correctly, gets low as he approaches the line, trust he knows where he is in space and concentrates on bringing ‘the head around so the body will follow’, he will run up to his capabilities.
Teach athletes to rely on their kinesthetic awareness so they perform movements at the highest level.