Movement Inspiration 1/12/14 Play a team game

Many people in the Parkour world, and I suspect in the general movement world, dislike team sports. People who end up being traceurs, trickers, gymnasts, martial artists, and board sport athletes often end up in those sports because team sports didn’t appeal to them.

The ubiquity of team sports in American culture and the lack of respect for other types of athletes makes it easy to want to take a contrarian status against team sports, the amount of money and hype involved don’t help either.

There is some validity to this dislike. Team sports should not be the only physical education we give our kids and other athletes deserve more attention as well, and the excesses of pro team sports are off-putting.

Team sports however are beautiful expressions of human movement. They involve highly developed locomotive abilities, top level sprinting, cutting, dodging, and jumping, great ground contact abilities, high levels of coordination in manipulating ball, bat, glove, and the ability to coordinate movement with team mates and out maneuver contact, tackle, and throw an opponent.

When I watch team sports I get excited by the short stops sliding, catch, turn, and throw, seeing echoes of movements I do to go under obstacles only in the shortstop’s case he has a complete complex locomotive movements catch a fast moving object possible avoid another player and then throw accurately.

I enjoy watching a running back take contact, spin put a hand down and keep running, or wide receiver dive roll of a Defensive back into the end zone.

There is value to be had in team games. The problem is our culture moves too fast into the team sports. We ask people who can’t run or squat to to cut and dodge; we never take the time developing effective ground contact movement and break-falling skills before asking athletes to get tackled and survive. I believe this weak foundation in movement caused by the loss of undirected play and general physical education is the primary reason injuries are skyrocketing in team sports, but team sports can be scaled intelligently too and should not be ignored in movement culture either.

So for this Sunday play some pick up basketball, go hit and throw a baseball around with some friends, play some dodgeball or kickball. Have fun and understand it is fun because it is tapping into some deeply important physical emotional and mental capacities.

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