Systematic and formal movement practices have great value in helping us progress consistently and in illustrating movement principles but they are always limited compared to free form movement practices in total motor information fed to the brain, in creativity developed and in how much fun you have.
For a warm up for instance before locomotive/parkour training you might do some dynamic leg swings and kicks, some hip internal and external rotations work, some ankle dorsiflexion, plantar flexion, eversion, inversion and rotation. Learning all these movement patterns is important taking the time to refine them and see where your missing range of motion or motor control and where your compensations are, that’s all very valuable, however if you only stay in these patterns in that same static type of practice it will become boring and stale. Ultimately focusing solely on static practice is effective then if you can find ways to challenge those capacities with more free form and fun practices.
At a recent training session for instance we found a soccer ball lying around and ended up kicking it around for an almost an hour, coupled with some formal drills to work on motor weaknesses my legs felt amazing afterwards.
Freestyle soccer is a perfect challenge for developing dynamic mobility and motor control through most of the ranges of motion of your lower body.
Beyond that its is powerful manipulative practice that develops fine motor foot-eye coordination which is a useful thing to have in moving through complex environments or just navigating life.
The human ability to extend our motor map into objects is unparalleled and feeding this type of movement information into your brain is hugely beneficial, add a little bit to your training and you will be a more adaptable mover
Here is some amazing inspiration.
P.S Justin Goodharts article over at well rounded athlete on footbag may have been the inspiration for taking up the soccer ball or I may have read it just afterword and appreciated it because of the soccer ball I can’t remember either way it is worth reading to.