This blog was written when we were creating a concept called the Mat Movement and I was teaching our proprietary Olympian Yoga & Pilates. While our business has evolved from these concepts and teaching style, the message is the same. Our resources benefit the entire sports community. Yet first and foremost, our resources will benefit the individual or group who is motivated to make positive change. They are ready to navigate their own healthy lifestyle. This stems beyond the sports community. Enjoy this read!
I love talking about master plans, big goals, what if’s, and any other future predicting conversations. So when Matt and I dove headfirst into the MAT movement, one of the big questions was: who is the MAT movement for? True, this is more of a business planning question. But you know I thoroughly enjoy what if conversations. (What if you moved to Europe? What would you do as a career and where would you live?)
Back to the point at hand, of all the content that we share via the MAT movement, who do we actually make these videos, dvd’s, and blogs for? In essence, who is our muse? This is one of the most vital questions when building a business. Yet for us, one of the most difficult. Why? Let me break it down for you like RUN-DMC.
I instruct Olympian Yoga & Pilates to Athletes…
…of all ages. Seriously. Tweens, teens, clubs, collegiate, Olympians, multi-million dollar professionals, and the all-banged-up retired athlete of any age (I “retired” at 28, keep that in mind). That’s a variety of people. And I think we all can agree that the needs and goals of a 14 year old female club volleyball player are different from those of a seasoned baseball athlete in the Major Leagues.
Athletes have Parents
Two reasons why our resources are helpful for parents:
1) Parents are influencers. Not only do they nurture, provide, guide, discipline, and teach…they move.
Hey parental units (this is the loving name I’ve given my parents, thanks to the Cone Heads movie), how do you stand? How do you sit? As a wee bebe, we are watching and mimicking your every move – you’re our role models! Your patterns of movement and posture influence those around you. So the more you know about your body, the better. This won’t only help your child’s alignment and posture, this will help you! You have a body, you’re still using it. Let’s get the most out of it! And while we’re at it, let’s give your kids the physical stimulation they deserve.
Next time you’re out and about in civilization, get a little nerdy with me and do some people watching. Look at the posture similarities of family members. Does the child stand like the mom or dad? How about when they move or walk? It’s pretty surprising!
2) Parents make decisions. They inspire, decide, and /or guide the young athlete’s participation in sports. They often decide and fund the participation of specialized training, the frequency of training, extracurricular activities, and such. These extrinsic factors can play a major role in an athlete’s fundamental growth, foundational skills, motivation to play (vs burnout), and likelihood of overuse injury.
For example, an overuse injury comes from – you guessed it – an overuse of an area that cannot support the load or strain put upon it. This could be from a multitude of factors, including not enough recovery time, incorrect alignment or movement patterns, compensatory patterns, and ultimately an imbalance within the body. If you keep tugging at the seams of your shirt, something is eventually going to give – it’s just a matter of when and where. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how to decrease the likelihood of this happening?
As a parent, you make countless decisions that will influence your children for years to come. We are here to give you current, relevant, and useful information in hopes improve one’s overall health. Consider us your preventative specialists!
The Understated Influencers: Coaches
What do you remember of your youth, club, high school, collegiate, or professional-level coaches? The good, the bad, and the ugly. Coaches can be influencers, motivators, instigators, inspirers, put-downers, and everything in between. As a coach, you play a crucial role in the development of the athlete, no matter their age. My water polo coach when I was 27 years old was as influential as my swim coach at 14 years old, yet in very different ways. How they influence you depends on their education in the sport, the intentions or inspiration behind their actions, their genuine goals for you and your team, and how you respond to each of these.
Coaches are often thrown into the role of being a body educator, yet aren’t given many (if any) educational resources to safely guide their athletes. Where is there complimentary-curriculum for coaches on modern science-based body education? Many of the coaches that I know do what they do because they love the sport – not because of the money. Like teachers, they may have to dive into their own bank or fundraise to provide the necessary supplies, equipment, or travel needs. This is a lot to ask of our educators.
So this goes out to you, Coach. We want to give you as much information as possible so that you can make smart choices when training your athletes. And I have a feeling this might help with your own body shenanigans (aka pains, ailments, unfortunate scenarios, why does my back hurt, etc).
The “Retired” Athlete
This is me. And this might be you. You were very competitive. Wait. You still are. Maybe not on paper, but in your heart. You still have a body (thank goodness) and you still plan to use it (thank goodness). Your ego wants to take over when your body gives out. You believe that Pain is Temporary, Bruin Pride is Forever. Well, maybe not the Bruin part, unless you are in fact, a Bruin, in which I will cheer the 8-clap for you.
Back to the point – you may or may not be convinced that the wear n’ tear of your body is just the way it is for athletes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say I was really hard on my body, I really banged it up, and now I’m paying for it. Well the truth is, yes, you probably were harder on your body than you should’ve been. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it now. You will have to put the ego aside and work hard to unravel all the compensatory patterns and blind spots you’ve built up. Speaking from experience, let’s take a closer look at how we can improve our health, longevity and quality of life.
As we were saying, we wanted to create a perfect Muse for the MAT movement. Yet the deeper we dove, the more we realized, maybe the MAT movement is meant for everybody; not a single muse. Young athletes, parents, professionals, coaches, post-career athletes, and everything in between. It’s meant for anyone who wants to move…and keep on moving.
I whole-heartedly believe the MAT movement is for you.