Caity has maturity beyond her years and a talent to match. Her throws coach, Erik Faumuina says she has 'determination and a fantastic mindset' and I couldn't agree more. I've been fortunate to work with this young woman for the past 18 months and she has been a wonderful example of how intelligent movement strategies and an open mind can overcome the most problematic of injuries!
When I first met Caity I was advised that she had a back condition known as Spodylolisthesis and pars defect. This condition was holding her back from enjoying her sports and it also caused her a good deal of pain. She had been advised to do "core" work to keep her back strong and avoid rotation! Avoid rotation?? Well we won't go far without rotation in these sports!
You can only do so much to strengthen your core and at the end of the day it's always more effective to avoid your low back becoming a part of the movement equation. The answer for Caity was to teach her to produce rotational motion without using her low back!!!
As with any movement, it's our body's capacity for force transmission that counts when it comes to injury prevention. Think of your body as a spring rather than a plank. If you were to jump from a height down to the ground, would you be safer if you were a stiff plank or a springy slinky?
When we train for better movement we need to train for a more springy and responsive body from head to toe. Effective injury prevention begins with training the tissues of the body to handle forces safely and efficiently. Responsive tissue is super compliant, elastic yet resilient and therefore less prone to injury. Instead of stiffening the "core", let's teach the hips and thoracic spine to rotate effectively for efficient force output. In this way, the vulnerable low back moves only within its limited capacity while the big powerhouses, the hips and thoracic spine, do the heavy loading!
Caity's intelligent and mature approach to solving this problem has been the key to her continuing success. Her diligent and consistent application of mobilsers and fascial freeing techniques has provided her with the freedom to move without risk to her back.
Caity is becoming more and more capable of harnessing elastic energy and her throws are improving with each event she participates in. I always look forward to hearing how she performs in events. Her latest news was that she broke 4 records at the ACS championships, all with PB's. Sky's the limit for this young athlete and how lucky am I to work with such an inspiring young talent!