19 minutes | Apr 26, 2020

Michael Jordan First Step Quickness Explained

Your #1 site for all things sports rehab, sports performance, and orthopedic rehabilitation is: https://www.sportsrehabexpert.com/ My Clinic: https://www.annarbor.physio/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sportsrehabexpert/ With the "Last Dance" documentary recently airing, I thought it would be cool to take a look at some athletic movements that I have seen great athletes consistently be able to do throughout their career that I feel helps them express their full athletic potential as well as stay relatively injury free. When watching Jordan play, we all know his athleticism is off the charts compared to just about anyone! However, there are some key concepts to his first step quickness and change of direction that allows him to display his full athletic potential. #1) First step quickness - MJ was great at using a "plyo step". Some coaches unfortunately think this is a band thing and will call it a "miss step". But we must understand what this step allows him to do in order to be effective and why we see him use it all the time. The plyo step is a way of lowering your center of mass, creating a better shin angle, and utilizing the stretch shortening cycle of the tendon to accelerate faster. Without this step you will lose all 3 of those key components! Now with the plyo step, I will see some athletes perform this wrong...They will triple extend as they apply the impulse into the ground. Meaning, they will extend their knee at the same time DF their foot. Which would not be so bad if this was done on acceleration or moving forward. However, on the initial impulse and ground reaction forces it places a lot of stress on the achilles. Instead a bent knee should be utilized to apply that initial impulse so the gastroc is shortened on one end and allowed to lengthen on the opposite. Furthermore, this position will allow you to access you soleus more too. Which bringing more muscles to the party to help out is not a bad thing! #2) Knee Valgus - Jordan and many athletes know how to use knee valgus to their advantage to allow themselves to display athleticism while still resisting injury. In the video, I show how MJ (a lot of other great athletes do this as well) is able to use his off leg to unload and move into valgus so he can drop his center of mass. This creates an opportunity for him to get the plant foot re-positioned and rotate the body in the direction he wants to move. Creating better angles for changing direction. His unloaded leg goes into valgus so he can drop his center of mass. His plant leg and body rotate 90 degrees to create a lateral force (not valgus force) into the ground with his foot and mid line of pelvis facing the same direction. As well as his plant leg shin and torso moving in the same direction as well. Allowing him to effectively change direction and use knee valgus to position his body advantageously for the movement.
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