| Change of direction (CoD) relies heavily on three (3) things—ANGLES, FOOTWORK, and HIPS. Regardless of the type of CoD being executed, you should always consider how you are loading (and unloading) the knee joint.
1) ANGLES: Body position, velocity, and lower limb muscle activity have a direct impact on knee joint loading. By stacking your lower limb joints—favoring the direction that you are trying to redirect your energy towards—you minimize energy leaks, while significantly reducing the relative risk of injury.
2) FOOTWORK: One-step and three-step cutting methods are commonly taught as the ”go-to” for change of direction in multi-directional sports. It takes superior ankle mobility/stability, and hundreds (if not thousands) of repetitions for an athlete to master this technique. I firmly believe that these should be taught and used on a need-basis, primarily because they are executed at high velocities with very sharp angle demands. This causes a significant increase in relative knee joint loading, which increases the risk of injury. With that being said, I suggest that athletes learn to keep their feet active when changing directions (or cutting) before implementing one-step or three-step cutting.
3) HIPS: In order to accelerate, decelerate, and accelerate (again) efficiently, you must have a low center of gravity. The more compact you make your body when changing directions, the easier it is for you to decelerate and redirect all of the force your body has absorbed in the previous movement. Additionally, ample hip mobility and active glutes will enable more efficient and fluid movement as you accelerate after your CoD.
#PrepareToFly || 📷: @Estevansta || #Jumpman