The Importance of Footwork in Sports Performance
Nearly all sports are feats of hand-eye coordination, endurance, strength, technique, or a combination of various physical skills. Whether its hockey, soccer, rugby, boxing, volleyball or even golf that you are playing, all of these games require a certain degree of footwork to ace your moves. There are plentiful examples of athletes overcoming their opponents due to a greater grasp on their footwork. The legendary Muhammad Ali dominated his opponents with impeccable footwork executed with masterful finesse but footwork is a necessary component of pretty much all sports. Proper footwork grants you with speed, agility, and quickness that can take your game to the next level.
Footwork is the key to effective movement
Ultimately, it is the feet that are in contact with the ground in your movements. No matter what movement you do, it is always initiated off the ground. You may have heard that feet don’t work independently from the body countless times but if that is true? Why do we hear comments like “shifty feet” and “quick feet” especially during sports commentary? The importance of footwork in sport is undeniable. Your feet absorb all shocks from ground contact and initiate your movement by propelling the body in the desired direction at the right time. The main objective of having good footwork for an athlete is to allow him to get himself or the ball in the right place at the right time. Your feet aren’t the only two parts of your body to carry out this complex task. Your hips play an important role in your footwork as well. The hips are farther up the kinetic chain and facilitate foot movement drastically.
Agility and Balance
With good footwork, an athlete allows himself to control his center of gravity to his favor. Not only is overcoming the difficulties of one’s center of gravity extremely beneficial for stability, changing direction and initiating movement, but it is also paramount in maintaining balance throughout your range of motion. Especially in sports that aren’t exactly a track meet or a linear game such as soccer which involves changing directions frequently, agility becomes indispensable and without proper footwork, agility cannot be achieved. When you watch elite players move quickly and precisely, you will notice that their bodies are in total control throughout the movement because of their solid, swift footwork. These lightning fast movements can be the difference between winning or losing a game in times of crisis. Footwork needs to be executed well to react to your opponent in a timely and accurate manner.
One of the reasons footwork holds importance in sports is because it has the ability to reduce your risk of injury. With a better footwork and an improved position, you significantly decrease the loads you place on different parts of your body at risky angles. With a better footwork, an athlete can be in the desired position at any given time while he maintains proper form to reduce the chances of injury.