Form

I went for a run this evening after work on the trails at Red Top Mountain. I'm training for a trail race next month and am woefully behind. Being an athlete defined the first 30 years of my life, so being out of shape and just hoping to finish a race is not really something I'm used to. 

As I was running, I thought about my form. I have been consciously trying to run with my arms in a higher position. It helps drive up hills, and seems to change my foot strike as I tend to lean a little more forward. I think it is helping, and feels more efficient. As I plodded along, I thought about how important form is in almost every repetitive motion we make, and how I've observed a large number of people who seem to give little regard to how they perform a task.

I used to live on a flat 2 1/2 mile road that dead ended into a state park. It was used constantly by runners and cyclists. I went to college on a track scholarship and raced bikes professionally in the mid-90's, so I've had the chance to watch thousands of people go about each discipline. I always used to giggle a little when I saw someone ride or run with zero attention to "how" they were actually performing the task.

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Just by looking at their follow-through, who would you guess is the better golfer???

Just by looking at their follow-through, who would you guess is the better golfer???

The same applies to my trade. Watch a professional swing a hammer; how it is a fluid motion, getting the maximum amount of drive with conceivably little effort. Witnessing a seasoned drywall finisher is like watching an artist. They scoop the drywall compound effortlessly onto their trowel and spread it evenly in one fluid motion. A few strokes in opposing directions and all it will take is a light sanding before it is ready for priming. Anyone that has even tried to patch a nail hole understands how easy it is to screw up.

A golfer that bends their elbow at the top of their swing can never depend on their ball going straight, just as a violinist who doesn't keep their bow arm elevated will miss notes. Proper form is often the difference between just doing something, and doing it well. I research form, I observe form, I am fascinated by it. Is there anything in your life that you do often, but have never thought about HOW you do it? Take the time to watch people that are good at what you do and try to emulate them. More often than not, you will witness a breakthrough in your own accomplishments.