Feet and hips, feet and hips

I’m always impressed at how the same basic movement patterns seem to apply to all sports. Two of the most important dynamics for a mountain biker are 1) staying balanced on your feet and 2) driving powerfully from your hips.

Those skills are also important in the NFL. Today I had an All Pro linebacker on my pump track, and he killed it.

The rider

Chad explains pump back to me in his own language.

Chad Brown of the CU-Boulder Buffs, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. Chad played professional football for 14 years. Nowadays we work together on a few projects, including (hopefully) the definitive how-to book for aspiring linebackers.

Chad coaches kids as well as college and pro athletes. As we worked through his key teaching points, it struck me how similar they are to mine. Dude, it’s all about balancing on the feet and driving from the hips.

Today was Chad’s first try on a pump track. My track is not easy. He jumped right in, made the common mistakes, listened to coaching and within five laps was getting around the track. Anyone who has ridden here will tell you that’s impressive — especially for a non rider.

Rallying the north berm.

While Chad needs more experience to be confident in his line choices and lean angles, some things were dialed from the start:

• He had great balance on his feet.

• His feet moved fluidly with the track, and he generated a lot of power from his hips. This is a really hard skill to teach experienced riders — but it essential to riding well (and, apparently, crushing quarterbacks).

• He knows his body, and he’s incredibly coachable. That’s how he went from fumbling to railing in five laps.

• He is not afraid. Mountain biking is tame compared to what he did for a living.

Full commitment into a tricky transition. Bike: The Mighty P.3.

The point

If you’re an athlete — and we all are at some level — work toward mastery of the fundamental movements. These core skills will help you rock any sport: bikes, skis, snowboards, motos, horses, bulls and, apparently, football.

If you have kids, try to get them dialed early on. I’m about to start this process with my twin girls Finley and Fiona.

If you’re a mountain biker, balance on your feet and learn to drive from your hips. Feet and hips, feet and hips.



Nice light this morning.

Know more. Have more fun!

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