PDA

View Full Version : Thoughts on Stosur vs Stephens


Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 03:46 AM
A few random thoughts.

- I really like Stosur's game. If she can get more consistent, she could win multiple majors. But more than almost anyone else I see, she combines stunning, superlative play with brain dead unforced errors.

- Stephens has the potential to be a special player. I think this tournament was good for her. She tightened up and failed to seize the moment in the first set when she had the chance, and then went into about a 20 minute pity party after and dug a hole she couldn't climb out from, but she has game.

- I think the US Open is going to be her best surface and environment. I'm looking forward to seeing what she does there. If she gets a decent draw, she could make some noise.

- Unfortunately, I'm also seeing postural issues with her that predispose her to injury. Given what I do for a living, I just naturally assess the players I watch. And there is a very strong connection between certain postural pathologies and different types of injury. With Stephens, if she doesn't get this dialed in she's going to have back and hamstring issues that are going to limit how good she can be.

It's going to be a fun week 2 at the tourney. A lot of interesting story lines to follow.

halalula1234
06-04-2012, 04:04 AM
What posture are u talking about that stephens is doing wrong?

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 04:23 AM
It's not something she's "doing wrong", per se. It's the position her body is in all the time from her training. I see a number of things, but the biggest concern is the tilt of her pelvis. It should be relatively neutral. If you view someone from a side view, if their belt line slopes severely from back to front in a downward plane, that will almost always create excessive curve in the low back which puts strain on the structures of the spine, and the surrounding muscles and soft tissue. The other thing it does is put the hamstrings into a constant position of being stretched. The hamstrings attach to the bottom of the pelvis and when the pelvis tilts forward like Sloane's does, it moves the attachment points away from each other. A muscle that is being elongated cannot efficient contract, so this does two things. First, it makes her hamstrings work less efficiently, and second, they are more prone to micro tears.

I'll see if I can post a picture I found that shows what I'm talking about:

http://ww3.hdnux.com/photos/13/37/65/3013978/3/628x471.jpg

Hopefully that comes through. If so, look at the wrinkles in her outfit right around her waist line, see how they slope downward? It's ok to have a little of this orientation, but hers is excessive. You can see the big curve in her low back. That is excessive, as well.

It's going to cause problems if she doesn't get her pelvis into a more neutral position. We see this with athletes all the time. If I have someone coming in who tells me they repeatedly strain their hamstrings, 98 times out of 100 I'm going to see this pelvic position, and they're usually stuck there.

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 04:29 AM
I couldn't find any great pics of her, but from what I saw yesterday, Stosur is in a MUCH more posturally balanced position. Wish I could find a good side view comparable to the one above of Stephens.

For those of you who follow the NBA at all, Stephens' posture is very similar to that of Baron Davis. Someone asked me what I thought of him when he entered the NBA. My comment was "great talent, but injury will prevent him from being the player he could otherwise be. He's a postural wreck."

Same with Rafa Nadal. Great talent, but a postural mess that is directly contributing to his injuries.

And the thing that really frustrates me is these aren't issues that are all that tough to correct.

DRII
06-04-2012, 05:34 AM
So basically; are you saying that anyone with a lot of junk in the trunk has postural issues?

Can you name a tennis player with a very full derrière that you think is well balanced?

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 06:04 AM
No, I’m not saying that. One can have a "full figure" and still have a neutral pelvic tilt.

What I am saying is when you live in a position with the pelvis tilted forward like Stephens', you're putting your hamstrings and your spine under constant duress. That's not an opinion, just a mechanical fact.

re your question, I'd have to go searching for such an image, and I just don't have the time to do that. I'll say this, when the pelvis is tilted forward like that, it will give the illusion that the individual has a bigger butt than they actually do. The reverse is also true, if the pelvis is posteriorly tilted (slid under so it tilts from front down to back), then the person will look like they have no butt at all.

zanabel
06-04-2012, 07:36 AM
postural is about how straight your back is i think: not to do with your bottom :D

DRII
06-04-2012, 07:42 AM
postural is about how straight your back is i think: not to do with your bottom.

Well, both the examples Posture Guy gave (Nadal, Sloane) have big bottoms.

We all know James Blake had back issues and his ***** sticks out.

That's why i want to know of an example of a big bottomed player with good postural balance...

zanabel
06-04-2012, 07:44 AM
Well, both the examples Posture Guy gave (Nadal, Sloane) have big bottoms.

We all know James Blake had back issues and his ***** sticks out.

That's why i want to know of an example of a big bottomed player with good postural balance...

oh i get it: maybe it is about bottoms then :D

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 07:45 AM
postural is about how straight your back is i think: not to do with your bottom.

Well, first, your back is not designed to be 'straight', at least not when viewed from the side. It's designed to have a gentle s-curve.

Second, postural balance applies to the entire body. Do your feet and knees point straight ahead. If you stand in front of a mirror, is one side of your body closer to the mirror than the other? Are your hips level? Shoulders?

This is the postural blueprint and it addresses far more than simply a "straight back".

http://egoscueportland.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/function-freddy1.jpg

zanabel
06-04-2012, 07:48 AM
Well, first, your back is not designed to be 'straight', at least not when viewed from the side. It's designed to have a gentle s-curve.

Second, postural balance applies to the entire body. Do your feet and knees point straight ahead. If you stand in front of a mirror, is one side of your body closer to the mirror than the other? Are your hips level? Shoulders?

This is the postural blueprint and it addresses far more than simply a "straight back".

http://egoscueportland.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/function-freddy1.jpg

correct i agree.

SoCal10s
06-04-2012, 07:48 AM
VERY interesting ...

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 07:49 AM
DRII.....gotta run to work with clients, but one last comment for this morning....

you can have a 'full posterior' and still be posturally balanced. But when someone has an anterior pelvic tilt, that pushes their butt out back behind them in a distinctive way. If you're talking about THAT specific look, then the question is "does anyone have a butt that is unnaturally kicked out behind them that does not have an anterior pelvic tilt" and the answer to THAT question is no, because that is what kicks the butt out behind them.

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 07:50 AM
sorry for taking this thread down the postural trail. I really meant that to be just kind of an afterthought.

I really like the games of both these ladies. Hope Sloane can stay healthy, she has a load of potential.

zanabel
06-04-2012, 08:08 AM
hehe that GUY loves his POSTURE :p

decades
06-04-2012, 08:28 AM
sloane doesn't have the big weapons. she is going to win by scrapping. not exactly how you win majors.

sureshs
06-04-2012, 08:30 AM
lol. Doesn't look like it's bigger than usual. Just has a 'shelf' to it because of the tilt of the pelvis. She's nowhere close to Serena's league in this department.

Yeah, but she is does show a lot of promise in that department.

I also like how muscular her biceps are. This is a tennis player who someone can look at and say, this is really an athlete.

dominikk1985
06-04-2012, 08:31 AM
this pelvis tilt and big lordosis (some is natural due to the s curve of the spine) is usually a sign of inflexible hip flexors and weak abs.

3fees
06-04-2012, 08:33 AM
Samantha Stosur d Stephens 75 64 and Cibulkova d Azarenka 62 76(4),,Stosur is postured and playing to win the Roland- Garros women singles so long as she doesnt melt down-let up on winning every point.


Cheers
3fees :)

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 11:41 AM
this pelvis tilt and big lordosis (some is natural due to the s curve of the spine) is usually a sign of inflexible hip flexors and weak abs.

Yep.

the low back is supposed to have SOME extension curve. Stephens has too much.

as dominikk referenced, a muscular imbalance generates this issue. Think of the core as 4 groups of muscles:

- Top/front (the abs)
- Bottom/front (hip flexors)
- top/back (spinal erectors)
- Bottom/back (glutes and hamstrings)

They work in a cross pattern. The hip flexors and spinal erectors pull the pelvis anteriorly, the abs and glutes pull the pelvis posteriorly. If one group is overpowering the other, your pelvis loses it's normal, neutral position.

FYI, I did an image search on Tsongas. Hard to find a clean view. His pelvis is anterior, but not as much so as Stephens, or at least that's what I inferred from the pics I saw.

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 11:47 AM
A lot of Nadal's issues come from a lack of left/right symmetry, combined with an upper back and shoulder position that is a mess.

Tennis is a VERY asymmetric sport. It asks both sides of the body to do different things. Think of tennis compared to something far more symmetrical, like swimming or running.

If someone plays a lot of tennis and isn't feeding their body sufficient counterbalancing motion, their posture will begin to move away from the blueprint. And as it does, the body will increasingly use compensatory movement patterns to accomplish tasks, because the further away from the blueprint, the less efficiently the body can work. Eventually, the body is going to start complaining.

I'd love to see Nadal get his body right. I hate to see any athlete's performance compromised by fixable issues.

Federer is in a much better postural state. My understanding is that he's done a lot of work at the rehabilitation and training clinic founded by Dr Vladimir Janda some years ago. Dr Janda did some pioneering work in this field. If you want to learn more about the relationship of muscles around the core that I discussed in the post above, google "reciprocal inhibition vladimir janda". Great stuff. Our organization was a huge admirer of his, and he was a client of ours when he would come to the States.

No one is perfect, but the more balanced your posture is, the more efficiently your body will perform, and the lower your risk of injury.

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 11:50 AM
re Stephens lacking big weapons, I'm not convinced she can't acquire them. Looked to me like she can hit the ball hard enough to hang with anyone, and she has very good movement. She needs to learn how to craft points, when to go for it and when not to, and then the mental side of the game. She's, what, 19?

she COULD be a formidable player in 1-2 years.

Emet74
06-04-2012, 11:54 AM
"Federer is in a much better postural state."

Huh? I always thought the reason Fed appears to have a bit of a tummy (like Sloane) is the way his back is tilted; a bit of lordosis, as you said.

I know he's done excercises but I wouldn't give him as an example of good posture. Isn't that part of why he has back issues?

sureshs
06-04-2012, 12:07 PM
Sloane seems to be a solid player.

However, she also seems too nice and eager to please and I don't see the cockiness or disdain for opponents that I see from the Williams, Sharapova, Azarenka, etc. I think some of that is needed to win these days.

Vanhool
06-04-2012, 03:07 PM
Glad to see someone bring up Sloane's posture! I've been thinking that all week. I used to have that same posture before I got rolfed years ago. The big butt isn't the first giveaway - it's the belly. If I see a player who is lean and muscular, can even see their abs, but from profile they look like they've got a belly, I next look at the butt to see if it's sticking out and if there is a pronounced sway in the back. All 3 there? They need bodywork or yoga or something. And it just drives me crazy! They are pro athletes! Why isn't someone on their team, like their trainer, pointing this out to them? Sloane may not have her own trainer yet, but she plays fed cup, and they do. At the top level, little things like this can make a big difference. Very frustrating.

DRII
06-04-2012, 03:23 PM
Oh ok...

interesting discussion.

I do pilates to try and get myself back 'even' again. Tennis is definitely not the easiest sport on the body! At least the way its played today...

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 03:46 PM
I tried to find pics of Federer's posture. It's hard to find pics that let me really see what's going on with a person. Ideally, I'd have one with them just facing towards me, and one from the side. But I did find this one:

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/images/stories/large/2009/07/05/roddick-federer.jpg

He looks more neutral than Stephens, for sure.

And his upper back and shoulder position is definitely better than Rafa's.

It's not just about pelvic tilt and spinal curves. When they walk, for example, do their knees and feet point straight ahead? Are their hips level? Shoulders level? Rafa has a massive shoulder disparity and neither shoulder is in a great position.

Federer has issues, too, just fewer than the average tennis player. Almost every pro athlete in most sports has a pelvis that is anywhere from moderately to severely anterior, and it's getting worse over time. It's the way these guys are being trained. When they end up hurting so badly they can no longer function, hopefully they end up either in one of our clinics or somewhere comparable with someone attuned to this stuff, and they get better.

Look at the Phoenix Suns in the NBA. They've developed a rep for being a place where oft-injured players can resurrect their health and careers. Look what they did for Grant Hill, just amazing. I read an interview with their lead trainer, sounded like I was listening to one of our folks. It was great to hear.

More and more people are figuring out that the POSITION the body is in is a critical determinant in how effectively it can function, and for how long it can do so without incurring injury. Just wish the shift was happening faster.

and re DRII and pilates, awesome. It's great stuff. Anything you can do to feed your body bilateral movement that counters the repetitive movement you consistently feed your body is positive and productive.

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 03:47 PM
and Vanhool....rolfing is great! I think it's a terrific complement to this kind of work. I've been rolfed, and loved it. Well, during the session, not so much. But after, very cool.

r2473
06-04-2012, 03:56 PM
I've been to finishing school and can balance a book on my head.

sureshs
06-04-2012, 04:03 PM
Isn't rolfing some kind of body work done by chiropractors? Is it safe?

Posture Guy, are you fundamentally a chiro? Lots of chiro techniques are questionable. Friend of mine got some neck work done and it got worse. A family member of mine goes to a chiro for physiotherapy because it is next door, but I have told the guy there that there should be no twisting and jerking and snapping, just massage and stretching and electrical stimulation of the area. He was disappointed, but I was adamant that there should be no manhandling of the patient, or I am going elsewhere. Chiros seem to want to make us believe that all problems are due to bad posture and alignment, and I don't buy that.

Vanhool
06-04-2012, 04:49 PM
Rolfing is deep tissue bodywork. Notoriously painful. 10 sessions with a least a week break in between. First session (if memory serves) they loosen the fascia from the muscle. Subsequent sessions address different parts of the body. They use the elbow and a lot of pressure and follow the muscle. I remember lots of yelling and screaming and a few fits of maniacal laughter. Basically, I had a lot of knots and tension and naturally resisted the pain. Then, when I finally surrendered and breathed into it, it released. It totally changed my posture for the better and I also got rid of a lot of emotional baggage in the process, and had a pretty good creative spell as well. It was good for me and where I was at. Sometimes I think I'd like to do it again, but unfortunately I now really know what I'm getting into, and can't bring myself to do it :)

Emet74
06-04-2012, 05:42 PM
I tried to find pics of Federer's posture. It's hard to find pics that let me really see what's going on with a person. Ideally, I'd have one with them just facing towards me, and one from the side. But I did find this one:


Well I can do better than that (I think):
http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/8750/5326026802e81cf854abwj3.jpg

http://img186.imageshack.us/img186/2062/432398535oezuryfshz7.jpg

http://i56.tinypic.com/qqsdft.jpg

So what's your diagnosis? :)

Emet74
06-04-2012, 05:43 PM
Couple more:

http://img832.imageshack.us/img832/8870/rogerfederershirtless01.jpg

http://i56.tinypic.com/14j15x4.jpg

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 07:34 PM
sureshs....no, not a chiro, we're non-medical. We help people with pain by assessing them posturally and functionally and then prescribing corrective exercises designed to restore proper position and function.

I know some very good chiros, and I know some I wouldn't let anywhere near my family.

I think it's a fundamentally valid and useful modality but can be dangerous if pursued too aggressively, or if represented as a 'cure' for medical issues like various disease processes.

I think postural balance is the foundation upon which proper musculoskeletal function rests. If a joint is out of position, anything else you do with that joint is compromised. Do I think things like cancer or MS are postural issues? Of course not, that would be ludicrous.

re rolfers, no, they aren't chiros, they are tried by the institute founded by Ida Rolf. Think of REALLY intense deep tissue massage. I don't know why they used waterboarding at Guantanamo. They could've just gotten a good rolfer.

;-)

Posture Guy
06-04-2012, 07:37 PM
re Federer's photos above, from what I see there, he's WAY more posturally neutral than Sloane Stephens. Look at the second photo where he's hitting a forehand. Pelvis looks pretty neutral, modest curvature in the low back, mid back looks to be in a pretty good position, not excessively rounded forward. Last picture, again, pretty neutral pelvic position, not an excessive curve in the low back.

15_ounce
06-05-2012, 12:50 AM
For those of you who follow the NBA at all, Stephens' posture is very similar to that of Baron Davis. Someone asked me what I thought of him when he entered the NBA. My comment was "great talent, but injury will prevent him from being the player he could otherwise be. He's a postural wreck."

Same with Rafa Nadal. Great talent, but a postural mess that is directly contributing to his injuries.

And the thing that really frustrates me is these aren't issues that are all that tough to correct.

I would like to know how to correct postural problem.. Could you please tell us how to correct it?

I like to swim a lot.. will that help to stabilise my posture?

I think I have a neutral posture, but it seems that my neck is not completely straight... it seems to lean to my right side slightly. How to fix this?

Posture Guy
06-05-2012, 04:48 AM
15_ounce......this book (http://www.amazon.com/Pain-Free-Revolutionary-Stopping-Chronic/dp/0553379887/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338896841&sr=8-1&tag=acleint-20) is where I recommend most people start.

And if someone is a bit more technically inclined, for example, if they're a physical therapist or a chiro or a certified personal trainer, I'll recommend this one (http://www.amazon.com/Egoscue-Method-Health-Through-Motion/dp/0060924306/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1338896841&sr=8-3&tag=acleint-20). A little less accessible to the layman but more comprehensive in terms of helping someone assess posture.

If you have further questions, feel free to email me so I don't take my own thread even further off the intended topic than I already have!

And swimming is great! Basic advice for restoring/maintaining postural balance: present your body with as wide a variety of movement patterns as possible, and make sure you are also getting sufficient quantities of motion. If you sit in a chair for extended periods of time at your job, you may wish to get this book (http://www.amazon.com/Pain-Free-at-Your-PC/dp/0553380524/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1338896841&sr=8-6&tag=acleint-20) and start doing some of the short at-work routines to break up the motion pattern of your day.

Look for opportunities to mix things up. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Occasionally walk up the stairs backwards. If you carry a briefcase or purse over your shoulder, wear it on one shoulder on your way into the office, switch going out. Play tennis, of course, then mix in some basic functional strength movements, run, hike, swim, do yoga, pilates, Zumba, take a swing dance class with your spouse, look for ways to expand your 'motion profile'. A great recipe for developing pain is to sit all day at work and then get up and have your primary exercise be an asymmetric sport like tennis, and that's basically all you do. Tennis is great, but eventually you'll get so out of balance you'll pay a symptomatic price for it.

15_ounce
06-06-2012, 05:21 AM
Thanks a lot for the info. So, basically we just have to balance everything what we do in life... too much of one thing is what we should avoid.

Posture Guy
06-06-2012, 05:43 AM
It always seems to come back to balance, right?

Physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually. Mix things up, keep things varied and interesting, break up patterns. It works in a lot of areas of our lives.

sureshs
06-06-2012, 07:35 AM
It always seems to come back to balance, right?

Physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually. Mix things up, keep things varied and interesting, break up patterns. It works in a lot of areas of our lives.

I don't want to be financially balanced. I just want more and more money.

Posture Guy
06-06-2012, 08:16 AM
who said being wealthy represents imbalance?

;-)