I was starting to stress. As a coach I try to accommodate different styles to a degree, but I knew of no other way to get Aaron standing properly without rolling his hips forward. Either he was going to break at the hips or our Boot Camp was going to end badly.
Watch a toddler bend down to pick something up and they will show perfect technique, unfortunately a tendency to bend everywhere but at the waist seems to become ingrained in some people through their school years. Aaron’s school years were long gone but the habit remained. The only answer was pure honesty and patience in trying different angles because there was no way around this dilemma.
In a desperate situation like this I had to weed out all the factors that could get in the way.
The end result needed to be wiped from his mind temporarily so he could just focus on the one key that would make it all work. Getting his knees back and arms bent was the desired end result, but couldn’t happen until he had rolled his hips forward. Without getting the hips bent he would end up looking like a giant banana with his neck needing to bend the opposite way at an impossible angle.
I cringe to use this thought, but the horrible craze of “Twerking” has actually helped me teach a few people what I want them to do. The rider might be bending everywhere except their hips and not getting the idea until I simply mention that terrible word, only to see them laugh and bend at their waist instantly. Once they have the right muscles activated we can then find their halfway point between fully arched and fully hunched to begin the new chapter in their riding career.
“Sticking your bum out” is not something your average person wants to be seen doing, until you show how their hero does it. Watching Ryan Dungey blitzing through a stutter section or landing a jump with a big bend in his waist simply looks right, as it does when the rider does it too. Eventually the beneficial feelings of added control overcome the negative thoughts of their self consciousness and they begin to ride more like their hero than ever before.
Short and Sweet
A few decades of wear and tear on our bodies can cause them to protest to something new. In Aaron’s case it was tight hamstrings and a weak lower back that combined to cause pain after bending at the waist for too long, which stopped him at first. Once I forced him to rest wherever possible then he could do the style with no hesitation, taking the barrier of pain out of the equation.
After all of that it was up to him. He had a long checklist in his head that he liked to go through, but so long as he knew that it all hinged on him bending at his hips then I was happy. If he had that one thing right then many of the other things on his list would naturally be done, and we all like to keep difficult things simple if possible.