Written by: Gracie Ostertag, University of Minnesota Women’s Hockey Team
Experiencing multiple stages of hockey has taught me lessons I’d like to pass forward. I’m a current Division 1 Gopher Women’s Hockey player and have learned the importance of proper form and the significance of it through my time as an athlete. Gold Medal Bodies Fitness (GMB) discusses how everyone’s idea of “good form” is different. They state “ … ‘correct’ form depends on your particular needs and limitations.” After all, everyone’s bodies are unalike from another individual’s and can require variations to specific exercises.
In my experience, showcasing improper form often means simply not knowing how to do something, which is very easy to fix. We often see this in situations where someone has been demonstrating incorrect form since they started working out. Bad form can also mean the athlete is cheating the correct position, either by trying to rush through their workout, or maybe they just don’t care to take the time to do it right. It can be a competition of who can finish the fastest amongst teammates, along with multiple other reasons I’ve noticed from my experiences. When unsure of how to do something, it’s important to ask someone who knows the exercise or even surf the internet for explanations, pictures, or videos.
Having improper form can result in major losses and is, quite frankly, a waste of time. Athletes who work out with incorrect form are not gaining strength and may often lead to frequent injuries or injuries that continue to progress negatively down the road. It’s important to acknowledge when something hurts or doesn’t feel right; discontinuing exercising and figuring out the root of the problem is crucial to injury prevention. It’s essential for athletes to care for their bodies to allow healthy participation and optimal performance. We lose the love of sports when we have to become focused on our pain; the injuries become a distraction and diminish our mental/physical capabilities in competition.
According to GMB, there are a few ways anybody can improve form when exercising.
- Take a step down in regards to the amount of weight, the speed, and duration of the exercise to focus on the technique
- Acknowledge mistakes will be made in the improvement process and have patience while allowing growth for habits can take time to break
- Ask a coach to watch form and welcome constructive criticism, or even video individual movements to see where improvements can be made
EVERY athlete at EVERY level will struggle with form. The key is to stay patient, pay attention, and try your best. That’s how we all get better.