As collegiate athletes and soccer players, we experienced the pain and frustration of injury. We tried everything to get better, but nothing worked. We assumed that pain and injury were just part of the game and that there was nothing we could do about it.
Not only were we getting hurt, but our sports performance was suffering. We believed that if we wanted to boost our performance and prevent injuries, we just had to train harder instead of smarter. So we continued training the same. Our mistakes lead to a lost scholarship and the pain of lifelong injury.
We were determined to figure out why injuries happen and how to prevent them. This lead to us both to pursue our Doctorates in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California, the #1 ranked program in the country. It was at USC that we began to understand how to prevent injury. After nine years of study, the singular reason for continued injury became clear; misaligned movement.
When we started practicing as doctors of physical therapy, we quickly forgot the importance of identifying misaligned movement patterns in athletes. We would assign our athletic patients exercises that were based on their sport, but not specific to the player as an individual. Although a lot of our players got better, many still did not improve.
Then we had a breakthrough. We remembered that just like each player has different abilities, each player moves differently. We discovered the importance of developing training programs for the individual player that were built specifically on how the player moved. We analyzed player movement to determine the best exercise homework and gave cues to their coaches to reinforce proper movement patterns. We developed systems that targeted the individual rather than the entire team. Once we implemented movement analysis and movement training, we began to see significant improvements. Players were not only recovering from injury faster, but they were performing better with more speed, power, and agility.