Coaching, like cooking, is equal parts science and art. Excellent practitioners in both disciplines draw from the structured lessons of their mentors. Great ones look at things a new way and add their spice.
GOATA (greatest of all time athletes/actions) was born out of necessity by coach Jose’ Guilly’ Boesch after years of suffering from agonizing back issues. Like most in chronic pain, he was willing to try just about anything to alleviate the discomfort. Instead of the mainstream approach of pills or surgery, he looked at the source, not the symptom-movement.
Boesch had an intuitive feeling that his locomotive patterns as the time were causing and exacerbating his issues. Armed with a slow-motion camera app and an insatiable desire to figure out how to fix himself, he plunged headfirst into studying human locomotion.
A lifelong sports fanatic, pre-back pain Boesch played every game possible. He was impressed by professional athletes that played for over a decade at a high level and were never hurt.
His studies started there, and what he found blew his mind. They all moved the same way. Surprisingly to him, the gender didn’t matter, the sport didn’t matter, and the age didn’t matter. These super athletes running patterns were identical regardless of denomination.
This revelation piqued his interest to a fever pitch and forced him to look deeper. Was this phenomenon restricted to individual high-level athletes, or were there other groups that shared the same locomotive skills?
In his research, he found commonalities in different populations that strengthened his argument for this way of moving. Babies and indigenous communities all have the distinct advantage of not being stuck in ill-fitting footwear or locked in a chair for 8 hours a day. They shared traits of the injury resistant super athlete.
The coup de gras in his findings was the healthy, pain-free elderly athlete. He saw folks in their 70s, 80s, and 90s without orthopedic issues demonstrating the same gait as the groups mentioned above.
Boesch thought that this is not a coincidence. A blueprint of security and performance that is rooted in our DNA. We are all born with it, but for various reasons, some of us lose that ability. The question now was for those who have lost it- can we get it back, and for those who have it, can we train it to new performance levels?
All-Pros on the Saints and All-Americans from neighboring LSU’s national championship football team have made enough noise visiting “the lab” to garner interest across the globe. Now Boesch and Scheffler have a small army of strength coaches, physical therapists, and even lay folk that are certified in the GOATA way.
One of the most outspoken coaches in the GOATA camp is former NFL QB and the University of Iowa great, Ricky Stanzi. Years of conventional strength training methodology and various injuries that accompanied left Stanzi feeling like Boesch was years prior-looking for a different way. “The non-contact injuries that plague not just athletes, but regular folks are astronomical,” Stanzi states.
In the United States, ACL tears attest for 175,000 surgeries a year, and Achilles ruptures send 230,000 under the knife. There are 285,000 hip replacements and 700,000 knee replacements yearly, with estimates of up to 3.28 million knee replacements by 2030. “Our joints and connective tissue are designed to last 80-90 years, and we have people getting full joint replacements in their 30s and 40s”, Stanzi claimed.
Goata’s primary battle cry is one of collective security. Keep connective tissue safe and protected from the catastrophic, non-contact injuries plaguing sport at every level. Some key differences are separating those that move in this GOATA pattern vs. others that move in the WOATA (worst of all time actions) patterns. Stanzi states, “If there’s a ‘best’ way to move, there is undoubtedly a worse way to move. It is a yin and yang phenomenon. Our trainers have been able to identify those who run inefficiently and ‘recode’ them to a safer pattern that keeps them healthy, performing at a high level, and having fun.”
So what separates a WOATA from a GOATA?
It all begins with the feet. A WOATA moves on the inside edge of the foot, a GOATA moves on the outside edge of the foot. Stanzi claims, “If you are on the inside of the foot, you will get hurt sooner or later.” He continues, “100 percent of ACL tears occur on the inside edge of the foot when the inner ankle bone drops low. If the athlete can stay on the outside edge while cutting and changing direction, they have set the pattern to keep themselves healthy.”
That pattern is set in place the instant a baby begins crawling. Watch the feet of an infant as it scoots across the ground. You find that the pressure is on the outside of the foot, with the heels driving away from the body. This same pattern is displayed in athletes like Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, and Simone Biles, indigenous tribes, and pain-free elderly athletes.
For various reasons, many of us lose that ability. GOATA coaches claim that poor footwear, modern sedentary lifestyles, and even traditional weight training methods are all at play in whittling away at our innate movement brilliance instilled at birth. But under their watchful eye, a recode to our original human design is possible.
So how do you do it?
GOATA doesn’t want to give away the keys to the kingdom, but there are three practical exercises you can use today to help start your path to collective security.
Despite the success stories, GOATA still has its detractors. There are many coaches out there that want more peer-reviewed studies and citations in journals to validate GOATAs claims. Stanzi counters with, “The detractors need to watch the slow-motion evidence. If they don’t look at the evidence, they can’t even begin participating in the discussion. They are choosing to remain blind to what nature is clearly stating. What’s funny is these same coaches are on teams where the position coach will tell the kids, “the tapes don’t lie! Practice what you preach. ”
The results are all that matters. If GOATA continues to keep athletes healthy and performing at high levels, expect to hear more noise from them in the future.
You can find out more on their Instagram accounts here https://www.instagram.com/ricky_stanzi/
https://www.instagram.com/goata_loco/?hl=en https://www.instagram.com/gls_training/ and at https://www.goatamovement.com/
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