Motor Control and Movement Patterns: A Must-Read for Athletes

The following are some of the most common movements that athletes have to deal with during their sport activities. These are the basic movements that all sports require. They include: jumping, running, throwing, catching, kicking and many others.


Jumping is one of the most important skills for any athlete because it allows them to reach high objects or obstacles and perform other athletic feats such as sprinting or leaping over a wall. Jumping requires coordination between the muscles and joints.

When an athlete jumps they need to use their legs, arms and core strength to propel themselves up into the air. The knees must bend at a 90 degree angle while the ankles must extend outwards and behind them. If these three points don’t move together then there will be no jump.

If an athlete is not coordinated enough, they may miss the landing point due to having too much weight on their feet. If they land on their heels instead of their toes, it’s called a heel drop. This causes a loss of speed and power. It also makes it difficult for them to recover from the fall if they do manage to catch themselves before falling down again.

There are two types of jumping: free and assisted. The free jump happens when the athlete jumps without the help of anything else. The assisted jump happens when the athlete uses a trampoline, springboard or some other kind of help to propel themselves into the air.


Running is another very important skill to have for any sports athlete. It allows them to quickly move across the field and reach different parts of play. Running is like jumping because it requires good coordination between all of the muscles and joints in your legs.

When an athlete runs their ankles must bend in the same direction as their knees. While they foot rolls from the heel to the toe. Like jumping, running also requires very good balance and coordination. If these things are out of place or not strong enough then an athlete may hurt themselves when running at a high speed.


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Throwing involves using quick arm and wrist movements to throw an object into a certain direction with a lot of force. Some people think that throwing is just pushing something away from you with your arms. Although this is true, it’s not exactly accurate.

When an athlete throws an object such as a baseball or a football, they transfer all of their body’s momentum into the ball. This makes the ball go in a straight line when it leaves the person’s hand. If an athlete does this at the correct time then they will be able to hit their target.


Catching is very similar to throwing except that instead of throwing the ball, you are catching it. Catching also requires good coordination between the hands and arms. The hands need to move towards the ball at the same speed that the ball is moving towards your hand. If you move your hands too slowly then the ball will hit your palm, but not be held tightly by it. If you move your hands to fast then the ball will hit your hand before you have enough time to react to it.

Sometimes, an athlete has a feeling that the ball is going to come straight at them, so they move their hands closer to catch it. This is called moving into the throw. Sometimes the opposite happens and an athlete moves their hands away to catch the ball. This is called moving away from the throw.

These two techniques help with catching hard-thrown or high-bouncing passes. The same rules apply when catching as when throwing: The wrists and arms must be straight. The other parts of the arm should be as close to straight as possible. The fingers should be spread out wide and not curled into a fist. The elbow of the catching arm should be close to the body and slightly bent.

Finally, the rest of the body should be in motion when catching.

Throwing and catching are very important skills at throwing events and sporting competitions.

Throwing Events

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There are several different types of throwing events that an athlete can enter depending on their age and gender. The main ones include shot put, javelin throw, discus throw and hammer throw.

In shot put, athletes throw a heavy metal ball for distance. They start with the ball at their feet and then throw it as far as they can. The javelin is very similar to shot put except that the metal spear-like object that the athletes throw is thinner and more pointy at one end. In discus throw the athletes throw a flat metal shape around the size of a frisbee. The shape usually has sharp edges and is designed to spin rapidly when thrown.

The hammer throw is very similar to shot put except that the object being thrown is not a ball, but instead a heavy metal ball attached to a wire coil.

Sporting competitions usually involve athletes throwing objects for distance or accuracy.

Fitness Benefits

Throwing events are great for building up the arm muscles. They are also good for teaching an athlete how to transfer force through their body. There are several different types of throwing events so everyone can find one that they like.

There are many reasons why a coach would have their team train for throwing events. First of all, these events are exciting and fun to watch. They give spectators something to cheer about. Watching an athlete’s muscles work as they throw heavy objects is fascinating. Also, if a person goes to a sporting competition then there is a good chance that they will see lots of intervals when the athletes are throwing.

These sections are when the most exciting and fun parts happen, so this keeps people interested in watching.

Throwing events are also a good way to keep track of an athlete’s strength and fitness without having them do boring training. Instead of running the same distance over and over again, they get to throw something heavy. This is a great solution for repeat events.

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Finally, these events are very popular in the Olympics and similar competitions. If a coach has their athlete train for these types of events then it is very likely that they will win a medal at some point. There may be other reasons for doing it, but most coaches only have their athletes train for these types of events if they want them to win a medal at some point.


These events are not usually dangerous if done properly. The most important thing is to warm up properly before doing any throwing. The muscles need to be nice and loose or else an athlete could get muscle strains or tears which would stop them from training or even competing. It is also important to cool down after a session of throwing. This makes sure that the muscles don’t become too stiff.

Stiff muscles can also lead to strains and tears.

As for the throwing events themselves, there is little risk of physical injury. It is possible for an athlete to get a small cut on their hand from a metal object but these can easily be treated with bandages and antibiotic ointment. Otherwise, these events are very safe.


Throwing events are great for building arm strength and fitness without putting too much strain on the body. They are also very easy to coach, requiring little equipment and no special facilities. Although the events are easy to coach, they are still very popular at competitions and have been part of the Olympics for a long time.

Relationships With Other Events

Throwing events can be combined with most other events. They work well with endurance events like cross country because they allow a person to build up the arm muscles needed for throwing without putting too much strain on the legs. They can also be combined with sprinting events since most throwing events involve hurling something as hard and far as possible.

Throwing events can also be combined with weightlifting events. Most throwing events are done using a specific weight, such as a javelin or shot put and a person’s strength can be measured by how far they can throw it. Weightlifting can also be used to increase arm strength for throwing events.

Throwing events are also best paired with sprinting events. As mentioned before, most throwing events involve throwing an object as hard and far as possible. This usually means that an athlete needs to build up speed before they release the object.

In terms of combining with distance events, the throwing events can be combined with them to create a decathlon. This is exactly what it sounds like, a combination of a distance event and a throwing event which are both based on a points score. The athlete who gets the most points wins.

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Combining throwing events with other throwing events is usually not recommended. It is much better to focus on one specific type of throwing than it is to try and perfect many different ones. However, if an athlete really wants to do it, they can but they should only be focusing on two throwing events maximum.

Below is a chart breaking down the best event combinations:

Throwing events and other events

Best Combined With… Worst Combined With…


Sprints Track and field endurance Running and throwing take very different forms of body mechanics so it would be hard to focus on both. Jumps Track and field endurance As with sprinting, jumping and throwing take very different forms of body mechanics so it would be hard to focus on both. Throws Weightlifting Same reasons as jumps. Runs Distance events Endurance Running takes a different form of body mechanics to throwing events. Throws Weightlifting More specialised lifts like the snatch and clean and jerk take more time to master, limiting how many other events an athlete can focus on. Jumps Track and field Same reasons as with sprinting. Runs Hurdles More athletes specialise in running or hurdling, not both. Jumps Throws Considered one of the most prestigious combinations as it is rare to find an athlete who excels in both.

Training Guide

Throwing events are very easy to coach so a coach will often have a large amount of dedicated throwers in their program. The coach needs to know the different types of throws and which ones are suited to their athletes. For example, a very short athlete will have a much easier time with the hammer throw than they would the javelin.

Throwing events also benefit from weight training, especially for strength. The stronger an athlete is, the farther they will be able to throw an object. Many throwing coaches work with dedicated weightlifters during the off-season to build upper body strength.

A coach also needs to make sure their athletes have good general conditioning. Many throwing athletes struggle with clumsiness due to poor balancing and co-ordination. The best way to improve this is through cross-training, especially involving balance boards and other similar tools.

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As a final point, a coach must always be careful when throwing objects around their athletes.

Sources & references used in this article:

The performance cortex: How neuroscience is redefining athletic genius by Z Schonbrun – 2018 –

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction in athletes by PG Brolinson, AJ Kozar, G Cibor – Current Sports Medicine Reports, 2003 –

Progress in Motor Control: Bernstein’s Traditions in Movement Studies by LK Bunker – Journal of Athletic Training, 1999 –

An evaluation of a new test of reactive agility and its relationship to sprint speed and change of direction speed by JM Sheppard, WB Young, TLA Doyle… – Journal of science and …, 2006 – Elsevier