First-rate … and, highly accurate … information from Henry Abbott
By-pass at your own peril …
[Courtesy of TrueHoop)
Dr. Romanov spent some time examining the photographs you see here, and e-mailed thoughts about the running forms of James and Wade:
On two pictures, of two great basketball players from Miami Heat and NBA, caught at the same moment of moving forward with the ball, we can see two different ways of running. It is possible to say, that it could look coincidental, but, at the same time, it is very likely that these pictures represent the underlying inefficiencies of each respective athlete in the way they move.
It is obvious that LeBron James’ landing and keeping his body weight over the forefoot or ball of the foot presents a very dynamic body position moving forward with acceleration by falling forward from his support foot. From a physics point of view, his body is in a favorable position to harness the ever-present force of gravity most advantageously in order to move forward, or in any other direction.
This body position allows LeBron to use gratuitous forces like gravity, ground reaction force (GFR) and muscle-tendon elasticity to his advantage to engage his body weight into the action of moving. Consequently it allows him to reduce muscular tension and impact on all support tissues.
In contrast, Dwyane Wade is landing on the heel in front of the body with a dorsoflexed foot, which acts like a brake to his forward momentum with every stride.
Even at the first glance, these pictures are sending a quite simple and clear message: the first player is moving more efficiently and freer, and the second player inhibits his forward movement with every stride and game maneuver (moving sideways, changing directions). We can conclude that Dwyane Wade could be a far more efficient athlete if he could change his support more freely from the forefoot, a more favorable position for movement.
The other conclusion arriving from these pictures is that the second player (Dwyane Wade) has a higher chance to sustain an injury to his knee and ankle. Judging by his body position as he runs, we can infer that there is a lot of excess stress being placed on those parts of the body. His knee braces may be a result of his technique inefficiencies. This kind of movement could overload the foot and decrease ankle instability, not to talk of reducing the mobility level of the athlete.