Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kicking a ball ~ sprinting

By '~', I mean 'roughly similar'. This has been my experience.

Two, three times a week I go for a one hour walk... or, rather, a stroll. There is a clearing in a nearby forest large enough to fit a stadium in it. The ground has been flattened and covered with fine dirt. It is sufficiently large to be used for games that require fields and some people use it just for that reason. There are no stands or anything blocking the view. The forest makes the edge of the clearing and it is a very pleasant and quiet place to spend a while enjoying nature in peace.

It takes me about 4-5 minutes to slowly walk the clearing long-wise. I choose to come here rather than the hills because it is a location where it is comparatively difficult to injure oneself. Walking over flat, even ground, is quite safe compared to hiking.

To the point.

A month ago, I bought a ball. It is similar to a soccer ball except that it is somewhat smaller and softer. The idea was that it would help me "break my step". By this I mean that I would go about kicking the ball softly and, in this manner, I would be forced to adjust my stride every so often. Think of it as a cheap imitation of walking over uneven terrain.

Now, I have never played soccer before so the first consequence of this addition to my strolling routine was that I would continuously zigzag chasing the ball around. It seemed impossible for me to kick it straight. This, of course, was fine. If instead of 5 minutes, it took me 10 to stroll across the clearing, so what?

After a while, I got better at kicking the ball so that it would roll in front of me if I wanted it to. I suppose it was only a matter of time before I actually hit it hard. I was surprised at the results for two reasons: first, it was a very difficult thing to do well; second, the before-during-after feeling in my leg muscles was very similar to that of sprinting.

I have been practicing my strong kick since then. Unsurprisingly, it is a considerably difficult thing to do adequately. As always, acquiring proper form takes time. However, as my form has improved, so has my ability to kick harder and harder. The feeling of sprinting is also getting stronger and stronger.

So, there. It is clearly anecdotal (n=1, as is fashionable among goofs nowadays) but it is what I am doing for exercise. Thus, it goes into the blog. When I walk, I kick a ball.