Journey Through Sports
Part of Sarah's journey to understanding the way the body functions is through sports. Each new sport she learns stresses the body in a different way, demanding output from a new set of muscles. These new demands and stresses help train different parts of the system. Taking key points from each and every sport has helped Sarah cultivate an understanding of how the body works most efficiently together. Want to go from zero to sponsored athlete in a year? Sarah's training program builds a strong base and cultivates genuine athleticism, making it easy to pick up any sport and succeed quickly.
Track and Field
As a track in field athlete in high school Sarah placed at state in the 400 hurdles. Competing in the 100 hurdles, 4 x100 and 4x400 at lower state. She also filled in for the high jump when her team needed her. Team captain her senior year, she also earned the most points overall points for her team, and received the award of MVP. The real challenge came with pole vaulting. It was not a sport yet for woman in the state of SC, so she competed for the guy’s team. (Yes, women still need some equal rights victories.) Sarah often placed at the guy’s meets, thus leveling the playing field against anyone, not just other girls. Recruited to several schools for college, Sarah decided on Clemson University. Competing at a collegiate level taught Sarah many lessons on big fish and even bigger ponds. Sharing the field with world class (Olympic Gold Medalist) athletes really steps the competition up a notch. Sarah will never forget the hard lessons learned while earning points for her team at the ACC championship meet. “It feels like the coaches want to break you, not make you better.” Often injured, Sarah learned a new understanding for breaking the body down versus building a foundation. When you build strength on top of a poor foundation, you get hurt. When you build strength on top of a solid foundation, you get stronger. Her experiences as a freshman athlete gave her first hand knowledge on her lack of foundation and the training changes needed to keep young athletes healthy.
After track, Sarah got into distance running. Her recollection of running her first marathon in 2003 was that one can be in sport specific shape but weak all at the same time. This grew her desire to be in well-rounded shape, and to have the athletic base for dynamic explosive exercises as well as distance. Being naturally a shorter distance runner, Sarah got into 5Ks and sprint triathlons, although she will confess to never loving the workouts in the pool. Although she is not currently competing in races, Sarah uses running as a way to stay in a high level of all around fitness!
At the age of 6 Sarah learned to water ski while spending summers on the lake with her family. Her highly competitive father kept her always striving for some new crazy goal, like dock starts or who could make the tightest turn. The sorest she has ever been (aside from the time she had to run all the steps in Death Valley Stadium) was when she learned to barefoot. Water skiing naturally led into wakeboarding, which of course caused several concussions, whiplash and neck injuries. This gave Sarah a whole new appreciation for a strong stable neck. Constantly pushing the envelope and getting hurt leads to a whole new learning process for rehab when you experience the injury yourself. While living in Charleston, SC, Sarah naturally learned to kiteboard. Within two years of learning, Sarah was sponsored by North through the local kite shop, Air. She loves kiteboarding, especially for the wonderful vacation destination sites. She’s planning to help host a kiting/coaching retreat in the Caribbean soon. When the wind was low, Sarah would head to the local cable park and wakeboard. A few bad falls on the slider led her to spend most of her time on the kicker, mastering things like 360s, front rolls and backrolls. She loves the intensity of a loaded raley, such a rush of unleashed power.
Sarah’s first organized sport was volleyball. It’s a great sport for explosive power and quick movement. Getting named MVP her senior year for being the best all around player earned Sarah an award and college scholarship as female athlete of the year for her school. Volleyball taught her the need for overhead range of motion to produce a powerful spike and serve. Without this range of motion and proper foundational strength, you are bound to destroy your rotator cuff. She hopes one day to find the time to play some beach volleyball. She has enjoyed helping many young volleyball patients come back from ACL tears and shoulder injuries.
Starting at adventure summer camps, Sarah fell in love with rock climbing. Pursuing the sport more seriously during college, she started leading trad. Climbing is an amazing sport. It’s graceful, controlled, dynamic and powerful all at the same time. Being on the rock is like meditation; it takes absolute and complete focus and an intensity not found in other sports. Living by the sea for many years kept Sarah from pursuing climbing like she wished. After having lived near the New River Gorge for a couple years and now Rumney, climbing has become a frequent occurrence. Her current favorite climb is Team Machine, a 5.12a at the Gorge. The strength that climbing requires is unlike any other sport, truly a full body workout.
You may be surprised that training is lumped in as a sport. Training is one of the best ways to prepare for your sport. Lifting hard is what helps you get ready for that ski trip or surfing vacation. Lifting is also a way to challenge yourself and see quick gains. Sarah’s three favorite lifting exercises are RDLs (deadlift), pull-ups and box jumps. The gym is also her favorite place to create balance as well as strength. Sports and life tend to work certain areas more than others, the gym is the place to level that playing field and fix every imbalance. No matter what other crazy sport Sarah is into at any given time, she is always in the gym lifting at least 2-3 days per week. She feels strongly about always maintaining a strong base level of strength.
Her family started snow skiing when Sarah was 12. She took her first Colorado ski trip when she was 16 and has been hooked ever since. Skiing mostly with her Dad and brother, they head straight for the trees and try to make fresh tracks. Her top two favorite places are Jackson Hole and A-Basin. Skiing taught Sarah how to have strong stable hips. If your hips are not strong enough to support a single leg stance, and you hit a patch of choppy snow, there goes your MCL. The torque on your knees is significant without proper hip support. Learning how to strengthen your posterior chain (hips, hamstrings and back) will help get you in a safe strong skiing position. She has spent countless hours on skiing technique carving turns in her father’s tracks.
Golf and Tennis
Sarah has taken years of golf and tennis lessons to better understand the mechanisms of the swing. She treats lots of injured patients that just want to get back to their golf or tennis game, so learning the sport was indispensable for properly treating those athletes. She owns a set of golf clubs and likes to go to the driving range. “For some reason seeing how far and straight you can hit the ball is relaxing, while trying to get it in that tiny little hole is not!” She also took numerous tennis lessons and played on a tennis league for a while. The faster you are on the court the better player you are; footwork is key for a good tennis game.