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I Can't versus I Won't

“How quickly did you say, 'I can't do that!'.  For most clients it is immediate, some say it and spend a long time in the all-fours kneeling position before attempting the movement.”

Can't versus Won't

I hear this a lot.  I have listened to it a lot over the last few years in my personal life, and I hear it with clients, specifically during one of the FMS tests.

As such I can write a post about it but I won't.  The reason for that is someone else already has so I am choosing to paste a link to their website so you can read it there, which of course you can.  Equally, you have the choice to say, "Oh no, I won't".

In this scenario, it would be highly unlikely that you can't read it, you are simply choosing not too.

It is a wonderful article, here is the link: Can't versus Won't

Can't In Movement

The context I hear this in my movement coaching is wide and varied and typically starts in the Functional Movement Screen with the rotary stability test.

This test involved the client kneeling on the floor either side of the bar, simultaneously lifting and shifting the arm and leg on the same side to initiate the movement, then reaching back to touch the ankle with the hand and then extending the leg and arm out to create a straight line from fingers to toes.  The arm and leg are brought back a second time to touch the ankle again and then back to the start position.

That may take a couple of reads, maybe get on the floor and think through the movement for a moment.

How quickly did you say, 'I can't do that!'.  For most clients it is immediate, some say it and spend a long time in the all-fours kneeling position before attempting the movement.

Can't Is Powerful

When we say I can't, the brain has already decided before the words come out of our mouths.  In most scenarios, and this is where my viewpoint differs from the article, I believe this is fear.

In movement, the brain is the central governor; it is there to keep us safe, ensure we don't get injured.  In the Movement described above the mind is computing the move and says, 'not safe', or 'I won't'.  The feeling and fear come out of our mouths as 'I can't'.

The Coaching Trick

The test challenges motor control and designed to provide enough disturbance to your stability that requires the body to react quickly and communicate using deep core muscles to maintain the position.

If the results of the screen are a one or a two, then part of the exercise prescription is to provide stimuli that build up the ability to increase reaction time.

My job is to understand your lifestyle and where a lack of reactive core control could leave you prone to injury.  Similarly, you may already experience damage, or regular pain, due to the ability to control rotary stability.

So it isn't that you can't, it is just that you haven't learned how; it is also something I would urge you to find the will to do.

Take care,

Andrew