As an Exercise Physiologist, I studied the development of babies from Esme’s age up to age 2 as part of my training. I learned how to assess reflex response, balance, strength and other key indicators of athletic potential. Of course, I was not yet a full-on barefoot runner/coach but was well aware of how the feet dictated what occurred in the rest of the body as to physical activity. As this was my 1st hands-on contact with Esme (there had been many pictures and updates on her development from my sister – Esme’s proud grandma!), I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Needless to say, I was surprised by many things, some of which include the following:
- her ability to lock on visually in all fields (see photo)
- her core strength (she can almost hold herself upright – I am barely holding her hands – again, see photo)
- her balance (note feet and legs in photo-she’s already gripping the floor with her toes)
- her upper chest, neck and shoulder strength (she already holds up her head from the prone position and pushes off with her hands)
- her body control (she can roll over multiple times on her side to get from points A to B – unaided)
- her feet reflexes (she curls and extends powerfully when stimulated along the sloes of her feet)
Of course, in my TOTT T-shirt, Esme was in her element. She immediately led me in a forward mid-foot walking action and refused to sit on her butt when I tried to put her down. Basically, she was saying “come on, Uncle Jeff, I’m ready to ramble barefoot. There’s no time to be resting on my butt!” At least that’s what I thought she said to me!! Her parents (one of whom is my niece, Sara Rainbow Heart Hawthorne) have not put Esme in baby ‘coffins‘ yet – they also believe that she will progress better (and safer) barefoot as she learns to walk and run.
As all of us know, life comes with no guarantees. However, if I was a betting man, my $5.00 would go on Esme running barefoot as the youngest Team Over The Topper ever…and making the Canadian Olympic team in 2036.
JOIN COACH JEFF for an upcoming clinic and enjoy #InjuryFreeRunning!