A briefer guide to bodily awareness for athletes and performance artists

New riders at the velodrome, watching film, are often surprised at how high they sit on the bike. They feel as if their head is more tucked towards their handlebars than it actually is. Similarly, those who ride based on perceived effort can be in for a shock once they get a powermeter. What feels to them like a nine-out-of-ten might only be 70% of their VO2max power.

A guide to bodily awareness for athletes and performance artists

Sport and performance art involves skilled movements which must be learned and improved. For example, pitchers throw baseballs, competitive cyclists sprint out of the saddle, and ballet dancers pirouette. Experts who have mastered these movements perform them automatically, effortlessly, and without much conscious awareness of their bodies (but see Toner et al. 2016). But learning or improving a movement requires compensatory adjustments based on bodily feedback: body position must be sensed, deviation from the ideal registered, and adjustments made. The problem is that many athletes and performance artists have poor bodily awareness, making learning new movements a struggle.