If you have ever spent a winter driving in Minnesota, you can appreciate the need for traction. When you’re on ice, you can have all the horsepower in the world, but if your tires don’t have traction with the road, you’re going nowhere. The human body is no different. You can have a ton of strength in your hips, but without a strong and stable ankle, much of that power will never reach the ground. And, like a Honda Civic in 12 inches of snow, you’ll be going nowhere quick.
When we look for indicators of athleticism, we generally turn to tests such as a vertical jump or 40-yard dash time. These are definitely good standards to compare athletes against each other with, but another good indicator of overall athleticism is an athlete’s ability to move their limbs independently of one another, without excessive trunk movement. These are what many people call “smooth” or sneaky fast” runners – the athletes that pull away from their defenders even though they look effortless in their movement.