Flopping Like Lebron

TOJs can learn something important from Lebron James, a remarkable basketball player and athlete - how to safely fall.

In the NBA flopping refers to the practice of intentionally falling down to try to draw a foul. Lebron James recently got fined $10,000 (the equivalent of $1 to the rest of us) in a playoff game for an awesome flop.

The video below shows Lebron doing a series of flops. Watch carefully and notice as he goes down how he first slows the fall by reaching out with his hand and relaxes and rolls his body, when possible, as he hits the court.

Also watch flop #1 in the link below. His body is flexed, not rigid. Yes, that's an incredible display of reflexes and strength, much more limited in a TOJ, but the principles remain the same.


This TOJ has talked about why it's important to know how to fall before.  It's only slightly less  important than knowing how to swim because it can help avoid serious injuries.

I'd run across some of these Lebron clips over a week ago. Seeing him flop reminded me I had't practiced falling in awhile, so after a workout, I got on my knees and took a couple of forward and sideways falls onto the mat. I practiced just like Lebron, reaching out as I approached the mat, dropping to my hip, and lightly rolling onto my shoulder.

Ironically, just yesterday I was out for a nice run on the Deschutes River Trail. The temperature was just right and I was feeling energetic, though starting to fatigue after over 40 minutes into the run. I had just passed through a rocky section, where I was careful, and picking up the pace when my right toe caught on a small rock I didn't even see. Down flew this TOJ with a groan and a cloud of dust.

It could have been much worse. Because I'd had some recent practice, I got my left hand down and mimicked Lebron. The left knee shared the force with my entire left side as I rolled across the dirt.

Severe injuries happen when all the force goes to one place, as when the hip hits first. I was able to avoid that, though my best running shirt got trashed.

TOJ's dont need to go slamming themselves against the ground. But some practice and physical training makes all the difference.

The physical training part is very basic. You get in the upward position for a push up and then descend very slowly towards the ground. Think of it as a push-down. This is an eccentric muscle action where you are decelerating. The ability to quickly decelerate is the secret to agility. Work up to sets of 15 reps a couple times a week.

Also do some yoga cobra poses and hold them for a minute. Throw in some side planks as well. You never want to fall with your arms locked as in the side plank, always have the elbow slightly bent. However, the plank will strengthen your core, which help keep everything supported when you hit the ground.

At least you'll be able to flop like Lebron, even though you don't get paid as much for doing it.


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