CHRIS Judd is standing upright in an inner city cafe, demonstrating how a new posture will save his groin. For the football fan, this is an arresting moment.
Judd is, truly, an inside player. His advice to the impatient masses is not to expect the stellar Judd early in the 2008 season. He is recovering from a groin injury, and an operation he now reckons might have been unnecessary.
"Had I had my time over, I’d think long and hard about having surgery at all." Judd, a reader of The Australian Financial Review, is dampening initial market expectations.
"Yeah, I think it will take a while. I don’t think I’ll bowl into the season the same way I bowled into last season or the season before. I mean, just because of my preseason, I’ve only been kicking for a month. I’m still yet to do any competitive work."
The elite athlete Melbourne identified is most animated when discussing his new way of standing, and walking, and how his groin is mending because of it. Judd has always played the game with a rare awareness of what surrounds him; now, that awareness extends to his body.
He understands now that his groin problem was caused by the way he moves and stands, that the teenage shoulder injuries that so worried clubs pre-draft have influenced his posture, and thus impacted upon his groin.
"My sitting posture was terrible. It’s very interesting the way it works. It’s interesting how something like my shoulders had an impact on my groins. Ever since I was sort of 16 years old, I’ve never done bench press. But I’ve just hammered chin ups . . . and my lats got so tight that it was that tightness and the effect that was having on my posture — you know, along with a million other things — that played a role in the injury.
"It’s amazing how much my awareness of everything I do has really increased."
Judd has spent several hours a week working on his new posture with movement expert Mark McGrath, formerly of the Victorian Institute of Sport, who works for an anti-child obesity organisation. "That illustrated to me just how sort of bad a lot of my postures and things like that have become."
The most painful lesson of 2007 was that he should not have kept playing injured, as he did in late in the season. "It was a dumb decision. I’m lucky to have gotten out of it . . . the groin’s pretty good now. "I’m pretty close to actually being able to play. But it’s just a case if I do too much, then they flare up and they get sore and then I’ve just got to back off for a while.
by Jake Niall