Ballantyne's kicking causing foot stress - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ballantyne's kicking causing foot stress

By Justin Chadwick 20/04/2011 06:10:36 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne suspects his awkward kicking style caused the foot stress fractures that wrecked his AFL finals dream last year.

Ballantyne's fairytale 2010 campaign came to a crashing halt late in the season when he succumbed to stress fractures in his left foot; a problem that had plagued him in the second half of the year.

The Dockers have since discovered Ballantyne's unusual twisting kicking style, which places extra pressure on his planted left foot, probably caused the injury.

Ballantyne said he considered tweaking his action, but in the end stuck with the status quo in the hope other techniques such as strapping the foot and orthotics would stop the injury from flaring again.

"My natural kicking style was to kick around my body a little bit and get a bit more power that way," Ballantyne said on Wednesday.

"And (my style is to) just twist a bit, so it puts extra pressure on the bone (in my planted foot).

"So we looked at that but there's nothing really I can change about that, so just have to work with other ways to fix it.

"I haven't had any issues so far (this year) so hopefully it doesn't come back."

Ballantyne has quickly established himself as one of the premier small forwards in the competition, with his feisty approach, burning speed and fearless tackling making him one of the most exciting players to watch.

The 23-year-old showcased his full array of talents against the Kangaroos last week, booting four goals and tallying 25 possessions in Fremantle's 29-point win.

But the 174cm antagonist, who endured a disrupted pre-season as he completed the final stages of his recovery from the foot injury, insists he will get even better over the coming weeks as he edges closer to full fitness

"I still don't feel that fit out there," Ballantyne said.

"(I'm) getting up there, probably about 80 per cent at the moment, but I'm feeling better every game."

And don't expect his niggling antics to stop any time soon.

"That's just something I do," he said.

"The way I play, (I) just try and do whatever I can for the team to get into their heads.

"It's a bit of fun; a bit of friendly banter out there isn't going to hurt anyone."

Ballantyne said Monday's home clash with fellow top-four contenders the Western Bulldogs would give Fremantle a good gauge as to where they stood in the competition.

"The Bulldogs have played in the last three preliminary finals and it's going to be a big test for us. We know that and we'll be guns blazing from the start," he said.

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