In 2002, I started a graduate program at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. If you want to experience your car frozen to the ground after an ice storm then head for the mid west! Two years later I had a Master of Education in Sport Psychology and a rescued cat from the humane society. Kelso, my new cat, and I packed up the car and quickly moved back to the California warmth and sunshine.
In 2001, I worked at Caldwell Physical Therapy in the mornings and at El Dorado High school in the afternoons in Southern California. At the clinic we had a Vew-Do Balance Board and an Extreme Balance Board. This was back in the day when Vew-Do was getting started and had not developed their fitness line. With two great products to play on, I put our patients on the balance boards and they would progress very quickly, regain strength, balance and overall function.
At the clinic I met Sandy, a post-operative ACL reconstruction. Sandy had a history of several knee operations and repairs for both knees. Although she called herself "middle aged", she was still one heck of an athlete. Sandy learned to balance and ride the Vew-Do very quickly. I even had her standing on an exercise ball doing squats- you know the big stability balls. Did I mention, squats on a big round ball without holding onto anything? Her progress was phenomenal!
I thought if our post-operative and post-injury patients could handle the balance boards, then I had to have one for the high school. El Dorado HS had absolutely no budget for supplies let alone new gadgets. So I took a round Igloo water cooler lid (the cooler was missing and to this day I blame the incredibly strong cockroaches) and put it on top of an old ragged softball. On a side note... the cockroaches were so bold they didn't even scatter when coming back at 11 pm from a football game.
I had my very own made up balance board using some things around the office. It was about 12" in diameter and had a recessed area under the lip to contain the softball. Red plastic and full 360o degrees of free motion!
I thought it was great but the athletes didn't. My healthy uninjured teenage athletes thought it was too hard to do. Bingo! I had to develop my idea and see how far I could go. My dad thought I should pursue the idea also. There was just one small roadblock.
After nine months at the clinic and high school, I was off on a long road trip.