Tuesday, August 9, 2011

early sport specialization 0R early athletic specialization?

Great article by Max Prokopy...

1997 was a landmark year for young athletes, burgeoning internet gurus, and helicopter parents. As Tiger Woods drained the final putt of a record-setting performance at the Masters, millions of parents, coaches, and educators watched in awe. Tiger's first TV golf appearance was at age 2(!). By age 21 he was the most formidable force in the sporting world. Either conscious or sub-conscious, these well-documented facts galvanized the early specialization movement. Best-selling books such as Outliers, The Talent Code, and Bounce are wonderful accounts of the grueling ascent to expertise. However, they might create as much trouble as inspiration. The message received by parents and coaches often places early specialization into one sport above the value of diverse movement. More importantly, it's held high above "play." While there may be more Tigers-in-progress than ever before, we've also seen a rapid rise in youth sport overuse injuries. Click here for the rest....

Monday, August 1, 2011

unbelievable training footage from the 1970's

cheesy hair, cheesy music, french narration...but I was mesmerized by the training styles and power demonstrated by one of the best throwers ever, Werner Gunthor of Switzerland. Try and watch all four parts...here is part one.

Friday, July 8, 2011

great new book by Mr. Vern Gambetta

Mr. Gambetta has really challenged my way of thinking, and doing things, when it comes to training athletes. He is very authentic and genuine, and highly controversial in some circles but always leave you thinking about improving your coaching, communication and athletic development. His new book can be ordered right here ---> https://payments.momentummedia.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&path=36&product_id=323

Thursday, June 23, 2011

more positive research about strength training and young athletes

Effects of Strength Training on Motor Performance Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Meta-Analysis

Pediatric Exercise Science vol 23; 2

pp. 186 – 206

The recent literature delineates resistance training in children and adolescents to be effective and safe. However, only little is known about the transfer of achieved strength gains to athletic performance. The present meta-analysis revealed a combined mean effect size for motor skill types jumping, running, and throwing of 0.52 (95% CI: 0.33–0.71). Effect sizes for each of aforementioned skill types separately were 0.54 (95% CI: 0.34–0.74), 0.53 (95% CI: 0.23–0.83), and 0.99 (95% CI: 0.19–1.79) respectively. Furthermore, it could be shown that younger subjects and nonathletes showed higher gains in motor performance following resistance training than their counterparts and that specific resistance training regimes were not advantageous over traditional resistance training programs. Finally, a positive dose response relationship for “intensity” could be found in subgroups using traditional training regimens. These results emphasize that resistance training provides an effective way for enhancing motor performance in children and adolescents.

Authors: Michael Behringer, Andreas vom Heede, Maria Matthews, Joachim Mester

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Influence of Parachute-Resisted Sprinting on Running Mechanics in Collegiate Track Athletes

The aim of this investigation was to compare the acute effects of parachute-resisted (PR) sprinting on selected kinematic variables. Twelve collegiate sprinters (mean age 19.58 ± 1.44 years, mass 69.32 ± 14.38 kg, height 1.71 ± 9.86 m) ran a 40-yd dash under 2 conditions: PR sprint and sprint without a parachute (NC) that were recorded on a video computer system (60 Hz). Sagittal plane kinematics of the right side of the body was digitized to calculate joint angles at initial ground contact (IGC) and end ground contact (EGC), ground contact (GC) time, stride rate (SR), stride length (SL), and the times of the 40-yd dashes. The NC 40-yd dash time was significantly faster than the PR trial (p < 0.05). The shoulder angle at EGC significantly increased from 34.10 to 42.10° during the PR trial (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences in GC time, SR, SL, or the other joint angles between the 2 trials (p > 0.05). This study suggests that PR sprinting does not acutely affect GC time, SR, SL and upper extremity or lower extremity joint angles during weight acceptance (IGC) in collegiate sprinters. However, PR sprinting increased shoulder flexion by 23.5% at push-off and decreased speed by 4.4%. While sprinting with the parachute, the athlete's movement patterns resembled their mechanics during the unloaded condition. This indicates the external load caused by PR did not substantially overload the runner, and only caused a minor change in the shoulder during push-off. This sports-specific training apparatus may provide coaches with another method for training athletes in a sports-specific manner without causing acute changes to running mechanics.

Paulson, S and Braun, WA. The influence of parachute-resisted sprinting on running mechanics in collegiate track athletes. J Strength Cond Res 25(6): 1680-1685, 2011.

While positive results were shown for college track athletes, this should not necessarily be extrapolated to younger and/or non-track athletes....comments from Tony.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

what is a "coach"? by Vern Gambetta

Man, this is right on...

Hu is the human element. You won’t find it on the periodic table of elements, but if you look around you are surrounded by it. It influences and drives everything that we do. The obvious human element in sport is the athlete that is why we coach. As coaches our focus is squarely on the human element, the athlete. The athlete comes in many shapes and all sizes. Some athletes are remarkable and some are average. Each athlete is unique and special. Certainly the athlete is the focus, but let’s not forget who guides and develops the athlete. It’s the coach. A good sport development system is athlete centered, but less we forget it is coach driven. Great coaches are human, they are not automatons and they have feelings and emotions. Great coaches can’t be manufactured. Great coaches just like great athletes are made not born. You get better at coaching if you practice mindfully. Coaching is not something you do; it is something you are with every fiber of your being.

Coaches need to be grown and developed. Coaching development must parallel athlete development for a sport development system to prosper and succeed. If the athletes are to continue to grow and progress the coach must continue to grow and progress. As coaches we must challenge ourselves to lead change by being the change we want to be. Coaching is a profession, not a job that you do three or four hours a day. It is all consuming. In order to coach the best you have to be the best yourself as a coach. Technical expertise and competence are a given, scientific knowledge helps, but ultimately coaching is an art. Great coaches have a feel, they have a sense of knowing when to speak and when to remain silent, when to go and when to stop. How do they know - they have refined the humane side of the human element. They have made mistakes and learned from them. They realize that each athlete is a case study of one. They have learned that coaching is all about Hu, not technology, facilities and equipment, but human failings and frailty. They have learned that coaching is a partnership, it not something you do to the athlete, it is something you do with the athlete.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Parents want more physical activity at school

A new poll finds that almost all parents of young children believe it's important for elementary school kids to get exercise during each school day. However, one-third said their children don't get enough physical activity at school.

The survey findings come at a time when U.S. schools continue to cut back on physical activity due to budget cuts. Obesity is thought to affect one out of every six kids in the United States.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, which asked parents of children aged 6 to 11 for their views about physical activity in schools, found that about one-third of parents think their kids' elementary schools don't devote enough time to physical education, 26% think playground equipment is lacking and 22% believe recess is too short.

"Academic and budget pressures threaten schools' ability to provide outlets and opportunities for children's physical activity. Many parents are noticing that something is missing," Sarah Clark, associate director of the poll and associate director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan Medical School, said in a university news release.

Parents who had extra pounds themselves were more likely to think schools need to do more, the study authors found.

"This is a new insight at the national level, indicating that parents with their own weight challenges are even more likely to see schools as a key partner in addressing the risks of obesity for their own kids," Clark said in the news release.

"School officials should note the strong support from parents for the importance of physical activity during the school day for children in the elementary grades. Parents see many reasons why physical activity is valuable for their children -- not just in preventing obesity but also in promoting healthy physical development. For parents of children in elementary school, it is critically important that children get the physical activity they need during the school day," Clark explained.

Night owls at risk for weight gain and bad diet

Night owls at risk for weight gain and bad diet

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Weight classes changed in high school wrestling, effective 2011-12 season

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 26, 2011) — The most significant changes in weight classes in high school wrestling in 23 years will take place in the 2011-12 season.

In its April 4-6 meeting in Indianapolis, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee approved an upward shift of the weight classes, beginning with the 103-pound class moving to 106 pounds, which resulted in new weights for 10 of the 14 classes. The changes in weight classes, along with 17 other rules revisions, were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The 14 weight classes approved by the committee for 2011-12 are as follows: 106 (pounds), 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285. Three middle weight classes – 145, 152 and 160 – were retained, although they are 7-8-9 in order now rather than 8-9-10. The largest weight class (285 pounds) remains unchanged as well.

Continue here for rest of article

Monday, May 2, 2011

early sport specialization may lead to an increased injury rate

Competitive young athletes are under increasing pressure to play only one sport year round, but such specialization could increase the risk of injuries, a Loyola University Health System study has found.

Preliminary findings of the ongoing study included 154 athletes from all types of sports, with an average age of 13. They came to Loyola for sports physicals or treatment of injuries. The injured athletes had a significantly higher average score on a sports specialization scale than athletes who weren’t injured.

“Young athletes who were injured tended to have more intense specialized training in one sport,” said Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola and senior author of the study. “We should be cautious about intense specialization in one sport before and during adolescence. Parents should consider enrolling their children in multiple sports.”

Jayanthi presented the findings May 2 at the annual meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine in Salt Lake City.

The current study is a follow up to an earlier study of 519 junior tennis players, in which Jayanthi and colleagues found that players who specialized in tennis were more likely to be injured during tournaments than players who participated in multiple sports.

Jayanthi said findings from the studies provide new support for an American Academy of Pediatrics 2000 policy statement on intensive training and sports specialization in young athletes. The academy said kids should be discouraged from specializing in a single sport before adolescence. Young athletes “should be encouraged to participate in a variety of different activities and develop a wide range of skills.”

The current study included 85 young athletes who were treated for sports injuries and a comparison group of 69 noninjured athletes who came to Loyola for sports physicals.

Researchers graded athletes on a six-point sports-specialization score:

* Trains more than 75 percent of the time in one sport.
* Trains to improve skill or misses time with friends.
* Has quit other sports to focus on one sport.
* Considers one sport more important than other sports.
* Regularly travels out of state.
* Trains more than eight months a year, or competes more than six months.

On the six-point scale, the average sports-specialization score of uninjured athletes was 2.75, while the average score of injured athletes was 3.49.

The study found that 60.4 percent of the injured athletes specialized in sports, while only 31.3 percent of the uninjured athletes specialized. (Athletes who scored above 3 on the six-point scale were considered specialized.)

Uninjured athletes spent a total of 8.8 hours a week playing organized sports, while injured athletes spent 11 hours. However, this finding had a P value of 0.07, meaning that it fell just short of being considered statistically significant.

Jayanthi said results of the current study are preliminary. Researchers from Loyola and Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago are enrolling additional athletes, and the athletes will be evaluated every six months for three years. This research will further assess the risk of intense training during growth spurts. The collaborative study has received a prestigious research grant from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.

Jayanthi said young athletes should be closely monitored for injuries, especially if they spend 11 or more hours a week in a single organized sport or more than 20 hours a week in all sports.

Injuries in young athletes include minor conditions such as muscle strains and knee cap pain, overuse injuries such as rotator cuff tendonitis and Osgood-Schlatter disease (painful lump below the kneecap) and severe injuries such abnormalities in knee cartilage and stress fractures in the spine.

While young athletes are specializing in all major sports, Jayanthi said the most intense specialization occurs in certain higher skill sports such as tennis, gymnastics and dance.

Here is another article outlining the potential risks of sport specialization.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

sleep less, eat more....a lot more!

This is pretty amazing...I know we are sleep deprived, but this demonstrates how sleep is intricately tied to obesity.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Does finger length predict athletic ability?

The Association between Athleticism, Prenatal Testosterone, and Finger Length

Moffit, DM and Swank, CB.
The association between athleticism, prenatal testosterone, and finger length. J Strength Cond Res 25(4): 1085-1088, 2011.
Research suggests that prenatal levels of testosterone are related to finger length development and traits beneficial to athletic skill, such as power, endurance, visual-spatial skills, or sensation seeking and dominance behavior. In men, the second digit to fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) has been shown to correlate with success in competitive levels of football (soccer), which suggests that the 2D:4D ratio is a possible marker for level of attainment in sport. The purpose of this study was to explore the 2D:4D relationships between sports and make comparisons with nonathletes. A multiple group posttest-only design was used. Participants included 138 male volunteers with 92 intercollegiate National Collegiate Athletic Association division I athletes and 46 nonathletes who were not varsity athletes. The independent variable was group (crew, football, gymnastics, soccer, nonathlete). The dependent variable was the 2D:4D ratio. No significant differences were noted between the athletes and nonathletes (p = 0.182). Significant differences were found among the different groups (p = 0.000), with significantly lower ratios between football and crew (p = 0.000), football and nonathletes (p = 0.030), and gymnastics and crew (p = 0.001). This research provides a stronger level of evidence that the 2D:4D ratio may help indicate potential athleticism or competition-level achievement, but the external validity may be limited to only specific sports.

Monday, February 28, 2011

High-intensity interval running is perceived to be more enjoyable than moderate-intensity continuous exercise: Implications for exercise adherence

The aim of this study was to objectively quantify ratings of perceived enjoyment using the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale following high-intensity interval running versus moderate-intensity continuous running. Eight recreationally active men performed two running protocols consisting of high-intensity interval running (6 x 3 min at 90% VO2max interspersed with 6 x 3 min active recovery at 50% VO2max with a 7-min warm-up and cool down at 70% VO2max) or 50 min moderate-intensity continuous running at 70% VO2max. Ratings of perceived enjoyment after exercise were higher (P <>P <>P <>VO2 (71 ± 6 vs. 73 ± 4%VO2max), total VO2 (162 ± 16 vs. 166 ± 27 L) or energy expenditure (811 ± 83 vs. 832 ± 136 kcal) between protocols. The greater enjoyment associated with high-intensity interval running may be relevant for improving exercise adherence, since running is a low-cost exercise intervention requiring no exercise equipment and similar relative exercise intensities have previously induced health benefits in patient populations.

Authors: Jonathan D. Bartlett; Graeme L. Close; Don P. M. MacLaren; Warren Gregson; Barry Drust; James P. Morton

JSS 2/24/11

Sunday, February 13, 2011

great insight regarding the question, "Are we born to run?"

Christopher McDougall, author of "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kids do better when they exercise with their best friend

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which the physical activity modeling and physical activity actions of best friends are associated with the physical activity of 10- to 11-yr-old children. Methods: Data were collected from 986 children of whom 472 provided complete physical activity and best friend data. Participants identified their "best friend" within the school and answered how often they took part in physical activity with the friend and if the friend had encouraged them to be active. Physical activity was assessed via accelerometer for all children and friends. Mean minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day (MVPA) and mean accelerometer counts per minute (CPM) were obtained for all children and best friends. Regression models were run separately for boys and girls and used to examine associations between child and best friend physical activity. Results: For girls, mean MVPA was associated with frequency of activity of the best friend (P ≤ 0.02 for all categories) and engaging in physical activity at home or in the neighborhood (t = 2.27, P = 0.030), with similar patterns for mean CPM. Boys' mean MVPA was associated with their best friend's mean MVPA (t = 3.68, P = 0.001) and being active at home or in the local neighborhood (t = 2.52, P = 0.017). Conclusions: Boys who have active friends spend more minutes in MVPA. Girls who frequently take part in physical activity with their best friend obtain higher levels of physical activity. Boys and girls who take part in physical activity with their best friend at home or in the neighborhood where they live engage in higher levels of physical activity.
MSSE - Jan 2011