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.