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DENVER, CO - JANUARY 24: Quarterback Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos gets sacked by defensive tackle Alan Branch (97) of the New England Patriots in the second quarter. The Denver Broncos played the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO on January 24, 2015. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Athletics: Is the price you pay worth it?

I often listen to sports talk radio to and from work each day. If you have been in touch with the news lately concussions and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) have been major stories in relation to American football. Because of this participation numbers at the high school and youth levels have dropped significantly. What I have to talk about below has nothing to do with concussions or CTE. Yes from the research we know now about concussions; you can make a better choice as a way to make a living than football, but I have a beef with a different issue. Read more

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The Overtraining Syndrome

When we design a training programme for athletes, our ultimate goal is to enable them to perform at their best. Inherent within this, we understand that it might involve some hard work. Indeed, the goal of a training programme is to create a stress on the athlete, which results in acute fatigue. The athlete then undergoes a period of recovery, and during this recovery adapts to the stress. Training, therefore, can be viewed as a constant cycle of stress (training) and rest (recovery). At times, it might be appropriate to bias that cycle one way or the other; during periods of high training load we are deliberately placing more stress on the athlete than they can tolerate – ordinarily this would require an increased rest period, but instead we attenuate that rest period to provide more stress. Again, this is good, and part of the training process. When we then bias the cycle towards rest, such as in a taper, the athletes recover, hopefully get some supercompensation, and performance improves. This is known as functional overreaching, and is an important part of training. Often, performance rebounds from a slightly depressed position during the heavy loading to the improved position after a few weeks. Read more

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Episode 32: Movement Screens (with Randy Ballard)

Screening movement has become a big trend in sports medicine and injury management. But what needs to go into a movement screen to make it effective? On this week’s episode University of Illinois Director of Integrated Performance and Interim Director of Sports Medicine Randy Ballard joins us to share how he creates an effective movement screen that addresses his athlete’s individual needs. Read more

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Relax-Restore-Retreat

When I was working as an assistant strength coach at Texas Tech for the legendary basketball coach Bob Knight, I started to realize the extent that athletes can lack in recovery and restoration. Though most fans wouldn’t view basketball as an extreme sport, the durations of continual work with little rest are astounding! Players are constantly either playing, practicing or traveling to games all year. Read more

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Lessons from GAIN 2015 – Randy Ballard on Trainability Assessment

Randy Ballard is an ATC who works with Volleyball and Track & Field at University of Illinois. Over the past three years Randy has taken elements of Kelvin Giles PCA (Physical Competency Assessment) and combined into a trainability assessment he calls I-FACTS – Illinois Foundational Athletic Competency System. It is a trainability assessment because it is designed to do just that, determine the athlete’s ability to train – where on a continuum of progression will you find kinks in the amour and adjust training accordingly. It is a reference to determine an entry point for programming training. Read more

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Just Thinking?

The past couple of weeks I have totally immersed myself in reading and research working to challenge myself and upgrade my knowledge. Being basically ADHD I can’t seem to focus on one area, I seem to keep coming back to the body as a complex system with a myriad of interactions and incredible ability to adapt to virtually any stress we impose upon it. One of the areas I have dug deep into is the whole epidemic of hamstring injures. The studies that I am reading just seem to ignore the hamstring as a link in the kinetic chain. Read more

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Thoughts on Function

Function is meaningful movement, it is not an isolated event, and it is movement that is leading toward something not an end unto it self. Movements that are less functional are movements that repeat themselves and are isolated. For example the leg extension or leg curl repeat themselves, they are essentially an end in themselves. Contrast this to the lunge that is progressive and can lead to many variations. The body is a link system and movement involves the timing of the movement of the links of the kinetic chain. It is helpful to visualize the process as total chain training moving from toe nails to fingernails. The outcome is functional sports training which incorporates a global systems approach to training & rehabilitation. Read more

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Why Use FMS?

I have been outspoken in my criticism of the FMS over the years; I first evaluated the FMS back when it started. My initial evaluation and opinion based on my experience and study has not changed as it has grown in popularity. It is a borderline waste of time that generates random numbers without transfer to real life situations. Stop and think, stop sheep walking and doing something because everyone else is doing it. One argument recently presented to me was that it is used at NFL Combine. And the NFL also still uses isokinetic testing. If we use the NFL as our example of a thought leader we are in bad shape (see their enlightened response to the concussion crisis). Read more