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Sports Science Monthly – April 2016

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Editor’s Note: We are testing out a new series called the Sports Science Monthly. The goal is to translate the latest sports science research into information that coaches can use. Do you like it? Is it helping your training? Please get in touch on Twitter or via email and let us know.

Welcome to a new monthly collection that I will be writing, looking at sports science for coaches. In today’s sporting climate, coaches aren’t just supposed to coach – they are expected to keep up-to-date with new trends within sports science, including (but not limited to) strength and conditioning, nutrition, biomechanics, and psychology. This creates a lot of problems; many coaches are too busy coaching to sit down and find the correct research. Often, research is presented without context, so the coach doesn’t quite know what the study means. Through these series of articles, I hope to create a resource for coaches to be able to find recent articles that are applicable to them, and be able to place them in context. I will also report on research that isn’t always specifically applicable to a coach, but is a great example of the scientific method in action – including the limitations of science. This isn’t meant to be an overview of the whole sports science field, as time constraints mean I only report on a small number of the research published each month. However, I aim to pick the ones that might be most relevant and applicable. As always, I would welcome your feedback going forward on how to improve the Sports Science Monthly. Read more

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GAINcast Episode 6: Injury Prevention

A recent trend in programming is the implementation of “injury prevention” sessions into training. But as Vern wrote about last week, injury prevention training doesn’t always prevent injuries. In fact, it might be causing injuries in some cases. On this episode of the GAINcast, Vern tackles the following question:

This Episode’s Question: Does injury prevention training help or hurt athletes?

Read more

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Injury Prevention – Getting It Right

In so many ways injury prevention programs are a lost cause. My sense of it is that the more time spent on injury prevention the more injuries there will be. Read more

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Just Thinking

Is this a sign of the apocalypse? I saw where a MLB team named two corrective exercise specialists to its staff, not one but two in addition to the athletic training staff and a physical therapist – overkill? Read more

MONTE GORDO, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 09: Craig Pickering and Rikki Fifton of Great Britain during a training session at the Aviva GB & NI Team Preparation Camp on August 9, 2009 in Monte Gordo, Portugal.  (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for Aviva)

My Story of Overtraining

You might have noticed that I felt quite passionate about the topic of overtraining syndrome (OTS) in last week’s blog. The reason for this is that I suffered with bouts of non-functional overreaching (NFO) and OTS throughout my career. I believe it stunted my progression within sport, at least for a period of 18 months, and it really was a miserable time for me. I’m eager to prevent other athletes from going through what I did, so here is my story. Read more

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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Episode 11: Injuries (with Jason Young)

Ten days ago I showed up for the Swiss Championships. As the six-time defending champion the meet should have been a walk in the park. Instead I threw 45.23 meters. No, that isn’t a typo . . . here’s the proof. It was my worst result since I was 18 years old and because of it I guess I’ll have to start calling myself the former Swiss national champion. 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