Archive for June, 2012

Only One Body

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, Random Thoughts, Training on June 6, 2012 by mboyle1959

( the following is reprinted for a second time. Back in 2009 I might get a few hundred views. This time I might get a few thousand. I’m not sure where I posted it first by this is the second time on this site.)

Imagine you are sixteen years old and your parents give you your first car. They also give you simple instructions. There is one small hitch, you only get one car, you can never get another. Never. No trade-ins, no trade-ups. Nothing.

Ask your self how would you maintain that car? My guess is you would be meticulous. Frequent oil changes, proper fuel, etc. Now imagine if your parents also told you that none of the replacement parts for this car would ever work as well as the original parts. Not only that, the replacement parts would be expensive to install and cause you to have decreased use of your car for the rest of the cars useful life? In other words, the car would continue to run but, not at the same speed and with the efficiency you were used to.

Wow, now would we ever put a lot of time and effort into maintenance if that were the case.

After reading the above example ask yourself another question. Why is the human body different? Why do we act as if we don’t care about the one body we were given. Same deal. You only get one body. No returns or trade-ins. Sure, we can replace parts but boy it’s a lot of work and it hurts. Besides, the stuff they put in never works as well as the original “factory” parts. The replacement knee or hip doesn’t give you the same feel and performance as the original part.

Think about it. One body. You determine the mileage? You set the maintenance plan?

No refunds, no warranties, no do-overs?

How about this perspective? One of my clients is a very successful businessman. He often is asked to speak to various groups. One thing he tells every group is that you are going to spend time and money on your health. The truth is the process can be a proactive one or a reactive one. Money spent on your health can take the form of a personal trainer, massage therapist and a gym membership or, it can be money spent on cardiologists, anesthesiologists, and plastic surgeons. Either way, you will spend money.

Same goes for time. You can go to the gym or, to the doctors office. It’s up to you. Either way, you will spend time. Some people say things like “I hate to work out”. Try sitting in the emergency room for a few hours and then get back to me. Working out may not seem so bad. Much like a car, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way. However, in so many ways the body is better than a car. With some good hard work you can turn back the odometer on the body. I wrote an article a while back ( Strength Training- The Fountain of Youth) that discussed a study done by McMaster University which showed that muscle tissue of older subjects actually changed at the cellular level and looked more like the younger control subjects after strength training.

Do me a favor, spend some time on preventative maintenance, it beats the heck out of the alternative. Just remember, you will spend both time and money.

A Developmental Model for Youth Coaches and Players- Dr Richard Ginsburg

Posted in Guest Authors, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training on June 5, 2012 by mboyle1959

Dr. Richard Ginsburg, noted sports psychologist and member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School, presents his “Top Ten Tips for Coaching Youth.” Ginsburg, who also serves as a member of US Lacrosse’s Sports Science and Safety Committee, challenges youth coaches to examine what they love about the game and to consider what inspires them to coach.

Ginsburg’s 10 tips for coaching youth, with links to a full article when available:

1. Fun is essential. Studies have shown a strong correlation between enjoyment of the activity and participation longevity. Kids remain active in a sport if they are having fun. Performance also improves when participants enjoy playing the game. Full article.

2. Teach sportsmanship early. Coaches must seize the opportunity to impart good values (integrity, respect, compassion, etc.) and to model good behavior. Full article.

3. Remember that kids are not mini-adults. Kids are a work in progress and must be treated and coached differently than adult participants. Full article.

4. Design age-appropriate practices. Coaches should consider the physical, psychological and cognitive abilities of youth players when developing practice plans. Drills and plays should use the appropriate complexity, based on the age of the players. Coaches should be organized in order to minimize the amount of time spent standing around during practice. Full article.

5. Define success appropriately for each age group. For pre-kindergarten and kindergarten aged kids, the primary focus should be on having fun and safe activity that provides kids with joy of movement. Among elementary school aged youth, the emphasis should evolve into developing skill competencies and building friendships. With middle school and high school players, defining identity and recognizing their individual strengths and weaknesses becomes part of the equation. Full article.

6. Provide positive feedback. Coaches are encouraged to give accurate praise. Research shows that a ratio of at least 5:1 between positive and negative feedback is needed. Full article.

7. Save specialization for older kids. Research shows that 10,000 hours of activity are necessary to move a person’s skill set to a significantly upgraded level. Is that the kind of commitment a younger player should be making to the game? The motivation to participate must be intrinsic. Full article.

8. Avoid over-training. Ginsburg stresses that youth play just one sport per season and have at least 1-2 days off per week. He also encourages that kids have extended time off; preferably a break of at least two or three months from the game. He also cautions against a dramatic increase in training levels to minimize the risk of injury from overuse. Full article.

9. Use appropriate equipment. Avoid ill-fitting hand-me-down equipment, primarily safety equipment like helmets and shoulder pads. Make sure it’s a good fit. Full article.

10. Avoid “playing up.” The temptation is to move kids into older age groupings based on skill level or physical development. But Ginsburg says there is a benefit to being the best player on the team. It helps develop other abilities, like leadership skills and patience. There could also be injury risks and risks of social alienation for players who are moved up the chain. Full article (PDF).

Ginsburg encourages coaches to find a way to share their love of the game with their youth players. And remember to define success appropriately – whether it’s winning, having fun, skill improvement, learning sportsmanship, or something else.

► 10 Best Practices for Parents of Youth Players
► USL Position Statement on Gender Classification