Thursday, April 28, 2011

General Studies

A warrior has more than one skill.

I recently read this article by Vern Gambetta whose ideas we have discussed before.He certainly gives some food for thought here. Obviously competing at a high level today in any area requires a great deal of focused effort, even "specialization." Never-the-less, as he states, many great athletes and coaches have a foundation that is built on a variety of experiences. While technical skills are very specific, successful attitudes and even many physical qualities are held common across many areas. A coach or athlete who is so limited in their focus that they fail to learn from others is handicapping themself.
Majoring in General Studies By Vern Gambetta
We certainly live in an age of specialization in all fields of endeavor. I would argue that as a strength and conditioning coach, specialization is a negative, not a positive trend. As I look back at the coaches who have mentored me and great coaches I been around during my career, I see that they were all generalists. Even though they were very successful in their chosen sport and discipline within the sport, most coached multiple sports or areas at a very high level. The trend toward specialization has stifled development and innovation, not enhanced it. Look outside your sport or specialization for ideas and inspiration. If you are a swimming coach, talk to the track coaches; if you are a throws coach in track and field, go talk to the gymnastics coach. All of us should look at martial arts for concepts regarding attention, focus, and body control. Athletic development coaches should go to dance instructors to learn rhythm and tempo. I am a big believer in going outside the world of sports for ideas. I often look at art, architecture, design, music, and film. Some of my best ideas on long term planning and project development have come from reading about and talking to people in business. Creativity transcends disciplines. There is so much to be learned if you get outside your narrow area of specialization. Challenge yourself by exposing yourself to different ideas and approaches; believe me, it will open up a whole new world for you. Specialize in being a generalist; there will never be a dull moment. You will make connections and see things you never thought existed.
Vern Gambetta, MA, is President of Gambetta Sports Training Systems in Sarasota, Fla. The former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox, he has also worked extensively with basketball, soccer, and track and field athletes. He is a frequent contributor to Training & Conditioning. Vern also maintains his own blog.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oliver New Hammer Pr

Once again I'm gonna do some bragging for Oliver. "O" threw a new pr in the hammer and had two throws during the comp that were over his previous pr. The two throws were 65.16 and 65.10m. Oliver has accomplished so much in his short career and is going to throw even farther in the next couple of months and years. Here is the throw-

He'll probably get embarrassed by this or maybe get mad and beat me up in a couple of hours when we go lift....But he's a stud!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Learning From Others


The governator learned much from Tommy Kono early in his career. Tommy is another great example of a champion with humility and the ability to learn from others.

Great athletes do not always make great coaches. In fact, superstar athletes that become super coaches are more the exception than the rule.Often, it is ego that becomes a barrier. Below is a great article about wrestling legend and now national championship coach, Cael Sanderson. His athletic career is unprecedented. Undefeated for 4 years of collegiate competition and an Olympic gold medal. Now he has coached his team to a national championship.It seems that his lack of ego and pretense is his greatest asset. It has been my sad experience that many strength and conditioning coaches, at least here in the United States, have egos that are so inflated that they cannot learn from others. Coach Sanderson explains the flaws in that attitude. As the auther ponts out, it isn ot only good coaching to be able to learn from others, but a success habit that carries over into all areas of life.
Coach Sanderson carries with him a rare disposition, an extraordinary mixture of humility and exceptional self-confidence. Where some coaches crave attention, coach Sanderson’s deep sense of self-assurance deflects it. His low ego-needs allow him to build performance capacity in his coaching staff and wrestlers faster than the competition. “We take turns running practice. When my assistants run practice, I’m often on the mat working with the guys one on one.”
If Cael possesses a competitive weapon, it’s his understated, genuine and collaborative style. He creates a serious and yet relaxed and fun atmosphere where learning accelerates. “As a coach, you have to be humble enough to learn, then teach, then get out of the way. I constantly learn from other coaches, other programs and other wrestlers. If you have too much pride, you won’t learn. If you have contention for other programs, you won’t learn. Don’t hate who you want to beat. If you do, you’ll see things the way you want to see them instead of the way they really are.” Sage advice for a 31-year-old head coach who has rocketed to the summit of the coaching profession.

When I asked him about losing, he said, “Losses are learning events. And when you lose, you have to dislike losing so much that you won’t blame anything or anyone but yourself.” Then I got to thinking: Here’s a person who never lost a match. So I had to ask, “How did you learn if you missed out on those precious learning events?”

“I guess you can learn from winning, too!” came the ready response.

A humble, confident coach who practices simplicity and consistency. It makes me think of the old saying: “Says easy. Does hard.” Cael Sanderson is on to something.

Timothy R. Clark, Ph.D., is an author, international management consultant, former two-time CEO, Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University and Academic all-American football player at BYU. His latest two books are "The Leadership Test" and "Epic Change." E-mail: trclark@trclarkpartners.com

One of the reasons why I enjoy throwing and lifting so much is that the competition is against the forces of gravity, not so mcuh with fellow throwers and lifters. Competitors generally have a healthy and supportive relationship as they compete togather to throw farther and lift more. I agree with Coach Sanderson that having a negative attitude towards your competition brings negative results.

Competitors who respect one another bring out the best in each other.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What the Circus Can Teach Us About Sports Injuries

Here is a more detailed article about the connection between attitude and injuries that was introduced in an earlier post about a week ago. Like many, I have always been fascinated by circus performers and certainly considered them to be athletic. I am sure that some injuries happen to even the most psychologically strong athletes. High level performers always walk a thin line between maximal stress and over-stress. However, it is clear that attitude certainly is a large factor also. Train smart and train with confidence in what you are doing. I also like the emphasis on process rather than outcome as it can be applied to throwing. I often tell my young throwers to focus on hitting positions, not on the throw. This seems to help develop the ability to execute in competitive situations.

What the Circus Can Teach Us About Sports Injuries By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS Jennifer Taylor for The New York Times Can the tears of a clown contribute to the twisted ankle of a clown? According to an offbeat new study of the psychological underpinnings of sports injuries, the answer is a guarded yes, depending on just what occasioned those tears. For the study, appearing in the April issue of The British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers turned to a unique population of 47 athletes. Each had been, until recently, an elite competitor in gymnastics, trampoline, swimming or diving. But all were now retired from competition and hoping to join the circus. They had, in fact, entered a rigorous, specialized training program that could, if they succeeded, earn them a slot in a Cirque du Soleil troupe. Cirque du Soleil shows are exemplars of the modern theatrical circus, with the human body providing the magic, in lieu of elephants. Performers tumble, clown, dangle, contort and dance. “It requires great athleticism,” said Madeleine Hallé, a senior performance psychologist with Cirque du Soleil. Related •More Phys Ed columns •Faster, Higher, Stronger •Fitness and Nutrition News When they arrived at the tryout camp, each newcomer completed a series of health questionnaires, including one that assessed feelings of stress, competence, preparedness and general mood. Then they trained for eight and a half hours a day, five days a week, for 16 weeks. Conditions were trying, Dr. Hallé said. The athletes were beginners again after years of being among the best in the world at their sports. During the four months, more than half of the athletes sustained an injury severe enough to require a visit to the on-site physical trainer. Some injured themselves multiple times. Hoping to discern what traits separated the injury-prone from the impervious, Dr. Hallé and colleagues from McGill University in Montreal compared data from the athletes’ psychological questionnaires with their medical charts. What they found was that a person’s level of confidence could significantly affect his or her risk of sustaining an injury. Scientists have long believed that emotional factors play a part in whether a person sustains a sports-related injury, but the role of confidence has been controversial. Some studies have found a correlation between robust self-confidence and physical harm, perhaps because a bulletproof ego can lead to risk-taking. But other studies have shown the opposite, with low athletic self-confidence increasing injury risk. A recent survey of high school athletes, for example, found that those who reported in the preseason that they weren’t confident about how they would perform in the games and meets ahead tended to wind up hurt, especially if they were female. The Cirque study produced similar findings. The researchers looked at a quality called self-efficacy, which in psychological terms is a kind of enhanced self-confidence, the feeling that you are easily capable of performing the task ahead. Those athletes who had a low self-efficacy score on the health questionnaire were almost twice as likely to be injured as those who had scored high on that measure. Dr. Hallé suspects that low self-efficacy lessens a person’s ability to focus. “Instead of focusing all of your attention” on the task at hand, she said, a nervous athlete will waste some of his limited attentional resources on, well, worrying, and stumble or falter during the activity, hurting himself. What’s interesting is that the athletes who considered themselves unready for the demands of Cirque were not necessarily right. Some of those with low self-efficacy were not physiologically and technically up to the job. But others with low scores excelled. “How do you differentiate someone who has appropriate self-efficacy because they are not actually as good as others” from those who lack confidence despite being better, asked Dr. Ian Shrier, an associate professor in the department of family medicine at McGill and lead author of the Cirque study. The distinction matters, he continued, because interventions designed to prevent injury would almost certainly need to differ, depending on whether someone’s perceptions of his or her abilities and risks were accurate. If you’re correct that you’re not physically ready to perform a skill, then the best intervention is going to be augmented coaching and physical training. But if you have the ability but simply don’t believe that you do, intercessions should probably focus on building psychological coping skills, rather than physical technique. “I believe that we can develop effective interventions,” Dr. Shrier said, “but these have not yet been tested, to my knowledge.” For now, Dr. Hallé, who works with uneasy Cirque performers every day, suggests that someone who thinks, rightly or wrongly, that he can’t complete a physical task should think small. “We tell performers to concentrate on the process, not the result,” she said. “Watch someone who is really good” at a task, whether it’s a twisting somersault from a trapeze platform or a 5K road race, and “notice each step that they take.” Every activity involves a series of discrete, manageable skills that you can practice individually, she said. “Succeeding at a portion of the task will show you that you have the capacity to succeed at the rest.” Triumphal nose honking is optional.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Some funny and not so funny throwing and lifting bloopers

some had me laughing pretty hard....

video video video video video video

Monday, April 11, 2011

Benedikt Magnusson -1015 Deadlift

Thought I would highlight a fellow viking warrior :)

Benedikt Magnusson broke the world record in raw deadlift a couple of weeks ago at the Ronnie Coleman Classic.

Benedikt's wiki page(bio)- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benedikt_Magn%C3%BAsson

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Change Your Attitude to Reduce Your Risk of Injury

saw this on poliquin's site...thought I would share

Change Your Attitude to Reduce Your Risk of Injury

Many individuals believe they are injury prone, and scientific research suggests that they may be right! A study in the April 2011 issue of the The British Journal of Sports Medicine studied 47 Cirque du Soleil performers for 16 weeks. During this period, over half of the athletes [note that I did not say “clowns”] developed injuries requiring treatment, with many suffering from several injuries.

What the researchers found was that the performers with the highest levels of confidence in their abilities were less likely to be injured. One of the authors of this study, Dr. Madeleine Hallé, suggests that one reason for the difference is that athletes who are nervous or are worried about their performance are not able to focus as much attention to their skills as those with a higher level of confidence. Hallé, who works as a psychologist for these performers, says that one way to develop confidence is to break complex tasks into smaller components; when one task is mastered, this gives the individual more confidence to perform the other task in the skill and eventually the entire skill.

One of my mentors in weightlifting is Pierre Roy. During the seminars he has conducted at the Poliquin Strength Institute, he breaks down the Olympic lifts into segments. As the students master each segment, he then starts to combine the segments. As such, in a single session we often see trainers with no background in the sport able to perform a full snatch or clean with respectable technique.

also here is a link to a fun contest he is having....check it out


Monday, April 4, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

This is one of the better articles I have read in a long time. While I am not really a basketball fan, I like this coaches approach to training and see many parallels with training for throwing, lifting, or any other activity. I like the approach because it is simple and doesn't take itself too seriously. I will interject a few comments in blue. The Top Five Components of Building a National Title Contender in the Physical Preparation of a Division 1 College Basketball Team 1. Never Get Out of Shape – Take great pride in structuring, watching, developing and evolving a yearly plan that forces players to be in playing shape year-round. This includes focusing on the amount of open gym time, skill position work with the coaches, the collegiate environment, and the data that shows where each and every player is at from a body composition, strength, and conditioning standpoint. In simple terms, it’s great that if in July an athlete can play several hours a week of open competitive gym against top players and still see improvements in maximal strength. This can be done. I saw it work for five years. All it takes is extreme attention to detail! Remember, strength is a justification to a means of basketball skill improvement. I agree with the concept of never getting out of shape, however I would also state that it is not possible or desirable to always be in "top shape" or "peak condition". I think it is important for throwers and lifters to realize that you cannot always be on the edge of high performance. Having said that, staying in "good" shape year round makes it possible to ramp up and peak when it is time to do so. Have a baseline of good shape, take time to do other activities and vary training, then peak when it counts. 2. Do Not Be Afraid to Get Basketball Players Strong - It seems that the craze of sport-specific training has created a backlash against heavy lifting with basketball athletes. Indeed with almost any athletes nowdays. The idea of "functional training" seems to have created a culture of gimmicks and appliances to sell. I’ve seen many top-25 programs that do as little as 12 work sets per session, lasting less than 15 minutes. Basketball players are great athletes. Many have the capabilities to achieve amazing strength to body weight ratios. It’s not uncommon to see five or six players on our team lift over 300 pounds in the bench press, 365-400 pounds in the box squat, and have the ability to do 185-250 pounds for 3-5 reps in the hang clean to a complete front squat. We also emphasize body weight strength. Most, if not all, of our players can do 18-25 full pull-ups and we do several intense bouts of resisted push-ups per week. For the lower body we put a huge emphasis on glute hams for body weight records, manual partner leg curls and single leg strength. Don’t allow your players to believe that average strength is good enough. We test 1-3 rep maxes and do cluster work (timed sets in the same energy system demand as the game of basketball) in the 78-90% ranges for 2-4 reps with sets ranging as high as 20! It’s simple, our strength work is to get strong and our assistance work is to stay healthy. Who would argue with that?I think you’ve seen how this has truly worked for us, as we’ve been able to impose our will over much bigger teams than us the past few years simply because we were stronger. I love it. I think this general attitude towards training has widespread application beyond basketball. 3. Let Your Basketball Coaches Do Their Job – We have some of the best basketball coaches in the country. They have a skill development structure that is truly amazing. It’s the cornerstone of our system. If we over-do our job and over-condition, over-train, or simply do too much, our players will not be at 100 percent for these sessions with the coaches. All of our training year-round is dependent on what skill development session the athlete will do that week. If we impede on that, we haven’t done our job. Our job is to prepare and facilitate those skill sessions. These sessions, along with the amount of year-round open gym played, are specific conditioning for the game of basketball. Our conditioning sessions are to help facilitate these sessions, allowing the players to come in at 100 percent. These skill sessions with the sport coaches are where good players become great players! I think this is also important with any sport, particularly in throwing. Strength training should be kept in perspective and not interfere with the actual practice of throwing. Lift hard, do w hat is necessary and no more. Be recovered when it is time to throw. 4. Weak Points, Weak Points, Weak Points - Get direct and specific feedback from your coaching staff in order to focus on each and every athlete’s weak point. The individualized training that we have advocated so often in past posts. No real strength coach will plug in a one size fits all program and expect everyone to blindly follow it. If an athlete is undersized, plan accordingly in your yearly plan. If you have a player that needs to be tougher, stronger and more physical in the post; work it into his training. We use a lot of heavy medicine ball basketball-specific footwork drills to develop such weak points. Think outside the box! That is what seperates the great coaches from the common herd. Sometimes you may have a great athlete, but he has not yet become a great player. What we found is that in many cases the raw athletes’ major issue is their body control, so it does very little good to do high speed development drills with these athletes that don’t include stopping and controlling the body. Also, realize that many weak points on the court can be fixed with a simple combination of getting stronger while working that skill development with their specific coach. We define agility as the ability to control the body under a high level of speed and change of direction. If you can’t control your body, you can’t control your opponent or the ball. Another huge weak point we see with even the top programs is deceleration. Yes, you heard right, not acceleration, but deceleration. A lot of throwing injuries occur on the follow through when the limbs decelerate.Once again we contribute this to the athlete not being able to control his own body. All of our conditioning drills include a sudden stop, pause, and a specific body control segment. Moving fast and out of control is useless. Being able to jump incredibly high while out-of-control doesn’t yield positive results on the court, but being able to move at top speeds and get to where you need to be on the court in the proper body position is what wins plays and games! Sounds a lot like throwing, maintaining proper positions at top speeds.... 5. Get to Know Your Athletes – Sometimes restoration can be one of the best means of training. Collegiate basketball is a year-long endeavor. No one really cares what you’re doing in July. No games are won in July, but they can be lost. So it’s imperative to have a fluid plan that is constantly changing. Last year one of our top players was playing national ball and was asked to attend many of the top pro camps in the world, including the Lebron James Camp. It was evident when he returned from such trips that his body had taken a beating. It would’ve been stupid to follow the plan on these days, so we’d back off. We created a day or week of restoration while still attacking his weak points. We got the bar out of his hand in favor of medicine balls, bands and recovery drills. Strength wasn’t his weak point. One of our other top players decided to stay on campus all summer -instead of playing on national teams- to develop his weak points. These weak points were strength, body control, and body composition. He had the best season of his carer and became stronger at a lower body weight! We knew he was doing extensive, grueling work with a skill coach for his post-game several times a week, so we cut down on his assistance work and really put a focus on his major strength lifts and nutrition. Get to know what is happening with your athletes outside the weight room. Are they going through a tough time at home? Having girlfriend problems? Issues with team dynamics? Struggling in school? These things will help you understand your athletes better, allow you to be fluid, and show that you truly care for them outside the weight room. AMEN With Division 1 athletes, the strength coach spends as much (if not more) time with the team as anyone! With all the stress that major college coaches (head and assistant) are under, it’s great if the strength coach can step in and handle a situation to keep that stress off the coach’s desk. In conclusion, I just wanted to give a brief overview of the top aspects that make up a national title-caliber program. Obviously there’s much more, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing all the details of a program that has reached back-to-back final fours. What we do has a huge impact on our team and allows us to peak at the appropriate time each season. Head Strength Coach Jim Peal, my mentor in the field, is one of the smartest coaches in the game. His ability to understand a team’s dynamics, weak points, and to structure a plan accordingly is amazing. He can be reached via e-mail on the Butler University Web site and is very open to answering questions. My bio is below. Feel free to e-mail with any question you may have. Nice article and best of luck in the finals. Ross Bowsher – was the assistant strength and conditioning coach on a two man staff under Jim Peal for for nearly 6 years at Butler University that handled the physical preparation for all 16 athletic teams. In that time frame he assisted Coach Jim Peal with the men's basketball program that reached the NCAA tourney each year including two sweet 16's and two final four teams. He also assisted Coach Peal with football at Butler University and in 2009, five years after a 0-11 season, they set a school record for wins and had their first play-off game in school history at the 1AA level, where they went on to beat Central Connecticut. A season the sporting news called "one of the biggest turn arounds in all of college football in 2009." Ross was also the head strength coach for Butler baseball, softball, track and field, and tennis. He also worked extensively with Volleyball and helped train athlete Jessie Wolfe who was the first Butler Volleyball All-American. Ross recently accepted a private training position in Greenwood, Indiana, as the Director of Performance at the Fitness Jungle, where he works with groups of high school and middle school athletes in all aspects of physical preparation. Ross has a BS in Kiniesiology from the University of Indianapolis and an AS in Health and Human Performance from Vincensses University, where he played on two national tournament baseball teams under legendary hall of fame coach Jerry Blemker. Ross is still a competitive strength athlete in the sport of powerlifting with elite totals in the 242 and 275 pound classes. With best competition lifts of 870 pound squat, 545 pound bench press, and a 700 pound deadlift. Contact info: e-mail bowshersr@aol.com or call his cell at 317-508-2104. ..