This is the first blog post in a five part series on the importance of using objective testing to support decision making throughout the return to health, return to sport and return to competition transition after injury. It also highlights my experience with a new technology called Plantiga that uses a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) called deep learning to power an intelligent insole system.
The focus of this series of posts has never been more relevant.
First, COVID is requiring all of us to find new ways to assess, monitor and train athletes remotely.
Second, if we take the…
If you live in the sport performance world, much ado has been made over the notion of injury prediction. If only we had a genie in a bottle that could predict an injury, right?
These issues were brought to the forefront recently in a journal article published in Sports Medicine (Hughes, Riley, Callaghan, & Sergeant, 2020). The researchers went back retrospectively to obtain “periodic health examination” data that included measures of lower body joint strength and range of motion from soccer players to see if they could predict muscle injuries.
They found the models to be of poor predictive value…
We are interested in sustainable excellence in elite sport. Sustainable excellence means that performance occurs by design.
All too often though, elite sport is challenged by inadequate resources.
Inadequate resources aren’t just financially tied.
They also pertain to difficulty in developing qualified coaches, talented athletes and a sport-specific knowledge base.
These challenges often mean that we are trying to do more with less and to get the most out of our athletes and the system in which they train.
Article Overview: 866 words on the importance of creating discomfort (discomfort quotient) in training.
My Sunday mornings are typically reserved for a catch up day on the lay blogs, articles and happenings in the world of sport science. During the week I tend to focus more on generating new knowledge through my own research and staying current with the scientific literature.
One of the articles I stumbled across this morning entitled: Caloric Restriction, Hormesis, and what they teach us about Evolution by Josh Mitteldorf provided an easily digestible read (no pun intended) on the counterintuitive process of hormesis that suggests…
Article Overview: 757 words on assessing functional asymmetries using dual force plate methodology.
About 3 weeks ago I gave a presentation on functional neuromuscular assessments throughout the late phase rehabilitation for ACL injured elite ski racers.
Like most applied strength and conditioning research projects, this one evolved out of ongoing efforts to track and monitor my athletes. In addition to tracking training loads and athlete readiness using subjective questionnaires, I was using a dual force plate system to assess explosive strength, mechanical muscle power and jumping ability in my athletes.
As time went on, I started to see that the…
Article Overview: 1251 words focused on providing S&C coaches with important concepts for incorporating data analysis into practice.
Over the past few years, an important theme in many of my presentations is that elite coaches need to figure out what matters, track what matters and change what matters.
In addition to my presentations, effectively tracking what matters is the single biggest area of consulting I provide to strength and fitness coaches.
Coaches want to know: How do I figure out what matters? How do I efficiently track what matters?
And most coaches want to know: How do I do this…
Over the past four years I’ve been working hard to find new methods to detect deficits in athletes returning from injury. Two particular areas of interest are assessing functional asymmetry and eccentric deceleration ability. I’ve found functional asymmetry testing to be of great value for monitoring athletes throughout the return to sport training period. However, I don’t think it is as simple as relying solely on what the eyes can see or simple between-limb strength tests like measuring single leg squat strength or single leg vertical jump height . I look at functional asymmetry from a few different perspectives. …
Why RSI Matters and How to Use It
Reactive strength is a key strength and power ability driving athletic performance. Strength and power abilities include maximal muscle strength (how much force an athlete can generate irrespective of time) and rate of force development (RFD-how fast an athlete generates force). However, reactive strength is unique in that it involves the ability to couple movements that lengthen musculotendinous tissue (eccentric movement) followed those in which musculotendinous tissue shortens (concentric movement). These movements are called stretch-shorten-cycles (SSCs) and they occur readily in all kinds of human activities like running, jumping and change of…
Part 2: When the Lab Doesn’t Cut It Anymore
Continued from Part 1
Have you ever heard of the Hawthorne Effect? You should Google this term. It refers to the effects of taking a measurement on what we actually want to measure. Imagine you are a sociologist interested in the sexual behaviours of middle-aged men. How effective would it be to park your lab equipment in the bedroom of your study participants to understand what really happens? That’s the Hawthorne effect. The Hawthorne effect also impacts neuromuscular testing.
Suppose I want to assess interlimb asymmetries in change of direction movements…
Part 1: the Journey Continues
I struggled early in my career to marry science with coaching. I lived in a dichotomy. I was a graduate student completing a Master of Science in muscle physiology, doing all kinds of neuromuscular testing. I would then leave the lab, head down to the weight room to coach athletes. I found it hard to bring science into the weight room in a meaningful way. The testing methods I was using were either (a) noisy (b) impractical or (c) not sensitive to performance or reducing the impact of injuries.
The problem was two-fold. First, I…