Another classic resource

In July of 1986 I flew into Tucson to visit Anne E. “Betty” Atwater, a professor of Biomechanics at University of Arizona, in order to pick her brain about throwing. This was an area where she had done some landmark research on pitching mechanics in the late 1970s. I previously had the opportunity to work with Betty on the biomechanical analysis of sprinters and hurdlers in preparation for the 1984 Olympic games. In our conversation, she recommended a book that changed my paradigm in regard to strength training and the use of isometric and eccentric work.

The book was Tendinitis: it etiology and treatment by William D. Stanish and Sandra Curwin. That book, along with a presentation and subsequent conversation with Giles Cometti in 1987, opened my eyes to a new vista of developing appropriate strength. This was thirty years before anyone came up the marketing term “triphasic.” The key is to understand the role of the muscle actions and train appropriately to apply them to the sport. Within any movement there are isometric, concentric and eccentric actions – what is vital is to coordinate them all. If you can get a copy of Curwin and Stanish it is worth a read (I have pictured the second edition). Unfortunately, all the work of Cometti in this area is in Spanish.

As a side note I regard Betty Atwater, Chuck Dillman and Jim Hay as among the most influential biomechanists of the twentieth century. They were pioneers who were willing to work with coaches. Fortunately for me I got to interact with all of them on several different projects. Their willingness to answer my questions and share was a tremendous help to my growth as a professional.

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