Sweet Number Six

Yesterday the Swiss Championships took place in Frauenfeld and I captured my sixth straight title. And while I again had little competition, this victory felt a extra special. The crowd was small, but with my parents arriving the day before the meet I knew I had fans. The European championships organizers also used the meet to fine tune their preparations, including live coverage and interviews from Schelbi in the infield, a live stream, and the official European Championships hammer retrieval car. My top athlete also made the women’s podium for the first time.
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Hamstring solutions

The solutions to the issue of the explosion of hamstring are quite straightforward. Here some of the things that have worked for my colleagues and me. All of these take a deep commitment to coaching movement. Read more

Hamstring Injuries – A problem with a clear solution

I am not trying to jump on the bandwagon here; this is something I have been writing about and commenting on for years. Hamstring injuries have become a huge problem in sport. Just to be clear even though the Josey Altidore hamstring pull prompted this post I have no know knowledge of what the US Men’s National team does or does not do in terms of conditioning. I have had no contact with the US Men’s National Soccer team since I worked with the 1998 World Cup team. I do closely follow the tends the trends in training, injury prevention and rehab and the trends in regard to the hamstring have been quite alarming to me over the past ten years. I will state my premise up front: The more you train the hamstring to prevent hamstring injuries, the more hamstring injuries you will have. Introduction of the term “posterior chain” is part of the problem. It has caused us to focus more on one part of the body instead of thinking of the linkage, connection and coordination of the whole kinetic chain. Two years ago I visited a prominent DI football school. The Head Football S&C proudly told me about the extensive posterior chain work they were doing – last year they had eight hamstring pulls out of their 22 starters! Do you think there is any connection? I do! Read more


6a00e5521cccd0883401a511b83808970cForget posterior chain, glute medius, transverse abdominis and all those other reductionist, mechanistic ways of looking at the body. Instead, step back and look at the whole kinetic chain. Look at how everything is connected. Look at how the parts interact and work in synergistic patterns to solve movement problems. To analyze motion look at how everything links, syncs and coordinates. See if there is a flow, a rhythm that allows natural use of gravity and ground reaction forces to produce or reduce force. Look at movement as a big dance with varied rhythms and tempos. Look at how all systems of the body work together continually to produce efficient movement. Just like it is futile to isolate muscles the same is true with trying to isolate systems of the body. Everything is neural everything is metabolic. Read more

Some Random Thoughts on Sports, Coaching and Life

Advice from best selling author David Baldacci:

“Don’t write what you know about, write what you’d like to know about. And never chase trends. Don’t write about dinosaurs because Crichton did, or codes because Brown did. Write something you’re passionate about and want to learn more about. Have fun with it. Don’t treat it as a job. Exercise your imagination, treat it like a game.”
-David Baldacci

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The Posterior Chain – Why?

Ten years ago I never heard the term “posterior chain” now I see it everywhere in both training and rehab literature. What is the posterior chain? Why did it appear out of nowhere? Is it a meaningful term or a term of convenience without real meaning? Read more

More to it than meets the eye?

In the nine years I have been writing this blog I have written many times about the role of warm-up. Despite that I continue to be amazed at the lack of understanding about this crucial part of the training process. There is so much more to this than meets the eye on first glance. Last week I had a phone call from a colleague (One of the best in sport – he has worked with some of the most high profile teams & individuals of our generation). His pre- soccer training warm-up was evaluated by a representative of a national federation (Best unnamed, it could be one of many) and it was rated poor and ineffective because it did include the soccer ball! I almost dropped the phone – how ridiculous. The purpose was to warm-up for soccer, not to play soccer to warm-up, a subtle but very important distinction. Read more

Ask Martin Vol. 27: Throwing Injuries

Do you have a question for me? “Ask Martin” questions are chosen from inquiries submitted by members. So join now and you’ll also get access to a wealth of other training information.

Do you have any tips on maintaining a heathy back or addressing common back injures while throwing? -Andrew

Believe it or not, this is the first time I have written about injuries in throwing events. I have never thought about writing about it since, to be honest, I haven’t really had any injuries. But maybe that fact is itself worth writing about.
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Late to the Party

6a00e5521cccd0883401a73d854ddb970d-320wiOne of my former assistants with the White Sox sent me an email yesterday that gave me a good chuckle. He was told that one organization in Major League Baseball was doing something really innovative, they had stopped icing their pitchers arms. Welcome to the party – We stopped icing after pitching with the White Sox Minor League system in the 1988 season! Instead of icing which was a complete “shut down” we instituted an extensive cooldown routine. The problem with baseball is that it is a sport that is bound by tradition, because Sandy Koufax iced his arthritic elbow and he pitched well, then everyone began to copy it without asking questions. Read more

Athlete Development or Abuse?

In the United States this is Labor Day weekend. Traditionally this is the kickoff for youth soccer season. I was reminded of this yesterday when I overheard two parents talking at Starbucks. They were talking about the tournament their kids were playing in. It was 2:00 PM and their kids had played two games already that day and were going to play the third game at 3:30. Yesterday it was 92 degrees with 73% humidity – heat index well over 100 degrees! Today they will come back and play again. Read more