In 1992 I started teaching a seminar called Building and Rebuilding the Athlete. I taught the seminar on a regular basis from 1992 until 2005. It was a seminar/workshop that defined functional training and rehab and challenged conventional wisdom in those areas. The emphasis was on how all the components of training fit together to build a complete athlete who would be fully adaptable to the sport or activity they were training for. During that time virtually everyone who are now leaders in the field attended the seminar. I never videoed the seminar despite continued requests to do so. Fast-forward to Leeds in the UK this past November. I was invited by Brendan Chaplin, S&C coach at Leeds Metropolitan University to present the latest updated version of the Building and Rebuilding the Athlete seminar. It was a great audience and an outstanding venue. Brendan videoed the whole seminar and is offering it for sale. Read more
How can you call something a functional movement screen when most of the movements are in positions that are at low levels of function for any athletic body? We need to always keep in mind that we have three movement constants the body, the ground, and gravity. In movement assessment we want to see the effect of gravity on the body and how the body effectively uses the ground to be able to stabilize, produce, and reduce force. Screening using artificial movements in a sterile environment is of little or no value. Read more
Given that the body is a kinetic chain and all systems of the body work synergistically to produce efficient movement then training is all about connections. Biomechanically think toenails to fingernails, everything is connected. The better and more effective the training the more effective the connections between body parts and the various systems of the body. We can isolate in theory and for mental convenience but that is not the way the body works in real life. As coaches we need to consciously make connections to make training more effective and efficient. Read more
According to Dr. Bondarhcuk, hammer throwers can be divided into three groups. The first type of thrower has slow winds, but accelerates sharply in each turn. An example of this type of athlete would be Lance Deal. The second type begins with fast winds, but accelerates insignificantly during the turns. A good example of this type of athlete is Sergey Litvinov. The third type of athlete winds at an average speed and accelerates moderately during each turn. According to Bondarchuk, one type is not better than any other type. As he notes:
Membership in one or another group depends first of all on this athlete’s individual peculiarities, as well as on the number of turns used. It is very important that the observed difference in the structure of the rhythm of throwing not only does not prevent the athlete from showing a high level of athletic achievement, but also, on the contrary, in all cases facilitates this.
Rather than forcing an athlete to throw one way, a coach should find out what way is best for the athlete and build upon it.
Training at an elite level isn’t just about how hard you train; it’s also about how well you recover. My training group trains ten times each week. In order to be fresh and get the most out of each training session, it is important that we not only train properly, but also do the right things outside of training in order to take care of our bodies. I find this just as true for me, even though I’ve never had a major injury or even an injury that has required me to miss a practice (although, in hindsight, I should have taken it easier after my bruised rib in 2008).
Proper recovery requires two things: time and resources. As an undergrad, I was fortunate enough to have both the time and resources to do everything I wanted. I was never rushed for time and the school had a full staff of trainers, a sauna, free massage, sports medicine specialists, and state of the art equipment. All those resources remained when I began law school, but my free time dried up, forcing me to cut back on my hour-long post-workout routine. Since moving to Kamloops, things have changed yet again; I now have ample time, but limited resources.
To give you an idea of all the things an athlete can do, I’ve outline some of the recovery methods I’ve used throughout the years. Some work, some don’t, but since what works is quite individual it is helpful to list them all:
Every hammer thrower you meet will be quick to show you the callouses, blisters, and bruises on their left hand. We aren’t looking for sympathy. And even though I’ve written about this topic briefly before, I am not whining either. Since we don’t tend to be the biggest of throwers, it is one way to show that we work just as hard.
Since moving to Kamloops, I have noticed that my hands have slowly gotten worse. I’ve now added swollen to the list of ailments. When talking with Kibwe last weekend, we realized we couldn’t even make a fist with our left hands When I attempt to make one, my fingertips can’t even come within an inch of my palm. Even using my other hand to squeeze my left hand together can’t get the job done. The only thing I’m thankful for is that I’m right-handed, since I will surely have some arthritis to show for this in a few decades.
I have ended the year on a good note. Coach Bondarchuk reduced my training volume to approximately 25 percent of its normal level this week. The extra rest has paid off. Today I threw 61 meters (200-00) with the heavy 8-kilogram (17.6-pound) hammer. That is little more than one foot off of my personal best with that weight. Add in six more months of training, a little warmer weather, and the adrenaline of competition, and hopefully some good throws will result in 2009.
After having a great week of training in the Arizona Sun, I competed at the Mt. SAC Relays this past Sunday. Things went well, but not quite as expected. At the end of my last practice before the competition, I fell and hurt my rib. The pain was minimal, but enough to throw off my rhythm. As the winner opened the competition with a world leading mark, I was struggling to make the finals. I luckily ended with a respectable mark of 65.32m (214-04), but am eager to compete at full strength so that I can continue what I think will be a great season. After returning to Seattle, I was happy to find out from my doctor that my rib is only severely bruised, and not broken. The pain should subside in the next three weeks, and in the meantime, I have adjusted my competition schedule for the coming weeks. Read more
I just published my first legal article today! If you have a weird interest with tax law like I do, check it out: Client-Auditor Communications and The Privilege Doctrines: An Analysis of United States v. Textron, 26 TAX MANAGEMENT WEEKLY REPORT (BNA) 1555 (Nov. 5, 2007). Besides that, training continues to go well. Because I was working this past summer, I was not able to train as much as I would have liked to. I also pinched a nerve in my lower back that slowed me down. Since I arrived back in town I not only found more time to train, but I also have been rehabilitating my back. The process is slow, but the good results are finally starting to return. I doubt I will compete indoors this season as the main goal will be the 2008 Olympic Trials in June. Read more