Posts

Preparing the neck for contact

The neck takes a tremendous strain in combat and collision sports. There’s nothing worse than anticipating the impending neck pain after your first session back following a short training layoff. Backing the car out of the driveway, turning to face someone next to you, and general daily tasks become painful. We often neglect neck training, but as with any muscle, you can strengthen the neck to help increase performance and potentially reduce injury risk as well.

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Developing mobility for tackling and grappling sports

Tackling sports are dynamic and chaotic. Athletes end up bent and folded in seemingly unpredictable ways. Fortunately, the situations occur in recognizable patterns, and these repeating patterns can give us clues on how to best warm-up and prepare. The collisions and grappling requires a wide range of flexibility and mobility. If an athlete can not move into and out of these tight and jumbled postures, they will avoid them, they will not have the necessary awareness to see them, or they will be injured when they are forced into them. A well designed training program can prepare athletes for these collision positions. 

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HMMR Podcast Episode 271: Tackling and grappling (with Ollie Richardson)

Contact sports often look towards grappling sports for help in preparing athletes for contact. While there is much to be learned from grappling, there are also key differences as well. This is true when taking ideas from any sport to another, and a lesson Ollie Richardson learned first hand working in elite rugby and MMA. On this week’s podcast he shares his system for contact preparation, how it came about, and how to best adapt ideas from other sports.

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Progressing to contact in training

No matter how we train, contact sports such as rugby will always have an inherent amount of injury risk. That’s part of the business when people run into each other at speed. As coaches we might not be able to eliminate that risk, but we can minimize it. This article offers a few ideas of how we can help mitigate many needless head, shoulder, and wrist injuries that occur during tackling practice and games by teaching players how to move better.

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HMMR Podcast Episode 270: Prepare for contact (with Andy Ryland)

In sports like rugby and American football there is the contact paradox. Players are bigger and collision forces continue to increase. However the amount contact allowed in training continues to decrease. So how do we prepare for something we cannot train much? Coach Andy Ryland has a few ideas. On this week’s podcast he discusses the skills involved in contact, and how to best physically prepare for them off the field.

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7 lessons on team speed

Throughout October and November we posted a variety of content about team speed. With the chance to talk to so many experts on the topic, I’ve been thinking about it a lot myself as well. Below are some key lessons I’ve learned or reemphasized recently on getting athletes faster in team sports.

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The speed grid and training speed in a large group setting

Coach Kelvin Giles once said “If your coach:athlete ratio is 1:25 then you are managing a crowd, not coaching.” It’s not ideal, but it’s reality for many coaches. As I’ve worked more with field sports I’m often tasked with working with up to 50 athletes at one time. In such a setting, you have to make concessions as you transition from theory to practice. But with the right adjustments it can still look like coaching rather than crowd management.

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HMMR Podcast Episode 259: Speed in context (with Jonas Dodoo)

Sprinting on the track and sprinting on the field use the same blueprint. The key differences lie in how that blueprint is applied to a different context. On this week’s podcast speed coach Jonas Dodoo draws upon his experience helping elite players in nearly every sport get faster to explain the impact of the blueprint and the context on how you train speed.

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Rethinking speed development for team sports

Speed is often what defines key moments in team sports and distinguishes the good teams from the great teams. The key question faces coaches then is: are we creating and environment that nurtures speed, or kills it? All too often we see athletes that fail to get faster as their careers progress or typically, regress in their speed. The systematic progression of athletic and technical capabilities should see running-based sport athletes reach their speed potential in their late 20s or early 30s. It is up to coaches to create an environment to develop speed to its full potential.

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GAINcast Episode 227: Game speed (with Dean Benton)

Developing faster athletes for team sports doesn’t just mean training them like sprinters. Both sports require fast athletes, but in completely different contexts. Like anything, developing speed in a new context comes down to how you train and Dean Benton has spent his career trying to unlock the methods that can make his teams play faster. On this week’s GAINcast he joins us to discuss the significance of speed, how he defines the key elements of team speed, and his approach to developing game speed.

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