Posts

Surviving contact with the ground

My 12-year-old son plays football in a 9-a-side team. In winter, they train on an astroturf pitch that is dry but hard. This group has been injury free so far, with no ACL or hamstring injuries over the last two seasons. That was until two new recruits joined the squad last month. They managed to fall on the hard turf and injured their wrists within the first week: both required hospital visits, one wrist was fractured, the other sprained. It is no coincidence that the newest players were injured. As with other types of injuries, we cannot eliminate falling injuries, but we can help athletes prepare for them.

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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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Improving speed across football codes

Sprinting is an important action in many sports. In soccer, for example, research has demonstrated that, whilst the total distance covered by a player in an English Premier League match has stayed reasonably consistent over time, the number of high intensity efforts has increased by 50%, with the total distance of high intensity running having increased by 30%. Studies from other sports classed as “football” (AFL, Rugby League and Union, American Football, Gaelic Football, etc.) demonstrate similar trends. As such, we can be confident that possessing high levels of sprint speed, and the ability to maintain this speed under fatigue, is an important aspect of success in these sports. The question for coaches, however, is how do we improve speed in our players?

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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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Increasing team speed through progression, recovery, and collaboration

Fast players stand out in football matches. They stand out in almost every sport. The ability to outpace your opponent, with or without the ball, and to make a line break into space and receive the ball is a game winning ability. And the higher the level of competition, the faster the pace of the game, both physically and mentally. It is important then to make sure that players are prepared to run fast when needed. Whilst it is unreasonable to expect every player to be the fastest, I have an expectation that every player can be their fastest when coached well.

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GAINcast Episode 213: The all-rounder (with Ellyse Perry)

Americans might not recognize the name Ellyse Perry, but she is perhaps the most successful and versatile athlete in the world currently. She has made the World Cup in two different sports, and was recently named the top women’s cricketer in the world of the past decade. She shares an athlete’s perspective to this week’s podcast, discussion her own career path, approach to athletic development, and more.

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GAINcast Episode 196: Performance teams (with Dave Reddin)

Dave Reddin has helped assemble performance teams and structures at England Rugby, the Football Association, and British Olympic Association. Together, they achieved historic results. On this week’s GAINcast he joins us to discuss how coaches can best work together to support a team, as well as thoughts on how sports science and monitoring can best fit into the performance equation. Read more

Training for the demands of curved sprinting

While great attention has been placed on how to train linear sprinting, in team sports running in a straight line is only a small part of the game. As players have to evade the opposition, sprinting is more often curvilinear and very rarely linear. Does this mean as coaches we should spend less time sprinting linearly and more time sprinting in a “sport-specific” curvilinear manner? Read more

MLS – 25 Years On

On March 1, 1996 I started as conditioning coach for the Tampa Bay Mutiny of the Major League Soccer. It was an exciting opportunity and challenge. I had just resigned my position as Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox in Major League baseball. I had that position for nine years, during that time we had implemented an innovative program that teams are still trying to copy today. Soccer was a new challenge, a new team in a new league. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – July 2019

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. The amount of research in sports science has exploded, and for coaches in the trenches it can be hard to keep up on it all. That is one of the reasons we have put together the Sports Science Monthly, and we start off the July edition by looking at where coaches get their sports science information. After that we look into new research on small-sided games, re-examine training load monitoring, as well as looking into other topics. Read more