Sunday, June 28, 2009

My '09 GAIN Experience

Wow, what can I say about Vern Gambetta's 09 GAIN Apprentorship? I went to Ft. Lauderdale on June 19 with no idea of what the next 5 days would bring; I emerged a changed person. I have been super-charged from a personal and a professional standpoint.

For 5 days we (about 35 of us) were immersed in all things related to athletic development--physical assessment, skill acquisition, strength/power, speed/agility, martial arts, shoulder/core issues, rehabilitation of the elite athlete, current concepts in controlling MRSA, and cautionary tales regarding research in sport science. And I probably missed a few other topics. We started at 7 am and finished around 9 pm each day, and then usually retreated to the lobby bar for more discussion. Of course, by the last night, Mick, our Irish futbol performance coach from Abu Dhabi, took charge of the bartending!

There were extraordinary people from all professions involving sport, movement, coaching and physical health: strength coaches, PE teachers, athletic trainers, and physical therapists. I think most of the American participants were seriously impressed with our Australian Institute of Sport friends. These people have got it going on. They know their stuff and they are out in front when it comes to integrating athletic development, sport coaching, rehabilitation and sport science. We have so much to learn from them and their processes.

One of the highlights for me was meeting my blog buddy, Joe P. Joe can interpret the research literature and apply it in the most challenging of settings--the high school. This guy is not afraid to get in the trenches and work his tail off for his kids; he also does a great job of presenting some pretty technical information in a palatable and humorous manner. Bada-bing for tensegrity!

Thank you, Vern, for inviting me to participate in this wonderful, wonderful experience. I will be back next year, with the AD in tow.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Go See Food Inc.

Just watched Food Inc. in a theater less than 3 miles or so from the world headquarters of the multi-national company in the picture below. Interesting there was a cop cruising the end of the exit. The movie will make you think about what you eat, why, where it really comes from, the policies that support it, and who controls it.

It's time for a little blessed unrest.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Milwaukee Rocks

This sign hangs just after the TSA security area in Concourse C of the Milwaukee Airport. The person who got this done deserves a bonus. And you gotta love an airport that sells cheese curds and braunschweiger in the main terminal. Braunschweiger was a staple at my grandparent's house and cheese curds were a staple in the AD's house. I am pretty sure he enjoyed the cheese curds more than I enjoyed the braunschweiger.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Developing the Complete Athlete

Me: "Your dad says you've been bringing the ball up the court."

PB&J: "Yeah. No one wants to guard me. It's kinda fun."

Hell yeah!

I'm sure it is a little intimidating for some 5' 10" dude to see a 6' 10" dude coming down the court with the ball, with skill, at speed. Big dudes don't usually take charge and handle the ball; they usually lumber down the court, trying to keep up with the smaller guys. But my goal, beginning in February 2008 wasn't just to make PB&J a better post player. It was to make him a complete athlete.

Athletic development is more than just increasing a kid's vertical or improving their 40 yd dash. Or at least it should be. It is developing body awareness, mobility and strength that leads to a set of physical competencies that allow the individual to better perform sport skills. We want to develop all-around athletic ability; not pigeon-hole someone into a team sport position, or their height or weight.

When I first started working with PB&J, one of his goals was to improve his vertical jump. Both he and his parents asked me about "jump shoes" and using a Vertimax; I would smile and politely say that those things are not part of the plan. We were going to move, squat, lunge, land, jump, step up, rinse, repeat and do it again and again. His body did not have the foundation it needed to land and jump well; in fact, it had failed him in 2007, as he suffered a tibial avulsion fracture during a game. Even after going through rehab, he still struggled with pain and swelling in his knee; and it was hard for him to dunk, even at 6' 9". I didn't want him anywhere near a Vertimax or those stupid shoes. We had to start from ground zero.

Now, after a year of consistent work, PB&J is reaping the benefits of his work and becoming that well-rounded athlete. Coaches and scouts are taking notice. He is moving well, taking charge on the court--exploring his new ability. And the fun has just begun. His physiological furnace is finally running at full tilt and he now has the fundamental movement skills and infrastructure necessary to take advantage of this critical window in his physical maturation. Ryan can train with more intensity and use a wider variety of strength/power exercises. Because he has been patient and committed--really invested in himself--time is now on his side; he can be much more than a post player.

And the only special shoes he has are a pair of size 16 Adidas weightlifting shoes. We don't need no stinking jump shoes. :-)