Friday, March 26, 2010

Hexlite @ Crossfit Valley Park

Fabulous! Dan Thacker, one of the Crossfit Valley Park owners, guides his 4:30 class through some Hexlite deadlifts during their workout yesterday. These women are grooving good lifting mechanics--lower extremity strength and mobility in the context of gravity and with awareness of the pelvis and lumbar spine. This is what Hexlite is all about. I want to make body awareness, alignment, mobility and strength available to everyone.

Chronological vs Physiological Age

These two volleyball athletes are 2 years apart in age and grade (senior and sophomore), yet they are worlds apart from the standpoint of physiological development. One can stand and place his hands above the 8 ft net; the other (last name Hercules--no kidding!) can just about walk under the net without ducking. But even Chris (aka The Thin Man) doesn't have to shave very often yet. He's just starting to go through major hormonal changes; though tall, he still has a great deal of physical development left. The opportunity to red shirt at USC will benefit him greatly.

Our current hodgepodge system of sport in the US tends to reward early physical maturation and forget about those that reach their physiological prime a bit later in life. All young athletes deserve and need fundamental movement skills and physical competencies. All deserve to learn the fundamental skills of a sport, rather than be pigeon-holed into one position at age 13 because we have no idea where they might fit into the puzzle at at 18 and especially age 24. And what about intangibles like leadership, tenacity, drive, the ability to thrive under pressure? Size matters, but it isn't always the best predictor of athletic success or even best sport choice later in life.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cheers to the Crackyflipside

It's a sunny spring afternoon in STL and this video clip and music from the Crackyflipside's YouTube channel hits the spot. For you weightlifting groupies, this dude has some of the best video out there of elite lifters--lifting in slow motion and sometimes with trajectories.

Now where's my margarita?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Today's Wisdom From Vern

I am re-blogging Vern Gambetta's blog post from today because it is so simple, yet speaks volumes:
Stimulus threshold is the optimum training load required to elicit an adaptive response. There is a different stimulus threshold for each capacity, in the same manner there is a different time to adaptation for each capacity. There is an art and science to this. But the simple rule of thumb is that it is optimum not maximum that we are seeking.
I encourage anyone who coaches or rehabilitates people to read his blog, Functional Path Training. Better yet, apply for a spot at The GAIN Apprentorship this June.

So many people fail to grasp that frequent maximal efforts in training are often not optimal. While a few thrive, many more fail to thrive and often end up burning out or breaking down in the process. These are the ones we don't see in inspirational videos.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tough Loss in OT

CBC had a 2 pt lead with 14.2 seconds left in the game. Ryan was fouled on a defensive rebound. Double bonus for CBC. Made the first one and Oakville called a time out. Missed the second one and Oakville's Josh Noblitt came down and hit a killer 3 to tie the game and send it into overtime. He was 6/8 from 3 pt land in the game. A Columbia Tribune reported captured the final 14 seconds of the 4th quarter on video. Ouch.

CBC was cold from the field all night. 3/17 from 3 pt land. From my point of view, it seemed like they struggled to play as a team down the stretch when the pressure was on. Maybe the credit should go to Oakville for playing great defense. They had a plan and worked it to perfection--keeping the game close and hitting shots when it counted. Ryan had 15 rebounds but only 7 points. And he missed a key free throw at the end of regulation. His teammate Seth Jackson had 15 points, but was also called for at least 2 player control fouls in the second half. Scored on both attempts, but the baskets did not count. Point guard Cory McArthy only had 3 points and was 1/9 from 3 pt land (1/11 FGA/FG).

So now CBC plays for 3rd place today at 1:40. I hope the kids can pick themselves up and go out on a positive note. They had a great season and got to a point no one really thought they could get to. But there is one thing that is interesting about their team (and other teams in this era)--and this is purely my opinion. Now, you'll have to know that I was a 2-guard and small forward who prided herself on passing the ball to my team's All-American forward. I used to hold the school record for single-season assists because I had to play smart. I couldn't out-run or out-jump anyone. I wasn't a scoring machine and knew it. And I didn't have that crazy 3 pt line to play with my mind. We were a small team and had to rely on a match-up zone on defense and solid fundamental offense to score.

It seems like these kids did only one of two things: shoot a 3 or drive for a lay up. Occasionally, they got the ball inside, but that option didn't seem natural for them, despite having a 6' 10' post player. There didn't seem to be anything in between. No working the ball around for a solid 12 footer. I noticed the same thing in some of the girls' games this year too. A few teams still play a very classic style, but I don't think it is the norm any more. Somebody needs to remind these kids that you can still score by shooting inside that line with a jump shot. Is that part of the game becoming a lost art?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Big Game for Ryan "PB&J" Pierson

The kid came to play Saturday (read the entire article here).

Led by a dominating inside game from senior center Ryan Pierson, and junior swingman Seth Jackson's inside/outside penetrating and floor play CBC defeated highly-ranked Webster Groves for a resounding 69-57 Class 5 quarterfinal victory.

CBC (22-8), which, will be making its first trip to Columbia since it's 1997 Larry Hughes-led edition was there will face Oakville in the Missouri Class 5 semifinals Thursday evening at Mizzou Arena in Columbia at 6:50 p.m.

"It feels great to be going to state and representing CBC for the first time since 1997," Pierson said. "Our goal was to try to get the ball inside and we did and then when they concentrated on me inside our guards and the rest of the guys stepped up and took over."

CBC fell behind by five points early but led by four points at 15-11 after one quarter but Pierson asserted himself in the second quarter and opening half with 16 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the field as CBC held a 31-24 edge at the break.

"In the first half we tried to get the ball into Ryan and he really did a great job of making space for himself and finishing shots," CBC coach Bob McCormack said. "He really had a probably his best performance of the season."

He'd had ok games last week in the district tournament, along with a deep thigh bruise, jammed fingers and a sprained ankle. But his team upset the #1 seed with balanced play--big accomplishment. So we spent this past week working on the ankle and making sure he was doing lower extremity mobility work. (I have to give a big shout out to Ed Ryan for hooking me up with the SportsWrap--the stuff worked great on the thigh and the ankle!) Ryan kept up with doing light/moderate workouts during PE/weight training at school.

The sectional (final 16) game on Wednesday had been a disaster. Ryan had his 4th foul early in the 3rd quarter. It seemed like he couldn't turn around on the court without being called for a foul. But CBC was able to easily beat Parkway South by 20. I told him to let it go and focus on Saturday's game against Webster Groves (27-2), who had been ranked in the top 5 in Class 5 all season.

I did not get to see the game on Saturday, as I was out of town for a family birthday. But I did get to listen to the Prepcasts internet broadcast. What a game! I am so happy for this kid. With his size, there have always been expectations. But people forget the kid broke his leg (tibia) during the spring of his freshman year and then fought off a life-threatening pulmonary embolism in the hospital subsequent to the surgery to repair the fracture. As a sophomore, he was gimpy and carrying about 20 extra pounds. He needed to rebuild the R leg and create a foundation for his frame and mind. This doesn't happen overnight. And it has been a challenge finding time between the never-ending AAU season and an ever-growing high school season. Here is a sample of the basic work Ryan did in the fall of 2008.

Ryan has made the effort, put in the work and he knows he has even more work ahead of him if he is to be successful as a collegiate athlete. Wish him luck this Thursday as he and the CBC Cadets play Oakville for a chance at the Missouri Class 5 state championship game on Saturday night.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Food & Health: It Doesn't Have to Be So Complicated

Articles like this NYT article really frustrate me. No wonder so many in the US are confused. The "Health & Fitness" sections of our newspapers and websites are full of information that is often vague, confusing and many times just wrong. Nutrition and exercise science are not always good at leading us to effective, practical information for obtaining physical health. Reductionist scientific methods are poor at explaining how complex, multi-level systems work. There are so many variables involved at so many levels.

In the end, it is all about our behavior and the choices we make. When we are armed with the right information, we can make powerful changes in our biology. We don't have to be slaves to it. For food, so much of the issue is about quality, not quantity. Most people don't appreciate the effect food really has on our body. It doesn't have to be that way.

Small behavior changes and better choices can lay a foundation for long-term behavior change and bigger changes. The changes may not be immediate, but good health doesn't come from popping a pill or one hard workout. Good health is a process and takes time and effort.

Here, watch Jamie Oliver. This is information you can use to make positive changes in your life and in the lives of those around you. Gotta watch it all. He'll make you think--and hopefully act.