Friday, July 23, 2010

Make Those Around You Better

I'm not an individual sport kinda athlete. Don't like being out there all alone in the discus ring or weightlifting platform; not blessed with raw explosiveness and athleticism. But put me on a team, where strategy, planning, knowledge of the sport, consistency and fundamentals count, and I'll be successful.

In high school volleyball, I was the setter. Too stubborn to get rid of my goofy-footed approach, my high school coach made me set and I thrived. In college, I loved directing a 5-1 offense and keeping the opposing team off-guard.

In high school basketball, I was the 2-guard and a small forward. My job wasn't to score, but to get the ball to Darla Pannier, our junior center who would go on to be a high school All-American. Darla had the school season scoring record; I had the season assist record only because of Darla. Nothing made me happier than drawing a defender off-balance and getting the ball to Darla for the "and-one." My husband is always happy to refer to me as "not normally a scorer"--a phrase used by a local radio announcer during one of my high school playoff games.

I found joy in contributing to the overall success of the group.

Even now, I'm happy to be out of the spotlight and take a low-key role in professional endeavors. And I'm definitely not comfortable with the type of self-promotion that is common on the internet. My goal is to make those around me better and get people the best information I can. My job is to leave the gym a better place than I found it, not prop up my own ego or status in the eyes of others. The health and well-being of my athletes and patients is priority #1.

If there is information that sheds doubt on current practices (including my own philosophy and beliefs) in physical therapy or sport performance, it is my job evaluate it and help others understand it and apply it. If I don't know something, I admit it and work to get accurate information for people. There is no room for bullshit or bravado in my world. There is room to admit I am sometimes wrong and there are better ways to achieve goals. No worries; life is a process and life-long learning is part of that.

Most people have been very gracious and appreciative of my efforts to improve their physical health and athletic performance. Many have acknowledged, publicly or privately, my input on their training philosophy and programming. Others have not been so gracious, but I have no control over this. The only thing I can control is that I give my best, in an honest and professional manner--and make the gym a better place at the end of the day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I'm starting several new athletes over next few weeks. All will go through an initial 2 part evaluation that occurs over 2 days. I take the time to review past medical history with a parent, look at static and dynamic flexibility, upper and lower extremity strength, torso control with various movements and any other factor that might jump out at me, given PMH and their specific sport demands.

So the evaluation gives me a snapshot of where the athlete is now and then gives me insight into variables that may or may not impact training and performance down the road. I understand certain adaptations occur in sport, so I attend to them but keep in mind that I probably shouldn't try to fix it if it really ain't broke. I want to see if the athlete meets basic physical competencies--the physical building blocks that form the foundations for technical and tactical skills in the sport. And I want my tests to be relevant, measurable and meaningful.

Right now my evaluation process is has a very physical therapy feel to it, as the results of the evaluation are summarized in a written report that I send to parents, athletes and sport coaches (if applicable). I try to make it as easy to understand as possible, but it could be better. And it is going to get better by implementing elements of the PCA (Physical Competency Assessment), by Kelvin Giles of Movement Dynamics. Time to get my Excel and Radar Graph love on.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From the Vault

Here's a blast from the past while I recombobulate after a long June and great vacation in Europe. More soon!