Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Real Treat

Repost from Vern Gambetta's Functional Path Training blog this morning. If you have any questions about what this program is like, I'm happy to answer them also. I am proud to be part of the 2011 GAIN faculty.

2011 GAIN Apprentorship June 17 – 22

Be a leader! Apply now and join a select group of professionals at the 2011 GAIN Apprentorship. Our goal is to define the field of Athletic Development by educating professionals in foundational principles and methodology as applied to coaching, physical education and rehabilitation. This program is not for the faint of heart or dilettantes, it is intense, intellectually challenging and demanding.

GAIN Apprentorship = Apprenticeship + Mentorship

We combine both into a blend of theory and practice in a five-day residential coaching school format. This is an opportunity to observe, question, and explore the application of the Gambetta Method - Systematic Sport Development Model of training, teaching and injury rehabilitation.

The coaching school represents just a beginning. To foster continued growth and interaction the graduates of the program can continue to participate via the secure web site, and continue to attend the GAIN coaching school for the duration of their careers if they so choose for no additional cost.

The 2011 school will be June 17 to June 22 at Rice University in Houston, Texas

The program is open to sport coaches, conditioning coaches, physical education teachers, athletic trainers, physical therapists, chiropractors and doctors. To apply go to and go to Apprentorship page to download the application form. Enrollment is limited. Tuition is $3,800 with a $250.00 non-refundable deposit required upon acceptance. This includes breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, and room. Please call 941-378-1778 or email mail me at for information on the special scholastic rate or if you have any questions.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Hoop Thoughts: BRIAN McCORMICK ON INJURY PREVENTION: "Some great stuff from Brian McCormick's 'Hard 2 Guard Player Development Newsletter' on injuries: World renowned athlete development specia..."

Amen, Brother Kelvin and Brother Brian. Thanks Jill for sending this to me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Shoulder

If you work with overhead athletes, you know the human shoulder depends on the rest of the body to optimally function. The shoulder needs the cooperation and positioning of the lower extremities and torso to provide the proper base of force production, whether performing a rotational motion (throw, hit) or a vertical thrust (jerk).

An illustration of shoulder position with an upright torso vs a forward torso in the receiving position of the jerk. Who's doing all the work to keep the barbell within the base of support?

If the lower extremities and torso do not do their jobs, the shoulder will ultimately suffer more wear and tear. Good mechanics are imperative for health and sport longevity.

The shoulder is not a smaller version of the hip. It has evolved to give us much more range of motion and requires coordination of the clavicle, scapula, thoracic spine and humerus. The shoulder is not designed to take the same pounding a hip can take. There is no bony socket to provide stability and it really isn't optimized for ballistic weight-bearing. Joint capsule, ligaments, tendons and muscular coordination provide the stability--not bone. So if you are going to bear bodyweight or greater loads in an open or closed-chain movement, you are going to want to use optimal mechanics to support the weight and give the shoulder the best platform possible. In training, you also want to develop balance of strength about the shoulder and reinforce scapulo-humeral rhythm during training with quality repetition and movement.

Chronic shoulder pain, rotator cuff tears, bicep tendinitis, labrum tears and multi-directional instability are not badges of honor for being an overhead athlete. Nor are they the price one pays for being active. They are the result of poor programming or training progression, doing too much too soon, not using good mechanics, or some combination thereof. Good training and proper progression promote good mechanics and build shoulder health, not chronic soreness. It takes time for the shoulder to adapt and build the capacity to tolerate greater volume and loads.

High volume of certain activities in the weight room can interfere with developing and maintaining shoulder mobility and mechanics. If you don't understand how your programming affects your athlete's shoulders, then you need to ask for help and get a clue. It is your obligation to know how what you do affects the short and long–term physical health of your athletes. And it is your obligation to inform them that more weight or more reps isn't necessarily better at any given point in time.

If your clients have to constantly see the massage therapist, PT or chiropractor for chronic shoulder problems, or they spend an inordinate amount of time with a foam roller / lacrosse ball attached to their arm pit or t-spine, that should be a red flag for you. Yes, injuries and accidents happen, but they should be extremely rare during training in the gym. Ultimately, the shoulder health of your clients depends on your ability to teach them proper mechanics and provide them with quality programming.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Badger Homecoming

Spent a beautiful weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. Met Kevin's college swim coach, Jack Pettinger. Took in the homecoming game and saw the fantastic UW Marching Band. These people have to be some of the most fit students on campus. We saw them working--marching and playing--from 9:30 am (11 am game time) until 2:30 with their 15 minute, 5th quarter performance. Groups came up into the stands to serenade us during the game, and they were wisely eating--just like athletes who needed some extra calories. I am sure most of the band members burn more calories than most of the football team on a home game day.

The video below has images from our visit, including the entire UW Band run on to the field and the 5th Quarter. If you squint and put it on 480p (yes, I know my 10 y.o. Sony needs to be replaced), you can see them high-stepping in place as the rest of the band runs on. The 5th Quarter is a long-standing tradition where the band comes back on the field and plays On Wisconsin,The Bud Song, Tequila, the UW Alma Mater and The Chicken Dance. It is pure fun for the band, students and fans alike.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Friday Fun From the Platform

Don't know who--IWF?--made this, but I thought it was pretty darn fun for a little TGIF. Have a great weekend!

Meet Coach Jimmy Radcliffe

I first heard Jimmy Radcliffe speak at the 1999 NSCA Coaches College in Colorado Springs. He didn't just talk. The man jumped, hopped, bounded, skipped and ran with grace, precision and an explosiveness I had never seen. He spoke with wisdom and humility. At 5'6" and maybe a buck sixty, this guy was not what I imagined when I found out he was a Division I strength coach.

Since that time, I've had the opportunity to listen to and speak with Coach Radcliffe in depth at the 2009 and 2010 GAIN meetings. His background is in weightlifting and track & field. He is the consummate professional--the real deal when it comes to developing the complete athlete. No false bravado; no quick fixes. If you get the chance to hear him speak, jump, bound, skip and run to it.

Coach Radcliffe will be with me on the faculty at GAIN 2011. If you are interested in attending GAIN 2011, drop me a line.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Build Foundations

Training is about building physical foundations in the context of fundamental movements. The movements begin with basic ground-based movements and then progress to more complex and sport-specific movements.

Physical foundations. What is that? Strength? Endurance? Work capacity? Mobility? Body awareness? It is all of these things, but in the context of movement skills. And this takes time. It begins with an evaluation of where the individual starts--posture, movement coordination, dynamic vs static abilities. It progresses with the individual. Some progress quickly. Others need time--more strength, more reps to master the movement, more time to adapt.

Training sessions apply constructive stress to the system. Over time, positive adaptations occur. More is not always better. High intensity is not always appropriate. Both are always tempting to do. You cannot groove skilled movement going balls to the wall, in a fatigued state. You go balls to the wall when you have mastered the movement. You progress when the body has earned the right and demonstrates the ability to tolerate the new stress.

For me, it isn't about beating people down. It is about building them from the ground up; one block at time, through deliberate practice and repetition. I help them earn the right to progress and teach them the patience to let the process work.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Images from the Journey to COS

Exhibit at OTC. Very pertinent to our two month journey that led to the event in COS.

A new friend visited us as we dined on the patio at Cheyenne Mountain Resort.

Kara and Melissa with 2008 Olympian, Kendrick Farris at the venue.

Kara and Melissa right outside the USA Weightlifting gym at the OTC. We observed some current resident athletes training Friday afternoon.

After dinner at Cheyenne Mountain. Great food, fantastic service and a wonderful view. The entire whirlwind weekend--96 hours--was a great finale to our two-month training. I will write more in detail about our experience this week.