Reviewing Functional Movement Screen™ (FMS™) results and movement patterns across approximately 250 athletes from 13 to 18 years old reveals some interesting patterns. Start by looking at the chart below:
The lack of stability illustrated above has significant performance implications. In a sport that involves sprinting, changing directions, and jumping and landing repeatedly on hard surfaces, stability and motor control are essential. Yet those are the attributes most lacking in developing athletes.Read More
It’s perhaps the most common question from coaches and parents interested in strength training for young athletes.
Conventional wisdom was that young athletes should not begin strength training before puberty. The physiology behind this conclusion is that weight training before adolescence isn’t useful because the prepubertal child lacks the hormonal environment to generate an anabolic, muscle-building response.
It’s always good to re-check assumptions, and a couple of weeks ago I did just that.
As it turns out, this conventional wisdom was based upon studies and conclusions from the 1970s. More recently, here are a two interesting review articles from the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2007) and Pediatrics (2010) that lead to a different conclusion.Read More
It’s that time of year again – three-day tournaments on concrete floors and 2-1/2 hour practices twice a week plus conditioning invariably lead to aches, pains, and occasional injuries. Insightful athletes and parents everywhere are wondering, “How can this process strengthen me, rather than break me?”
If you’re looking for answers outside the gym, know your options. Not all healthcare is created equal.Read More
Twitter has been abuzz over the past week with references to the importance and desirability of playing multiple sports:
http://t.co/miuPLhZpPS. Some great quotes in here from some of the all time greats about playing multiple sports.— Gibbons Football (@football_cghsnc) January 26, 2015
It's not an accident that every Pro/Olympic athlete I know played waaaay more than one sport. Movement competency... http://t.co/cGPkk28mVk— Kelly Starrett (@mobilitywod) January 25, 2015
Volleyball athletes are particularly challenged – most volleyball recruiting happens out of a six- to eight-month club season that runs up against a two-month school season, leaving little time for rest – and forget about participating in another sport. What’s the solution?Read More
This past weekend was the Carolina Region’s first 14s tournament for the 2015 club volleyball season. While watching teams play across six different courts, one observation jumped out: we have a tremendous opportunity to improve our athletes’ long-term fitness and performance by improving upright posture.
Perhaps our posture reflects the ubiquity of iDevices and hours spent hunched over small screens, or maybe it’s the result being deskbound in school all day, but regardless of the cause, this slumped-shouldered epidemic is fertile ground for performance enhancement. Coaches already understand that cultivating a powerful and durable overhead swing requires good thoracic spine and shoulder mobility – both of which depend on good upright posture.Read More
Here’s the challenge: we know that strength and movement training can improve athlete safety and performance. How can a non-profit volleyball club with a limited budget and almost 300 student-athletes effectively individualize its strength and mobility curriculum to meet each athlete’s needs given a relatively wide variation in underlying fitness and experience?
When faced with this challenge heading into the 2015 season, one power tool immediately jumped out: the Functional Movement Screen™. First introduced into the literature in 2001 by physical therapist Gray Cook and trainer Lee Burton, it has been validated as an effective injury prediction tool in competitive athletes while providing an excellent snapshot of an athlete’s mobility, stability, and competence in basic functional movement patterns.
Like most competitive sport clubs, Triangle Volleyball Club has limited time available for general strength and conditioning. Off-court training sessions range from 15 to 30 minutes per practice, so we needed an effective way to take advantage of these limited windows to work athletes through the screening process. Finally, once we performed baseline screening, we needed a way to scalably recommend individual corrective exercise and followup to each athlete.Read More
Here are fifteen key points for athletes and parents following Triangle Volleyball Club’s first Body Control Camp to kick off the 2015 season:
1) Pain isn’t the problem, it’s your body’s warning signal.
2) The most common cause of pain in otherwise healthy athletes is suboptimal positioning and movement.
3) The three most important factors in injury prevention are position, position, and position. Learning to consistently operate in a good position requires conscious attention.
4) Good positioning starts with posture, and establishing and maintaining a neutral spine.
5) Athletes should “get organized” throughout the day by squeezing glutes, engaging abs, and spreading the floor. Strive to keep 20% abdominal tension and external rotation torque in hips at all times to maintain neutral spine, support knees, and maintain/improve a healthy foot arch.Read More
Plantar fasciitis causes pain along the bottom of the foot either with activity or at rest that can range from uncomfortable to debilitating. The pain results from inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of connective tissue on the bottom of the foot that supports the foot’s arch. It is especially common in young volleyball athletes – they spend a tremendous amount of time running, jumping and landing on hard court surfaces, may be rapidly growing in size and strength, and as a result develop brutally tight tissues throughout their lower body.
Here’s one way to think about fixing plantar fasciitis (and pretty much any irritation related to tight, restricted tissue) for the long run.Read More
When working with a group of athletes interested in mastering the squat to increase mobility and performance, I’ve come to expect certain patterns:
1) Roughly ten percent will have the motor control and mobility to execute a squat, and comfortably sit in the bottom position with feet together and heels on the floor.
2) About twenty percent will have significant mobility deficits that prevent them from reaching the bottom position with toes pointed forward and heels on the floor.
3) The remaining seventy percent will be able to reach the bottom position, but will vary in their ability to hold it comfortably and bring their feet together.
Thus, pretty much everyone has ample room for improvement!
The following four mobilizations, if performed briefly (i.e. 10-15 minutes) but regularly (i.e. daily) over a period of several weeks, will result in a dramatic increase in hip and ankle mobility, with increased success and comfort executing a squat:Read More
The back squat and strict overhead press as explained in the Course are excellent first lifts to teach volleyball athletes spinal stabilization and ideal hip/knee and shoulder/elbow power transfer. By focusing on mastering the mechanics of these two foundational movements, the athlete ingrains healthy movement patterns that support jumping/landing and blocking. Once these two lifts are mastered, however, there are advantages to broadening the repertoire to include two additional exercises: the front squat and push press.Read More