Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mindful Training

I've touched a little on this in the past, regarding the implementation of increased central nervous system emphasis with regards to speed, agility, and conditioning.

Speed Focus


Now some pretty cool research is coming out regarding a more brain performance focused approach to ACL prevention training.

Knee Injuries May Start With Strain On The Brain, Not The Muscles

The key again as I discussed in Speed Focus, is an external focus. Which can only be done with emphasis placed on attentional focus outside the body. This type of stuff again lends itself to the use of reactive type training. Running around cones and form running are good teaching drills but eventually the athlete needs to be placed in a chaotic environment where just mindlessly going through the motions won't cut it.

If our #1 goal as performance specialists is injury prevention, the 'whole' athlete needs to be challenged, because they WILL be challenged in competition. It's important to be smart, but training for athletes cannot be soft and most importantly, not MINDLESS. The athlete only improves when challenged...

I would argue that most of the preventable ACL injuries are a disconnect between the central and peripheral nervous systems. Mechanical work and strengthening is nice and important, but integration with 'noggin' is a must.

The important thing is to empower athletes with the knowledge and understanding of a few important, basic movement rules, which they can then utilize in more chaotic training. This is where the importance of controlled form running, cone agility drills, and speed and tempo work come into play. These exercises/drills are the classrooms for teaching, but application of this education has to take place as well, and it's not truly application unless the predictive and reactive aspects of the brain are involved.

This is similar to something I touched on regarding movement, in some dialogue with Patrick Ward at his very informative blog, Optimum Sports Performance. Teach the athletes some basic rules and guidelines regarding movement, and then, from there, it is their job to problem solve.


Thanks to Frank Forencich for pointing out the ACL research.


Mike T Nelson said...

Excellent post man! The ACL study is really really cool.

Nice to chat with ya on the phone the other day.

Rock on
Mike T Nelson
Extreme Human Performance

Aaron Schwenzfeier said...

Thanks again. Likewise... a few more talks and we might have it all solved! :)