Monday, January 31, 2011


As Nikolai Ozolin layed out in 1971; flexibility day-to-day, strength week-to-week, speed month-to-month, and endurance year-to-year... I believe our biggest issue is keeping athletes moving. The injuries aren't going to be prevented from some special program or wondrous prehab exercises, it's simply a matter of more consistent movement. Athletes may train hard 1-2 hours a day, for 4-5 days a week, but the free time is filled with a whole lot of nothing as far as physical movement goes. Weekends, especially, can 'ruin' athletes.

If flexibility is day-to-day, which I can assure you it is, then it's the 1-2 days 'off' that's a major problem. I am not talking structured workouts per se, but I am saying movement; full range-of-motion, varied total body movement... everyday. Time spent 'in' the body, is time well spent; get to know the body by using it often. (... as I write in Cartesian dualism... which is probably our problem right there)

Rehabilitation "training" is usually not the answer, it's simply a reaction, and one that doesn't do much justice except for making some folks money. Rehabilitation absolutely has its place but lets keep it there; the root of the problem is lack of movement in general, and usually that's free.

Prehab - A flawed concept.

Coach Vern Gambetta hits a nail on the head with this one.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Power of Rest

Power Principles and Protocols

A tiger doesn't run in circles or chase it's prey to exhaustion; it rests, then attacks. It's okay to rest.

And not to slight a book that probably has some good general advice; The Power of Rest.


Friday, January 7, 2011


"Coaching, like teaching, is a matter of creating an environment where students can learn. A great teacher is one who helps the student grow to the point where they no longer need the teacher." - Bud Grant

The athletes will all be back next week, and once again this quote will be the process and destination.

*A side note: Bud's grandson is a freshmen on our football team. When he first came in last fall, I asked him if his grandfather had any words of advice for him before he left to come to Grand Forks. He replied, "Not much, just 'keep your damn mouth shut'."


Thursday, January 6, 2011

HRV and Feeling Good

Once in a while... actually much of the time (might be some sort of curse), I like to 'step back' and attempt to broaden my scope of all the concepts and details of training theory and application, and simply amuse at some of the things we as coaches, trainers, therapists like to analyze. If I don't I go crazy. A recent and potentially solid measure of how training is going and the state of things within the body is heart rate variability; an increase in variability a better state of individual, a decrease... not so good.

What about just feeling good? What is feeling good? Do people know what feeling good is? Is a measure necessary; or can or should 'feeling good' be a measure? Are people out of touch with themselves? In coaching, can I not trust the athlete's judgement? Or what does feeling good look like? Can I not 'sense' the signs? Maybe therein lies the issue; disembodiment, poor teaching, poor relationships, empathy and a failure of human connection.

I know the answer is that it's good science to track and organize things that can be good indicators of health and positive states, but what's the cumulative outcome of all things functioning well? What is it? An 'artificially' isolated measure of one organ? Yes 'the heart tells the story' and 'home is where the heart is', but what do individuals cognitively make of this? My wild guess is it's some sort of emotion that is recognized as feeling good. Can it be tested? I think it can, but in most cases it might need to be subjectively measured, at least relative to an individuals normative baseline... and this can be tricky too; allostasis?

I am for measuring heart rate variability, and I think it holds some very unique possibilities. But I, or any coach, shouldn't let a lack of technology that allows to quickly and easily measure HRV hold me back from making good, better, and/or right decisions. The body leaves clues and those could be measures as well. It's just important to be consistent.

Trying to decipher all things human gets quite messy, but "waking up" and being aware is an important step in the right direction. And in athletics, for most, all that matters is performance; that's the main measure. But what to measure? Some sports are easier than others. Just find some consistancy. I pull my hair out trying to figure all this stuff out (maybe that's where it's going).

This could lead into an endless discussion on what to measure and what not... but this is nothing more; just an abstraction... on my blog. Sorry if I wasted your time... looks like I wasted mine too! LOL


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Skin Deep?

Something simple to look at, especially during the winter months, but really any time of the year is the skin. In the most basic sense, the skin can be a good indicator of things going on deeper in the body. Skin dryness can be a good indication of dehydration; dry, cracked, flaky, chapped areas especially on the face, hands and around the flexion joints (knees/elbows), a dry (sometimes bloody) nose and throat, and constantly having to re-apply lotion or some sort of chapstick. But it's, obviously, not just the skin that's effected with dehydration, everything right down to the bones is going to be a little bit "dry". There can be potential increases in pain, "dryness" in the muscles, tendons and joints, to increased stress on the system, a decrease in heart rate variability; among all the deleterious effects that come from dehydration. Simply, the skin can be a pretty good and easy guage to inner workings.

The skin is just one simple barometer to adequate diet, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, all the the things that encompass taking care of the "invisible" training.

Some, of many, options for athletes to consider might be to reduce carbs (grain sources)/sugars in the diet and make sure they are getting enough good fat (i.e. omega-3's, avocados, olives, oils, nuts) and vitamin D/sunlight exposure (which can be a real "catch 22" in the winter months with the negative cycle of a drop in vitamin D to subsequent drop in serotonin to increased carb craving to decrease fat metabolism and on and on; too many factors... just test things out to see what works best), just maintaining a good diet and obviously drinking enough water. Also using a humidifier in the bedroom for sleeping can really help, and not eating large meals, especially those with high amounts of carbs/sugars and sodium before bed is important (going to bed a slight bit hungry can go a long way). Use of healthy natural lotions; good hygiene is important, but excessive bathing and the use of soaps can compound the effect of being dehyrdated... maybe cleaning up one's diet so they don't sweat out s**t all the time would decrease the need to shower all the time because of some unique odor.

Like anything else however, good health measures will take care of the body (and mind; like there's a seperation); the skin is just a good and simple gauge to some potential possibilities of what's happening inside. Location, climate type of that location, and individual skin colors are other factors which can determine outcomes and should be considered. There's nothing novel here, but just something to look at, be aware of, and educate the athletes on as the winter training cranks up with the re-start of school.

"Maybe it's Maybelline"... maybe it's not.