Thursday, June 30, 2011

Days "Off"

One topic that came up at GAIN was days off or so called "recovery" days, and the potential negative effects that come with those days. Jim Radcliffe discussed changing the culture at Oregon to training in some capacity the day before a game, sometimes the day of, and minimize complete "off" days following competitions or just general training. Vern Gambetta made mention of the same in his talks. Rest - Use it Carefully 
No, that is not a hammock in North Dakota
The problem tends to be that days off are days OFF (physical activity = ZERO); whether it's society and the culture of laziness, the issue of the athletes being overtrained or under-recovered, or a combination of both. (I need to make sure the training isn't annihilating the athletes and putting them in comas on their days away)After 1-2, or 3 day lapse in physical movement, staleness can set in, and making it hard work to restore some 'functionality' the following Monday or whenever training resumes. I have noticed this continually in my experience as a coach (Pre-Habituation) and hearing it again at GAIN was a great reminder that steps need to be taken to keep athletes' systems running warm.

Research out of neuroscience confirms similar aspects looking at neuroplasticity and attempts to reorganize cortical motor outputs. So not only might time off relegate peripheral systems but also activity centrally within motor cortex; The Plastic Human Brain Cortex.

This is also important in the sequencing of the microcycle, as not all situations are ideal and athletes may come back to train after a 2 day weekend in which some have probably been entirely 'off' (they may have been assigned recovery sessions but unless a coach is present, it would be ignorant to think it always gets done). In this case it may NOT be advisable to perform a "high" day like so many coaches do the first day in a training week; working fast or heavy or both and then tapering as the microcycle goes. I've tried to be very careful about performing intense speed and/or agility work after a full 2 days off. Instead it might be advisable to perform a "low" day to restart the systems, open up ranges of motion, and hormonally flush the system (i.e. purposeful circuits)... preparing for a "high" session the next day, while still getting quality training in. Injury prevention/reduction is about many things and not always about what is being done.

Many coaches focus on the macro-, meso-, and maybe to some extent the microcycles, but reality needs a close look; and there are many factors to consider in the world of chaos we live in. If "off" days are not or can not be filled with active recovery, then I need to be smart about what goes on when the athletes are in front of me.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

GAIN 2011

Sorry about my lack of blogging lately, I've been beyond busy, as a coach tends to be. However, I was fortunate enough to have recently attended Vern Gambetta's GAIN Apprentorship which easily fit the trend lately for me of volume and intensity;"Bulgarian method learning". After having had a few days to recover and reflect, the educational experience I was far from disappointed. GAIN was 6 days full of great information and interaction among top level coaches, educators, and therapists. There were great presentations from Vern Gambetta, Kelvin Giles, Jim Radcliffe, Jack Blatherwick, Gary Winkler, Tracy Fober, Carl Valle, Joe Przytula, Greg Thompson, and Ed Ryan; and no-less impressive were those in attendance from all areas of physical and sport culture.

I thank Coach Gambetta for putting together a great educational experience.