Friday, September 30, 2011

Peaking For What?

An observation I've seen is that athletes that are a little sore in the legs (quads, glutes, hamstrings) sometimes perform better in a vertical jump test. I've been testing vertical jump at different times throughout the practice and training week of teams, and have notice some improvements in vertical jumps the day after a relatively intense in-season lifting session. There hasn't been massive increases of inches, but some athletes have jumped 1-2.5 inches better, and teams have improved as much as an average of around .25-.4 inches. Obviously this means some athletes had slight decreases, but I can confirm it's very rare.

Not sure for the specific mechanisms as to why this occurs; I could conjecture that the soreness creates stiffness in the muscle and 'tugs' on the tendons a bit more, tightening the "springs"??? Musculotendon stiffness leading to increased elasticity? The CNS still running 'hot' from the previous day? Maybe the previous testing time was a poor performance?

What this all means, I am not quite sure, but the athletes and teams continue to performing well; and most importantly we are not injured, beyond small things that don't limit playing or practice time. The correlation I do see with this is that, the good teams and coaches continue to attempt to develop their team throughout the in-season with intense practice and progressive in-season strength and conditioning. There is the necessity to control volume, but intensity must stay if not push higher. The reason this can work is tracking the general volume and most importantly practicing the lost art of common sense. Verbal, face-to-face communication amongst coaches and athletes really does go a long way.

With the "survival teams" (teams struggling), there is the mentality of so-called 'peaking' for every game and unfortunately at times for every practice. I have noticed an increase phobia of soreness in-season, and the problem with avoiding soreness is we always stay behind the soreness "wave" and never catch the surf to be ahead of muscular discomfort from being more adapted.

There are few times in a season that team sports really need to taper and peak, and these dates need to be highlighted; the quest should be for constant development in-season and out of season. Dynasty's are never built tapering for everything, when there is nothing to ever taper from; there is only a few play-off games each season, and only one Super Bowl or championship... and if it takes treating every game and practice as such, then you probably aren't good enough anyway and should get back to work on the basics of technical, tactical, and physical development.

Record keeping and common sense.

AS

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

GPP or SPP in TSP (Team Sport Preparation)?

It goes without saying that what's done in training must have a specific purpose or it shouldn't be in the plan. In team sports this can be a fairly difficult assessment to make as to what is truly going to affect performance. Does increasing linear speed improve a basketball player? Does improving vertical jump improve the ability of a volleyball player? Does improving the back squat make a football player better? These are objective and common measures or assessments of general athletic performance.

The questions are endless, and within team sports, the answers are almost always; "it depends."

I think it's important to make logical decisions regarding training, but as of now the potential variables to improve upon could be considered close to infinite. In 'strength and conditioning' my responsibility and the athletes responsibility is the necessity to, number one, become a better athlete, in becoming generally stronger, generally faster, generally jump higher, become generally more mobile and coordinated, and improve general work capacity. What this is most often called in technical coaching speak is GPP (general physical preparation). How much GPP is necessary is the ultimate question, and in the collegiate setting how much time is needed with GPP? When are athletes generally physically prepared? In team sports, how much specific physical preparation is necessary when the athlete spends a large amount of time in specific technical and tactical practice of their sport? From a strength and conditioning perspective with regards to team sports, what exactly is specific physical preparation?

From what I see, often incoming athletes, freshmen, and even sophomores, sometime juniors are generally not strong enough, generally not fast enough, generally don't jump high enough, generally do not display enough flexibility, and/or usually don't have the general work capacity for the overall demands of collegiate practice and competition. Without a high level of generalities, the specificities become even more of a challenge to achieve; and again I ask, what are the specifics?

Really, in strength and conditioning, athletes need to run fast, jump high, throw far, and lift heavy weights as fast as possible through full ranges of motion; this takes care of a high percentage of the necessary means to fulfill the time-limited objectives of training.

Is a 145 kg front squat with great technique necessary for all male athletes? No, but it sure as hell doesn't hurt.

Is a 25 inch vertical necessary for all female athletes? No, but it sure as hell wouldn't hurt.

Are 10 strict chin-ups necessary for female athletes? No, but it sure as hell doesn't hurt.

Does a 4.4 40 yard dash guarantee sporting success? No, but it sure as hell doesn't inhibit it.

Now, could there potentially be better qualities, specific ones, to spend time and energy to improve? Yes, but at some point the generals may limit the specifics. And what qualities might we improve that we could quantify to be sure we are not fooling ourselves?

There really isn't a good/perfect answer, but what seems certain is we need to put the "strength" back in strength and conditioning, and the "athletic" back in athletic development; neither of those spell specificity... specificity does not need to mean exact. Specificity maintains that at least one or more biomotor quality has some similarity task being trained for. What's usually necessary is becoming very proficient at the generals. which most coaches have narrowed down to work being more "functional" towards the desired outcome(s); the basics... being fundamentally great and athletically developed.

ath·let·ic 
adjective

1. physically active and strong; good at athletics or sports: an athletic child.

2. of, like, or befitting an athlete.

3. of or pertaining to athletes; involving the use of physical skills or capabilities, as strength, agility, or stamina: athletic sports; athletic training.

4. for athletics: an athletic field.

5. Psychology . (of a physical type) having a sturdy build or well-proportioned body structure. Compare asthenic ( def. 2 ) , pyknic ( def. 1 ) .
AS

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Excessive kilo-(n)grams

I came across Google Ngram a few months ago, but forgot about it because I knew it's potential to become another computer addiction. I was reminded of it again today in this entertaining talk from TED: "What we learned from 5 million books".

Here's my quantitative analysis of 1900 to 2008, do the "math".


Have fun,

AS

Reawaking My Dead Blog

My blog has been dead for a while and I finally put together a new post and my f**king computer froze! It was f**king great too... F**K! Pissed off...

Sorry about the vulgarities; I've been reading the new book, "Go the F**k To Sleep". Wasted time I could have been moving instead...
AS