Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Everything is Everything

...an old Donny Hathaway song, and the topic of today's blog post.

"Can Balance Training Promote Balance & Strength in Prepubertal Children?"- Granacher et al, JSCR 6-11.

"Is There an Association Between Variables of Postural Control & Strength in Adolescents?"- Granacher et all, JSCR 6-11.

No & No.
These are two studies that measured balance as the ability to control pertubation- that incuded tests for static as well as dynamic.  The first test had 6&7 year olds trying to keep still on air cushions & wobble boards for 45 minutes 3x per week for 4 weeks.  Funny, but predictable if you were ever an elementary school teacher, the testors had problems with the subjects "attentional focus".  Another words, as soon as the teacher had their back turned, the students were off task.  The protocol failed to produce impovements in "postural sway"- the traditional method balance is measured.

In the 2nd study, the researchers tested a group of 16 year olds on their horizontal leg press performance, a counter movement vertical jump, & the ability to keep still on a stationary/moving surface balance testing device.  No correlation between static & "dynamic" balance, and muscle strength.

Both studies began with stating the importance of adequate balance in preventing injurious falls in the respective age groups.  The problem, as I see it, is the definition of balance.  That concept of "stillness".  Very different than what goes on the athletic field, or real life for that matter.  The eyes looking one way, legs moving the opposite, with the arms maybe moving in another.

The other problem is the idea of trying to isolate balance.  Good balance is more than just the vestibular system.  It requires a certain degree of single leg power, core strength, agility, and even flexibility.  I don't believe its possible to effectively train it independent of other neuromotor skills.  Did those elementary school kids really have attentional focus deficits?  Or did they want to do REALbalance training- skipping, hopping, jumping, stopping & just plain having fun.

Monday, June 27, 2011

GAIN 2011, Rice University- Houston TX USA

I apologize for the lack of posting, I've been decompressing a bit.

 It comes every year right at the end of my school year when I'm wiped & need uplifting.  And it didn't disappoint.  It is a jam packed schedule beginning at 6am "movement madness" sessions with the faculty- no passive learning here.  Just short breaks for meals, and we're on the go till 9pm for 6 full days!  Diving into function with the likes of Blatherwick, Gambetta, Fober, Giles, Radcliffe, Ryan, Winkler...Carl Valle getting us up to speed with technology...with Greg Thompson giving us the latest updates on motor learning & control.  EVERYTHING from the individual exercises to year round performance planning.  What a ride!!

But GAIN is only as good as it's "delegates".  That is, the people who are hand picked by Vern to attend every year so NOTHING gets watered down.  I mean come on, how many times have we paid good money to attend stuff that winds up looking like high school biology?

EVERYONE there had something to bring to the table.  Performance coaches, Sport Scientists & physiotherapists from college & professional sports, high school ATCs & physical educators, physiotherapists from European Rugby...phew!  Just imagine what it was like to have to get up in front of them & present!

Please consider joining us in '12.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Off to GAIN '11!

Sorry I haven't been posting.  I've been preparing for my presentations at the GAIN APPRENTORSHIP 2011
 at Rice U in Houston next week.  I'll be doing Return to Play, Functional Anatomy, as well as assisting Kelvin Giles with his PCA presentation.
  In addition, I'll be running the AM workout sessions on functional balance progressions & functional flexibility.  It is a very cool experience...really diving into function.  As usual I'll be over my head, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  Think about joining us in '12.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

In the end, it all comes down to Physical Competency

"The Effects of Exercise for the Prevention of Overuse Anterior Knee Pain : A Randomized Controlled Trial"- Coppack et all, AJSM 6-11.

Pretty simple, 4 PRE's & 4 static stretches caused a 75% reduction in anterior knee pain among military recruits.  Some of the exercises were "functional", & some were not.  What I found interesting was 3 of Kelvin Giles' PCA assessments (although not referred to by name) were used as exercises.  As budgets tighten & P.E. programs begin to disappear we see the decline of physical competency & literacy.  You cannot have a decent athletic development program without it.  Depending on the task at hand, it could be a knee injury, a shoulder, back etc.  Let's not get so nit picky with our assessments that we lose site of the big picture.  Do they have the right stuff or don't they?  And if they don't, weave it in to their return to play repertoire.  Believe me, the greatest gift you can give an injured athlete is to let them leave you a little more athletic then when they came in.