As the collegiate hockey season ends, I am sure many local Connecticut hockey players have taken special notice of Quinnipiac’s hockey present on the national level. Unfortunately, they fell just short of the national championship; nonetheless, they should be a contender in the coming years on the same stage.
For those who have had a chance to see the changes QU has made to their hockey facilities over the past ten years, its obvious that the school wanted to develop a national level program from the ground up. What many do not get to see is the countless hours of off the ice training that this team has put in.
Since 2008, Brijesh Patel has run the strength and conditioning for both men/women’s basketball and hockey programs. B is not only preparing his athletes for their current endeavors, but also building them to excel at the highest level of sport.
One aspect of training that seems misunderstood by many sport coaches is in-season training. Here B highlights some of his in season with his men’s hockey team. Coaches often look for their athletes to bust their butt in the off-season to build foundational strength and be ready for the on-field/ice rigors, but maintaining those power/strength/flexibility/mobility qualities takes hard work in-season.
My first goal as a strength and conditioning coach is to have my athletes healthy and be able to take the field. My second goal is to increase performance on the field. This means understanding how each training session plays a role in that week, month, and years cycle of development for each player. Yes, training can leave you tired, sore, and mentally drained, but a good strength coach will know how to adjust variables to not leave them feeling or preforming poorly. This is evident with a 2-month block where QU hockey didn’t lose a game.
Here at Moore in Southport, we aim for our athletes train in-season 1-3 times a week depending on their practice and game schedule. Saturday we had 70% of our baseball clientele in training from youth, high school, to pro. Each athlete has their own in-season program that is geared to keep them powerful, strong, and healthy. Many of our athletes set personal records while their in-season due to hitting growth spurts and having just the right amount of stimulus to perform at their best.
Competitive volleyball is a sport plagued with countless injuries. One of the most common injuries reported is jumper’s knee.
Jumper’s knee, patellar tendonitis or patellar femoral syndrome (PFS) are the common diagnosis for “general” front of the knee, pain. Knee pain in a jumping sport can be incredibly debilitating as in many cases it can take as long as months to fully recover.
When looking at patellar tendonitis for our athletes; the first area of concern is the ankle. Acute ankle injuries make up a majority of volleyball injuries(Bahr & Bahr, 1997). Injured ankles often lack the proper mobility, mainly in dorsiflexion (e.g. limited motion foot towards the shin). As you can see in the images below, poor ankle mobility can lead to poor landing mechanics and put more stress to the knee and can irritate any existing knee pathologies or create new ones.
After clearing the ankle, we usually attack hip mobility and glute strength. Any tightness in the hip flexors are going to limit the strength of our glutes, which often leads to poor movement at the knees and limited jumping power, both major qualities needed for successful volleyball play. A basic strengthening and test exercise for glute strength is a single leg bridge. We look for knees, hips and shoulders to be in one straight line.
Addressing soft tissue of the quads and glutes through foam rolling and manual therapy expedite the recovery time. Often with aggressive treatment we can see jumping athletes back on the court the same week.
Assessing overall movement followed by breaking down each joints function helps us paint a picture of why the knee is the culprit in pain; as it is usually not the dysfunctional area driving the pain.
Ankle Instability: Rest vs. Early Mobilization by Craig Leibenson
Bahr, R., & Bahr, I. A. (1997). Incidence of acute volleyball injuries: a prospective cohort study of injury mechanisms and risk factors. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 7(3), 166–171. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.1997.tb00134.x
As promised, I wanted to make the presentation I gave to Fairfield National Little League public to all the coaches. The file was too large for email so feel free to download it from here along with the Dr. James Andrews Throwing Program.
Feel free to post questions or comments below.
Nutrition and fitness go hand and hand, and lends me to hear all sorts nutrition questions; one of which is why my fat recommendations are so high.
Looking at research of the top health problems in the US; obesity, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure all have very high correlations to refined carbohydrates. (Fournier et al., 1986; Liu, 2002; Liu et al., 2000)
Fat has been historically thought of as the evil nutrient that is high in calories and leads to loads of body-fat. Fat is often the first thing thought of when thinking fast food, as it’s “fattening”. Well, those foods can absolutely be fattening due to the high calorie content, but the bigger concern in my mind is the quality of those calories. Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell and Wendy’s are notorious for having lots of refined carbohydrates, trans fats and processed garbage in them. Those guys are the killers.
As with all macro-nutrients, quality of nutrients is the most important factor to consider. Trans fats increase LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease HDL (good cholesterol), which is correlated to increased heart disease and stroke risk.
The following articles give some great info on why all fats but trans fats have their place in our diets.
In my experience, very few people can overeat good fats, proteins, fruits, and vegetables. When coaching clients how to eat more optimally we are constantly pushing them towards eating the right amount of calories to reach their goals, as well as the best sources to choose from.
For our players—or any athlete—to make physical gains, they must also have a healthy diet and a strong mindset. So Sacred Heart’s off-season program strives to build both. Although we don’t like to brag, the results have been impressive: our team won back-to-back Northeast Conference Championships in 2011 and 2012, and one of our players used our program to pack on 15 pounds of lean muscle mass while decreasing his body fat.
Here’s how he did it—and how you can do it too. Stack.com
It feels like a daily occurrence that I receive phone calls from athletes and parents inquiring about the training I direct. Often, the player or parent wants a class to participate in, usually an off-season or pre-season workout that is geared towards their sport.
As I stated in my presentation in Fairfield a few months ago, our goal of long-term athletic development is ”to allow each individual athlete to reach their genetic potential in a healthy manner, both mentally and physically. This means minimizing injury and allowing fitness/sport to be a fun part of an athletes life regardless of the level of participation.”
Classes can be a way to introduce general skills to athletes. Most sports require many of the same movements as other sports, so a general approach to training can produce results, there is no denying that. The problem with classes are in-fact many.
- Athletes are often not screened or assessed for movement or orthopedic limitations.
If there is no assessment, how do you know what needs to be corrected?
- Assessments are not looked at when altering a class.
What’s the point of assessment if your not going to use the information it provided?
- Injury histories are not taken.
Previous injury is the #1 predictor for future injury. If you do not know how and why someone had a previous injury, how are you going to minimize the risk of it happening again?
- Specificity of sport is not accounted for.
There is more than one way to skin a cat or train an athlete, but forcing every athlete to do the same thing without making modifications for the sport an athlete participates in or the position they play is often going to set them up for injury or less than optimal performance outcomes.
- There is no change in programming for age or skill level.
I’ve seen classes where professional football players and 13 year old softball players are handed the same program (in front of each other). I can’t make this stuff up. The demands a growing adolescent girl and a professional football player are drastically different and should be accounted for.
- The trainers/ coaches are awful and don’t know how to coach, let alone coach numerous athletes at the same time.
To be fair this can happen anywhere. I have walked into a division I college weight room and saw a female basketball team doing cleans; every single girl had a valgus collapse of their knees (some were actually smashing each other). And the coaches then wonders why they lose 4 of their 11 athletes to ACL tears that year.
Long-term athletic development is always the goal when an athlete comes and trains with me in either our 1 on 1 training, semi-private training, or our Sacred Heart Baseball Team. We start with the end in mind, not just 6 weeks from now, but years from now.
When training any clients, assessment always takes place on day one. If we find any drastic limitations or red flags, we elicit our physical therapists on staff to help diagnose the problem. In more sever cases, we refer out to a physician whom can help better address the problem. Our in-depth orthopedic and movement assessment along with injury history, personal/sport goals we are able to develop a program that allows us to attack limitations and strengthen weaknesses immediately. This allows us to set short-term and long-term goals for on and off the field.
Long-term athletic development is always an ongoing process, and needs constant attention. This means training in-season (even if frequency and volume is down) and training around injuries. To continually develop, athletes must push out of their comfort zone and work their weaknesses on an ongoing basis to maintain the skills and adaptations their body has attained from training and sport.
When looking to reach the highest possible ability in your sport look for qualified professionals that understand the demands of your sport and how to help you reach your goals. These professionals need to perform an in-depth assessment and let their assessment results dictate the training on top of age and injury history.
If you are looking for trusted professionals in your area please contact me and I will be glad to help you find the best in your area.
Sacred Heart University’s off-season baseball program has yielded tremendous results, dramatically improving team performance on the field. Our methods are based on individualization for each athlete to optimize injury prevention, force production, nutrition and psychology… Continue Reading
As I stated in my last post I recently had FAI surgery. For those who do not know exactly what FAI is, the video below does a great job of explaining the etiology and diagnosis of this condition.
Obviously, my surgery is going to be slightly different from the next persons due to the causes and restrictions of the ailment, so take everything with a grain of salt and ask questions below to allow me to clarify.
October 2008: Did a lateral lunge while training and felt a pop in my right hip, the pain was partially in my right groin and right lower abdomen. Got checked out by a PT and we determined it to be a sports hernia. After 3 weeks of rehab, I felt good enough to resume powerlifting.
January 2009: Competed in a powerlifting meet.
February 2009-December 2009: Trained 3-5 days a week mainly for athletics and to keep my hip from hating me. PT 3x a week for 2 months followed by a month of Chiropractic work.
January 2011: Hip pain reared it’s head while deadlifting. This time it’s migrated into lower back pain (mild at worst). groin pain, and anterior hip pain.
January 2011- March 2011: Continued modified training and treatment 1-2x a week by Chiropractor, mainly on adductors.
March 2011: Went for opinion from an orthopedist on hip pain and constant “tight groin” feeling. MRI reveled some laberal damage and he wouldn’t recommend surgery.
May 2011: Second opinion from another orthopedist. New x-rays showed FAI both cam and pincer. MD suggested more PT and Chiro work.
September 2011: My right glute has highly noticeable atrophy of my glute max and what seems to be a missing glute medius. Pain is 6-8 out of 10 everyday, training brings me to an 8 consistently.
October 2011: Third opinion by one of the best hip docs in New England. In a matter of 3 minutes shows me “extreme wear, nasty laberal damage, and a nasty bump on my femoral head that is destroying my acetabulum”. He recommends getting FAI surgery once I feel I have exhausted all conservative avenues. He also warns me of the risk of a total hip replacement by the age of 40 if in the cartilage and labrum of the sock are destroyed. In the mean time I will get a cortisone shot to minimize the pain.
November 2011- May 2012: Training severely modified, work with a few new PTs whom get some relief, but overall the same.
June 2012-September 2012: Training is painful on my right lower body. I proceed to train only my left leg and upper body. Sleeping has become incredibly difficult. I am currently getting 2-4 hours of sleep almost every night and wake up feeling like I have an arthritic hip. My right glutes are no-where to be found, and I have a mild limp.
October 2012: Right FAI Surgery
3 hours of surgery
– Acetabulum is shaved down to allow more room for the femur
– Femur is shaved down to interact properly without smashing against the acetabulum, including that nasty bump that’s causing me lots of trouble.
– The labrum of my acetabulum has bone ossified in it. That area is debrided of bone and 4 sutures are put in place to repair the labrum.
– No cartilage damage was found, which was the big worry for myself and the doctor.
To show the variability of this procedure and the recovery; I have attached a chart of common arthroscopic procedures. Had I had cartilage damage, microfracture to the acetabulum would have been necessary and completely changed my recovery.
Currently, I am about a week out of surgery and have slept 6-9 hours a day and wake up relatively pain free.
Having surgery was not even a consideration 3 years ago, but pain, lack of sleep, and poor quality of life for a young active athlete was more than enough to put me over the edge. As with anything, finding the right practitioners or doctors was imperative. I believe the other doctors were timid because the average surgeon does not do many FAI surgeries and the outcomes can be very poor.
I am a long way from being back to where I was in January 2009, but having quality sleep back in my life has been an amazing change. I will continue to update my progress, feel free to comment below.
Extra Info: Here are a few great articles on FAI and how to train around it.
Recovering from an injury or surgery has numerous variables that the injured person can manipulate to promote healing and faster recovery.
Many of you reading this likely know that I just underwent a femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) surgery. I am currently writing this post from hospital bed at 3 am to keep my sanity intact while waiting for the nurses to check my vitals every few hours.
When prepping clients for a surgery or athletes recovering from an injury I always try to stress what they can change NOT what is out of their control. Some of these variables include diet, supplementation, sleep, stretching, and strengthening to name a few.
I have attached a link with my go to guide I offer clients to help understanding the injury process and how they can dramatically effect the healing process through nutrition. I encourage anyone who has the slightest interest in optimizing health, recovery, or fitness to read it from front to back.
If you have any questions feel free to comment below.
If any of you enjoyed my last post Gatorade vs. PowerAde, I think you will fully enjoy this article released by Precision Nutrition.
I believe it will take years before people start to take the proper precautions when it comes to consuming high fructose corn syrup heavy products.
Make little changes to your lifestyle and protect yourself for the long run.