Dynamic Correspondence as a Means of Injury Prevention, a guest post by Matt Thome of Michigan Tech

Probably the most often mentioned goal of any strength and conditioning program, amongst other common training targets, is injury prevention. Obviously, injury prevention is very important. If an athlete is injured, they may not be able to play to their full potential, if at all. But does this mean we have to program specific, injury prevention exercises?

Doctor's Yuri and Natalia Verkhoshansky

Doctor’s Natalia and Yuri Verkhoshansky

We definitely have an abundance of “pre-hab” or corrective exercises used in weight rooms across the world today. However, I think that the most overlooked, and possibly under-rated principle, when it comes to this topic, is Verkhoshansky’s, Dynamic Correspondence. This principle utilizes five criteria to define specialized means of training (as compared to the competition exercise):

1. Same muscle groups
2. Same range of motion
3. Emphasis portion of the range of motion
4. Magnitude of force and duration applied
5. Same type of muscular contraction

In short, what I’m saying is that specialized training in and of itself, is injury prevention. We should prepare our athletes for whatever they will see in competition. This process starts with GPP, where we train every joint action and muscle group. As we progress, Dynamic Correspondence should become increasingly more important. Specialized exercises that mimic the exact joint actions seen in competition should be added in. These exercise should be executed in such a way that places emphasis on the portions of the range of motion where the most force is produced. Eventually, and gradually throughout the process, exercises will be carried out with greater speed and force to more closely relate to those in competition. Don’t forget that the Shock Method was originally developed by Dr. Verkhoshansky as a means to recreate the level of force impact in the triple jump.

Matt Thome is the head strength and conditioning coach at Michigan Tech.  Along with his coaching responsiblities Matt also teaching multiple classes at Tech on strength and conditioning.

Matt Thome is the head strength and conditioning coach at Michigan Tech. Along with his coaching responsibilities, Matt also teaching multiple classes on strength and conditioning and sport nutrition.

Of course an athlete can be injured due to poor technique (which specialized exercises can help to improve). However, if technique is sound, an injury develops because that tissue simply cannot withstand the forces acting upon it. Thus, one of the primary ways to prevent injury is to be sure your training, in various ways, fulfils the principle of Dynamic Correspondence.

The CVASP Podcast Episode 5-Keenan Robinson, Arizona State University

Arizona State’s Head of High Performance Services for Aquatic Sports Keenan Robinson sits down and talks training swimmers in this edition of the podcast. Keenan discusses training swimmers of all levels (youth, to college, to the Olympics), building a training culture that complements the training in the water, the importance of the aerobic system in swimming, and the future of training for the sport.

Lessons Learned From The Eye Guys, a guest post from DC Sports Training’s Jeff Moyer

MoyerAgility in sports is typically a response to what is seen. Agility is a rapid, whole-body change of direction or speed in response to a stimulus. That stimulus can be an opponent, a teammate, a ball, or a position on the field. Agility is a distinct quality underpinned by physical qualities such as deceleration (eccentric strength), starting strength, explosive strength, proper change of direction technique, as well as sensory qualities such as anticipation, pattern recognition, visual processing time and decision-making. Visual information is the dominant sensory system when performing practically any perceptual motor task. Athletes at a higher level of sport tend to be superior in agility tasks that require dynamic visual acuity & visual processing reacting to a stimulus. Research has demonstrated that higher-performing athletes can be distinguished by their sensory abilities (anticipation, decision-making time, decision-making accuracy) when they have been tested with sport-specific cues. These sub-qualities are trainable on their own (3-D Depth Perception, focus, eye teaming, eye-hand coordination, light sensitivity, visual memory, visual processing) and/or agility as a whole is a trainable quality.

There is a notion of 20/20 vision is perfect, however it is a poor basis of the quality of an athletes vision as simply means that a person can identify the majority of black letters on a white background at 20 feet of the specific size of 8.75mm. in height that is set up at eye level. The use of black letters on a white background is called a high contrast test, however a person’s visual acuity drops when they are presented with low contrast tests (different lighting, color letters, shadows, ect.) We know that this is not at all how sports work visually. Try reading your favorite book (Harry Potter) while doing squat jumps with half of the book on the floor and the other on the table…a bit harder to read. An eye doctor is primarily responsible and concerned about ruling out significant visual problems related to high contrast testing and a wide variety of eye diseases.

Like most physical qualities of the body, visual skills are multifaceted: Static & dynamic visual acuity, Peripheral vision, contrast sensitivity, depth perception, binocularity, fusion – convergence (eye teaming), ocular mobility, processing speed, spatial awareness/planning, visual integration, visual perception and working memory are all important pieces to the puzzle for an athlete. I am a firm believer that sensory system develop is a CRITICAL piece to an athletes sport performance and one that must also be worked on and developed. Strength & conditioning coaches often sole focus on the neuromuscular system for athletic development, but neglect the fact that there are 14 muscles of the eyes (7 muscles per eye), that can also be trained to improve sport performance.

Case Study:
I have been working with this one male tennis athlete for close to three years now (from sophomore in high school to now a sophomore in college). He now is playing D-I tennis, and since I have known him his backhand has been the bane of his tennis playing. His backhand has been an on-going work in progress. Many hours of practice, many slow-motion video analysis sessions, many days and weeks of technical development on his backhand, we’ve tried just about everything.

I must admit that I am lucky enough to have friends that are freaking smart. People that are experts in their field. Dr. Bill Harrison (Doctor of Optometry) and his son Ryan Harrison, with a degree in Exercise Physiology, with their company Slow The Game Down, just so happen to be people I am fortunate enough to correspond with. One afternoon Ryan Harrison was in town and came to visit me at my gym. In his brief visit, Ryan quickly met my college tennis athlete and was able to perform a quick visual assessment on him with the use of an Eye Trac. In a matter of a few minutes Ryan evaluated the binocularity of my tennis player and was able to determine that he was only able to get about 20% power out of his right eye as opposed to his left, and that his depth perception was not very good, particularly with his right eye. Without knowing a thing about this athlete other than he played tennis, based on his quick assessment, Ryan asked him if he had trouble on the court dealing with off speed shots to his backhand because mechanically he was always a bit in front of the shot and would pull them. In amazement, the athlete confirmed that this was completely true and something that he has been struggling with for years. All based off of a little tool called the STGD Eye Trac. This “mechanical issue” that he has been having with his backhand for years wasn’t due to his technique per-say, but his ability to perceive the ball that was causing the technical issue of being early and pulling his shot.

Slow the Game Down:
Viewing an object with one eye is called monocular vision, while viewing an object with two eyes is called binocular vision. Convergence is how well the eyes are used together to turn inward to sustain convergence on an object, which are important in sports to aid in timing and eye-body coordination. This is especially important for small, fast moving object sports (tennis, softball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse). Each of your eyes have a different visual line of sight due them being spaced out (on either side of your nose). Your eyes are like two camera’s filming the world and it’s how well these cameras can converge on and at different angles to an object that they create a single stereoscopic perception.

The STGD Eye Trac is not a MRI or a CT Scan, but is a means for observing and assessing eye teaming, which includes measuring binocularity and convergence. The STGD Eye Trac assesses two issues: one, are both eyes and the brain working together to process information. The tendency of the brain is to save energy (for survival), so it is going to suppress any information that may not be coming to it clearly. (Central System & peripheral system). In order to preserve energy for survival, the brain will suppress information that it thinks it doesn’t need. The second issue is about projection. This has to do with how the eyes and brain project objects with accuracy. For example, a baseball player may project the ball to be closer and higher than it actually is, so he may swing early and on top of the ball. A golfer may constantly short put the ball because they project the hole to be 10-20% closer than it actually is.

According to Dr. Bill Harrison, most athletes use both eyes for peripheral vision (the Magno system is intact on both sides of the brain), however with central vision, most athletes uses one eye (the Parvo System is not intact on both sides of the brain). If an athlete’s actions involve timing their physical actions to the speed of the ball, then binocular Parvo (central vision) gives them the necessary information. Two players may look at the same pitch, one may see it closer, one may see if further. One may see it higher, one might see it lower. These are particularly important in sports that involve fast moving objects (baseball, softball, hockey, tennis, lacrosse). An athlete might very well only see part of what they are looking at. (straight line rather than a Y or X with the string). This is all an indicator that the brain is not receiving proper information from the eyes.

Ryan and Dr. Harrison have accumulated thousands of hours of practice using this tool among many other and performing visual assessments with thousands of athletes. Even though I have been using and studying the sensory & visual systems for a short while, before I come to any conclusions with anything, I try to consult with Dr. Harrison to make sure I am correct or not.

Insert Sensory / Visual training:
Understanding what you see is a missed opportunity by many athlete’s and coaches. What we have been able to do since Ryan had brought these problems to my tennis athlete was work on his binocularity using the EYE TRAC string in various conditions: low lighting, balancing, various movements and at various heights of the string.

We have also made it a point to work on his 3-D depth perception with the use of Dr. Harrison’s 3D Depth Perception and Visual Tracker, also in various conditions: low lighting, different heights, different distances away, while walking, while jumping. (Perhaps I will write about 3D Depth Perception in another article) All of these exercises were added into his normal physical preparation program between sets and exercises that usually took just around 50 minutes total for the workout.

Consistency and focus of attention are the most important aspects to using these tools for improvement. He was asked to use these visual tools several times a day in small chunks of time (10-20mins) when he could. He was also able to bring home an Eye Trac and some of the 3D cards that Dr. Harrison sells to have in his wallet and use when bored.

Quantifiable Results:
Results with visual and sensory training aren’t necessarily quantifiable such as an increase 40-yard speed, or vertical jump. It is more of a qualifiable result based on communication with the athlete and watching them perform. With the STGD Eye Trac along with all of the other of Dr. Harrison’s visual and sensory products, we have been using following his training recommendations and my baseball and tennis athletes all say that they can see the ball better and their issues (pulling the forehand / backhand, swinging early or late in baseball/softball) are feeling better. On average, my baseball and softball player’s batting averages have increase .200! In 5 straight tournaments my softball players have been hitting over an .800 batting average. My tennis athletes are able to be more patient and hit their spots. Even our basketball players say that they are able to stay with their opponents better as well as improve their foul shooting by 10%. These are good enough results for me to believe that this method of assessment and the training works and to recommend others invest some time in researching and evaluating ocular training to see if and where it could fit into the training of their athletes.

[1] Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and Practical Applications.  Marco Cardinelli, Robert Newton, Kazunori Nosaka (2011-06-24)

[1] Expert-novice differences in anticipatory skill of rugby league players http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2013-06050-001/

THE PODCAST EPISODE 4-CARL VALLE, INSIDE TRACKER

In this episode of The Podcast Carl Valle of Inside Tracker and I talk technology and where it’s going in sport performance training. He gives his predictions of where technology is going, what technology is available now that is game changing, and where technology is changing coaching today.

FOLLOW UP FRIDAY: HOW DR. PETERSON’S PRESENTATION CONNECTS IN WITH OUR PROGRAMMING.

The 2015 Seminar saw the return of many past presenters, and the first we will discuss is Dr. Ben Peterson’s talk “Using Data to Improve Metabolic Specificity and Conditioning for Team Sport Athletes”. Ben went through a review of his 2013 talk, Effect of Aerobic Capacity on Repeated Sprint Performance, and added his recent finding through his work with Catapult connecting that presentation to all the data he gets to see on a daily basis to improve the practitioner’s ability to individualize based on sport, team system, and player tendencies. There’s a couple huge points we need to hit before we go into how this fits into how we train athletes:

1) He asks “Is Repeated Sprint Ability a good definition for team-sport metabolism?” It’s probably not because linear sprinting has a very different metabolic demand than cutting, jumping, cod, and sport movements. He then goes on to give his own definition that he says “is wordy, long, terrible, and doesn’t fit in a nice box in a text book,” but to be frank, I really like it. The problem with defining this and what makes it hard is you’re attempting to put a bunch of stuff that happens in many different sports, using different systems, by different athletes, in one “box”. Therefore, it’s always sport, system, and athlete specific, so a true definition is difficult to set.

Ben 12) Dr. Peterson’s research (along with may others) has shown that increasing O2 is important, but what can we do to piggy back that? He discusses metabolic efficiency and mechanical efficiency and how they are the two determining factors in performance. That’s where we start with how this connects directly with other principles we follow here.

Now let’s talk about the greatest similarity. When you break everything down that Ben talks about he is trying to use this GPP phase as the ground base of making the game “more aerobic”. Now, he’ll hate me for using that terminology, but will understand what I’m saying. We are trying to make as much of the work done in competition be performed before we get into the area of maximal work capacity. So in other words, we are trying to increase the intensity of work being done to get there, and/or increase the duration that we can stay there, right? Now, how do we do that? I believe that answer to that is improve techniques utilized in the sporting exercise because this fits right in with Ben’s GPP model.

Titled the PSCP GPP Model, it follows many of the principles we utilize here when dealing with our energy system work to piggy-back what we are doing in the weight room. It takes care of the metabolic efficiency and actually follows very similar (not exact but pretty damn close) to what we do already. We are looking to build what we call the “mids and lows,” that I discussed on a podcast with Keir Wenham-Flatt, in the early stages of development. He uses 4 different “methods” to improve it. I’m going to touch upon 3 of them:

Ben 21) Metabolic Push-Can we “push” the line out increasing both the time and intensity required to “cross over” to the maximal work capacity work. This is a bunch of lower intensity work that Dr. Peterson gives some really awesome and specific examples of how to implement. This has been and probably always will be, our starting point for all conditioning programs/GPP.

Ben 32) Metabolic climb-What work can we do to “climb up the O2 line”? Meaning, what work can we do in our GPP to increase the work being done before we “cross over” to accumulating a higher level of metabolites. Again he gives a great description of this programming that matches very closely to what we use in our GPP with our athletes.

Ben 43) Metabolic Pull-How can we get this intersection to move way to the right to increase the intensity and volume of work that we can preform prior to crossing the line? Ben’s prescription for this is what we have done in the later stages of our training, and it is really effective.

Let’s keep these methods in mind and look at the rest of a program. What is something you can do that will help in assisting this final goal of making the game more “aerobic”? We believe that these three specific things work in great coordination with he PCSP Model to help make the athlete more efficient and improve their ability to not just repeat outputs, but to increase the outputs that they are repeating. These three are:

1) General sporting technique work- Improve how the kids cut, accelerate, change direction. As we know improving technique will improve speed of movement and efficiency of movement. So if they move faster and more efficiently then we have “pushed” that line out more, right?
2) Specialized Exercises-See the reasoning above, but this is something that so many people sleep on, in my opinion. Teach them exercises that carry over to things that we can affect. How do they cut? How do they accelerate? The lunges that Dr. Yessis has talked about repeatedly would be an amazing addition here.
3) Extensive jumps used to teach elasticity-again we are looking at efficiency right? So why not teach the body to me more elastic so that you “bounce” better? If you can spring better you SHOULD cut better and accelerate better because you are utilizing the SSC at a higher level of efficiency.

So there you have it. Three easy additions from Dr. Peterson’s programming that we use here that should fit like a glove to help improve performance in your early GPP model to build a larger base for greater improvement later down the line.

THE PODCAST EPISODE 3-KEIR WENHAM-FLATT, ARGENTINA RUGBY

Uar_rugby_logo

 

In the third episode of The Podcast, Keir Wenham-Flatt holds no punches in discussing the preparation program of Argentina’s Rugby team leading up to the Rugby World Cup. He talks about building the program that covers the entire rugby system from developmental squads all the way to The Pumas, how he designs his SST exercises, and some innovative ways he monitors readiness of his athletes.

 

Follow Up Friday with Jeff Moyer of DC Sports Training

In conjunction with The Podcast we bring you Follow Up Friday.  Each Follow Up Friday will answer the questions from the previous weeks edition of The Podcast.  In our 1st Follow Up Friday, Jeff Moyer of DC Sports Training and I answer the question “How / when do you know to transition into 14s and 8s?”  You can catch Episode 1 of The Podcast here if you haven’t already.

MoyerJM: It’s really based on a few things:

– What are the needs of the athlete?

– How much time do you have in the calendar year to work with the athletes?

– Where are they in the calendar year in relation to their sport(s)?

– How old are they (biologically / chronologically / training age)?

– Where do you feel they are progressing in their physical and technical development?

This isn’t necessarily easy to answer because this relies on the art of coaching, which is much more intuition based.  My easy answer to this would be do not change until the wheels have fallen off of whatever you are doing.   I have each athlete use a log and track each and every workout so we monitor progress. However, for me, our progress with the 20s -14s – 8s, is based on how improvement in our explosive work and how our specialized work is looking / progressing.  I don’t care all that much about improvements in general work.

I have had athletes stay and progress for a long time (16 weeks) in the 20’s before I finally moved them into the 14s.  I have also had older high schoolers and college athletes use 20s for several weeks before moving them right into the 8s.  I have had athletes progress from 20s to 14s, and not ever had them do 8 reps of anything because I felt that general strength was no longer their issue.

For me, this is when it comes down to “what does the athlete need?”  If they need “more strength” and their strength gains are starting to slow in improvement, you can do one of two things: progress them down, or just change up the exercise.

If the athlete needs more explosive / speed work, then halt the athlete where they are, and focus on bringing up the explosive / speed work.  For example: Instead of having them keep moving up in squat weight, have them stick with a weight for some time and have them try to move it faster and faster. Introduce explosive lunges in place of regular lunges.

If the athlete needs more technical development, then stay longer in the 20s.  If they need more SPP development, based off of their technique analysis, then use more SPP exercises with them.  Get into multiple sets of exercises (knee drives, paw backs, calf raises for example).

Sorry for difficult answer, but it really just DEPENDS.

logo-smallJD: The timing of change in the program is an art, one that I really haven’t mastered yet.  There are 3 different changes that occur throughout the program: intensity, means, and volume.

Intensity is changed in one of 2 times: when there is a change in volume (no duh right), and when it’s necessary.  If we look at a particular exercise and the athlete can complete AT LEAST 20 repetitions with good form and doesn’t look like they were about to pass out, they can increase the intensity the next session (add weight to a barbell or add height to an extensive box jump). This increase in intensity could also be a change in the methods by going from extensive to intensive jumps.

The actual means changing is one thing that I’m really not that great with to be completely honestly.  Most of the lifting exercises are general right?  So as soon as a kid looks like they are “stuck” at a weight, go ahead and change it.  I tend to hold on a little too long and give the kids a few too many tries to get past that sticking point, when in reality, as soon as they start to slow down we should just take the side raises and make them front raises.

Changing the volume is the real fun one.  We look at the time to change as 2 different things: 1) when their squat starts to get stuck or 2) when their measurable stops improving.  Typically you don’t have both happen at the same time, or at least I haven’t seen it, so when one or the other starts I just pull the trigger and cut to 14 (or 8 if we were in the 14’s).

With younger kids who you have the chance to work with for a really long time, I’d have to defer to Jeff on this, but that’s how we look at it here at the university.

We are hoping to make this a weekly addition to our content, so please do not hesitate to post questions on the Podomatic Page HERE, on the actual post on the site, on Facebook or Twitter.

THE PODCAST EPISODE 2-KEVIN DAWIDOWICZ, COACH ME PLUS

CMPIn the 2nd Episode of The Podcast Kevin Dawidowicz of Coach Me Plus and I discuss athlete monitoring. Kevin gets into some great and practical advice on starting your athlete monitoring program, simple places to start it, and some advice on how to help athletes “earn” their monitoring. We hope you enjoy the discussion.

The Podcast Episode 1-Jeff Moyer, DC Sports Training

DCSTIn the 1st Episode of The Podcast DC Sports Training Jeff Moyer sits down to discuss some of the 1×20 program.  In the discussion we go over what the program actually is, it’s progressions, and many of the misconceptions of the 1×20 program.  We hope you enjoy the discussion.

 

 

 

The 2015 Seminar Schedule

2015 Seminar Presentation Schedule