Top 5 Reasons You're Missing Your Fitness Goals, How to CRUSH IT in 2016!
...we've reached the end of a year.
2015 is rapidly coming to close, and many are looking to the new year ahead. This is often the time when we reflect on the year that, if you're anything like me, seemed to just fly by!
I like to reflect and establish goals, because it's hard to know where you're going if you are not aware of where you have been. It is also hard to know how to get somewhere, if you don't have an established destination in the first place! Part of the process of reflection is looking back on the year, on the goals we had set and the things we hoped to accomplish in all areas of life. Setting goals related to business, family, finances, recreation, and fitness are all very common areas of focus.
Were you successful in meeting your goals for 2015? Did you even set goals for 2015?
Did you know that:
So, if you were one of the many who set a New Year's Resolution to get fit, lose weight, run your first marathon, complete your first Mud Run...and failed...don't be too hard on yourself. You're actually part of the majority.
But who want's to be in THAT majority? Let's make a commitment to getting it right this year.
HERE & NOW! Say it out loud where you sit, even if other people are going to look at you funny if you're out in public reading this on your phone - "I am going to CRUSH my Fitness Goals this year! 2016 is MY Year!"
Let's start by looking at WHY you and so many others didn't meet your fitness goals in 2015, and then I'll walk you through a few strategies to give you a leg up on 2016!
Top 5 Reasons You Missed Your Fitness Goals in 2015:
1. Lack of Goal Setting:
Sure, you made a New Year's Resolution. Maybe you told a best friend, significant other, or co-worker that this would be the year you get in shape. Come Monday morning, you're joining the gym, and you're going to drop a few pounds and get that toned body you keep seeing on all the magazine covers.
Best of intentions? Yes. Setting you up for Success? Nope.
We need to make an important differentiation -- citing a New Year's Resolution is NOT Goal Setting. Setting goals is a process. Once you know what it is you want to achieve, you then set out the plan for getting there. There's no one specific way to set your goals, but there are a ton of resources out there in the business world to help you. At a minimum, get a notebook and dedicate it as being your Goals Book. Take time out, uninterrupted by kids, others, or technology, and write down your goals. Then, be sure to check back often in order to stay on track and revise / add as necessary. Some say you should check & rewrite them every morning, some say weekly, etc. Find what works for you, but generally speaking, more frequently will increase your chances of actually meeting them!
2. Nutrition -- or lack there of:
Notice I didn't say 'Diet'.
Throw that word out. We don't diet, dieting doesn't work and has so many negative connotations it can't help but set you up for failure.
The ultimate key to meeting any fitness and performance goals is nutrition. And there is no magic pill, powder, or potion. It starts with eating REAL food, and newsflash -- real food can taste amazing of you take the time to learn how to prepare it. If you're an adult, by now you really should know how to cook for yourself.
No judgment - well, okay -- maybe just a little.
Okay, a LOT! Come on now people, every home has a stove and you all are reading this so you can find and read a recipe!
There is no way to 'out train' poor nutrition.
There are a few simple tips to get you started:
Second only to good nutrition, is good program design.
There is no one-size-fits all approach to fitness program design. This is especially true if you are someone who has already achieved a moderate to high level of training, such as a college or professional athlete, or a fitness enthusiast who has consistently been training -- yes even they fall short of meeting their fitness goals!
There are few realities to consider here. If you are a novice, haven't worked out in a while, and are not a high level mover (athlete, dancer, etc) then it is likely that progress will be seen with almost any program. Certainly there are starting points and strategies that will be more advantageous in creating a long term plan to cover an entire year's goals, but being CONSISTENT with a basic program will get you well on your way.
Translation: You do not need the workout of a Pro athlete, nor do you need huge volume or crazy training sessions. Consistency, achieving your program goals for each workout, and adhering to your nutrition plan will get you there. And NO -- there is no short cut. There is, however, a much longer road and that is the road of walking into the gym without a predetermined plan or following the latest & greatest fitness magazine workout. Ideally, your program should be tailored to meet Your needs and based around your specific goals.
Also keep in mind that a year is a long time! The workout out & goals you start with today will not be the same ones you are working on 6, 9, or 12 months from now...if you have stayed the course!
4. You're slacking on your Intensity:
This is a big one!
From athletes, to active individuals, to our rehabilitation clients performing their rehab exercises. It is often the case that your effort and intensity level are not matching with what is needed to drive the changes you are working toward. Many people become frustrated with their lack of results after joining a gym, and often it is do to the fact that, as seen in #3, they have no real program, and they are not exercising at an adequate intensity to change their body composition.
'Intensity' is more than a measure of effort or how hard you are working. It is a variable which is adjusted to provide a training stimulus that your body will produce as specific adaptation to. There is a continuum between high intensity, moderate intensity, and low intensity training and each has it's place. For the novice, low & moderate intensities may be and adequate place to start to build a base from which higher intensities and heavier loads can be managed.
For athletes, high intensity training certainly is our method of choice, but with the understanding that:
One simple tool to use to gauge intensity level is RPE - Rating of Perceived Exertion. This scale has been used in many settings as a self-report measure of how hard or intense someone is working. It's not perfect, but with a little practice and an understanding of the characteristics of each numerical category, it can be a simple and effective way to know if your intensity is too low or too high.
As the saying goes, sometimes you don't know what you don't know. And sometimes what you do know is based on outdated information. The one tool that I think everyone does need is a good coach.
Professional athletes at the most elite level still have coaches. Professional singers & musicians have coaches. The most successful business people on the planet have their own coaches. This is a point which can't be stressed enough. If you truly want to make a lasting change, you're going to need help along the way.
Coaching can come in many forms, from on-site training to remote coaching at a distance. Ideally, coaching will provide you the framework & accountability required to be successful in achieving your desired fitness goals. Your coach will help you identify and set your goals, perform baseline measures that can be used to mark your progress, and educate you on the nuances of how to meet your goals most efficiently. The coach will then create your program, and will provide consultation and feedback by whatever schedule and format your coaching program has established.
Make no mistake, it's still up to YOU to put in the work and follow the plan as instructed. But one thing is for sure: If you follow the program, are honest with yourself & your coach throughout the process, and put in your best effort, there is no reason you shouldn't be successful!
Learn how Remote Coaching can help you meet your goals for 2016!
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Managing Persistent Shoulder Pain
4 Possible Reasons Your Shoulder Pain is NOT the Fault of Your Shoulder!
Shoulder pain is a common problem with much variability. Shoulder pain can come in many forms across a wide range of sports, and can have a variety of causes. When coupled with the complexity of the shoulder itself and the required balance between mobility and stability it is easy to understand why it can be difficult to initially pinpoint the cause of an athletes shoulder pain. Certainly we traumatic shoulder injuries in sports like football, hockey, MMA, or wrestling where an athlete ends up with a dislocation of the humeral head, a "separated shoulder" or sprain of the AC joint, etc. These types of traumatic injuries are fairly easy to identify and understand.
For the purpose of this discussion, we are going to focus on the non-traumatic injuries. The chronic, achy, nagging pain that seems to develop over time, or the sharp, pinching pain that occurs with certain movements or positions. These are the descriptions most often given by our athletes. They may or may not have an event to attribute them to, and usually have not responded to the athlete's self-management strategies of ice, ibuprofen, self-soft tissue work with a foam roll or tennis ball. These are the low to moderate level pains that seem to creep up out of nowhere with each workout or as the training volume increases. Sometimes the athlete has had a label slapped on it: rotator cuff tendonitis or tendonosis, impingement, bursitis, rotator cuff strain. While these may be the tissues that are painful and irritated, focusing treatment only on the painful area will rarely yield a lasting result. You may achieve the initial goal of pain relief in the short run, but most often there are other variables to consider which may be contributing to the athletes shoulder pain, and they are not a the local painful area.
"Wait, so you're saying my shoulder pain may not be because of my shoulder? Because, I had an MRI, and they said that clearly my rotator cuff is 'inflamed'. And my shoulder is what hurts! Isn't that the shoulder's fault?"
Yes. That is exactly what I am saying. No, it may not be 'the shoulders fault' (though statements like that will be the topic of future discussion, as the shoulder is a body part, not a separate outside entity for which blame or other qualities can be asserted...).
Certainly chemical pain at the tissue level needs to be addressed, but what the MRI doesn't tell us is WHY the rotator cuff is so 'inflamed'. What is causing that tissue be respond in such a way? Sure pain is an output from the brain, so what is it that's tripped the threat alarm and gained the brain's focused attention?
First let's dive into 4 possible variables that may be contributing to your symptoms, the potential Source of the problem, which may be presenting as pain and irritation of the rotator curff, the Site of the problem.
4 Possible Contributors to Shoulder Pain
1. Inadequate Scapular Stabilization
The scapula, or shoulder blade, is a key component of the shoulder girdle. It is a point of attachment for muscle that connect scapula to humerus, scapula to thoracic spine & rib cage, scapula to cervical spine, and scapula to strenum. It is also provides the stable base and dynamically controls and positions the glenohumeral joint during movement. The rhythm or coordination of motion which takes place between the rotation of the humeral head & glenoid (the ball & socket) and the rotation of the scapula itself has been the topic of much attention over the years.
Inadequate scapular stabilization, usually seen as weakness or deficiency of function of the serratus anterior, middle & lower trapezius, rhomboids, also puts the rotator cuff at a disadvantage by preventing optimal activation and force production of the rotator cuff. Clinically, chronic tension in muscles like the levator, upper trapezius, cervical & thoracic paraspinals, pec minor, and rotator cuff muscles are often seen as a compensation for inadequate stabilization of the scapula. This may also be a contributing factor in issues related to lack of motion in the cervical and thoracic spine. Often times it is not stretching or mobilization that needs to occur at the thoracic or cervical spine, but rather strengthening & development of neuromuscular control to improve scapular stability.
2. Inadequate Thoracic Mobility
Your scapula, discussed above, has a rather intimate relationship with the thoracic spine. The scapula must be able to slide and rotate on the thoracic spine and rib cage, so a quicker way of discussing this is simply saying: 'Posture & position matters.' The skeletal relationships between the spine, rib cage, and scapula can change the available range of motion at the glenohumeral joint, and places tissues in on stretch or slack which creates insufficiency. These deviations in both joint mobility and tissue extensibility can limited the available motion of the scapula, which then places the glenohumeral joint at risk. This concept has been researched and discussed in the analysis of a tennis serve, volleyball serve, and with overhead throwing / pitching in baseball (though the mechanics are different in throwing).
Note also that we are saying 'inadequate thoracic mobility' and not 'inadequate thoracic extension.' Certainly lack of thoracic extension can be a common finding, and has received a lot of attention with mobility drills aimed at mobilizing and moving into extension or rotation. It is also important to recognize that there are instances where an athlete is actually living in thoracic extension, so adding more extension is unlikely to be helpful...or pleasant for the athlete. These are the athletes that often present with very flat thoracic curves, increased tone of the thoracic paraspinals, and visible winging or tilting of the scapula. The winging or tilting may not be a result of weak serratus anterior, but perhaps is a positional fault by having a curved scapula on a flat thoracic curve which decreases the congruence of the articulation.
3. Inadequate Lower Extremity Mobility.
Keep in mind that athletic movement requires integration of the entire kinetic chain. For an overhead athlete, transfer of force from the lower extremity, through the trunk, and through the upper extremity is necessary to achieve the goal of trowing a 100+ mph fastball or serving in tennis or volleyball. Lack of mobility at the hips, knees, and even foot & ankle have been shown to contribute to increased stress at the shoulder. The same can be said for a highly rotational sports like hockey, golf, tennis, and baseball / softball.
Without repeating what has already been said earlier, assessment of the entire kinetic chain should be performed to identify potential areas that are contributing to the increased stress on the shoulder via a lack of mobility or stability. Studies have shown that lack of mobility at the hip or knee can increase stress on the shoulder in throwing athletes. Additionally, we must look at joints both above and below meaning that limitations at the wrist and elbow can have just as much impact as issues at the lower extremity. This is easy to conceptualize in sports like weightlifting, where lack of wrist and elbow motion may be easier to see when the athlete is trying to achieve the rack position in a clean, but perhaps less so in a combat athlete with sports like judo.
4. Your Program Sucks.
You can't out rehab a poor strength & conditioning program. If with every workout the athlete is continually popping up with shoulder, hip, or back pain and the variables discussed in 1-3 are a non-issue, then it's time to look at the training program itself. What's your volume like? Is there a balance between pushing & pulling? Are you doing multi-joint, multi-planar movements and gaining ownership of the transverse plan? What kind of work/rest cycle are you using for the intensity & goal of the exercise? What are you doing for recovery?
Two focuses here:
1) Form matters. Whether you are doing push ups, working with light dumbbells, working with bands, performing explosive med ball throws, or moving big weights overhead in a movement like the snatch, one thing is certain -- form is everything. If you can't get your body into the proper position to perform an exercise, then there is no point in loading that movement with external resistance as this will just drive compensation and open you up to development of problems over time. Poor form may not stem solely from lack of mobility, but can also come from a lack of neuromuscular control, inexperience with the exercise in question, or onset of fatigue. In any case, continued loading through both load or volume with poor form may lead to injury sooner than later.
2) You need to have balance. Balance between Right and Left sides of the body, balance between pushing and pulling motions, and a balance in strength to offset the forces or loads that the body will have to endure.
Here's a real example of a past patient, we'll give you the short version: High school softball player, potential D1 candidate as a catcher, with a cannon for an arm. She developed shoulder pain in her throwing arm with confirmed small infraspinatus tear and labral pathology via MRI. Went through a course of PT and was no better. Was referred to me by her Orthopedic Surgeon. On evaluation she had a number of finds, a few of which included a significant deficit in Total Range of Motion and presence of GIRD on her affected shoulder as compared to the non-throwing shoulder, deficits in thoracic mobility, and deficits in ankle mobility.
One piece of information I wanted to gather was what kind of strength & conditioning program was she or her team doing. The response was, unfortunately, one we hear all too often -- they had a program that they were given to do in the weight room. Minimal supervision, and obviously created by someone without a S&C background. She walked me through her basic program, which consisted of chest press, lat pull down, chest flies, bicep curls, triceps extensions, a bit of shoulder external rotation with a theraband, and leg work consisting of your basic machine based leg press, leg extension, and leg curl.
Hmmm. No rowing? "Nope." No rear delt or reverse flies? "Nope". No side laying external rotation with a dumbbell? "Nope." You see the pattern emerging...
Their program sucked. All pushing and mostly internal rotation dominant exercises. Very little focus on external rotation or eccentrics, no real scapular stability exercises, and no pulling. No amount physical therapy will combat a program like that...unless you change the program, and that is what we did.
Get Yourself Assessed!
It is worth recognizing that these are just four of many possible contributors to shoulder pain. As an athlete, the first step should be to recognize there is a problem. If your are stretching, massaging, foam rolling, lacrosse ball mashing and taking a regular regimen of vitamin I, yet still having the same pain each day and with each workout over a period of weeks or months --- it's time to get assessed, preferably by a healthcare professional who understands your sport and needs as an athlete. Seeking out this type of clinician is about to get much easier for athletes & coaches, and I am excited for what is to come, so be on the lookout for our announcements during the next week!
A thorough evaluation and movement assessment will yield a great deal of information on how to best address what is affecting your performance. Targeted interventions can then allow you to minimize lost training or practice time, improve your overall movement capacity, and allow you maximize the results of your strength and conditioning program.
Feel free to get in touch with any questions by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me through our website here.
Athletes Physiotherapy, Las Vegas, NV
Yeah. Take a number & join the club.
Of course everyone wants the secret to being the best athlete. So, after spending time each day reading research articles, books, and blogs, I think I finally have the secret and a few tips that will help you focus and truly become the best athlete you can be.
Are you ready? Sitting down? Okay good. Here we go....
The BIG SECRET is this....
There is NO Quantum Leap.
Essentially this means there is NO SECRET, There IS ONLY SCIENCE. Sure, TALENT, and WORK ETHIC are important, but the amount of Talent & Work Ethic required, and which trumps the other, is still debatable.
I write this because lately as I try to sift through the piles of information that are so readily available via the internet and social media, there is an enormous amount of articles on athlete development that try to sell you on one variable, one exercise, one program, or one supplement that is going to suddenly make it all come together and have you rise to the top of you game. It's sold to you as if this one thing is going to magically and suddenly make everything else you've been doing work 10x better and instantly put you at a peak performance.
Well, I hate to bust your bubble, but this is exactly a definition and example of what is referred to as a 'Quantum Leap' philosophy (which is nicely discussed in Jeff Olson's 'The Slight Edge'). And it's bullshit. There is no "one thing." There certainly are better and smarter ways to train and go about getting the results you are looking for, but ultimately it is going to be the end product of a number of variables coming together to get you there. Learning what these variables are, why they are necessary, and how to make sure they are integrated & manipulated appropriately in your training to meet your goals, well, to me that is more or less the "secret sauce" to be searching for. But the truth is, it's not a secret at all, it's just putting the science into practice. And that is where finding a Performance Coach comes into play. Working with someone who knows how to assess your needs and then create a program to meet them in a way that is efficient, effective, and minimizes your risk of injury or over-training is invaluable.
We've all seen the quotes and catchy motivations, things like:
"Hard work trumps talent when talent doesn't work hard."
There certainly is no substitute for a solid work ethic, but let's call it that. Let's not call it 'working hard' because the reality is there is a point where working harder won't get you there, it will actually start taking you farther away. Instead, let's call it dedication, work ethic, commitment, passion...usually it is a mix of all of them. And don't get me wrong, you will work hard in the process, but all too often it seems that the athlete's gut reaction is to do more. More hours in the gym, more sets, more load, more running more sparring.
More is simply more. More is not Better. Better is Better. The idea that simply working harder will get you where you want to go has it's limits. We often see athletes, both amateurs and Pro's, who go over the edge and end up resulting in injury or a decline in performance. This is very apparent in the UFC, with certain camps gaining a reputation for breaking down fighters.
So as an athlete, what is required to be great in your sport? That's kind of a loaded question, because while there are some things that transcend across athletics in general, there are many that are dependent on the particular sport itself. Certainly things that are intrinsic to the specific athlete need to be considered - things like talent, commitment, work ethic, and prior experience all matter, but these are harder to influence beyond maybe encouragement and motivation.
Genetics? Eh, maybe. But those are what they are and while things like nutrition and training effect genetic expression, it would seem that genetics is not something we can significantly manipulate, you will simply just gain access to that which you already inherently posses.
Demands of the sport also need to be considered, as this will dictate many of the physical and mental demands of training in order to maximize characteristics important to that sport. Strength, endurance, speed, power, agility, flexibility, reaction time, balance / proprioception all will have to be manipulated in training to meet the demands of the sport. It is probably easy to see from that short list that training a Triathlete will be much different than training a Track & Field athlete performing the Hammer Throw, which will be much different than training an Mixed Martial Arts fighter. Different sports, different demands, different requirements for training.
This is why 'one-size-fits-all' training has significant limitations. Sure, for a beginner who has a very young training age, you will see improvement from doing almost any type of program. But the higher up the ladder you go, the less responsive the athlete are going to be to that type programming. The program needs to fit the demands of the sport, but also needs to be based on the individual assessment of the athlete and what their specific needs are on a day to day basis. Yes, needs change, which means you have to be able to recognize and identify what those changes are in order to keep the athlete on track in their progression.
A common theme you see thrown around is the notion of "Train Smarter, Not Harder." What does this mean?
In my mind, it starts with having an end goal your are training for, then setting short & long term goals based on the results of the athlete evaluation and timeline for each block of training up to the end goal, which is usually a competition or start of a camp. Each piece of the training program is meant to meet the prioritized needs, and should consist of training methods that will provide the most benefit with the least amount of exposure, or what is referred to as the 'minimum effective dose.' A common thread woven throughout this entire process is the monitoring of the athlete on a daily basis to assess their response to training, level of recovery, and readiness for each subsequent training day. Also factored into the program is the athlete's skills work. For a Boxer or MMA athlete we must take into account how many grappling, striking, and sparring sessions they are doing with their coaches. These skills sessions are often physically and mentally demanding, which means they are another source of stress that adds volume to the system.
Is it possible to actually "train smarter, not harder?" Absolutely. But it requires planning, it requires buy-in of the athlete and the coaches, and it requires constant communication and dialogue between skills coaches, performance coach, and medical staff.
It is this interplay of personnel and variables that will get you to be the best athlete you can be. Certainly there are a number of other disciplines we could add into the discussion -- nutritionist, sports psychologist...you get the idea. It won't be just adding a dead lift, squatting (or not squatting), HIIT training, long duration low intensity training, using this powder, using that drink, stretching (or not stretching) that will make it happen.
Integrated. Comprehensive. Needs-based. Monitored. Tailored. These are all the key words that will make the most difference!
Athletes Physiotherapy - Las Vegas, NV
Choose Your Weapon - Putting the Program Together
In the previous blog post we discussed the idea of Needs Assessment and initial performance evaluation. In this next piece, we look at building a program based on those needs. The goal of this post is not to provide example programs. Rather, it is to provide a glimpse into the process of Programming.
Running. Cycling. Rowing. Swimming. Jacob's Ladder. VersaClimber.
Body Weight. Barbells. Dumbbells. Kettlebells.
Bands. Ropes. Sleds. Balls. Boxes. Hurdles. Cones.
TRX. RedCord. Pilates. Yoga. Boot Camp. High Intensity Training (HIIT). CrossFit. Sprinting. Steady State. Metabolic.
It is easy to see that when you start stacking a few of the various modes of training, it can be pretty confusing for an athlete to know where to start. Especially the young athlete who is just starting to train. Instead of picking up a health or fitness magazine, or in this century, looking on Google & YouTube for workout routines, the best advise is to find a qualified professional to help you put together a program designed for YOU and your sport.
Once you have been evaluated, it should then be easy to put a program together that will help you meet your goals, and goal setting can actually be it's own topic altogether, as we often have:
Physiological Goals -- things like body fat percentage, addition of lean muscle mass, weight (for sports with
weight classes & weigh-ins), VO2 Max, etc.
Performance Goals -- Power, Speed, Endurance, Agility, Reaction Time
Personal Goals -- Making a Team, Qualifying for a Tournament or Race, Making the Starting Line Up. Defending Your Title. Getting the Scholarship.
A solid program will take all of these goals into account as you work to achieve them. Your baseline evaluation gives you an idea of where you are at, shows your strengths, and teases out any issues of pain or deficits that need to be addressed.
First we address the deficits. Can your body get into the positions we are asking it to, without load, and without excessive strain or effort which would indicate use of a high threshold strategy? Is there pain with movements or positions? Pain is a medical problem, which warrants medical evaluation & treatment before getting into the hardcore training. This doesn't mean that training can't begin, but it does require understanding how to train things that will not continue to provoke pain, and will not feed compensation. If you're already training with a medical professional, then this should be pretty seamless. If you are not, it is advised to seek one out, and hopefully your Strength Coach has a network developed that he can refer you to.
If there is no pain, and we've implemented correctives for the deficits identified, we then get after your training. Correctives become part of your warm up & home program. Exercise selection is based on feeding the corrections when possible, and aim to achieve the goals for that particular training block.
Which brings us to the next thought: Timeline.
Timeline is also an important factor. Whether you call it planning, periodization, block training, the point is getting from Day 1 to Goal Achievement requires planning. Preparing for an event that is 2 years away is much different than an event that is 2 months away. Knowing when the first day of training camp is, or when the Fight or Competition is that you are preparing for will allow us to break your training into phases which will be focused on developing specific parameters or fitness characteristics.
Often we hear young athletes who train at the same intensity 5-6 days per week, and spend 1-2+ hours per day doing so. While they may see some improvements, as something is generally better than nothing, there is a high likelihood of plateau as well as risk of over-training. What most young athletes or athletes who only work with skills coaches don't realize is there are built in physiological limitations to that training schedule. You can't build maximal strength gains and maximal endurance gains at the same time. Likewise, an MMA fighter is not trained the same as a Football player, who is not trained the same as a Triathlete, who is not trained the same as a Golfer.
You get the idea.
Programming can be as simple or complex as you want to make it. Can you do it on your own? Sure. Will you get farther utilizing the knowledge of a professional who knows how to work though the above process? Absolutely.
Contact Athletes Physiotherapy to take your game to the next level and dominate your competition! Rehabilitation, Performance Enhancement, Preparation, and Recovery & Regeneration for the Competitive Athlete.
Athletes Physiotherapy - Las Vegas, NV
Building & Rebuilding Better Athletes - Sports Physical Therapy & Performance Enhancement In Las Vegas, NV
Part 2: Needs Assessment - Not Always As Obvious As It Seems
What is a 'Needs Assessment?'
Simply defined, a Needs Assessment is:
"A systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or "gaps" between current conditions and desired conditions or "wants. The discrepancy between current condition and wanted condition must be measured to appropriately identify the need."
As you probably would have assumed from the name, this is an assessment of what one needs relative to a particular set of circumstances. Okay so what's the immediate take away from the above definition?
1. The process is systematic -- it is a planned assessment or evaluation that has a thought out process, and an idea of What you are going to measure, and How you are going to measure it.
2. Measurement is necessary and vital - you have to know what you have and how it functions to know what you don't have or still need, right? To say an athlete is fast or strong gives little meaningful information if we don't know what the context is. Fast or strong compared to who or in what circumstances?
3. Re-testing is also required - how do you know you've improved, met your goals, or still have work to do if you don't re-test?
The Needs Assessment is a multifaceted en-devour. It involves the athlete and coach communicating what their expectations and wants are, what they are looking to accomplish, and what their athletes need to be able to do on a regular basis. It also involves an evaluation of logistics - how often does the athlete have to train during the week, how much will be in-house and how much will be the athlete following the program off-site? What access does the athlete have to certain equipment, etc? What is the time line for the event we are programming and preparing for?
Then there is the Athlete Evaluation part of this Needs Assessment. When we embark on programming and training for our athletes, it is important to have an evaluation process in place that is Comprehensive, Relevant, and Repeatable.
A. Comprehensive: The Athlete Evaluation should look to cover all bases and expose all holes. Depending on your background and scope of practice, this process may require multiple disciplines doing a part. To start, it should give us a picture of the health status of the athlete. Information on health history and injury history should be obtained. Appropriate systems screening should be performed. A more thorough orthopedic assessment should be performed if recent injury or surgery has been reported. Movement Screening can then be utilized to assess proficiency with baseline fundamental movements and identify provocation of pain or deficiencies that require addressing before loading the system. Lastly comes Performance Testing - the more 'sport specific' and 'fitness specific' testing.
B. Relevant: The tests and measures used in the Athlete Evaluation should be relevant in that they measure variables that are meaningful. They also must measure in a way that is meaningful. Tests & measures do not necessarily all have to be a direct reflection of sport movements, but there should be an industry standard applied to make the information comparable and meaningful. For example, if you train football players and the commonly reported and utilized test of speed is a 40 yard sprint, then it would make sense to measure your athlete's time in a 40 yard sprint, as opposed to measuring them at a 35 or 50 yard sprint. Will they need to sprint 35 or 50 yards in their sport, sure probably, just not during a Combine -- when it counts! Relevance can also apply to the tests chosen based on sport and position.
C. Repeatable: Procedures and individual tests & measures must be repeatable. It should go without saying, but testing once at the start of a program is not enough. We must continually assess and reassess the athlete in order to identify effectiveness of our programming. Simply adding weight to a lift or adding time onto a run is not an equivalent of success. If your football player is an offensive lineman who increases weight in his bench press, squat, and dead lift but can't move his feet quick enough to block the guy across the ball from him, your program was ineffective. If your fighter can go hard for 5 rounds of 5 minute high intensity intervals, but gasses out during his actual fight due to lack of aerobic conditioning, your programming was ineffective. Wouldn't it be nice to know that before it's "Go-Time?"
If you re-test and you are finding holes still exist which make you start to question the program's effectiveness, we then have to look for the Why? Is something missing? Is the athlete no following the program as you meant it to be followed? Has the coach made changes and instructed the athlete but neglected to inform you?
Is what you deem important not given as much value by the athlete or coach? This can be a big one. Sometimes the athlete does not see the same value or relevance to a particular variable because they don't fully understand its application to performance. It is our job to effectively communicate that what we are asking the athlete to do will increase their performance and is applicable to their sport or event.
In many cases, when dealing with young athletes or athletes who have not had access to resources like a performance coach, the athlete simply is not aware because they have never had the guidance or direction and thus do not have the depth of knowledge in programming or training. Often times the just go into the gym and do whatever workout they were shown by their last coach or teammate. This is often a source of untapped potential, but will require a fair amount of educating on the front side.
If you are an athlete looking for help with your training or with overcoming an injury, schedule your initial appointment HERE.
If you are a coach looking for solutions to getting your athlete or team ready for competition, contact Athletes Physiotherapy at (702)-930-8155 or by email: Kbosch@athletespt.com for information on how we can improve your performance!
Athletes Physiotherapy - Las Vegas, NV
Building & Rebuilding Better Athletes - Sports Physical Therapy & Performance Enhancement In Las Vegas, NV!
Part 1: A Collaborative Approach To Athlete Management: The Merging of Science & Experience
Athletes Physiotherapy is committed to providing a high performance solution to improve the health, well being, and longevity of the athletes and dancers we work with.
While the circumstances behind each athlete encounter varies, the application of a few specific principles and key philosophies allows us to provide each athlete with an individualized solution to their specific needs.
How Can We Help?
The needs of the athlete, which cause then to seek out our services in the first place, often include:
Key Philosophies & Principles of Athlete Management:
There are a number of principles and key philosophies and help our athletes meet their rehabilitation and performance goals. For this overview, I will avoid discussing specifics of interventions and skill sets, and will instead hit on the main philosophies applied to athlete management in no particular order:
1. Athlete Needs Assessment
Needs Assessment can be broken down into 2 major components: the Initial Interview and the Comprehensive Evaluation.
a. Initial Interview: This is where we dialogue with the athlete about why they are seeking our help and what they see as their biggest needs. We get an idea, in their own words, of what has & has not worked for them up until this point, and what are their goals both in athletics and is they relate to their time with us in clinic. We also discuss the athletes history as it relates to their past & present health, training, injuries, etc.
b. Comprehensive Evaluation: The Comprehensive Evaluation is made up of multiple components which give us information about the overall status of the athlete. We have chosen a number of base variables to look at with each and every athlete, and then have another layer of performance testing which is done to match their particular sport or athletic needs.
2. Individualized Programming
Once we have all of the pertinent information from the Initial Interview and Comprehensive Evaluation, we can then write programming tailored to the athlete to meet the needs that have been established.
Programming is at all times:
a. Science-based to get the greatest results in the shortest amount of time
b. Tailored to the individual athlete with attention to the power, endurance, speed, and agility
requirements of their sport or position
c. Progressive & maintains the safety of the athlete at all times
3. Team Approach
We subscribe to the idea that communication is key. Our function is that of a Performance Coach, as the ultimate goal is to maximize the performance of the athlete for their given sport or event. We are fortunate that we are able to wear multiple hats in the field of Physical Therapy, Athletic Training, and Strength & Conditioning in order to get our athletes the results they are looking for. However, it is important to note that we also know our limitations. We are not your skills coach. We are not your technique coach. If you already have a Strength Coach, we will work with them to fill in the gaps. Communication between Athlete & Therapist is just as crucial as communication between Therapist and Coaches. In the ideal situation, we work as part of the athlete's team and are able to regularly dialogue with the athlete and coaches to maximize the athlete's training schedule and be sure that we are all helping to achieve the goals that have been established without overloading the athlete.
Let's Work Together to Achieve Your Goals!
If you are an athlete looking to overcome an injury, improve your performance, or get ready for an event, be sure to contact us or schedule your initial visit online HERE. If you are a coach and would like to partner up and allow us to help your athletes reach their maximum potential, contact us HERE to discuss how we can start working together!
Athletes Physiotherapy - Las Vegas, NV
Thank you for stopping by the Athletes Physiotherapy Blog! Kristopher Bosch founded Athletes Physiotherapy in Las Vegas, NV. He is a Father, physical therapist, athletic trainer, pilates teacher, & perpetual student!
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