Should We Treat All Children the Same?- Part 2

Hey Everyone.  My name is Daz, owner of Athletic Performance Academy and chances are you are reading this blog because you have an interest in the question, ‘should we treat all children the same?’

Please read Part 1 if you haven’t already.

One Size Fits All

 

In Part 1 I asked the question whether the mechanical model which ‘treats all children the same’ is part of the reason why some children seemingly fail in a system that is based on a ‘one size fits all approach.’  Do we just give our energy to the children who thrive in this environment, or do we need to change the environment, or at least give more opportunities to experience different environments, ones where more children actually want to learn in?

 

 

To answer this, this blog will firstly look at the CULTURE of our Academic institutions referring to what High Performance Systems in the world do, and also look at ‘Alternative Education programmes.’

 

I will then discuss COMMUNICATION methods to ensure that your coaching/teaching methods engage as many learners as possible by looking at Motivation and Skill variances in mixed ability groups and their individual needs.

Reforming Public Education

 

This section will propose some key ingredients to ensure the future success of Public Education in the 21 st century, based on some of the great work of the late Sir Ken Robinson, an international education advisor in the Arts who championed education reform.  He was passionate about creative and cultural education, with the goal to unlock and ignite the creative energy of people and organisations, which he felt was sadly lacking in the current education system.

 

 

Sir Ken has compelled us to think differently about capacity of the human mind- intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinct.   Please watch How To Escape Education’s Death Valley which talks about the three features of High Performance Systems and thoughts on Alternative Education programmes.

 

Sir Ken highlighted that what all the high performing systems in the world do is currently what is not evident, sadly, across the systems in America:

 

  • They INDIVIDUALISE teaching and learning-  This system has to engage the student’s individuality, curiosity and creativity.  That’s how you get them to learn.
  • Attribute a very HIGH STATUS to the teaching profession.  You can’t improve education if you don’t pick GREAT people to teach and keep giving them constant support and professional development.
  • They DEVOLVE RESPONSIBILITY to the school level for getting the job done vs. command and control, and telling teachers and students what do to.  If you remove their discretion it stops working.

 

Education has been increasingly based on conformity and standardisation- and instead Sir Ken believes we need to go in the opposite direction, what Sir Ken means by changing paradigms!

 

One place to see evidence of this is in the ‘Alternative Education programmes’ that are designed to get kids back into education. They have certain common features.

 

  • They are very PERSONALISED
  • They have STRONG SUPPORT for the teachers
  • They have CLOSE LINKS WITH THE COMMUNITY and a broad and DIVERSE CURRICULUM
  • They often include programmes which involve students OUTSIDE SCHOOL as well as inside school

 

And they work! What’s interesting to Sir Ken is that these are called ‘alternative education,’ programmes. All the evidence from around the world is that if we all did that, there’d be no need for an alternative!

 

Daz comment: I can immediately see the value of applying those six principles into my APA company culture.

 

I have always recreated for CHARACTER first and credentials second.  It’s very important to recruit coaches who embody the APA values of Courage, Honesty, Respect, Enjoyment and Competitive Spirit.

I am often asked what I do for a living, I mostly say I’m a professional fitness trainer (to which the most common reply is, ‘you mean like a Personal Trainer?”) I personally don’t get offended by this but I know other professional coaches do.  Don’t get me wrong there are many exceptional Personal Trainers, but the simple reality is I know I have been to University for 5 years to get degrees in Exercise Science- this can’t be compared to a 12 week online course.  Having Professional status means I get paid to do this full-time for a living, something I never take for granted, since the vast majority of coaches are part-time or volunteers.

 

As far as my expectations of my coaches go, I agree with them what level of guidance they need.  APA can provide DONE FOR YOU templates when needed.  But to be honest, the roles I give them are largely self determined by their experience.  If they lack experience they will assist on sessions where someone else will be responsible for writing the programme.  By its very nature, the premise of the Lead coach is that I have determined that they have enough experience so I can ‘devolve responsibility.’  All my coaches tell me that they really enjoy this opportunity to have some autonomy over their training plans.

 

 

It goes without saying that the training plans are individualised, which I know a lot of people role their eyes at as everyone says their programmes are individualised.  In everyday life this simply means that I give the coach the license to adapt according to the needs of the individual or group, as long as it respects the principles of the APA method- a holistic approach to maximising athletic potential using the 5 S’s and 6 Stages of development.

Culture Reform

 

Up to 60% of children drop out of High school and up to 80% of native Americans (in some parts of the country in the USA).

 

But the drop out crisis is just the tip of the iceberg.  What it doesn’t count is the number of children who are in school, BUT ARE DISENGAGED from it, who DON’T ENJOY IT, who don’t get any real benefit from it.

 

Some people want to learn, and some don’t.  Every student who drops out of school has a reason for it which is rooted in their own biography.  They may find it boring, irrelevant, at odds with the life they are living outside of school/University.  These are trends but the stories are always unique.

 

It could be argued that education fails many people because it dislocates very many people from their natural talents.  Human resources or ‘talents’ are like natural resources- they don’t show up on the surface, they’re buried deep, you have to go looking for them and and CREATE THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THEY SHOW THEMSELVES.

 

It’s about PASSION.  Passion is what excites our spirit and our energy.  And if you’re doing the thing that you love to do, that you’re good at, time takes a different course entirely, an hour feels like 5 minutes.  The reason so many people are opting out of education is because it doesn’t feed their energy, spirit or passion.

Create the Environment

 

In any environment, right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come about, and if the conditions are right, life is inevitable.

 

Take an area, a district, a school, you change the conditions, give people a different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations, a broader range of opportunities, you cherish and value the relationship between teachers and learners, you offer people the discretion to be creative and to innovate in what they do, and schools that were once bereft, spring to life!

 

Great Leaders know that leadership should not be about command and control.  The real role of leadership is CLIMATE control, creating a climate of possibility.  And if you do that, people will rise to it.

 

A case study: Sutton Tennis Academy

 

From February 2017 to Dec 2018 I was personally asked to go into Sutton Tennis Academy (STA) as part of APA’s contract with GLL which also owned Gosling Tennis Academy.  This has been one of the highlight’s of my professional career as a business owner and Head coach.

At the time I arrived, there was a culture change,  GLL had recently taken over, a national leisure centre operator.  The previous S&C department recently departed leaving behind an intern that wasn’t equipped to lead, and was being supported by the Gym Personal trainer at the time, who wasn’t previously involved in the S&C department.

 

I decided to make the intern and the PT interview for the S&C coach role, and I would bring in some additional interns.  It was a challenging process but in the end I had to let the intern go, and I chose the PT who I felt embodied the APA values most, and was going to be the best person for the job.

 

The greatest attribute I brought to the programme was a sense of possibility, a set of expectations based on the training plans I had been successfully implementing at other APA sites and supporting the coaches to be creative and innovative.  The environment changed, there was a sense of purpose, stability and energy.   I brought in another part-time coach and gave him and the PT a clear role so devolved responsibility which they both enjoyed.

 

It Matters How You Say It

 

Great coaching is as much about how you say it, as it is about what to say.  I have included an extract from two great blog posts written by former CEO of the IYCA, Brian Grasso, ”Cook Young Athletes Slow,” and ”How To Shape Speed Training- Part 2.”

”The ‘Lombardi-style’ coaching system doesn’t work. You can’t just bark orders and think that every young athlete you train is going to be listening. With coaching, one-size DOES NOT fit all. Just like physical ability, size, relative strength and potential, they way a young athlete needs to be communicated with is specific to that child or teen.  You cannot assume nor expect a given group of athletes, with their varying personalities and temperaments, to relate and respond to a singular style of coaching.

 

The aristocratic and authoritarian coaching style, long considered the most effective means of handling a group of athletes, is in actuality, a surefire way to negate the potential benefits of a lesson or training session.

 

From an ease of coaching perspective, it would be a wonderful scenario for us to only to work with those athletes whom were supremely motivated and exceptionally gifted, but in reality, this is seldom the case.

 

Now, I’m no fool. I’ve spent nearly 15 years in the trenches and know full well that when you have a group of kids (say 20 6 year olds) getting to know them well enough and being able to provide individual attention to them is challenging to say the least. But that doesn’t mean individualized communication isn’t possible. It just takes a system.

 

In any given group setting you have to accept the notion that your athletes will be divided in terms of both ability and motivation, and represent an eclectic cross-section of potential personalities. Over my years working with kids, I have found that every one of the young athletes I’ve trained fits somewhere into the following category:

 

1. High Motivation/High Skill
2. High Motivation/Low Skill
3. Low Motivation/High Skill
4. Low Motivation/Low Skill

 

Each one of the sub-classifications above represents an athlete in need of a particular coaching style in order to gain and retain your speed and movement shaping lessons optimally.

 

A brief overview of the template that shows how to communicate with each of these young athletes is as follows:

 

1. Delegate – Look to get this young athlete involved in the training and planning process. Have them lead warm-ups for the group. Have them create the warm-up within the boundaries of your system. If they are older, have them help you co-coach your younger groups. Keeping this young athlete engaged is a critical part of keeping them excited about the training process and provide a perfect communication scenario.

 

2. Guide – This young athlete doesn’t require more motivation – they need to enhance their skill. Rather than trying to incite them positively (because they’re already incited!) slow them down and guide them through the process of skill increase slowly. Breakdown complex exercises into specific stages and teach them in a whole-part-whole method. Communication will be automatically improved.

 

3. Inspire – This young athlete is great at everything, but lacks the necessary motivation to produce consistent effort (likely due to pressure from other coaches or their parents). Don’t ‘ride’ them or even ask them to work harder – they will tune you out quicker than you can say TRX! Instead, talk with them about what inspires them. What gets them excited? We all have a switch on the inside that can turn on when the situation is a quality and inspiring one for us. Find where there switch is and help them turn it on.

 

4. Direct – Don’t put this young athlete on the spot – even in a positive manner. They crave autonomy and the ability to just ‘blend in’. So give it to them. Provide instructions for the group at large and then quietly be sure that they know what is expected of them in the up-coming exercise or drill. Once they realize that your communication with them will be non-threatening, they will deem your training environment a ‘safe’ one and start to open up. That’s where the fun will start!”

 

Your first order of business then, is to adopt a dynamic coaching style which has wide spread appeal and attractiveness to any athlete – regardless of ability or disposition.

 

In doing so, your common denominator for coaching a diverse group of athletes must stem from use of the Pygmalion effect (often called the “teacher-expectancy effect”).

 

The Pygmalion effect infers that athletes will respond positively to the expectations placed upon them. This is a place in which may coaches and trainers fail to glean a positive response or change in there athletes when applying exercise stimulus alone as the sole variable used to elicit change or improvement.

 

You must quantify to your athletes what you expect their roles to be in the process of shaping there speed and movement skills. More over, your must consistently assert the specific skills you require them to develop at both the onset and conclusion of a given training session.

 

Herein lies the long-term approach to shaping movement and athleticism.

 

Each and every training session must have a plan for both execution, but be part of a long-range and dynamically conceived vision as to where you want your athletes to be at a certain point in time.

 

It is also critical that coaches and trainers assess the most viable ways of evoking an expectations-based philosophy with each group, in keeping with the varying personality, skill level and disposition of the individuals within that group.

 

It is equally important to understand the value of multidimensional instruction. Some athletes learn visually, some via verbal interaction and others still through kinesthetic means.

 

Each of these instruction strategies must be equated into the coaching puzzle in training sessions for true and lasting habitual change to occur in the quest to have your athletes maximise their potential.

 

In recap, the global behavior standards that must first be developed are as follows:

 

Understand that athletes have varying skills and motivations, and develop dynamic coaching strategies that will influence all of them.

 

Incorporate an expectation principle into each training session so as to have a measurable and tangible objective for your athletes to aspire.

 

Use verbal, visual and kinesthetic means of instruction to promote complete and full adherence.

 

Conclusions

 

Education is not a mechanical system.  It’s a human system.  It’s about people who either do want to learn, or don’t want to learn.  We need to find ways to unlock each individual’s natural talents and allow them to flourish.

 

One of the challenges is to innovate is hard because it means doing something that people don’t find easy; it means challenging what we take for granted.

 

Human communities depend on our diversity of talent, not a singular concept of ability.  And at the heart of the challenge is to reconstitute our sense of ability and intelligence.  It’s about passion to feed their energy, and spirit.

 

We have to go from an industrial mechanical method of education, which is based on linearity, and conformity and batching people.  We have to move to a model that is based on principles of agriculture.  We have to recognise that human flourishing is not a mechanical process; it’s an organic process and you cannot predict the outcome of human development.  All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they begin to flourish.

 

It’s about customising your teaching/coaching to you circumstances and personalising education to the people you’re actually teaching.  Doing that is the answer to the future.

 

It’s about creating a movement in education in which people develop their own solutions, but with external support based on personalised curriculums.

 

Follow Daz on instagram @apacoachdaz

 

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Should We Treat All Children the Same?

Hey Everyone.  My name is Daz, owner of Athletic Performance Academy and chances are you are reading this blog because you have an interest in the question, ‘should we treat all children the same?’

Let me start off by saying that this is not a post examining some of the prominent issues of the day around gender equality, race hate or any other important issues of social inequality that plagues our world.  I certainly don’t feel I’m qualified in my coaching role to discuss these topics and I would respectfully say that this blog does not address these issues directly.  However, in my role as a coach which I define as ”someone who facilitates learning,” I feel that the notion of treating all children the same from a learning perspective warrants further inspection.

Role of the Coach

 

If you’re reading this blog as a coach, you may not identify yourself as a ‘facilitator of learning’ (which may sound more like a teacher) but I would encourage you to reflect on this. Ultimately whether you are helping athletes achieve championship winning performances on the sports field, or achieving Academic excellence in the classroom, the objective is the same- facilitate learning.

As I approach my 40th birthday and celebrate 20 years as a professional coach I’m reflecting on the apparent paradox that my coaching philosophy has been built on the idea of ‘conformity,’ which while it gives each child the exact same education and opportunity, may not actually be the best way to help my athletes learn!

Conformity is based on an industrial or mechanical model of education- a ‘fast food’ model where everything is standardised-  based on linearity, and gives every child the same educational experience.  This leads to a degree of certainty of what will come out at the other end (children educated to fulfill their role in the workplace). I too have largely coached this way for most of my career with a command and control style and a ‘mechanical formula’ for building athletes on my APA production line.  Like many things in life, this formulaic approach works better for some and less so for others.  But I’ve always tried to make it work for everyone, even if it sometimes feels like fitting a square peg in a round hole.

I recently spoke to two noteworthy teachers who I respect, one was one of my University Professors, who has recently retired and another is a former teacher of History in a well respected London independent school.  Both teachers shared the belief that you ‘can’t save all the whales,’ which basically means that there are some children/students who want to learn, and others who don’t.  Put your time into the ones who want to be there (and forget about the rest).  You can’t help them all.  I have always struggled with this concept, it just doesn’t seem to be the right thing to do.  I will acknowledge that teaching 30 children in a classroom will probably give you a different perspective, but I still feel that every child needs to be given an opportunity to realise their potential, even if it isn’t outwardly showing itself now. (For what it’s worth I did teach in Further Education for two years, teaching ”boring stuff” to 16-18 year olds, many who didn’t want to be there, so I do have some experience to base my comments on.)

My question is whether the mechanical model which ‘treats all children the same’ is part of the reason why some children seemingly fail in a system that is based on a ‘one size fits all approach.’  Do we just give our energy to the children who thrive in this environment, or do we need to change the environment, or at least give more opportunities to experience different environments, ones where more children actually want to learn in?

My definition of an APA coach is a ‘inspirational, honest, professional and courageous coach who is self-aware and coaches unconditionally to help their athletes maximise their potential.”

Many of my coaches have struggled with this concept of unconditional coaching; ”You mean you want me to give as much time and energy to the children who don’t want to be there, as the ones who do?” they would say.  ”You mean I need to spend as much time writing a plan for the children who have no talent, as the ones who clearly have a much better chance of making it?”

My concept of coaching unconditionally largely revolves around the concept that ‘no child gets left behind.’  You must meet them where they are at, maybe they are NOT READY to learn NOW, or perhaps they will never be ready to learn in the way you are presenting the information.  But never give up on them before they give up on themselves and always search for ways to ignite their fire for something.  Just find what they are currently willing/able to do and move them to the next step.  It may not be where they ‘need’ to be based on some expected or desired level of achievement, but if it is progress it still needs to be acknowledged and celebrated.

Reforming Public Education

 

In many conversations I have with parents I often draw parallels with the Academic journey to explain long-term athletic development.  Maybe you have too.  Furthermore, I certainly draw on my knowledge of teaching methods in the classroom to inform my coaching methods.  What is interesting is that there has been a call for education reform for many years now- the way we educate children in the classroom served us economically and culturally at the time of it’s creation- the mid 19th century.  But it no longer serves the children of the 21st century.

This blog will examine the current state of the education system, and some of the great work of the late Sir Ken Robinson, an international education advisor in the Arts who championed education reform.  He was passionate about creative and cultural education, with the goal to unlock and ignite the creative energy of people and organisations, which he felt was sadly lacking in the current education system.

My coaching philosophy has clearly been influenced by my understanding of how we learn in school, so I’d like to look at this first and then in a follow up blog, highlight some practical considerations for coaching practices I can employ in the next 20 years of my career.

Please stick with me, I hope you will see that much of what is good (and bad) in the classroom could be applied to the sports field.  Part 1 of this blog will address the challenges.  My follow up blog will address the possible solutions.

The Modern Challenge of Public Education

 

What follows is an overview of a talk by Sir Ken Robinson- Changing Education Paradigms

According to Sir Ken there are two reasons why we need to reform public education:

  1. ECONOMIC – how do we educate our children to take their place in the economies of the 21st century?
  2. CULTURAL – how do we educate our children so they have a sense of cultural identity, so we can pass on the ‘cultural genes’ of our communities, while we become part of the process of globalisation.

The problem is we are trying to meet the ‘future’ with what we did in the ‘past,’ and along the way we are alienating millions of kids who don’t see any purpose in going to school.  In the past, we were kept there with a story that if you worked hard and did well and got a college degree you would get a job.  Our kids don’t believe that (now)!  You’re better having a degree than not, but it’s not a guarantee anymore.  And particularly not if the route to it marginalises most of the things you think are important about YOURSELF.

The problem is the current system of education was designed and conceived and structured for a different age.  It was conceived in the INTELLECTUAL CULTURE of the ENLIGHTENMENT, and in the ECONOMIC circumstances of the INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.

At the time it was a revolutionary idea to provide formal public education that was:

  • Paid for by taxation
  • Compulsory to everyone
  • Free at the point of delivery

People at the time could not conceive that the working class were capable of learning to read and write but it was seen as necessary to insure the future growth of the industrial revolution.

[Unfortunately] the view of intelligence at the time was based on the enlightenment view of intelligence known as DEDUCTIVE REASONING– or ‘top-down logic’ which contrasts with inductive reasoning (“bottom-up logic”): in deductive reasoning, a conclusion is reached reductively by applying general rules which hold over the entirety of a range of topics, narrowing the range under consideration until only the conclusion(s) remains. In deductive reasoning there is no uncertainty.

In inductive reasoning, the conclusion is reached by generalizing or extrapolating from specific cases to general rules resulting in a conclusion that has uncertainty.

People who were good at deductive reasoning were come to be thought of as having Academic ability.  People who were not good at this were thought of as non Academic, or not smart!  The consequence of this way of thinking that runs deep in the gene pool of education (even until this day in my opinion) is that many brilliant people think they are not smart, because they’ve been judged against this particular view of the mind.

Don’t get me wrong- this approach has been great for some, who have wonderfully benefited from it but many have not.

I am a case in point.  I wasn’t really sure of what I was good at until I arrived at University.  My entire formal education at University was based on deductive reasoning and I learned fast that I was extremely good at it- synthesising large volumes of academic research into a succinct conclusion based on the available evidence.  There was something very predictable about this method of learning and I lapped it up- gaining almost exclusively A grades for the majority of my time there.  It gave me an enormous sense of confidence but was also in my opinion one of the main reasons I went on to have some of the most severe and almost life ending depression one can experience, something that I have been very public about, and occurred when I left the relative safety of the Academic environment.

In my opinion modern education still serves people who ultimately aspire to be guess what?   A University professor!  It’s designed for people who ‘LIVE IN THEIR HEAD.’   For as good as it was for my development as an Academic I felt completely unprepared for a life outside Academia, and I often wondered if the depression I felt once I left Academia was comparable to how many students feel when they are inside it and are trying to force themselves to endure a system rather than enjoy it.

Our children now are living in the most INTENSELY STIMULATING period in the history of the Earth.  They are being besieged with information that pulls their attention from every platform- computers, Iphones, TV channels and advertising; and we’re penalising them for getting distracted- from what? Boring stuff! (at school, for the most part!).

Perhaps there is a place for more AESTHETIC experiences within schools.  This is known as DIVERGENT thinking.

Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, “non-linear” manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion.

 

Education has been increasingly based on conformity and standardisation- and instead Sir Ken believes we need to go in the opposite direction, what Sir Ken means by changing paradigms!

One of the things that Sir Ken concluded was that most great learning happens in groups- collaboration is the stuff of growth.  I had to have a chuckle as being an academic type myself, I absolutely hated group work at University.   I knew that the conclusions to be drawn were self-evident in the research and having more people (who I perceived to be less capable than myself at deductive reasoning) would just slow the process down. I didn’t need to share ideas, the Academics of the time had already presented the most noteworthy findings and our job was simply to present them in a logical way to draw a natural conclusion.  Having someone repeatedly ask, ‘but what if?’ wasn’t going to get me a better grade!

But for many, let’s say, more creative divergent thinkers, group work is at the heart of human spirit.  Please watch How To Escape Education’s Death Valley which talks about the drop out crisis in USA and the three conditions in which humans flourish.

I’ll wrap up this blog with a summary of some of the points made.

Drop Out Crisis

 

Up to 60% of children drop out of High school and up to 80% of native Americans (in some parts of the country in the USA).

But the drop out crisis is just the tip of the iceberg.  What it doesn’t count is the number of children who are in school, BUT ARE DISENGAGED from it, who DON’T ENJOY IT, who don’t get any real benefit from it.

Some people want to learn, and some don’t.  Every student who drops out of school has a reason for it which is rooted in their own biography.  They may find it boring, irrelevant, at odds with the life they are living outside of school/University.  These are trends but the stories are always unique.

It could be argued that education fails many people because it dislocates very many people from their natural talents.  Human resources or ‘talents’ are like natural resources- they don’t show up on the surface, they’re buried deep, you have to go looking for them and and CREATE THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THEY SHOW THEMSELVES.

It’s about PASSION.  Passion is what excites our spirit and our energy.  And if you’re doing the thing that you love to do, that you’re good at, time takes a different course entirely, an hour feels like 5 minutes.  The reason so many people are opting out of education is because it doesn’t feed their energy, spirit or passion.

 

There are three principles on which HUMAN LIFE FLOURISHES, and they are contradicted by the culture of education, under which most teachers have to labour and most students have to endure.  Sir Ken Robinson

 

These are:

  • Human beings are naturally DIVERSE– school system is not based on diversity but on conformity.  Teachers are asked to find out what kids can do across a very narrow spectrum of achievement (and mostly through standardisation and testing).  Kids prosper best with a broad curriculum that celebrates their various talents, not just a small range of them.

 

  • Humans are CURIOUS– if you can light the spark of curiosity of a child, they will learn without any further assistance very often.  Curiosity is the engine of achievement.  Teaching is a creative profession; teaching properly conceived, is not a DELIVERY SYSTEM.  You’re not there just to pass on received information.  Great teachers do that, but what great teachers also do is mentor, stimulate, provoke and engage.

 

  • Human life is inherently CREATIVE– we create our lives by the restless process of imagining alternatives and possibilities, and one of the roles of education is to awaken and develop these powers of creativity.

 

Instead, what we have is a culture of standardisation.  Part of the problem is that the dominant culture of education has come to focus on, not teaching and learning, but testing.  Now testing is important, but they should not be the dominant culture.  They should be diagnostic.  They should help and support learning.  It shouldn’t obstruct it, which of course it often does.  So in place of curiosity, what we have is a culture of compliance.

Conclusions

 

Education is not a mechanical system.  It’s a human system.  It’s about people who either do want to learn, or don’t want to learn.

Our education system has mined our minds in the same way we strip-mine the Earth for a particular commodity.  And for the future, it won’t serve us.

In the follow up part 2 I will outline how we can go from an industrial mechanical manufacturing model of education, based on linearity and conformity to a model that is based on principles of agriculture. We have to recognise that human flourishing is not a mechanical process, and you cannot predict the outcome of human development.  All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they begin to flourish.

 

Follow Daz on instagram @apacoachdaz

 

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Some clarity around Trunk training

With the initiation of a third lock down in the UK we thought it would be a great idea to engage our readers in some motivating posts to help keep you motivated.  We welcome back APA coach Konrad McKenzie with a weekly guest post.

This blog will be a follow on from my initial blog around training the core, it was inspired by a webinar I had listened to on “Trunk Training” kindly put together by Alex Wolf. I wanted to write about what I learnt on this talk in order to spread the word and create some real clarity on training the mid-section. I will mention some of the pertinent topics that Alex discusses and would like to stress that the issues discussed are from his presentation rather than my own. This blog, as the presentation was outlined, will be divided into several parts;

  • Functional anatomy
  • Trunk Function
  • Why we need to consider the hip when talking about the Trunk
  • Exercise classifications
  • Exercise functionality and coordinative demands

Consider for a moment this picture of a bonnet. How much faith would you have in a car mechanic who did not know the parts of a car, could not identify what the problems were or the tasks that could be done to solve the problem? Funnily enough, not too long ago I broke down and had to rely on a car mechanic to solve an issue with my car. He did so meticulously.

Some questions that arose from the presentation were;

What does the trunk actually do when completing a task?

What do we have available to optimize trunk function?

When we can define the function of the trunk, we are able to align the most appropriate training methods we can to create real clarity of outcomes. This is something I believe the best practitioners out there have, clarity.

 

Functional anatomy

Similar to my blog around shoulder health I will break this blog down into two parts the Local and Global system. In the case of the trunk, both systems help to stabilise the trunk.

Local system

Local system is mostly made up of deep intrinsic musculature, which are attached closer to the vertebrae and are attached onto the spinal processes feeding into the ribs. The total volume of these muscles is small and (in terms of muscle architecture) are vertically orientated along the spine which highlights how the muscles operate and their force production capabilities. Muscles of the local system typically support spinal segmental control, are highly resistant to fatigue and anticipatory in nature (Feed forward mechanism). These muscles (to name a few) include the multifidus, Diaphragm and Pelvic floor and deeper fibres of the Erector Spinae. Structurally, the ligamentous (non- contractile) structures also provide segmental control and spinal stability. Historically, the term ‘Core stability’ came from spinal segmental control and the deeper intrinsic musculature.

Global system

The Global system has larger more superficial musculature, which span many joint segments. Unlike the local system these muscles are more obliquely orientated thus, high force production capabilities and they initiate gross movement. Comparatively, the global system has lower fatigue resistance but this particular system provides stability and mobility to the spine. These muscles include the external/internal oliques, superficial fibres of the Erector Spinae and Rectus Abdominis.

Trunk Function

Muscles of the Trunk produce force to serve a few roles. Particularly in Generation, Transfer and Control. I will briefly highlight these in more detail

 

Generation

Transfer

Control

·         Rotation

·         Block Rotation

·         Flexion and Extension

·         Lateral flexion and extension

·         Proximal to distal

·         Lower to upper body

·         Posterior to Anterior

·         Medial to Lateral

·         Postural control

·         Resist deformation to external and  internal forces

 

Generation

This refers to the force generation capabilities, a recent topic of conversation in strength and conditioning is whether the trunk is designed to create/block rotation or both. Supporters of Block rotation suggest that the stiffening of trunk allows the arms and legs to work against it, rather than having a continuation of the movement which may dampen performance outcomes.

Transfer

Quite a common conclusion in strength and conditioning circles is that the trunk acts to transfer forces in athletic movements, through different planes of motion.

Control

Resisting deformation by external and internal forces, a useful example of external forces was a scrum in Rugby union as players have to manage external forces from the opposition. Internal forces refers to force that we ourselves generate.

 

Why we need to consider the hip when talking about the Trunk

Some may have heard the term “Regional interdependence” the notion that all systems of the body are interconnected meaning that we cannot ignore the fact that large amount of abdominal muscles attach to the hip and pelvis. Therefore, dysfunction in the hips can lead to problems in the spine. Two notorious mal-alignments mentioned were posterior and anterior pelvic tilt. I will briefly describe anterior pelvic tilt as it’s the most prevalent issue I see.

Anterior Pelvic tilt (APT)

APT or lower crossed syndrome is characterised by a rolling forward of the pelvis due to shortening of the hip rectus femoris, Iliopsoas and the weaknesses of the deep abdominal musculature causing issues in the spine at the L4-L5 level.

 

Exercise classifications

In this particular section I will not deep dive into everything that was mentioned, this blog would simply be too long. However, I am quite open to having conversations on this. What I liked about this presentation and paper is the clarity on the intention of each exercise classification, something I am going to use in my programming to add the extra layers of detail. The “what and the how”.

Function is defined by its intended outcome, it is not how an exercise looks in relation to the performance task

Alex has a great paper Spinal-Exercise Prescription in Sport: Classifying Physical Training and Rehabilitation by Intention and Outcome. The physical outcomes presented in his research were split up into four overarching qualities with further sub-classifications, which I will touch upon.

Just for the benefit of the reader the exercises were also further sub-classified described as functional and non-functional (NF). Functional (F) being exercises which allow their athletes to move in all planes of movement, for example a Squat. Non-functional exercises (example a side plank) are typically performed in partial weight bearing positions (single, lying kneeling etc) and across a single plane of movement (Spencer et al, 2016).

 

A)  Mobility (F) and (NF)Exercises used to develop, maintain, or restore global spine range of movement.

 

B)  Motor control- referred to as the maintenance of spinal integrity during a skill movement task. This is not only a result of the capacity of muscles but also on the ability to process sensory input.

This was further subdivided into;

1)  Segmental stabilisation (NF)

2)  Spinal disassociation (NF)

3)  Spinal disassociation (F)

4)  Segmental movement control (NF)

 

C)  Work capacity- The same as local muscular endurance, defined as the ability to tolerate varying intensities and durations of work.

This was further subdivided into;

  • Pillar conditioning (NF)
  • Pillar conditioning (F)
  • Segmental conditioning (F)
  • Segmental conditioning (F)

 

D) Strength- The ability for muscles to produce force.

    This was further subdivided into;

    • Pillar Strength development
    • Stiffness development
    • Power development

     

    As mentioned going into each sub-classification would be too lengthy and I will reference the article. However, I thought this was useful to organise exercise prescription by working backwards from the outcome!

     

    Exercise functionality and co-ordinative demands

    As part of Alex’s reflections on this paper he highlights an important topic “coordination” this is not going to be the usual way of thinking about coordination, but to describe it as truly functional to an athletic movement the muscle-tendon interaction of both tasks need to be identical, down to the;

    • Magnitude of contraction (How much)
    • Rate of contraction (How quick)
    • Timing of interaction (When)
    • Timing of interaction and contraction (How)

     

    “Unless there is a real identical muscle-tendon interaction (coordination) between tasks, it cannot and never will be functional. Therefore functional, within the article should be redefined as F= Multi-jointed & NF = isolated”.

     

    Interestingly, a point was made that the “Greatest success of achieving intended outcomes has been through NF exercises modalities”. Why? Because isolated exercises target specific tissues that need to be trained i.e. we are going directly to the horse’s mouth.

    Thanks for reading this article, it was not intended to give you specific exercises rather an explicit framework for you to build your exercise program on.

    Konrad McKenzie

    Strength and Conditioning coach.

     

    Reference:

    Research Gate. 2021. (PDF) Spinal-Exercise Prescription in Sport: Classifying Physical Training and Rehabilitation by Intention and Outcome. [online]

    Available at:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308533366_Spinal_Exercise_Prescription_in_Sport_Classifying_Physical_Training_and_Rehabilitation_by_Intention_and_Outcome> [Accessed 18 March 2021].

    Liked This Blog?

    You might like other blogs on this topic from APA:

    APA review of the Middlesex Students S&C conference 2014

    The Dubious Rise of the Corrective Exercise ”Pseudo-Physio” Posing as a Trainer- My thoughts

    as well as two recommended articles:

    This article on weak Glutes during Squatting

    And this one on Exercise Modifications 

    Do you feel that this would be a perfect time to work on the weak links that you have been avoiding? The things that you know you should be doing that you keep putting off? Would you like us to help you with movement screening and an injury prevention program? Then click on the link below and let us help you!

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    Since you’re here…
    …we have a small favor to ask.  APA aim to bring you compelling content from the world of sports science and coaching.  We are devoted to making athletes fitter, faster and stronger so they can excel in sport. Please take a moment to share the articles on social media, engage the authors with questions and comments below, and link to articles when appropriate if you have a blog or participate on forums of related topics. — APA TEAM

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    The Load Management Puzzle

    With the initiation of a third lock down in the UK we thought it would be a great idea to engage our readers in some motivating posts to help keep you motivated.  We welcome back APA coach Konrad McKenzie with a weekly guest post.

     

    This lockdown 3.0 I have been fortunate to gain some more knowledge from leading practitioners in strength and conditioning & sport science.  A few weeks ago I took part in webinar on load management by Dario Novak. This webinar series had interesting speakers on it including professor Ales Filipcic and Matt Little who currently leads Andy Murray’s strength and conditioning programme. This series inspired me to share the information and perhaps create more conversations around monitoring using some of my own thoughts.

    I will be first to admit that this was something I struggled with in the first years of coaching. Not so much the theory behind it, rather the implementation in highly dynamic environments. Usually, it is much easier to monitor this if you have  large sports science departments who can meticulously monitor training readiness, volume, quality & intensity of training. As mentioned in my previous blog (Keeping athletes shoulder healthy) training volume is a large stakeholder when trying to reduce injury.

    This blog will not go into all the different monitoring methods but will discuss the following:

    • Why do we want to collect data on player’s health and performance?
    • Painting the picture
    • Do we need to look at session content?
    • What we can start off by doing
    • Practical implications

     

    What and why do we want to collect data on player’s health and performance?

    I am going to split this into two sections to make it more reader friendly.

    What do we want to collect on player’s data health and performance?

    A range of metrics can be collected in my opinion, the higher the level of the athlete the more in depth analysis needs to be. Metrics include (not an exhaustive list):

    Player’s physiological and anthropometric  data

    Other metrics include time characteristics, in the case of Tennis these are:

    Time characteristics

    • Start time
    • Session time
    • Active time
    • Average rally time
    • Average real time

    Why do we want to collect data on player’s health and performance?

    Measuring a player’s health is important for longevity and injury prevention. We are all aware that high performance sports is brutal on the body.  If we think about the game of tennis for example, a high level junior player rapidly putting the brakes on when travelling at 6m/s is experiencing 3-6 times their bodyweight on each leg. Not only does this place structural and neurological stress on the body, training and competition can take a psychological toll on the human body. Additionally, those who work with growing athletes will also know the physiological stress around growth and maturation. In simpler terms we want to use data to:

    • Keep players healthier
    • Prevent OT & Burnout
    • Aim to Reduce Injuries

    Painting the picture

    “It is better to measure something than nothing”

    This was a quote that stood out to me from the webinar. I wanted to further add that it is also important to know what you are measuring and more importantly how you are going to use the data. Sounds obvious I know but it’s easy to get lost in a sea of data collection that will have no actionable consequences on day to day practices.  It is important that we use loading data to paint the picture of the athletes we are working with. Pertinent questions from the webinar regarding data collection were:

    1. What kind of data/info do we use for planning?
    2. How do we treat and approach our players?
    3. How do we collect and store player’s data?
    4. How many different aspects of training do we work in the training process?
    5. What is the role of players in the training process?
    6. How are the players responding to load?

    Do we need to look at the session content? Some food for thought

    Although when they spoke about session content it wasn’t focused on youth athlete training, it is a passion point of mine and definitely created some food for thought around this area. It was highlighted that a typical academy tennis session would be very high in volume and not high enough in terms of intensity.  The current training volumes may not be tolerable for a growing athlete. Also, if 60-80% of the average rally is over in 4-5 shots, are the current training volumes reflective of the game? This is an interesting question. My personal thoughts are, is there a period where we overload the volume? A period where we intensify in skill training load?  So, on different training days and/or phases we emphasize volume or intensity.

    A primary question from the webinar was do we know what types of load we are exposing our players to? Is this reflected in the session? Some humbling questions.

    It is quite common to see a session start with high volume drilling and end with high intensity match play. This webinar was in Tennis, however I see this across the board in a lot of field and court sports. Perhaps, flipping this structure will allow for a more optimal session, makes sense from a scientific point of view. Something for the skills and strength and conditioning coaches to converse over.

    What we can start off by doing

    Using Minutes alone, is not a good indicator of session load, without content of the session e.g. (Volume, intensity, quality)

    There are countless articles and papers by people who are much smarter than me on this topic so I am not going to dive into any monitoring tools. I will link the reader to this article which I found informative.  But I wanted to highlight an idea which may be overlooked and that is categorising sessions. I have tried to do this over the years working with technical coaches to identify different types of sessions. For example, high and low intensity days. But we can go even deeper and distinguish between high intensity match play and high volume drilling. Furthermore, we could pair this with conditioning sessions which complement the type of loading from skill work. Vertical integration is popular in the domain of Rugby union and football and I am a firm believer in learning from different sports.

    Practical recommendations

    After hearing the webinar I wanted to offer some practical recommendations from the talk and some of my own. Firstly, I want to stress that this is by no means an easy task. Especially, if you are working alone without a team of sports scientists. I want to start off by saying first;

    • Do the best you can.
    • Figure out what is important to measure and how it will affect your decision making, for example, peak height and weight velocity in youth athletes.
    • Build buy-in by educating coaches and athletes as to why you are collecting data.
    • The higher the level of the athlete, the more in depth the analysis.
    • Once you find out what you want to measure, find out the most cost effective way of doing this. There are a wide array of wearables that athletes can purchase which are fairly inexpensive. For example, Heart rate monitors for objective measurements.
    • Once you have the collection method for example HR monitoring, paint the picture by working out the intensity of matches and seeing how that compares to training for planning purposes. Are we wanting to work at or below match intensity?
    • Work with the technical coaches using your understanding of scientific underpinning of training and their knowledge of skill development to come up with an agreed monthly/yearly schedule.

     

     

    Thanks for reading guys,

    Konrad McKenzie

    Strength and Conditioning coach.

    Liked This Blog?

    You might like other blogs on this topic from APA:

    APA review of the Middlesex Students S&C conference 2014

    The Dubious Rise of the Corrective Exercise ”Pseudo-Physio” Posing as a Trainer- My thoughts

    as well as two recommended articles:

    This article on weak Glutes during Squatting

    And this one on Exercise Modifications 

    Do you feel that this would be a perfect time to work on the weak links that you have been avoiding? The things that you know you should be doing that you keep putting off? Would you like us to help you with movement screening and an injury prevention program? Then click on the link below and let us help you!

    👇 TRAIN WITH APA 👇

    Aspiring Pro Training Support Packages

     

     

    Follow me on instagram @konrad_mcken

    Follow Daz on instagram @apacoachdaz

     

    Remember:
    • If you’re not subscribed yet, click here to get free email updates, so we can stay in touch.
    • Share this post using the buttons on the top and bottom of the post. As one of this blog’s first readers, I’m not just hoping you’ll tell your friends about it. I’m counting on it.
    • Leave a comment, telling me where you’re struggling and how I can help

    Since you’re here…
    …we have a small favor to ask.  APA aim to bring you compelling content from the world of sports science and coaching.  We are devoted to making athletes fitter, faster and stronger so they can excel in sport. Please take a moment to share the articles on social media, engage the authors with questions and comments below, and link to articles when appropriate if you have a blog or participate on forums of related topics. — APA TEAM

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    Keeping Athlete Shoulders Healthy

    With the initiation of a third lock down in the UK we thought it would be a great idea to engage our readers in some motivating posts to help keep you motivated.  We welcome back APA coach Konrad McKenzie with a weekly guest post.

    This lockdown 3.0 I have been fortunate to gain some more knowledge from leading practitioners in strength and conditioning & sport science. A couple of weeks ago I took part in a webinar with Chris McCleod and Ben Ashworth regarding shoulder health which I wanted to share with you. Those that know me will know I currently work in a Tennis Academy and have had previous work in Rugby and Swimming. So you can imagine this webinar was of interest to me.

    Inherently, the shoulder joint is quite unstable, due to bony structures and lax ligaments most of its stability is provided by the rotator cuff musculature. It is particularly important to increase the structural strength of the local and global musculature around the joint. This blog will cover, what I learnt on the webinar with some of my own additions, the following topics will be:

    • Local and global musculature of the shoulder
    • Glenohumeral joint Stability
    • Thoracic Mobility
    • Volume load and Shoulder health
    • Some exercises for your tool box

     

    Local and Global muscles of the shoulder

    As always, I wanted to introduce this topic by giving a brief overview of the anatomy of the shoulder. Frequently, when describing the anatomy of the body we use the terminologies “global” and “local”.

    Local musculature

    These are muscles located proximally to a joint and these muscles produce force to create stiffness around a joint during movement. Regarding the shoulder, local muscles include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapualris and teres minor. The aforementioned muscles form part of the rotator cuff complex and provide stability to the Glenohumeral joint during movement.

    Global muscles

    Global muscles are predominantly larger, superficial and responsible for initiating movement. These muscles attach from pelvis to rib cage and/or the upper extremities and are central to absorbing/transferring forces  from upper and lower extremities to the pelvis. Global muscles in the shoulder girdle region include the Trapezius complex, Deltoids, Latissimus dorsi, Levator Scapulae and Rhomboids.

    Detailing muscles in any part of the body is like peeling away layers of onion, so it is outside the scope of this blog to highlight every superficial and deep muscle tissue surrounding the shoulder.

    The Scapula and Glenohumeral joint stability

    The joint between the Humerus and the Scapular is known as the Glenohumeral joint. Typically injuries are sustained in the structures of the Glenohumeral joint. However, we must not dismiss the role of the scapular in maintaining healthy shoulder function. I particularly want to draw attention to the serratus anterior, which is interposed between the scapula and posterior Thorax. Studies have mentioned that the mobility of the serratus and subscapularis are vital for healthy shoulder function (Codman, 1934). Furthermore, the gliding, rotation & tilting of the Scapula is known as scapulathoracic gliding mechanisms. I would like to add that the scapula and subscapularis are not the only muscles of the scapula, muscles such as the upper trapezius, lower trapezius, Pectoralis minor work synergistically (force-couples) to position the scapula optimally.

    Normal function of the Scapula is important. Shoulder strength can increase by up to 24% with appropriate scapular stabilization (Kibler, 2006).

    Scapula Stability and Shoulder dysfunction

    Sub-optimal scapula control due to over-activity in the upper trapezius and pectoralis minor is common. We know (particularly in overhead sports) that upward rotation of the scapula is imperative. Typically impairment is seen in a protracted and inferiorly positioned scapula. Additionally, the aforementioned dysfunction can decrease upward rotation thus decreasing sub-acromial space (Kilber, 2016).

     

    Thoracic mobility (T-Spine)

    I wanted to include this section because I believe, like the serratus anterior, T-spine mobility is important for healthy function. The thoracic spine is made up of twelve vertebrae (T1-12) in the middle segment of the vertebral column. In the Thorax the ribs articulate with each vertebra at the vertebral bodies and the transverse processes (Stull, 2016). Each thoracic vertebra rotates approximately 3°, therefore research has suggested that the thoracic spine should be able to produce 30-35° of rotation (Neumann, 2010). Now, you may be asking how this relates to shoulder function.

    The thoracic spine is engineered in a way that it can move in all planes of movement (rotation, flexion/extension and lateral flexion). The NASM suggest that the thoracic spine can produce 20-25° of extension (While this is not true extension, due to natural curvature of the T-spine) it is pertinent to shoulder function.

    So why is the small amount of extension in the upper back vital for shoulder movement?

    Well, to move the arm into full shoulder flexion, this requires the T-spine to move into extension. During shoulder flexion the scapula rotates upwardly & posteriorly rotates on the rib cage. Now, it is said that if the T-spine lacks the ability to fully extend, the scapula is unable to posteriorly tilt as a result. If this is the case, the Glenohumeral joint is unable to get into full flexion then the risk of joint impingement increases.

     

    Volume load and shoulder health

    It is common knowledge within the sports performance world, that injury is multi-factorial. However, one powerful way to reduce risk is load management. Interestingly it was said in the webinar that training load spikes of > 60% significantly increases the chances of injury, loads of < 20% also incurred an injury risk outlining the need to neither overcook nor undercook athletes. Now, what’s even more interesting is that a robust shoulder girdle was more likely to withstand training spikes in between 20-60%. This highlighted the need to micro-dose athletes with shoulder strengthening work, especially when away in competition.

     

    Some exercises for your toolbox

    Now, I want to introduce you to some exercises you can use for your toolbox. Some of these exercises are nothing special when looking at them, but that’s what I liked about them. They are simple and effective but the intelligence comes from how and why we prescribe them. The webinar described the exercise selections as “Shapes”, which I found very useful. I will now share these with you.

     

    Shape 1 – Single arm “Statue of liberty”

    It was said that single arm work is best, around 120° relative to the trunk (angle slightly above head height). This reduces the potential pec dominance and increases serratus anterior activity when executing single arm exercises.  With this in mind exercises, such as Landmine presses, single arm planks with arm slightly in front of the head make great exercises for shoulder stability.

    Fig 1. Take a notice at the angle of the shoulder, relative to the trunk.

    Benefits:

    • Supports upward rotation and posterior tilt of the scapula, to open up space and offload the shoulder.
    • With regard to tennis this exercise supports the avoidance of a shoulder dominant shot and “leading” with the shoulder.

     

    Shape 2- “Y- shape”

    This was said to target the connection between the posterior shoulder and mid-back. Additionally, on an EMG this shape was said to produce high activity in the posterior cuff and mid-back stabilisers. Furthermore, it was said that many people struggle to access this position. In my experience this is has been evident.  A regression I have used is on the knees. This allows the athlete to feel the right positions. When doing this exercise it is advised to place the thumbs back to place the shoulder into external rotation and recruit the mid back musculature.

    Benefits:

    • Supports the overhead connection between the arm and body
    • Protects against leaving the arm behind the body by connecting scapula to the Thorax

     

    Shape 3- The lateral line

    Muscles in the lateral line include the Obliques and unilateral trunk musculature. Exercises that target the lateral line include side planks, Single arm weighted carries and ipsilateral resistance training. Ben Ashworth suggested that athletes displaying a “buckling” of the hip during a single leg squat could be attributed with a weaker lateral line.

     Benefits:

    • Supports serve and overhead actions, which requires high amounts of side bend force, deceleration coupled with lateral hip stability.
    • Provides a strong base to transfer force from the lower body into the arm and racket.

     

    Shape 4- “Long Lat”

    We need strong Lats for a healthy shoulder (Think about its origins and insertions). But, we also need Lats that can produce force through a full range of motion. In overhead sports, this is important due to the racket and arm over the shoulder without any force leakage.

    Benefits:

    • Optimising efficient mechanics
    • Producing and maintaining force with a long lever arm.

    This was a great webinar, I certainly learnt lots whilst supporting my own knowledge already. I hope this blog has been insightful and causes you to do some of your own research around the shoulder. Thanks to Ben Ashworth and Chris McCleod for their outstanding work!

     

     

    Thanks for reading guys,

    Konrad McKenzie

    Strength and Conditioning coach.

     

    Liked This Blog?

    You might like other blogs on this topic from APA:

    APA review of the Middlesex Students S&C conference 2014

    The Dubious Rise of the Corrective Exercise ”Pseudo-Physio” Posing as a Trainer- My thoughts

    as well as two recommended articles:

    This article on weak Glutes during Squatting

    And this one on Exercise Modifications 

    Do you feel that this would be a perfect time to work on the weak links that you have been avoiding? The things that you know you should be doing that you keep putting off? Would you like us to help you with movement screening and an injury prevention program? Then click on the link below and let us help you!

    👇 TRAIN WITH APA 👇

    Aspiring Pro Training Support Packages

     

     

    Follow me on instagram @konrad_mcken

    Follow Daz on instagram @apacoachdaz

     

    Remember:
    • If you’re not subscribed yet, click here to get free email updates, so we can stay in touch.
    • Share this post using the buttons on the top and bottom of the post. As one of this blog’s first readers, I’m not just hoping you’ll tell your friends about it. I’m counting on it.
    • Leave a comment, telling me where you’re struggling and how I can help

    Since you’re here…
    …we have a small favor to ask.  APA aim to bring you compelling content from the world of sports science and coaching.  We are devoted to making athletes fitter, faster and stronger so they can excel in sport. Please take a moment to share the articles on social media, engage the authors with questions and comments below, and link to articles when appropriate if you have a blog or participate on forums of related topics. — APA TEAM

    => Follow us on Facebook

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