Sunday, April 8, 2012

GamePlan for Success: Training for Speed

Speed Training

Speed training should be accomplished in short and all out effort (>95%). If your effort is not near maximal, you will not be training efficiently. Speed training requires the duration of 3-6 seconds. This window of time is where your neuromuscular system will most efficiently make changes that will result in speed development. It is important that if you are training for speed rest intervals must be provided to allow for recovery. The appropriate recovery time is at least for every 1 second of work there is at least 1 minute of rest. An example, sprint 3 secs. and rest 3 minutes. To train appropriately for speed, fatigue should not be a limiting factor. Speed is a complete neuromuscular activity, and utilizes the Alactic Energy System. Therefore, no lactic acid is produced.
Speed Training

Speed Testing

Testing  acceleration and speed should be performed within 6 to 7 seconds of duration. This requires all out effort.
  • Acceleration is the period of time it takes to achieve full speed - 10-20 meters.
Acceleration to reach max speed takes 10 to 20 meters in the youth athlete. Speed must be assessed after the athlete is able to accelerate to top speed. Maximum speed, therefore, will occur in a window 20 to 30 meters after the first 10 to 20 meters. This is referred to as a Fly Zone. The athlete must be in a non-fatigued state when testing for speed and acceleration.
  • Measure top end speed in a 20-30 meter window after an initial 10-20 meter acceleration zone.
  • Using a 10 meter acceleration and a 30 meter speed zone that is timed will require a full 40 meters.
  • If the athlete runs the 30 meters in 3.6 seconds the speed is determined by dividing 30 meters/3.6 seconds, and will provide top end speed of 8.33m/sec.
With this information it is recommended that when training for acceleration a 10 to 20 meter distance can be utilized. When training for speed use a short, 10-20 meter acceleration zone to reach top end speed. Using a 30 meter zone the athlete must maintain speeds of 3.6 to 3.8 secs. for maximal benefit of speed training. This would be performing at >95% of maximal effort. This will maximize neuromuscular gains. When speeds exceed 3.8 secs. neuromuscular fatigue sets in and quality of training for speed decreases.

Watch the slide presentation to learn more about Dynamic Warm-Up for Speed Training.

Speed Training Dynamic Warm Up  Game Plan for Success: Athletic Training and WellnessGoals Worksheet


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Youth Baseball Injuries can be Prevented with Preparation

Common Injuries and Causes Related to Youth Baseball Injuries

Part I

The most common area of pain complaints in the young baseball player is the elbow. The shoulder is also a common site of injury. Several risk factors are associated with increased risk of injury in the youth baseball athlete:
  1. Age: the young athlete is susceptible to injury due to the development of the musculoskeletal  system. The growth plates located at the ends of upper arm, at the elbow and shoulder, are common sites of potential injury.
  2. Level of Competition: as the young athlete increases their level of play so does the demand on the maturing arm in the throwing athlete. Increased competition places demands due to frequency of throwing, throwing distances and intensity of play.
  3. Number of pitches in a season: as the level of play increases the repetition of throwing increases. The young pitcher places increased demands on the soft tissue of the elbow and shoulder if adequate rest intervals are not allowed to take place.
  4. Fatigue: inadequate rest causes fatigue, and if the body is not prepared with proper technique, physical preparation(strength and endurance), and control of pitches thrown, the shoulder and elbow are at greater risk of injury.
Breaking pitches(junk) and high pitch count are associated with elbow and shoulder pain in 9-14 year baseball players. While muscle soreness can be expected in throwing sports, joint pain should never be accepted as normal.

Elbow Anatomy

Most Common Injuries

Little League Elbow:

Avulsion of the ossification center of the medial(inside) elbow. Accompanied by pain, limited motion, swelling and possibly a popping sensation

Little League Shoulder:

Involves injury of the proximal(shoulder bone) humeral growth plate(epiphysis). Pain is experienced over the front and lateral aspect of the shoulder. The ability to move the arm may be limited, as well as strength.

Osteochondritis Dissecans:

Shoulder Anatomy
Compression lesion of the articular cartilage in the lateral(outside) elbow. There may be associated loss of extension(straightening) of the elbow. This may be more career threatening.

Rotator Cuff Strain:

Overuse of the stabilizing soft tissue at the shoulder(glenohumeral joint) is a common injury in overhead, throwing sports such as baseball. The muscle-tendon cuff attaches at the upper most end of the shoulder. The muscle can be injured as a result of repetitive strain. Pain and weakness is commonly present with throwing and lifting movements.

The initial management of shoulder or elbow pain includes rest and pain control. Decreasing pain is best managed with control of pain and inflammation. This includes rest and activity modification and application of cold packs 2-3 times per day to decrease inflammation.
If pain does not decrease, and range of motion of the shoulder and elbow remain painful and limited, it is recommended that a Medical Professional(Medical Doctor or Physical Therapist) evaluate the injury before return to play. Continued play with pain and weakness can lead to career threatening issues.

In Part II of the Youth Baseball Injuries can be Prevented with Preparation I will discuss specific exercises and drills that can be included as a strength and conditioning program for the youth baseball athlete.

See specifics related to long toss baseball throwing programs to increase arm strength, and understand the implications of starting a long toss throwing program.

Shop SKLZ Baseball Training Aids

Concussion Education for Parents and Kids

Concussion Education for Parents and Kids
Managing concussions begins with education. Watching this video brings more light to the serious consequences of head trauma. Athletes of all ages are at risk of experiencing some type of head trauma during their participation is sports. Athletes that are competing in contact sports are at higher risk of head injury. Being able to identify that causes, symptoms and signs of a concussion will help in providing proper care. If proper care is not provided long term health can be compromised, and the potential for death exists.
Preventing and managing concussions begins with education.