Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Game Plan for Youth Athlete Success

A Game Plan for Success in the Youth Athlete

Success is No Accident
The Youth Athlete is experiencing rates of injury at greater proportions. These injuries can be life threatening, such as head trauma that occurs in concussion. Injuries can involve ligaments, muscles and bones sustained as a result of sudden or repetitive trauma. The fact is that many of these injuries can be avoided with proper education and design of performance enhancing training programs. The goal of the Game Plan for Success program is the health and well-being of the young athlete in sports, and through adulthood.

Proprioceptive Training
There is a growing demand for the young athlete to play in sports year round, participating in school and club sports, often specializing in one sport before entering high school. The result is an athlete that has not developed athleticism, and is only exposed to consistent movement patterns and experiences. 

As a practicing physical therapist with over 25 years of experience training athletes of all ages and abilities, I have seen far too many young athletes suffer an injury that has sidelined there participation in sports for a season, and a career. There are two primary causes to this growing rate of youth injuries:

Overexposure to injury due to increased practice and competition.
I have had discussions with soccer athletes returning from college, and when asked if they are playing more soccer in college or high school/club, the answer is always high school/club. Too many contacts through out year round play in games and practice, combined with limited rest and recovery, a there will be an increased frequency of injury.

Lack of specific and individualized training progression.
Designing a sport-specific training program requires careful consideration of individual abilities, musculoskeletal development and the demands of the season. Many injuries are directly related to poor training program design. A sports performance training program must include core components:

  • Reduce the risk and prevention of injury strategies
  • Neuromuscular and Proprioceptive training 
  • Health and well-being (Recovery, Nutrition, Mental Preparation) 
  • Education of youth athlete, parents, and coaches. 
  • Fitness and Health Testing

The training of a 12 year old will require a program that is different than that of a high school senior. Likewise, training a female athlete will demand a different approach to training than that of a male athlete. The female athlete is 7 times more likely to injure the Anterior Cruciate Ligament(ACL) than their male counterpart. These findings express the need for gender specific training programs.

Recommended book by +Warren Potash 

They're Not Boys - Safely Training the Adolescent Female Athlete

Game Plan for Success: Youth Athlete (follow this link)
By completing the above link you will begin to define Your Game Plan for Success. Randy Bauer, Physical Therapist will contact you with an personal email for a 20-minute session to outline Your First Steps to a Game Plan. If you have any comments or questions please enter in the comment session below.

Strategies that prevent re-injury also demand attention. Young athletes that are injured have a greater incidence of reoccurring injury. Return to play strategies must include fear avoidance strategies, progressive return to play opportunities and development of fitness levels consistent with competitive demands.

Included below are a series of excerpts that discuss the youth athlete game plan for injury prevention, sport-specific training, fitness and health. 

https://plus.google.com 06/03/2013 18:40

Youth athletes are being overexposed to practice and competition in sports, and the result is increased overuse and traumatic injury. Youth sports is important for the development of our children's well-being. The are some helpful tips that can be followed to take proactive approach to monitoring the youth athlete. There must be an Athlete Game Plan that ensures safety and well-being of the youth athlete.
#athletegameplan   #youthsports   #youthsoccer   #overuseinjury  
Read more ...

Performance Nutrition for Energy, Recovery and Health

http://www.slideshare.net 2011-11-07

A Successful Athlete will have a Game Plan. A Vital Component to High Level Performance is Nutrition. Performance Nutrition Provides Energy for Training, Recovery and Maintains Mental Function, all Vital to Success on the Competitive Field.
Read more ...

Speed Training and Dynamic Warm-up

GamePlan for Success:Speed Training Dynamic Warm Up
http://www.slideshare.net 2011-10-09 
Speed training requires proper warm-up to prepare for the workout session. Speed training is an intensive neuromuscular activity. Proper preparation is required for successful outcome and injury prevention. Gear For Success: Athlete Wellness Game Plan

Speed Testing and Training for Football

Football Training: Speed Testing and Training Considerations
http://www.slideshare.net 2012-08-11 
Football Speed Considerations Energy systems Testing considerations Periodization Dynamic Warm-up Speed training Sprint techniques Specific-conditioning Presented by Randy Bauer Bauer Physical Therapy Laguna Hills, CA www.bauerpt.com 94 ...
Read more ...

Ankle Injuries in Soccer: Treatment and Prevention

GamePlan forAthlete Success: Treatment and Prevention of Ankle Injuries in Soccer
http://www.slideshare.net 2011-07-30 23:47:38 UTC
Ankle sprains are common in soccer. Prevention and initial treatment of the ankle sprain will improve return to play and reduce the incidence and re-injury, maximizing performance on the field. www.bauerpt.com
Read more ...

Return to Play Following an ACL Injury

https://plus.google.com 10/20/2013 14:02
ACL Injury: When Can I Play?

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament(ACL) Injury devastates athletes of all ages. From the aspiring young athlete to the seasoned professional. Careers are interrupted and often ended by the ACL injury.

Reducing the risk of injury requires preparing the athlete to meet the sport-specific demands of the activity. Decreasing the exposure to injury is another way to impact the growing number of sports injury, specifically in the young athlete population. 

The development of sport and age-specific training programs must consider neuromuscular and technical training concepts to ensure gradual progression of a comprehensive performance based program. The young athlete must not be trained 'as if ' they are already at the next level.

Read more on Overexposing the Youth Athlete to Injury  http://goo.gl/6Hlf29

Read More on the Mechanism of Injury and Reducing the Risk of ACL Injury in Soccer http://goo.gl/MNpgAF

Read More on Teens and ACL Injury: Reducing the Exposure and Return to Play  http://goo.gl/ZWUilO

#aclinjury #youthsportsinjuries #returntoplay

+Warren Potash +Bradford Lowry +Joe Napolitani +Soccer Talk

Read more ...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hip Flexor Pain, Injury and Stretch

Hip Flexor Pain and Cause of Injury

Do You ever experience pain in the groin, or front of the hip?

You may have a pain on the front of the hip that increases when you get up from a seated position.

You may have experienced pain out on the dance floor, twisting and gyrating the hips and body in varied directions.

If you are training for a sport, have you been sidelined with that non-stop pain that prevents a full stride, makes it difficult to drive the knee forward as you would if running hills or stairs

The Hip Flexor May be the Culprit

The hip flexors are an important muscle group responsible for movement action at the hip and trunk. Together, the hip flexor muscles are involved in every day activities of walking, running, or going up stairs. The anatomical positioning of the hip flexor muscles has influence of postural positioning, fluidity of movement, and strength and power. Injury of hip flexors can result from overuse, acute injury and chronic postural imbalances. You do not have to be a sprinter, or dancer to sustain injury to the hip flexor muscle group.

Hip Flexor Anatomy

Hip Flexor Anatomy

The hip flexor muscles primarily consist of the iliopsoas muscle, which are made up of the psoas major, psoas minor, and iliacus.

The secondary muscles essential in flexing the hip in order of importance include the rectus femoris, and sartorius, followed by the TFL, adductor longus/brevis, and gracilis muscles.

The Cause of Hip Flexor Injury

Tight hip flexors can be commonly seen in those who excessively and repetitively flex their hips, such as runners and soccer players. Hip flexor tightness can also cause weakness of the primary hip extensors since the gluteal muscles will be placed in a lengthened position resulting in minimized force contraction capabilities.

The Lower Crossed Syndrome (see below image) references the result of muscular imbalances of the lower trunk that influence shortening and lengthening of the abdominals, back muscles, posterior hip and anterior hip.

It is also commonly seen in individuals who sit for extended periods of time as well since it places the muscle in a shortened position leading to muscle contracture. The result is a hypertonic, short muscle that is susceptible to muscular strain and injury.

Lower Crossed Syndrome
Another issue that may arise from tight hip flexors is low back pain. Tight hip flexors result in an increased anterior pelvic tilt position, which increases the lordotic curve in the low back, and resulting in low back pain. An increased lordotic curve will also cause the curvature of the entire spine to increase as well leading to forward head posture and increase curvature in the mid back.

A combination of weak abdominals and tight hip flexors will also accentuate low back pain. Therefore a combination of stretching of the hip flexors and strengthening of your abdominals as well as core muscles are essential treatment options.

* It is important to note that anterior hip pain can be the cause of other problems resulting from joint, nervous system or internal organs. It is essential that one consult a medical doctor with pain that does not change, or go away. Proper diagnosis of injury allows for proper treatment.

How to Stretch a Hip Flexor

There are specific exercises that are used to effectively stretch and improve mobility of the hip flexor.

Please click here to view a video highlighting hip flexor tightness, testing and specific stretching.

+Bauer Physical Therapy  would like to thank +Peter Paik for the presenting this post and video on The Hip Flexor Pain and Cause of Injury with his overview on stretching the tight hip flexor.


+Lauren Bertolacci of laurensfitness.comhttp://www.laurensfitness.com/2013/04/01/8-best-hip-flexor-stretches/  )

+Jimson Lee of speedendurance.com
http://speedendurance.com/2011/02/02/hamstring-injuries-iliopsoas-imbalances/ )

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mindful Meditation Practice Benefits Body, Mind and Positive Emotions

Mindful Mediation Benefits for Body - Mind - Positive Emotion

The Benefits of meditation are becoming substantiated by numerous research studies supporting improvements of body, mind and positive emotion. There is a growing body of research that supports the use of mindfulness meditation improves mental function, activates parts of the brain responsible for regulating emotions and social connection

Physiological benefits of meditation include positive effects on the circulatory and neuromuscular systems. This can influence our blood pressure, reduce pain, and relieve tension in our internal organs and muscles.

This helps establish the benefits of a mind and body connection when practicing meditation in a mindful manner. Becoming mindful to your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and environment, and experiencing these in the present is the foundation of meditation applied in a mindfulness practice.


Clinical practitioners are integrating Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction(MBSR)in their clinical practice for pain control, relaxation, anxiety disorders, and to help with sleep disorders.

What is Mindfulness
The definition of mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of  MBSR.

"Paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment."

Despite the large body of research that supports meditation and mindfulness based stress reduction programs there continues to be a resistance to practice these techniques based on many preconceived notions.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Health Benefits a Meta-Analysis, Grossman, et al.(2003

These are but a few of these notions that connect meditation with myth, and give the name a bad rap.
  • It goes against my religious beliefs.
  • Chanting a mantra must be used.
  • It takes long hours to be performed correctly.
  • It is impossible to sit in a lotus position for a long time.

You do not need to be a Hippy to practice meditation to experience the benefits of health and positive emotions.

+Emma Seppala, PhD attributed to infograph 

The practice of mindfulness and meditation is just what it implies, practicing, however much time you have, a minute, a short break from your work tasks, or daily activity by:

  • Being present with nothing other than your breath. 
  • Giving attention to the moment you are in and doing so in a non-judgmental manner. 
  • Experiencing the possibilities within that breath, and the next breath... and what that reveals.

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen master and poet that was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize stated eloquently:

"Mindfulness is revealing and it is healing."

Please take the time to answer a few questions if they apply to You

  • How do You use Mindfulness and Meditation in Your Life?

  • Do You apply this in a clinical practice?