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TABLE OF CONTENTS

04 HOW LOW CAN YOU GOCONSIDERATIONS FOR LOW-CARBOHYDRATE DIETS


DEBRA WEIN, MS, RDN, LDN, NSCA-CPT,*D, AND ESTHER BUSTAMANTE, RD, NSCA-CPT

08 REPEATED SPRINT CAPABILITY IN SOCCER PLAYERS


GARY STEBBING, PGDIP, CSCS

12 TECHNOLOGY AND THE STRENGTH COACHA DISCUSSION OF PRACTICALITY,


AFFORDABILITY, AND EFFICACY
DAN GIULIANI, MS, CSCS

16 STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR TABLE TENNIS ATHLETES


DANNY LUM, CSCS

22 EARLY SPORT SPECIALIZATION VERSUS DIVERSIFICATION IN YOUTH ATHLETES


THOMAS CARUSO, CSCS, RSCC

26 HOW CONDITIONING TRAINING AFFECTS GAME DAY PERFORMANCE


CHRIS MCQUILKIN, MS, CSCS

30 REFRAMING INFLAMMATION IN THE TENDON REPAIR PROCESS


GABRIELLE SMITH, MA, AND BRIAN GEARITY, PHD, CSCS

34 START EARLYTHE KEY TO PREPARING ATHLETES FOR THE RIGORS OF HIGH SCHOOL
STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING
RICK HOWARD, MED, CSCS,*D, USAW

NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM 3


HOW LOW CAN YOU GOCONSIDERATIONS FOR LOW-CARBOHYDRATE DIETS

DEBRA WEIN, MS, RDN, LDN, NSCA-CPT,*D, AND ESTHER BUSTAMANTE, RD, NSCA-CPT

T
raditional diets tend to have carbohydrates comprise the 3. Higher carbohydrate recommendations ensure sufficient
majority of the kilocalories of overall intake. This is due to energy to power through training and games/races and
the fact that glucose has long been known to be the bodys for recovery.
preferential source of energy, especially in brain function and 4. Moderate protein and fat for building and maintaining muscle
during high-intensity exercise (2,4,7). However, recent research mass and energy stores.
has developed new ways of approaching macronutrient ratios
that challenge this conventional way of thinking. This article aims CONS
to take a look at what is usually recommended for athletes, as 1. Macronutrient ratios may be inappropriate for weight or body
well as different lower carbohydrate variations. This way strength composition changes for athletes in weight-dependent sports.
and conditioning coaches and athletes can better determine
which approach is best for them to reach their specific goals. LOW CARB
Furthermore, working directly with a Registered Dietitian may be The Paleo Diet is notorious for cutting out grains, dairy, and
the best way to approach any dietary plans. legumes while emphasizing animal-based protein. This is just one
of many low-carb diet options but it will be used as an example
MACRO GUIDELINES FOR GENERAL for the purposes of this article. This low-carbohydrate diet involves
POPULATION/HEALTH slightly higher protein and fat than is generally recommended for
The health and wellness of the general population can be achieved athletes with ratios of about 23% carbohydrates, 38% protein, and
by following the dietary guidelines set forth by the United States 39% fat (5). The Paleo for Athletes version of the diet provides
Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Institute of Medicine. The exceptions, such as higher carbohydrate intake of up to 40%
goal of these guidelines is to promote overall health and stave and an emphasis on timing of carbohydrate intake for training,
off chronic diseases (i.e., diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular competition, and recovery (5). The diet touts improved physical
disease, etc.). These guidelines recommend that at least half of the performance and body composition with increased energy levels.
carbohydrates consumed should be from complex, whole grains Although no research had been conducted specifically on athletes,
(12). They also advise a diet laden with fruits and vegetables. there have been positive changes for subjects who are afflicted
The protein sources should be lean and fat sources should be with metabolic syndrome (3).
unsaturated fats predominately. The guidelines indicate that these
macronutrients should be consumed in the ratio of 45 65% PROS
carbohydrates, 10 35% protein, and 20 35% fat (12). 1. Cuts out processed foods, refined sugars, and grains; it also
encourages fruits and vegetables.
GUIDELINES FOR ATHLETES 2. Recognizes carbohydrates as a source of energy during
Because athletes are not the general population, different training and events.
recommendations have been made for them. The Academy of
Nutrition and Dietetics and the International Society of Sports CONS
Nutrition have recommended carbohydrate intake at 5 10 g/kg 1. Cuts out entire food groups, grains, and dairy. Without
of bodyweight for athletes in general, protein intake of 1.2 1.4 supplementation, diet can be low in fiber and calciumwhich
g/kg of bodyweight for endurance athletes, and 1.2 1.7 g/kg of are needed for muscle and nerve contraction as well as bone
bodyweight for strength athletes (8,11). However, athletes involved health.
in high-intensity training can consume protein amounts up to
2. Encourages animal protein, which can be high in saturated fat
2.0 g/kg of bodyweight (8). Fat intake is consistent with USDA
and may lead to elevated cholesterol levels.
recommendations at 20 35% of total kcals (8,11). Due to the
potential risk of an unbalanced diet resulting in nutrient 3. It can be expensive to maintain because it consists of grass-
deficiency, general health concerns, and performance issues, fed meats, fish or seafood, organic coconut oil, and grass-fed
high fat diets are not generally recommended for athletes (11). butter.
These recommendations may need to be adjusted based on 4. Currently, there is not much research available on athletes
individual goals, bodyweight, total kcals needed, and training using the diet.
volume and intensity.
VERY LOW CARB
PROS Ketogenic diets restrict carbohydrates anywhere from less than
1. Appropriate and easily adaptable for everyone from physically 30 g to 130 g per day, or less than 10% total kcals. These diets
active general populations to elite athletes. include moderate amounts of protein with the remainder of total
2. Balanced ratios, similar to USDA guidelines, promote healthy kcals in fat to place the body in a state of ketosishigh levels
athletes with no risk of nutrient deficiencies. of ketone bodies in the blood from increased fat oxidation (1).
The premise of the ketogenic diet is to train the body to tap into
stored fat and run on ketones instead of glucose for any activity,

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from daily living to intense endurance exercise. There is a finite type diet on characteristics of the metabolic syndrome: A
amount of glucose stored in the body as glycogen, and when it randomized controlled pilot-study. Lipids in Health and Disease; 13:
eventually runs out, the athlete will hit a wall in terms of energy. 160, 2014.
There is much more potential energy from stored fat than stored 4. Burke, LM, Hawley, JA, Wong, SHS, and Jeukendrup, AE.
glycogen that can be used when the triglycerides are oxidized Carbohydrates for training and competition. Journal of Sports
to form ketone bodies. Researchers have noted improvements Sciences 29(suppl 1): 17-27, 2011.
in bodyweight, body composition, energy, and endurance after
adaptation to running while using ketones; however, if intensity of 5. Cordain, L, and Friel, J. The Paleo Diet for Athletes: The
training were to increase, the ketone bodies may not be able to Ancient Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance. New
properly fuel the activity (9,14). York, NY: Rodale; 2012.
6. Holloway, CJ,Cochlin, LE,Emmanuel, Y,Murray, A,Codreanu,
PROS I, Edwards, LM, et al. A high-fat diet impairs cardiac high-energy
1. Effective in weight loss for overweight or obese populations phosphate metabolism and cognitive function in healthy human
and improvement of metabolic syndrome symptoms. subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 93(4): 748-755,
2. Improvement in body composition and weight can positively 2011.
impact athletic performance (10). 7. Kenney, WL, Wilmore, J, and Costill, D. Physiology of Sport
3. Can be beneficial in endurance athletes and those performing and Exercise. (6th ed.) Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 51-71, 2015.
at submaximal levels; however, no evidence for intermittent 8. Kreider, RB, Wilborn, CD, Taylor, L, Campbell, C, Almada, AL,
sport athletes or high-intensity exercise. Collins, R, et al. ISSN exercise and sport nutrition review: Research
4. Adaptation can take as little as two weeks (13). and recommendations. Journal of the International Society of
Sports Nutrition 7:7, 2010.

CONS 9. Maughan, RJ, and Shirreffs, SM. Nutrition for sports


1. Adaptation can take as long as a few months (13). performance: Issues and opportunities. Proceedings of the
Nutrition Society 71(1): 112-119, 2012.
2. During adaptation, performance may suffer (9).
10. Rhyu, H, and Cho, SU. The effect of weight loss by ketogenic
3. Not practical for high-intensity sports or exercise; those bouts diet on the body composition, performance-related physical
require glycogen (9,14). fitness factors and cytokines of Taekwondo athletes. Journal of
4. The body synthesizes adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from Exercise Rehabilitation 10(5): 2014.
glycogen at a faster rate than from ketone bodies. 11. Rodriguez, NR, DiMarco, NM, and Langley, S. Position of
5. High-fat diets can impair cardiac and cognitive function (6). the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and
the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and athletic
6. Unfavorable lipid levels and diseases associated with them
performance. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109(3):
can be a concern.
509-527, 2009.
CONCLUSION 12. United States Department of Agriculture and United States
All of these diets have positives and negatives associated with Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for
them. Because each individual is unique in their needs and Americans (7th ed.) Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
metabolism, eating plans should be adjusted to fit their specific Office; 2010.
needs. Important items to consider are the athletes goals, training 13. Volek, JS, and Phinney, SD. The Art and Science of Low
volume, and intensity. The best macronutrient distribution ratios Carbohydrate Performance. Miami, FL: Beyond Obesity, LLC; 2012.
are the ones that can be sustained without hindering performance.
14. Zajac, A, Poprzecki, S, Maszczyk, A, Czuba, M, Michalczyk,
M, and Zydek, G. The effects of a ketogenic diet on exercise
REFERENCES metabolism and physical performance in off-road cyclists.
1. Accurso, A, Bernstein, RK, Dahlqvist, A, Draznin, B, Feinman, Nutrients 6(7): 2493-2508, 2014.
RD, Fine, EJ, et al. Dietary carbohydrate restriction in type 2
diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome: Time for a critical
appraisal. Nutrition and Metabolism 5: 9, 2008.
2. Berg, JM, Tymoczko, JL, and Stryer, L. Each organ has a
unique metabolic profile. In: Biochemistry. (5th ed.) New York: WH
Freeman; 2002.
3. Boers, I. et al. Favourable effects of consuming a Palaeolithic-

NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM 5


HOW LOW CAN YOU GOCONSIDERATIONS FOR LOW-CARBOHYDRATE DIETS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Debra Wein is a nationally recognized expert on health and Esther Bustamante is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and National
wellness. She has nearly 20 years of experience working in the Strength and Conditioning Association-Certified Personal
health and wellness industry and has designed award-winning Trainer (NSCA-CPT). She has nearly seven years of experience
programs for both individuals and corporations across the in the health and wellness field with a background in fitness
country. She is President and founder of Wellness Workdays, and sports medicine. She completed her dietetic internship with
(www.wellnessworkdays.com) a leading provider of worksite a focus on worksite wellness through Wellness Workdays.
wellness programs. Wein is also the Program Director of the
Wellness Workdays Dietetic Internship, the only worksite wellness-
focused internship for dietetics students interested in becoming
Registered Dietitians that is approved by the Accreditation
Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

TABLE 1. CARBOHYDRATE, PROTEIN, AND FAT RATIOS


DIET/ FUELING PLAN CARBOHYDRATES PROTEIN FAT
United States Department
46 65% of total kcals 10 35% of total kcals 20 35% of total kcals
of Agriculture (12)
Academy of Nutrition
6 10 g/kg bodyweight 1.2 1.7 g/kg bodyweight 20 35% of total kcals
and Dietetics (11)
International Society
5 10 g/kg bodyweight 1.4 2.0 g/kg bodyweight ~30% of total kcals
of Sports Nutrition (8)
23% of total kcals; athletes
Paleo Diet (5) 38% of total kcals 39% of total kcals
can increase up to 40%
< 30 g/day or < 10%
Ketogenic Diet (1) Moderate High
of total kcals

6 NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM


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REPEATED SPRINT CAPABILITY IN SOCCER PLAYERS

GARY STEBBING, PGDIP, CSCS

S
occer requires a blend of extraordinarily diverse athletic the 10,000 11,000 m range (about 10,900 12,000 yards) (11).
capabilities ranging from aerobic endurance to explosive In addition, VO2max testing indicates that most players measure
power and repeated sprint ability. These athletic abilities in the 55 65 ml/kg/min range (11). Although analysis of elite-
must be combined with technical proficiency, tactical awareness, level soccer players has measured a range of important factors
psychological robustness, and fatigue resistance in order to attain in soccer performance, the overall impact of specific high-
high levels of success. Adequate and appropriate development intensity movements, particularly the constant deceleration and
of these abilities are challenging alone, but also may require a acceleration, requires a better understanding still (18).
strength and conditioning coach capable of addressing these
facets within specific periods of the competitive cycle (16). This Even though metabolic analysis suggests a high reliance
article will examine the physical demands of soccer players and on aerobic metabolism, critical game moments are often
discuss why repeated sprint ability (RSA) is considered highly characterized by explosive activities, including sprinting,
important in the performance of these athletes. acceleration, deceleration, change of direction, turning,
and jumping (12). In addition, speed and power are critical
PHYSIOLOGICAL DEMANDS OF SOCCER performance factors. Although high-intensity efforts represent
Quantifying key performance variables is comparatively only around 10% of the distance covered, these efforts are often
straightforward in sports such as track and field or cycling. key in the decisive moments (10). As a result, intermittent high-
However, in soccer a complex array of performance elements intensity endurance and, in particular, RSA are considered of high
interact on individual and team levels (8). Soccer demands have importance in competitive soccer (5).
been assessed by monitoring player work rates and physiological
responses. The resultant statistical data is consistently used to DEVELOPING REPEATED SPRINT CAPABILITY
guide training prescription; however, the potential variability Repeated sprint exercise (RSE) is characterized by short, maximal-
that exists in data collection should warn practitioners about the intensity efforts interspersed with periods of incomplete recovery,
reliability of single observations and the small sample sizes that and has been described as sprints of 10 s or less with recovery
are commonly found (8). bouts of 60 s or less (1). Decreases in running speed over repeated
efforts are normally used to assess repeated sprint performance
Evidence indicates overall intensity across a 90-min match for of this kind. Effective performance of repeated sprints requires an
elite-level soccer players is close to lactate threshold or around individual to quickly generate explosive power and then to sustain
80 90% maximum heart rate with total distances covered in this over several efforts (1). Repeated power output of the lower

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limbs is also associated with sprint performance in soccer (15). Specific training without a ball reflects specific
Most protocols currently used to train RSA use predetermined characteristics of the game such as work-to-rest
sprint durations, repetitions, and recovery periods, which are interval patterns but does not include a ball.
not sensitive to the individual or position of the player (15). Specific training with a ball reflects the demands of the
Furthermore, many of these RSA protocols lack support in the game and includes a ball in all sessions.
research literature (2).
Combination training includes elements of specific work
Alternative approaches using sprint training with complete with and without the ball, combining both aspects of
recovery between efforts may also develop RSA. In consideration specific training.
of the change of direction demands of soccer, developing Repeated sprint work with turns and small-sided games are
combined sprint and agility training may also prove effective (3). common approaches currently used to address aerobic and
Resistance training has demonstrated effectiveness in improving anaerobic performance as well as recovery ability (6). Though
single sprint performance and early evidence suggests training small-sided games can be manipulated and organized to provide
with a high metabolic training rather than maximal strength an excellent conditioning environment, the need for specific
training may also positively affect RSA (2). interventions to target key abilities is still highly important in
developing the soccer player (18). There is a need for conditioning
High-velocity (i.e., explosive) strength training is commonly used coaches to develop modified drills involving game-like simulations
to improve the neuromuscular qualities associated with athletic specific to each player that target the relevant physical abilities
performance, and both explosive exercise and RSE training can needed. These drills will involve combinations of speed work, ball
enhance RSA (3,4). Production of power and explosive ability work, technical demands, and varying intensities and recovery
is dependent on a variety of structural, neural, and coordinative bouts in line with the positional demands and development
factors. Consequently, training using the application of ballistic objectives of each player (17). Match-based work-to-rest ratios,
resistance training, plyometrics, and weightlifting should all be which are influenced by level of competition and playing position,
considered in overall programing (20). Additionally, improved should also be considered (20).
aerobic endurance and greater VO2max may also improve RSA
(7,14). This may be related to its influence on recovery between It is important to develop a long-term approach for soccer RSA
efforts in combination with enhanced lipid utilization, which can that is managed within the overall player development program
delay the onset of fatigue (7,9). Therefore, the benefits of training and considers the competitive schedule of the team and individual
to improve aerobic endurance should not be overlooked. (2). Across most levels of the game, the training year can be
divided into off-season, pre-season, and in-season periods, with
Based on the practice methods of elite sprint coaches, an interest the competitive period between 9 and 11 months in duration. This
in submaximal sprint efforts has been explored as a possible is dependent on the level of the player and the overall success of
option for improving RSA. Initial findings using 90% of maximum the team, which may extend the season via cup competitions or
intensity still support the need for maximal efforts to improve playoff scenarios.
RSA; however, this approach warrants further exploration (9).
Small-sided games (i.e., competitive, focused races/contests A periodized plan that includes each approach individually
that replicate the demands of the sport, but are scaled down for across training blocks or multiple approaches in single blocks
training purposes) may be effective in developing some aspects of are two potentially viable options for strength and conditioning
soccer conditioning, and it may be interesting to explore how this coaches. RSA appears difficult to develop when applied
setting can be manipulated to include a specific RSA component. concurrently in-season on top of the other training modes
required of a soccer player.
In collision sports such as rugby league, repeated sprint and effort
ability have been identified as two distinct qualities; this may SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
also be true to soccer, even though it may be to a lesser degree In an analysis of soccer performance, it can be very difficult
because of the lower instances of collisions (13). Repeated sprint to differentiate the various physical factors due to significant
efforts may involve jumps, changes of direction, collisions, coming crossover and inter-reactions between abilities. Combined with
up from the ground to sprint, and sprinting to tackle and then the unpredictability of the game, its competitive schedule, and the
sprinting again. Implementing specifically designed RSE drills that prevalence of injury, strength and conditioning for soccer creates
integrate these factors may prove beneficial for soccer players. unique program design challenges for coaches.

PRACTICAL PROGRAM DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS Current understanding of the various interactions between
Approaches to conditioning training for soccer can be broadly metabolic, neural, and mechanical factors involved in RSA
categorized as follows: makes specific training guidelines elusive. However, general
General training is characterized by work of varying types recommendations include:
and intensities without a ball.

NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM 9


REPEATED SPRINT CAPABILITY IN SOCCER PLAYERS

6. Dellal, A, Chamari, K, Wong, DP, Ahmaidi, S, Keller, D, and


Training to improve maximal sprint speed (i.e., specific sprint Barros, RML. Comparison of physical and technical performance
drills or resistance training approaches). in European soccer match-play: FA Premier League and La Liga.
European Journal of Sport Science 11(1): 51-59, 2011.
Inclusion of high-intensity interval running sessions with
shorter recovery periods. 7. Gharbi, Z, Dardouri, W, Haj-Sassi, R, Chamari, K, and Souissi,
N. Aerobic and Anaerobic determinants of repeated sprint ability
Inclusion of traditional RSA training with repeated maximal
in team sport athletes. Biology of Sport 32(3): 207-212, 2015.
sprint efforts and limited recovery.
8. Gregson, W, Drust, B, Atkinson, G, and Salvo, VD. Match to
Training for high-velocity (i.e., explosiveness) where
match variability of high speed activities in Premier League Soccer.
appropriate; ballistic resistance work, plyometrics, and
International Journal of Sports Medicine 31(4): 237-242, 2010.
weightlifting drills could also be implemented.
9. Haugen, T, Tonnessen, E, Leirstein, S, Hem, E, and Seiler, S. Not
Using small-sided games of varying configurations (e.g., 1
quite so fast: Effect of training at 90% sprint speed on maximal
versus 1 and 2 versus 2).
and repeated-sprint ability in soccer players. Journal of Sport
Ensuring that aerobic conditioning is well trained. Sciences 32(20): 1979-1986, 2014.
It is important to remember that in game situations, RSE are often 10. Haugen, TA, Tonnessen, E, and Seiler, S. Anaerobic
combined with an array of technical and decision-making skills. In performance testing of professional soccer players 1995-2010.
addition, the impact of fatigue on tackling, jumping, ball contact, International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 8(2):
dribbling, and ball striking need to be understood better (18). 148-156, 2013.
Backward and lateral movements, often omitted from training
11. Hoff, J. Training and testing physical capacities for elite soccer
programs, are important in defensive situations and should be
players. Journal of Sport Sciences 23(6): 573-582, 2005.
prioritized for relevant players (19).
12. Hoff, J, and Helgerud, J. Endurance and strength training for
Use of small-sided games in differing sized areas with varying soccer players Physiological considerations. Sports Medicine
participants (i.e., 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, up to 5v5) provides an opportunity 34(3): 165-180, 2004.
to target a conditioning adaptation while providing some degree 13. Johnston, RD, and Gabett, T. Repeated sprint and effort ability
of sport specificity. Guidelines for appropriate volume and in rugby league players. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning
duration of both RSA and small-sided games sessions need to be Research 25(10): 2789-2795, 2011.
carefully planned and managed.
14. Le Rossignol, P, Gabbett, TJ, Comerford, D, and Stanton, WR.
REFERENCES Repeated sprint ability and team selection in Australian Football
1. Bishop, D, and Giroud, O. Repeated sprint ability. In: Cardinale, League players. International Journal of Sports Physiology and
M, Newton, R, and Nosaka, K (Eds). Strength and Conditioning Performance 9(1): 161-165, 2014.
Biological Principles and Practical Applications. Chichester UK: 15. Lpez-Segovia, M, Dellal, A, Chamari, K, and Gonzlez-Badillo,
Wiley-Blackwell; 223-241, 2011. JJ. Importance of muscle power variables in repeated and single
2. Bishop, D, Giraud, O, and Mendez-Villanueva, A. Repeated sprint performance in soccer. Journal of Human Kinetics 40, 201-
sprint ability Part II: Recommendations for training. Sports 211, 2014.
Medicine 41(9): 741-756, 2011. 16. McGawley, K, and Anderson, PI. The order of concurrent
3. Buchheit, M, Bishop, D, Haydar, B, Nakamura, FY, and Ahmaidi, training does not affect soccer related performance adaptations.
S. Physiological responses to shuttle repeated sprint running. International Journal of Sports Medicine 34(11): 983-990, 2013.
International Journal of Sports Medicine 31(6): 402-409, 2010. 17. Mohr, M, and Marcello Iaia, F. Physiological basis of fatigue
4. Buchheit, M, Mendez-Villaneuva, A, Delhommel, G, Brughelli, resistance training in competitive football. Gatorade Sports Science
M, and Ahmaidi, S. Improving repeated sprint ability in young elite Exchange 27(126): 1-9, 2014.
soccer players: Repeated shuttle sprints vs explosive training. The 18. Osgnach, C, Poser, S, Bernardini, R, and di Prampero. Energy
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 42(10): 2715-2722, cost and metabolic power in elite soccer: A new match analysis
2010. approach. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 42(1): 170-
5. Chaouachi, A, Manzi, V, Wong, DP, Chaalali, A, Laurencelle, L, 178, 2010.
Chamari, K, and Castagna, C. Intermittent endurance and repeated 19. Reilly, T. An ergonomics model of the soccer training process.
sprint ability in soccer players. The Journal of Strength and Journal of Sport Sciences 23(6): 561-572, 2005.
Conditioning Research 24(10): 2663-2668, 2010.
20. Turner, AN, and Stewart, PF. Strength and conditioning for
soccer players. Strength and Conditioning Journal 36(4): 1-13, 2014.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Gary Stebbing studied sport and exercise science as an
undergraduate and sport and performance psychology at the
postgraduate level (PGDip). He has been certified as a Certified
Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National
Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for 13 years. He
trains clients for challenging objectives such as ultra-endurance
and multi-day events. Since 1995, Stebbing has been a trainer
and freelance performance and conditioning coach, including
practicing, writing, and lecturing on coaching psychology, training,
and conditioning for sport in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Prior to this, he was a professional soccer player, spending 11 years
in English leagues and captaining England at the U18 and U19 levels.

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TECHNOLOGY AND THE STRENGTH COACHA DISCUSSION OF PRACTICALITY,
AFFORDABILITY, AND EFFICACY
DAN GIULIANI, MS, CSCS

THE 21ST-CENTURY WEIGHT ROOM NAVIGATING THE TECH FLOOD: IS MORE

I
n todays world, technology has made its way into the realm REALLY MORE?
of strength and conditioning. This means that the low-tech Most new technologies promise similar advances like more data,
tools upon which the industry reliesbarbells, dumbbells, and more tracking, more analytics, and more insights. They also seem
medicine ballsmeet high-tech solutions for data measurement, to preserve a strength coachs most precious resource, which is
performance analysis, and training prescription. Coaches and time. Strength coaches are notorious for working slavishly long
athletes have access to thousands of fitness apps, wearable tech hours with modest compensation and having to sacrifice family
devices, and online tools. These new tools have been coined time, social time, and alone time for the good of their athletes.
fitness technology and they represent the intersection between But, do these new technologies actually save time?
old and new. For the strength and conditioning coach, this
intersection can be a potentially uncomfortable crossroads: either Each new app or program demands a time investment to learn its
evolve with the changing landscape of technology, or be deemed functionalities, implement training schedules, and keep all data
a dinosaur and disregarded as out of touch with todays athlete. inputs up-to-date. Each new device requires time devoted to
learning how to calibrate, operate, and maintain it. This presents
There are several clear advantages to embracing and using this a catch-22 scenario as it may end up costing more time than it
technology for a strength and conditioning coach. Strength and saves. This is not to say that strength and conditioning coaches
conditioning coaches can use technology to further engage should eschew all technological advances, but rather, they should
athletes in and out of the weight room. On average, people from be judicious in considering the cost in terms of time.
the Millennial Generation check their phone around 43 times per
daythis equates to about once every 20 min during a 16-hour THE LEBRON JAMES FACTOR AND THE MAJORITY
day (1). Strength and conditioning coaches can use the immediacy Many professional teams and major Division I programs are
of information gleaned from new technologies to make decisions tackling this issue of data inundation by hiring a sport scientist,
about training and recovery. Additionally, technology can extend or a team of sport scientists, and borrowing from the high-
the reach of a strength and conditioning coach beyond athletes performance model promoted in Australia and Europe (2). The
at one specific facility or school, thus enabling expertise and small percentage of strength and conditioning coaches fortunate
guidance to reach athletes around the world. enough to operate with abundant budgets are able to invest in the
most cutting-edge and expensive technologies. While this may
help with training elite teams, some technologies are not practical

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for the majority of strength and conditioning coaches that are are offered for consideration when narrowing down the myriad of
working with much smaller budgets and fewer resources. technology choices:

Immediate metrics on athlete performance, from heart rate 1. Price


recovery data to measurements tracked with Global Positioning When factoring for price, use that same analogy of the kid
System (GPS), provide a discerning strength and conditioning in the candy store. Ultimately, the limiting factor in choosing
coach with a wealth of data that can be used to improve their what to purchase is the finite monetary resources available. For
programming. Common measures that can be easily assessed instance, it is cut-and-dry that the kid is unable to buy a two-
include skin temperature, the velocity of a barbell during a dollar candy bar with only one dollar. However, for the strength
snatch, and fluctuations in heart rate and response time that can and conditioning coach, budgetary concerns are usually more
indicate central nervous system fatigue (3). For example, with convolutedpartly because there are more stakeholders in an
the right tools, strength and conditioning coaches can analyze athletic department. Part of this decision is to decide what to
discrepancies in a football centers lateral movements, break prioritize (e.g., all or many athletes, the best athletes, or the
down the physiological cost of deceleration for a basketball highest profile teams in the department). Between strength
player, and leverage technology that uses gyroscopes, and conditioning coaches, athletic directors, sport coaches,
accelerometers, and magnetometers to better prepare their athletic trainers, and other personnel with vested interest in
athletes for competition (4). the program, there is room for disagreement and debate
about how to best use the departments finite budget. So,
There is no denying that technology can do a lot for strength although price forms the bottom line of what technology can
and conditioning coaches. However, just because a new, shiny, ultimately be invested in, the decision should not be made in
and expensive technological toy comes out, does not mean it a vacuum. It is recommended that strength and conditioning
is the right fit for all strength and conditioning coaches. One of coaches consult with the key stakeholders to figure out which
the biggest mistakes often seen with strength and conditioning technologies will give the best return for the investment, given
coaches is trying to do what high-profile coaches and teams are the priorities at hand.
doing. For example, just because the Miami Dolphins National
Football League (NFL) team is using the latest and greatest 2. Practicality
technological innovations to train and measure their football
athletes does not make the same technology applicable, practical, Practicality harkens back to the LeBron James factor. The
or affordable for high school or college programs. This has been coolest, most expensive new tech gadget on the market may
termed the LeBron James factor by some sport professionals. be absolutely useless to a specific strength and conditioning
For example, a 15-year-old basketball player cannot be expected program. When deciding how to use these resources, it is
to be successful from emulating the same training program that important to always return to the question of practicality: can it
LeBron James uses. be implemented in the program, in the weight room, and with
all or most of the athletes? For some strength and conditioning
For the majority of strength and conditioning coaches who do coaches, a single piece of equipment that can only be used by
not have a large budget at their disposal, selecting the right one athlete at a time will make sense for their programs. For
technologies to utilize with their athletes is even more important. others, technology that can be used simultaneously by many
They must be able to discern what technology to embrace, what athletes will be a more practical investment. It is paramount
to disregard, and what is worth the financial commitment. When it to consider all of the factors that the environment presents
comes to technology, it is all about the bottom line: how to get the (e.g., what size is the weight room? Will the technology be
most bang for your buck. One way to think of it is that it is like a used indoors or outdoors? Is the facility secure enough to store
kid in a candy store with one dollar. The kid must decide what will expensive tech equipment safely? What are the ages of the
give them the most enjoyment from the finite amount of money. athletes? Are they mature enough to care for new technology?
For todays strength and conditioning coaches, the premise is the Are all the athletes coached at once, or in small groups? Will the
same. They must decide between purchasing one piece of high- athletes buy into new technology?). Answering these questions
tech equipment that only a few athletes can utilize at once, or can give a strength and conditioning coach a good sense of
selecting something that is scalable to the whole team. what direction to go with purchasing new technology.

TECH ETHICS FOR THE STRENGTH AND 3. Credibility


CONDITIONING COACH After price and practicality, the most importantand arguably,
Working with a fixed budget places a lot of responsibility on a the most overlookedfactor in the decision to invest in new
strength and conditioning coachs shoulders to find tech options technology is its credibility. One way to think of credibility is
that are directly applicable to the preparation and performance of to look at it as if considering the purchase of a specific book
their athletes, practical for day-to-day implementation, and within on training methods. One very important concern would be
the limitations of their budget. The following three factors to consider who wrote the book. Also, it is useful to know
about the authors qualifications, background, certifications,

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TECHNOLOGY AND THE STRENGTH COACHA DISCUSSION OF PRACTICALITY,
AFFORDABILITY, AND EFFICACY

coaching experience, and reputation within the industry. All


of these answers would factor into a book purchase decision
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
and the subsequent implementation of its information, and the
Dan Giuliani is an Adjunct Professor of Sport Performance at
same should go for investing in new technology. With such an
the University of Washington and is the co-founder of Volt
important decision, the strength and conditioning coach should
Athletics. He has coached athletes at the high school and
only invest in technologies created by those who understand
college levels since 2006 and is a renowned speaker in the
the industry and are dedicated to its growth.
sport performance field. Giuliani has a Masters degree in
Sport Administration and Leadership from Seattle University
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STRENGTH COACH and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colby College.
When choosing whether to purchase new technological advances,
strength and conditioning coaches should be discriminating and
discerning in order to maximize the training of their athletes. It is
important to not be led astray by the lucrative, shiny, and well-
advertised new technologies, and instead rely on good decision
making. Three factors that strength and conditioning coaches
could consider are price, practicality, and credibility. The job of the
strength and conditioning coach has, and always will be, to train
athletes in the most effective and ethical way. The strength and
conditioning coach should make informed and deliberate decisions
of when new technology will, or will not, aid them in performing to
their best abilities.

REFERENCES
1. Maurides, Z. How technology is changing the way athletic
departments communicate. Pivot. 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2015
from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-technology-changing-
way-athletic-departments-zachary-maurides.
2. Konrad, A. The Australian tech thats improving the worlds
best athletes. Forbes Tech. 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2015
from http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2013/05/08/aussie-
tech-catapult-gps/.
3. Poliquin Group. Monitoring central nervous system recovery.
2012. Poliquin Group. Retrieved September 12, 2015 from http://
www.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/825/
Monitoring_Central_Nervous_System_Recovery.aspx.
4. Steinbach, P. Tracking technology revolutionizes athlete
training. Athletic Business. 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2015 from
http://www.athleticbusiness.com/equipment/tracking-technology-
revolutionizes-athlete-training.html.

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STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR TABLE TENNIS ATHLETES

DANNY LUM, CSCS

T
able tennis, or ping pong, is a fast-paced racket sport that it is generally considered the most effective. When performing this
requires an athlete to perform intermittent high-intensity technique, the table tennis athlete typically pushes off the ground
movements throughout a game. To win each set, the athlete in the forward or lateral direction with the lower limb on the same
is required to score 11 points, and each game is won when the side as the hand holding the paddle or racket. Subsequently, the
athlete successfully wins three out of five sets. The sport has athlete will simultaneously rotate the trunk, horizontally flex and
been played in the Summer Olympic Games since 1988. Published internally rotate the shoulder joint, and flex the elbow to swing the
works on table tennis have mainly touched on the biomechanics paddle towards the approaching ball. It is important for offensive
and physiology of the sport, yet little is known about strength and athletes to be able to generate high paddle velocity when
conditioning for this sport. The aim of this article is to provide performing the forehand loop technique as it will lead to a higher
a brief overview of the physical demands of the sport, and to ball speed and spin (5). Electromyography data have shown that
provide recommendations on specific strength and conditioning the major contributors to paddle speed during ball impact include
exercises based on the biomechanical and physiological demands speed of trunk rotation, shoulder flexion, and shoulder internal
of the forehand loop technique utilized in table tennis. rotation (3). Another study reported that the elbow and wrist
joints also contribute significantly to the energy transfer from the
PHYSICAL DEMANDS shoulder to the paddle (4). The summation of forces produced by
In a sample of regional and national-level table tennis athletes, the activated muscles allows the table tennis athlete to produce
researchers reported that the average total play time per table high ball speed; therefore, it is important for table tennis athletes
tennis game is 970 s (16.2 min), with an average real playing to strengthen these areas.
time of 244.7 s (4.1 min), and an average rally duration of 3.4 s
(10). During this playing time, the athlete will perform a number Contribution to the ball speed during the forehand loop technique
of rapid movements and changes of directions in order to return is not limited to the upper body. The initial force development
the ball to the opponent. It was also reported that athletes could during a forehand loop technique is produced by the lower body
perform about 35 shots per min (10). With the ball traveling at and then transferred through the body to the paddle, or bat (9,11).
such high speed, successful table tennis athletes are required to Studies have shown that a high amount of ground reaction force is
possess high levels of anaerobic power and agility in order to produced when athletes hit the ball (9,11). This supports the need
move rapidly and successfully return a shot multiple times. for table tennis athletes to possess high levels of muscular power
in the lower body. Furthermore, the constant need to accelerate,
Among all the attacking techniques in table tennis, one of the decelerate, and reaccelerate multiple times throughout the
most prevalent attacking techniques is the forehand loop because game requires table tennis athletes to develop multiple strength
components for the lower body (8).
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TRAINING PROGRAM 2. Cormie, P, McGuigan, MR, and Newton, RU. Developing


Table tennis is a fast-paced sport that requires speed and agility. maximal neuromuscular power part 2 Training considerations
Therefore, when prescribing a strength and conditioning program for improving maximal power production. Sports Medicine 41(2):
for table tennis athletes, strength and conditioning coaches should 125-146, 2011.
focus on improving the ability of the nervous system to activate 3. Iino, Y, and Kojima, T. Kinematics of table tennis topspin
the stretch shortening cycle of the muscles, rather than inducing forehands: Effects of performance level and ball spin. Journal of
muscle hypertrophy which might slow down the athlete or not Sports Sciences 27(12): 1311-1321, 2009.
induce high-velocity adaptations. Therefore, it is recommended
4. Iino, Y, and Kojima, T. Kinetics of the upper limb during table
that strength and conditioning coaches avoid having these
tennis topspin forehands in advanced and intermediate players.
athletes train until momentary muscular failure, as such training
Sports Biomechanics 10(4): 361-377, 2011.
methods are more likely to induce muscle hypertrophy (6,7).
5. Neal, RJ. The mechanics of the forehand loop and smash
Power is the product of force and velocity. Thus, to increase shots in table tennis. The Australian Journal of Science and
muscular power, it is advisable to improve both the force and Medicine in Sport 23(1): 3-11, 1991.
velocity components. It has been shown that training with loads 6. Ogborn, D, and Schoenfeld, B. The role of fiber types in
greater than 80% of one-repetition maximum (1RM) is effective in muscle hypertrophy: Implications for loading strategies. Strength
improving muscular force development, and low-load explosive and Conditioning Journal 36(2): 20-25, 2014.
exercises are effective in improving the velocity component (1).
Furthermore, the magnitude of improvement in maximal power 7. Schoenfeld, B. The use of specialized training techniques to
may be influenced by the movements associated with the selected maximize muscle hypertrophy. Strength and Conditioning Journal
exercises (2). Therefore, strength and conditioning exercises 33(4): 60-65, 2011.
should mirror the movements that are specific to the sport to help 8. Spiteri, T, Nimphius, S, Hart, NH, Specos, C, Sheppard, JM, and
improve the coordination of the involved muscles and joints while Newton, RU. Contribution of strength characteristics to change of
training for maximal power. Strength and conditioning coaches are direction and agility performance in female basketball athletes.
encouraged to take these factors into consideration when planning The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 28(9): 2415-
training program for their athletes. 2423, 2014.
9. Xiao, DD, Su, P, and Tang, JJ. The study of the GRF in table
Table 1 shows a sample strength and conditioning program for
tennis forehand loop technology. Journal of Tianjin University of
table tennis athletes. The program is comprised of exercises
Sport 1: 57-59, 2008.
that train the muscles of the upper and lower body, trunk, and
shoulders, which all contribute to table tennis performance. These 10. Zagatto, AM, Morel, EA, and Gobatto, CA. Physiological
exercises also aim to improve multiple strength components and responses and characteristics of table tennis matches determined
change of direction ability. in official tournaments. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Research 24(4): 942-949, 2010.
INJURY PREVENTION 11. Zhang, XD, Zhu, ZQ, Li, WZ, Xiao, DD, and Zhang, YQ. GRF
Trunk rotations and shoulder movements are executed numerous of table tennis players when using forehand attack and loop
times during skills training sessions and competitions. High drive technique. International Journal of Table Tennis Science 8:
repetitive movement about the joints might increase the risk of 15-19, 2013.
overuse injuries. Therefore, it is recommended that strength and
conditioning coaches include exercises for injury prevention. Table
2 provides a list of exercises that may aid in preventing shoulder ABOUT THE AUTHOR
and lower back injuries. Danny Lum is a strength and conditioning coach at the Singapore
Sports Institute. He graduated from the University of Western
CONCLUSION Australia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Health
Table tennis is a fast-paced sport that requires athletes to possess with honors, and is completing his Masters degree in Sports
the agility to change direction rapidly and multiple times. It also Science at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is
requires athletes to possess the ability to produce high ball speed also certified as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
by transferring energy from the lower body, trunk, and upper (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning
body to the paddle. This proposed training program may aid in Association (NSCA). His current position involves planning and
improving a table tennis athletes performance while reducing the implementing training programs for Singapores national athletes
risk of injury. competing in table tennis, swimming, judo, and softball, as well as
conducting research relating to strength and conditioning. Prior to
REFERENCES this position, Lum was a strength and conditioning officer for the
1. American College of Sports Medicine. Progression models Singapore Armed Forces, planning physical training program for
in resistance training for healthy adults. Medicine and Science in national service men.
Sport and Exercise 41(3): 687-708, 2009.

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STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR TABLE TENNIS ATHLETES

Forehand Loop Technique (Figure 1) Explosive Forward Lunge (Figure 3)


The athlete flexes the right knee to prepare to perform the The athlete begins the exercise in a parallel stance position with
technique. The athlete begins by extending the right knee and the feet shoulder-width apart and the hands holding a weight
rotating the trunk. The athlete continues rotating the trunk then plate on the right side of the body. The athlete lunges forward
begins horizontally flexing and internally rotating the shoulder explosively with the left leg while swinging the weight plate
and flexing the elbow. The athlete finishes the movement with diagonally upwards and to the left side of the body. The athlete
pronation of the forearm. then returns to the starting position as fast as possible upon
landing. Repeat the movement on the opposite side. Inexperienced
athletes should begin this exercise with no added resistance to
help avoid potential injury.

FIGURE 1. FOREHAND LOOP TECHNIQUE


FIGURE 3. EXPLOSIVE FORWARD LUNGE
Four-Direction Hop (Figure 2)
The athlete begins the exercise by standing on one leg. The athlete Skater Hop (Figure 4)
hops forward and then immediately back to the starting position. The athlete begins the exercise by standing on one leg with the
Repeat the action for the other three directions (i.e., right, hands holding a weight plate positioned on the same side of the
backward, and left). Completing hops in all four directions and supporting leg. The athlete hops laterally and simultaneously
returning to the starting position is considered one repetition. swings the weight plate to the side of the landing leg. Repeat the
action as fast as possible while alternating sides. Inexperienced
athletes should begin this exercise with no added resistance to
help avoid potential injury.

FIGURE 2. FOUR-DIRECTION HOP

FIGURE 4. SKATER HOP

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Single-Arm Medicine Ball Throw (Figure 5) Towel Grip Inverted Row (Figure 7)
The athlete begins the exercise with the left foot forward holding The athlete begins by holding onto the towels positioned
a small medicine ball with the right hand. The athlete throws the shoulder-width apart that are wrapped around the barbell from
ball by rotating the hips and swinging the hand as fast as possible underneath. The athlete keeps the heels on the ground and
while pronating the forearm. The athlete releases the ball at the maintains a neutral spine throughout the movement. The athlete
end of the movement to complete one repetition. then pulls the body up towards the barbell before returning to the
starting position to complete one repetition.

FIGURE 5. SINGLE-ARM MEDICINE BALL THROW


FIGURE 7. TOWEL GRIP INVERTED ROW
Single-Arm Chest Press (Figure 6)
The athlete begins by standing in an athletic position with feet
wider than shoulder-width apart and uses one hand to hold the
end of a barbell that is anchored to the ground. The athlete pushes
the barbell forward and upward as fast as possible, then returns
to the starting position to complete one repetition. Repeat the
movement with the opposite arm.

FIGURE 6. SINGLE-ARM CHEST PRESS

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STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR TABLE TENNIS ATHLETES

TABLE 1. EXAMPLE STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING PROGRAM FOR ADVANCED TABLE TENNIS ATHLETES
EXERCISE SETS X REPETITIONS LOAD REST PERIOD
Four-direction hop 3 x 5/side Bodyweight 1 2 min
Explosive forward lunge 3 x 5/side 10 20 lb 2 3 min
Skater hop 3 x 5/side 10 20 lb 2 3 min
Single-arm medicine
3 x 5/side 4 6 lb 2 3 min
ball throw
Sumo squat 3x5 80% of 1RM 2 3 min
Deadlift 3x5 80% of 1RM 2 3 min
Single-arm chest press 3x5 80% of 1RM 2 3 min
Towel grip inverted row 3x8 Bodyweight 1 min
Reverse woodchop 3 x 10/side Self-regulated 1 min

TABLE 2. INJURY PREVENTION EXERCISES


EXERCISE SETS X REPETITIONS LOAD
Prone plank 2 x 30 60 s Bodyweight
Side plank 2 x 30 60 s Bodyweight
Bird dog 2 x 10/side Bodyweight
Eccentric shoulder external rotation (5 s) 2 x 5/side Self-regulated
Scapular push-up 2 x 10 Bodyweight
Wall angel 2 x 10 N/A

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NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM 21


EARLY SPORT SPECIALIZATION VERSUS DIVERSIFICATION IN YOUTH ATHLETES

THOMAS CARUSO, CSCS, RSCC

O
ver the last thirty years, the landscape of adolescent EARLY SPORT SPECIALIZATION
athletics has changed drastically. Adolescents This article will focus on the following five parameters to consider
who participate in sports activities may find them with early sport specialization: early start age in one sport, early
enjoyable while reaping the many potential benefits they can involvement in one sport while not participating in many sports,
offer. Sport activities promote self-esteem, leadership, and early involvement in focused practice, high-intensity training,
relationships amongst fellow teammates (4). However, the level and early involvement in competitive sport. Arguments for
of competitiveness in youth sports is on the rise causing more early specialization have been made regarding expertise in skill
competitive events at younger ages, specific training, and sport development. There is a theory that states the earlier an individual
specification (4). Seasons are longer and parents are encouraged starts with purposeful practice of a skill, the earlier one becomes
to sign their children up for organized club sports that practice an expert at the skill. This seems to relate closely to the 10-year
and compete year-round. In the United States youth participating rule, which is a general criteria for teaching chess that proposes
in sports has increased from approximately 18 million in 1987 to that 10 years is a sufficient period of time to amass the level of
60 million in 2008 (5). Although more children are playing sports, knowledge to be considered an expert (3). This rule has been
it appears the multisport athlete is becoming a thing of the past extrapolated and observed in several activities beyond chess,
(7). This raises the question: is early sport specialization or sport including sports (3). Utilizing this theory, it can be concluded
diversification the best way to develop youth athletes? Early sport that in order for athletes to be the best at a particular skill or
specialization can be defined as intense year-round training in a sport, they need to start early with skill development and
specific sport with the exclusion of other sports at a young age practice very specific activities to improve their strengths and
(5). On the other hand, sports diversification is the participation reduce their weaknesses.
in a variety of sports and activities through which an athlete
develops multilateral physical, social, and psychological skills (10). Sports that require an efficient, repetitive motion, like golf, tennis,
As the money in college and professional sports has increased, the or swimming, appear to have the greatest likelihood of employing
desire to train children to become star athletes has increased as deliberate practice for expertise development. However, many
well. The purpose of this article is to discuss the different opinions people throughout numerous sports have drawn upon (i.e.,
regarding the validity of early sport specialization as opposed marketed) the theory of deliberate practice as a way to improve
to diversification, specifically the effect these two methods have athletic expertise.
on injuries, motor development, skill acquisition, and social and
psychological aspects.

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CONSIDERATIONS AND CONCERNS Despite the overall health benefit of sports participation, any
FOR SPECIALIZATION sport activity invites a chance of sustaining an injury. The
In an effort to make sure a child is ready for structured practice, potential for injury increases as the intensity level and training
certain developmental components should be considered, such volume increases. This supports the need for adequate recovery
as sport-related fundamental motor skill development, sport- for youth sport athletes (9). Recovery for a youth athlete does
specific knowledge, motivation, and socialization. Fundamental not mean taking a child out of all activity. Adequate recovery
motor skill development should be trained to achieve success in could include remaining physically active during a break from
the sport setting, including skills such as running, jumping, kicking, that particular sportknown as active recovery. It is important
and throwing. If a child has an immature level of fundamental skill to provide rest from the repetitive motions that continually
development, they may attempt to play organized sport but the place stress on their body. Strength and conditioning can be an
experience may not be as positive as if they were developmentally option when an athlete is considering a rest from their specific
ready to learn the sport-specific skills. Having adequate levels of sport. This can provide an opportunity for injury rehabilitation,
physical maturation, or developmental age, will help the children injury prevention, and enhancing long-term health. With proper
to learn the sport-specific skills that require strength and speed. supervision and a well-designed program, a youth resistance
training program can improve body composition, increase bone
MOTIVATION AND INTEREST health, and decrease injury (4).
Knowledge that an individual possesses about a specific
sport can increase their ability to learn the sport-related skills If an athlete experiences unexpected long-term decreases in
required to play the sport as well. The more they know about a performance without evidence of injury, this can be termed
sport, the more they will remember important points necessary staleness and may be a result of overtraining. It is important for
for the performance of motor skills potentially. The processing parents and strength and conditioning coaches to understand and
skills necessary for learning, which are present in adults, are often be able to identify symptoms of overtraining. This may help to
lacking or deficient in children under the age of five. Kolstoe once reduce the long-term effects of overtraining on a young athletes
said, Nobody cant teach nobody nothing, (1). This illustrates an body and mind. Table 2 shows example of common symptoms
important point regarding instruction: if there is no motivation found during overtraining, including physical and nonphysical
to learn, then learning is not likely to take place. Sometimes the symptoms (8).
best indicator of a childs readiness to learn and participate in a
sport comes from them expressing interest in it (1). A child with BURNOUT
friends and family who help identify them as athletic will provide Early specialization has shown to be not only physically difficult
that child with a greater chance of identifying themselves as but also mentally difficult. Athletic burnout can be an unfortunate
athletic. Prior knowledge of these categories of sport readiness effect of early specialization in one sport. It can be defined as
would be helpful in placing the child in the proper organized physical and emotional exhaustion from the psychological and
sport setting. This will provide a better chance of the child physiological demands of the athletes sport, (8). Burnout can
having a positive experience (1). become so severe that it can cause withdrawal or dropout from
the activities that were previously enjoyable to the athlete. From
GROWTH AND INJURY RISK personal experience, swimmers and divers who had success from
One key factor that separates young athletes from mature athletes specializing at an early age had a greater propensity for their
is the fact that children are still growing. Constant changes in bodies to break down, causing a decrease in performance at a
bodyweight, height, and muscle mass provide additional stress to high level. Additionally, with the decrease in performance and the
joints and connective tissue. In young athletes, growth cartilage increase in injury, there was depression resulting in withdrawal
is present at the growth plate as well as the musculotendinous from the sport and team activities.
insertion. Growth cartilage is vulnerable to the stress of repeated
microtraumas. For example, injuries common in youth baseball SPORT DIVERSIFICATION
players are Little League elbow and Little League shoulder. Sport diversification can be thought of as playing as many sports
These are both overuse injuries to the epiphyseal growth cartilage. as often as possible. This method exposes children to a multitude
Because the musculotendinous unit may develop faster than the of sports with a focus on playing instead of practicing. This
bone to which it is attached, this area can be more susceptible method provides an environment that may nurture a genuine love
to Osgood-Schlatter disease and Severs disease (7). Many for a sport so that productive, structured practice may follow. The
professionals agree that the benefits of sports participation belief behind sport diversification is that physical and cognitive
outweigh the risks, but not all. With this in mind, youth are abilities may develop quicker via playing multiple sports instead
encouraged to play sports at an early age even though there is an of just one because of a potential crossover effect from playing
associated risk of injury. It is important to understand the factors multiple sports. For example, instead of only developing hand-
that can predispose young athletes to overuse injuries. Table 1 eye coordination as it pertains to hitting and throwing in baseball,
shows the predisposing factors for overuse injuries. a child playing baseball and soccer can also develop foot-eye
coordination, footwork, and running mechanics.

NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM 23


EARLY SPORT SPECIALIZATION VERSUS DIVERSIFICATION IN YOUTH ATHLETES

A transfer in fundamental cognitive skills can occur, but it is 4. Difiori, JP, Benjamin, H, Brenner, J, Gregory, A, Jayanthi, N,
likely dependent on the degree of perceptual and information Landry, GL, and Luke, A. Overuse injuries and burnout in youth
processing similarity between sports. The ability of a player to sports: A position statement from the American Medical Society
read the game or understand player movement and pattern for Sports Medicine. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine 24(1):
configurations with proper visual cues will likely have a higher rate 3-20, 2014.
of crossover if the athlete is participating in sports with similar 5. Ferguson, B, and Stern, PJ. A case of early sports
pattern configurations. For example, running and biking have a specialization in an adolescent athlete. Journal of the Canadian
higher rate of cardiovascular transfer than between swimming Chiropractic Association 58(4): 337-383, 2014.
and running. However, researchers examining early sport
specialization participation trends in elite athletes have found that 6. Hensch, LP. Specialization or diversification in youth sport?
early specialization is not an essential component of elite athletic Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators 19(5):
development (6). 21-27, 2006.
7. Johnson, J. Overuse injuries in young athletes: Cause and
CONCLUSION prevention. Strength and Conditioning Journal 30(2): 27-31, 2008.
Early involvement in sports provides opportunities to develop
8. Kutz, M, and Secrest, M. Contributing factors to overtraining
gross motor skills that include, but are not limited to, hand-eye
in the adolescent multi-season/sport athlete. Strength and
coordination, jumping, throwing, hopping, balancing, and running.
Conditioning Journal 31(3): 37-42, 2009.
Adolescent bodies are not prepared to be treated like an adults
body. Diversification in sports at an early age has the potential 9. Oliver, JL, Lloyd, RS, and Meyers, RW. Training elite child
to provide stimuli so that a childs body can adapt and develop athletes: Promoting welfare and well-being. Strength and
multiple motor skills that may crossover between sports. However, Conditioning Journal 33(4): 73-79, 2011.
only once the mental, physical, and social aspects of a child are 10. Wiersma, LD. Risks and benefits of youth sport specialization:
fully developed can specialization can be considered. Parents Perspectives and recommendations. Pediatric Exercise Science
and coaches have to keep this in mind when choosing the level 12(1): 13-22, 2000.
of competition that is appropriate for the athlete. If the level of
competition is not appropriate for one or all of these aspects, the
child may have a negative experience. Perhaps the most beneficial ABOUT THE AUTHOR
method is to allow the children to choose the sports they are Thomas Caruso holds a Bachelor of Science and Education degree,
passionate about, this way they are less likely to experience with a concentration in Athletic Training, from the University of
burnout or overuse injuries while setting themselves up for a Arkansas. Caruso has been the Wellness Director/Strength Coach
better chance of becoming a well-rounded elite athlete. for the Providence Day School since 2009. In addition to teaching
ninth grade health courses, his responsibilities comprise planning
REFERENCES and implementing strength, conditioning, and agility programs for
1. Aicinena, S. Youth sport readiness: A predictive model for all the mens and womens sports teams, including golf, football,
success. Physical Educator 49(2): 58-66, 1992. soccer, basketball, lacrosse, baseball, volleyball, wrestling, softball,
swimming, field hockey, and track and field.
2. Baker, J. Early specialization in youth sport: a requirement for
adult expertise? High Ability Studies 14(1): 85-94, 2003.
3. Baker, J, and Cobley, S. What do we know about early sport
specialization? Not Much! High Ability Study 20(1): 77-89, 2009.

TABLE 1. PREDISPOSING FACTORS AND OVERUSE INJURIES (7)


INTRINSIC FACTORS EXTRINSIC FACTORS
Anatomic malalignment Improper training methods
Prior injury Poor technique
Poor conditioning Improper surface for practice and competition
Growth Excessive pressure from peers, coaches, and parents
Menstrual dysfunction Inappropriate equipment

24 NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM


NSCA COACH 2.4

TABLE 2. SYMPTOMS OF OVERTRAINING

SYMPTOMS DURING TRAINING PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS NONPHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

Normal workouts feel more difficult Persistent fatigue Difficulty sleeping

Early fatigue during workouts Ongoing muscle soreness Feelings of irritation or anger

Faster heart rate with less effort Loss of appetite Feelings of depression

Decreased strength Increased aches and pains Lack of motivation

Decreased coordination Increase in overuse injuries Fear of competition

Physical challenges seem too hard Frequent colds or infections Difficulty concentrating

Decreased performance on strength,


Lower resistance to common illnesses Increased sensitivity to emotional stress
speed, or endurance testing

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HOW CONDITIONING TRAINING AFFECTS GAME DAY PERFORMANCE

CHRIS MCQUILKIN, MS, CSCS

A
strength and conditioning coach should be able to help TRAINING AND PREPARATIONTRAIN TO TRAIN
an athletes performance beyond what he or she could do Work capacity has been referenced as the duration for which
alone. However, many coaches in the current sport culture power can be maintained (1). However, many strength and sport
limit themselves to training for isolated tests that have stood coaches see work capacity as a level of conditioning.
the proverbial test of time, like the 40-yard dash and maximum
repetition bench press using 225 lb. While these tests are meant For beginner athletes or athletes returning from an injury,
to show progression or evidence of improvement through that increased work capacity can hasten the kinesiological pattern
individuals strength and conditioning program, oddly, what can development. Training work capacity consists primarily
be neglected through this testing protocol is the athletes on-field of perfecting parts of the bodys involuntary functions (3).
performance on game day. Experienced athletes that are returning from time off may
see benefits from training work capacity. Primarily programmed
Sports present physical tasks to which the non-athletic body is in the first month of off-season training, the exercises used to
unaccustomed (3). Set plays rehearsed with perfected action are train work capacity should elevate necessary traits required
foundational components for almost every sport, but things rarely within the sport to create, or reestablish, a base level of
go as planned and an athlete must be able to work outside the fitness that allows them to train for competition (3). While
confines of those rehearsed actions. An athlete must quickly react aerobic fitness can be an important component to competition
using the central nervous, neuromuscular, and muscular systems in field and court sports, testing only conditioning levels may
to solve and react to these unpracticed problems. A determining not be the best course of action for strength and conditioning
factor of performance success is how quickly and efficiently professionals. It is important for strength and conditioning
an athlete is able to call upon these abilities to accomplish the coaches to evaluate the physiological needs of the athlete based
unplanned action. on the demands of the sports in order to develop optimal
training programs for performance.
This article will describe how conditioning affects game day
performance, identify crucial components of field and court sport For example, when the Canadians first lost their stranglehold
training, lay the groundwork for replicating training abilities on international hockey to the Russians, it appeared that the
that translate to the field, and reinforce the responsibility of the Russian team was better conditioned and faster when it counted.
strength and conditioning professional. The Canadian coaches thought the Russians had better aerobic
fitness. Naturally, during the next off-season training the Canadian

26 NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM


NSCA COACH 2.4

players rode stationary bikes until they were blue in the face and Partner tag which forces athletic creativity and competition.
skated hard following each practice. Despite the additional work, Pursuit drills that allow the calculation of an opponents speed
the Russians still outperformed them on the ice. Eventually, free and angle.
flow of information recommenced between Eastern Europe and
North America and amazingly, Russian VO2max scores were nearly Chaos training which puts the athlete in a fatigued state, as
ten points lower than those of the Canadians. The Russians were they have to perform reactive tasks.
beating the Canadians by skating faster. Instead of training aerobic
fitness, the Russians had been training speed and power rather After all, in basketball for example, a person who owns the
than aerobic fitness (2). boards is not the player with moderate strength who can jump
reasonably high a thousand times in rapid succession, or a player
This example demonstrates the importance of matching training who cant control the volume of their large vertical jump. Rather,
and testing to the demands of the sport. It will not matter the strongest player, who would own the boards is the one who
how well athletes fare on their conditioning tests if they are jumps the highest when it is required (2).
consistently overpowered, sped past, or are behind by a step when
the game is on the line. Work capacity training is a valuable tool when preparing for the
strength, power, and speed training that will benefit an athlete
WORK EFFICIENCY most in competition. However, during this preparation phase, a
Increasing work capacity and improving maximum strength, coach must also remember each individual displays a different
power, and speed are some important focal points for strength rate, degree, and efficiency of response to the same training,
and conditioning coaches. The connection between these so it is not optimal to hold a whole team to a single standard
components and directing the purpose of training to skill conditioning test. Following this pre-competition training phase,
transfer can be the difference between good training programs test work capacity, but avoid simply labeling athletes as in-shape
and great ones. One way this can be accomplished is in the or not. Instead, use this as a measurement of an athletes ability
form of work efficiency. to recover between bouts of maximal velocity, maintain technique
under fatigue, and challenge their ability to replicate their abilities
Work efficiency can be thought of as the interaction among in a chaotic environment. Just like the finesse of a jump shot, this
the various responses of the athletes systems (central nervous, will not be measureable by anything but a trained coachs eye.
neuromuscular, and muscular systems) to quickly display force
specific to a sporting action, and then replicate these play after TRAIN FAST, BE FAST
play. Another definition of work efficiency is the proportion of the Athletes never rise to the occasion; they always fall to the level of
additional energy expenditure during steady state work which their training. Training cyclic movements at sub-maximal levels will
is expended on physical work (4). As stated earlier, sport is a not expand an athletes top end abilities or train their efficiency
series of complex problems that the athlete experiences and must in calling upon the range of task specific abilities in sports that
solve quickly with movement. While in competition, the athlete require strength, power, and speed at irregular intervals.
must use instincts to determine how much force to apply to the
complex tasks presented in their arena with accuracy and finesse. Conversely, only relying on maximal efforts in single lifts or
Work efficiency can help the athlete react to these problems sprints as a test of game day preparation is a fallacy. Sport can
optimally. Integrating work efficiency training into a program can be thought of as a problem-solving activity where movements
be implemented in two different ways: produce the solutions (3). Single maximal effort lifts or sprints
mean little if an athlete is only good for one attempt per game or
SPORTS PRACTICE does not have the neuromuscular control to complete the task in
This is already in place for most athletes, and there is no better their arena.
way for them to coordinate the strength, power, and speed they
have developed in the weight room. During sports practice, they In conclusion, coaches should avoid an over application
can practice their instincts and use of abilities as close to game of conditioning training that can negatively affect the top
speed as one can get, and then replicate the coordination specific end abilities of athletes and their ability to replicate them in
to each demand. competition of field and court sports. When training field or
court sport athletes, it is the strength and conditioning coachs
ATHLETIC CREATIVITY BUILT INTO TRAINING responsibility to look to the sporting arena for the demands of the
With only so much time to train athletes, the process of increasing sport and determine where improvements can be made through
work efficiency needs to be accelerated if it is to be integrated into training. Focusing on improving an athletes ability to not only use
training as well as sports practice. Speed and agility work alone in their full motor potential specific to the task to achieve success,
training is limited to only one or two stimuli like a whistle to start and more importantly, replicate in competition, is the mark of a
and a point to change direction. Applying unscripted agility work great strength program. Strength and conditioning coaches should
and tasks following weight training or speed work is a method to focus on what the athletes are training for, and develop their
include this into training. Examples include: programs accordingly for optimal performance on game day.

NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM 27


HOW CONDITIONING TRAINING AFFECTS GAME DAY PERFORMANCE

REFERENCES
1. Bosch, F, and Klomp, R. Running: Biomechanics and Exercise ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Physiology Applied in Practice. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 102, 2005. Chris McQuilkin is a member of Power Athlete, LLC, and has
2. Francis, C. Key Concepts: Elite Edition. www.CharlieFrancis. traveled teaching coaches how to teach proper movement and
com; 13, 2008. how to identify performance limitations. He has coached strength
and conditioning at the college level with Georgetown University,
3. Siff, M, and Verkhoshansky, Y. Supertraining. (6th ed.) Denver,
including working with the football, mens and womens lacrosse,
CO: Supertraining International; 32, 96, and 105-107, 2009.
and womens crew teams. McQuilkin has interned with University of
4. Sloan, AW, Koeslag, JH, and Bredell, GAG. Body composition, Texas at Austin in the football program. While there, he apprenticed
work capacity, and work efficiency of active and inactive young under Raphael Ruiz of AXIS training systems and studied proper
men. European Journal of Applied Physiology 32(1): 17-24, 1973. implementation of science-based, performance-driven training
systems. He received a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences in
2008, and a Masters degree in Health Promotion from Marymount
University in 2010.

28 NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM


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REFRAMING INFLAMMATION IN THE TENDON REPAIR PROCESS

GABRIELLE SMITH, MA, AND BRIAN GEARITY, PHD, CSCS

A
thletes, coaches, and strength and conditioning about 30% of running injuries and about 40% of elbow injuries
professionals often view inflammation as if it is an in tennis players can be attributed to overuse of certain tendons
opponent or obstacle to overcome. A widespread idea (3). Tendonitis is common in strength and conditioning settings
is that athletes should fight against inflammation in order to because repetitive physical actions may to lead to overuse.
get rid of it. However, contrary to popular belief, inflammation
is the first stage in tissue repair, and it should be viewed and In the inflammatory stage of tendon tissue repair, a hematoma,
treated as such. This article will explain the physiological process or blood clot, forms at the affected site (4). The hematoma
of tendon tissue repair and compare the effects of various activates the release of vasodilator chemicals, which cause the
responses to tendonitis. tissues blood vessels to dilate, or widen. This allows for more
blood flow to the affected area, causing the redness and warmth
THE TENDON TISSUE REPAIR PROCESS often seen and felt with tendonitis. Vasodilator chemicals also
The tissue repair process varies according to the type of body make the tissues capillaries significantly more permeable, which
tissue affected. The majority of research on tendon repair has allows important fluids to flood the area, causing the swelling
explored the healing process of tendon rupture as opposed to seen with inflammation. This swelling then presses on the nearby
tendonitis (1). However, it can be assumed that the repair process nerve endings, which results in pain (2). These fluids that flood
for both tendon ruptures and tendinitis are similar (1). the area contain erythrocytes (oxygen-delivering red blood cells),
neutrophils (protective white blood cells of the immune system),
The tendon repair process occurs in three stages: the and monocytes (protective single-nucleus white blood cells)
inflammatory, proliferative, and remodeling stages. Because this (2). Next, protective macrophage cells initiate the phagocytosis
article primarily focuses on the inflammatory stage, the other process, which rids the area of damaged and dead tissue cells.
stages will not be elaborated on as much in this article. Lastly, new blood vessels are formed through angiogenesis
and new tendon cells (tenocytes) move towards the area of the
THE INFLAMMATORY STAGE affected site (3). Inflammation sets the stage for the remainder
Michael Gross defines inflammation as when the body tissues of the tissue healing process, which includes the proliferative and
are injured by physical trauma, intense heat, irritating chemicals, remodeling stages (2).
or infection by viruses, fungi, or bacteria, (2). Inflammation of
a tendon, commonly referred to as tendonitis, is caused by the
physical trauma that results from overuse. It is estimated that

30 NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM


NSCA COACH 2.4

THE PROLIFERATIVE STAGE and conditioning coaches, in consultation with the sports medicine
In the proliferative stage, fibroblast cells, which form the fibers of team, should address and monitor inflammation to alleviate
connective tissue, initiate the synthesis of collagen (4). Type III symptoms and return athletes to participation.
collagen, which is the main structural protein in tendons, bones,
cartilage, and other connective tissues, is most abundant in this REFERENCES
stage. Additionally, high amounts of water are present at the site 1. Bleakley, C, McDonough, S, and MacAuley, D. The use of ice in
during the proliferative stage (3). the treatment of acute soft-tissue injury: A systematic review of
randomized controlled trials. American Journal of Sports Medicine
THE REMODELING STAGE 32(1): 251-261, 2004.
In the final stage of tendon tissue repair, type I collagen fibers,
2. Gross, MT. Chronic tendinitis: Pathomechanics of injury,
which are present in scar tissue, are organized along the tendon
factors affecting the healing response, and treatment. Journal of
axis. These type I fibers are primarily responsible for generating
Orthopaedic Sports Physical Therapy 16(6): 248-261, 1992.
mechanical strength in the tissue (4). The repaired tissue becomes
stiffer and stronger throughout this stage. 3. James, R, Kesturu, G, Balian, G, and Chhabra, AB. Tendon:
Biology, biomechanics, repair, growth factors, and evolving
COMMON RESPONSES TO INFLAMMATION treatment options. Journal of Hand Surgery 33(A): 102-112, 2008.
There are several ways that individuals respond to inflammation. 4. Marieb, EN, and Hoehn, K. Human Anatomy and Physiology
The three most common responses to inflammation include: (10th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.; 2016.
neglect, icing the injured area, and using nonsteroidal anti-
5. Nordqvist, C. What is inflammation? What causes
inflammatory drugs (NSAID). When choosing the response, it is
inflammation? 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015 from http://www.
important to take into consideration both the costs and benefits.
medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php.

NEGLECT 6. Ogbru, O. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).


Neglecting inflammation might seem necessary if a coach or an Medicine Net. 2015. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from http://www.
upcoming competition leads to an athlete feeling pressured to medicinenet.com/nonsteroidal_antiinflammatory_drugs/article.
play through an injury. However, in many cases it may be better htm.
for the athlete to allow their body to rest and complete the innate 7. Ong, CKS, Lirk, P, Tan, CH, and Seymour, RA. An evidence-
repair response. Neglecting acute inflammation could contribute based update on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Journal of
to the onset of chronic inflammation or more serious injuries (5). Clinical Medicine Research 5(1): 19-34, 2007.
8. Sharma, P, and Maffulli, N. Tendon injury and tendinopathy:
ICE
Healing and repair. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery
Icing, or cryotherapy, has long been accepted as a beneficial
American87(1):187-202, 2005.
response to inflammation. Researchers have concluded that
cryotherapy is an effective way to relieve short-term pain (6). 9. Takagi, R, Fujita, N, Arakawa, T, Kawada, S, Ishii, N, and Miki,
A systematic review of the effects of cryotherapy showed that A. Influence of icing on muscle regeneration after crush injury to
applying ice through a wet towel for periods of 10 min is the most skeletal muscles in rats. Journal of Applied Physiology 110(2): 382-
effective method (7). 388, 2011.
10. Wilson, JJ, and Best, TM. Common overuse tendon problems:
NSAID A review and recommendations for treatment. American Family
NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin, Advil, etc.), Physician 72(5): 811-818, 2005.
are effective at reducing the pain caused by inflammation (9).
However, NSAIDs should be used judiciously because they reduce
pain by inhibiting the bodys innate inflammatory and repair
responses (2). In addition, excessive use of NSAIDs can cause
a number of negative side effects such as nausea, vomiting,
heartburn, bleeding, and diarrhea (6,7,10).

CONCLUSION
Inflammation is the first stage in the tissue repair process and
sets the stage for the remainder of the healing process. Instead
of viewing it as a foe to be fought and conquered, inflammation
should be viewed as a helpful and necessary process to promote
healing. There are several common responses to inflammation
including neglect, icing, and using NSAIDs. Athletes and strength

NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM 31


REFRAMING INFLAMMATION IN THE TENDON REPAIR PROCESS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Gabrielle Smith recently earned a Master of Arts degree in Sport Brian Gearity was recently named the Director of the Master of
and Performance Psychology from the University of Denver. During Arts degree in Sport Coaching at the University of Denver. He
her time at the University of Denver, Smith served as an extern recently served as Guest Editor for a special issue of the Strength
in the United States Olympic Committees Sport Performance and Conditioning Journal on coach education. He was an Assistant
Division. She provided biofeedback and neurofeedback training Professor in Sport Coaching Education at the University of Southern
services to athletes in the psychophysiology lab at the Olympic Mississippi and a volunteer strength/football coach at Purvis
Training Center located in Colorado Springs, CO. She also served as High School. He was the strength and conditioning coach for the
a Sport and Performance Psychology Consultant at the Center for Cleveland Indians Major League Baseball (MLB) organization, the
Performance Excellence, where she provided services to middle and University of Tennessee, and John Carroll University. His research
high school athletes and coaches. She currently serves as Mental interests include coach quality, coach-athlete relationships, and
Skills Trainer and Club Coach for Colorado Premier Basketball Club. coaches use of power-knowledge and its effects on athletes.
Prior to attending the University of Denver, Smith graduated from
Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN with a Bachelor of Science
degree in Cognitive Studies.

32 NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM


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START EARLYTHE KEY TO PREPARING ATHLETES FOR THE RIGORS OF HIGH SCHOOL
STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING

RICK HOWARD, MED, CSCS,*D, USAW

H
igh school strength and conditioning coaches can play a ATTENDING OR PARTICIPATING IN CLINICS AND CONFERENCES
pivotal role in increasing levels of fitness and athleticism A plethora of professional development opportunities exist for
in children (ages 6 11) and adolescents (ages 12 18). high school strength coaches. Nationally accredited organizations,
Evidence shows that all fitness attributes are trainable across such as the NSCA, provide clinics at the state and regional level,
childhood and adolescence (1,3,7). Aspiring young athletes can as well as a High School Coaches track at the NSCA National
start resistance training as young as age eight, which has been Conference and an annual Coaches Conference. The High
shown to enhance athleticism and reduce the risk of injury (3,4). School Coaches Special Interest Group (SIG) conducts meetings
This article suggests how high school strength and conditioning and forums to meet the needs of high school strength and
coaches can not only prepare high school athletes for sports and conditioning coaches. Getting involved with the Youth SIG and the
fitness, but also help with the process of improving fitness and College Coaches SIG may help to bridge the gap between program
athleticism of all youth. design for primary, secondary, and postsecondary students.

HIGH SCHOOL IS TOO LATE CREATING LTAD PROGRAMS FROM YOUTH


Introducing high school freshmen to strength and conditioning THROUGH ADULTHOOD
is often a primary responsibility of a high school strength and High school strength and conditioning coaches are in unique
conditioning coach. The position statement regarding youth positions to provide outreach on both ends of the sports and
resistance training from the National Strength and Conditioning fitness continuum. By providing consultation to youth sports
Association (NSCA) recommends that youth begin a strength and programs, and coaches and students at feeder schools (as long as
conditioning program at around the same time they begin playing it is within the guidelines of the appropriate state interscholastic
youth sports (approximately at eight years old) (1). Students who athletic association), high school strength and conditioning
have not participated in strength and conditioning before high coaches can further increase the level of athleticism and help
school are at a disadvantage compared to those who already have reduce injury rates in youth athletes (1). Likewise, high school
strength and conditioning experience prior to high school. strength and conditioning coaches should identify common
exercises required of college strength and conditioning programs
Recent advances in research on long-term athletic development and include the developmental progressions for these exercises
(LTAD) highlight the importance of engaging youth in so the athletes will be better prepared when they reach that
developmentally appropriate strength and conditioning activities level. High school strength and conditioning coaches should
across the developmental continuum (3,4). Lloyd et al. outlines create a program template based upon expectations for incoming
the Youth Physical Development Model for Females and the freshmen and work backwards to create goals for each athlete
Composite Youth Development Model for Males in the Journal of while adhering to youth training guidelines to ensure that all
Strength and Conditioning Research (3,4). Additionally, strength fundamental motor skills and fitness attributes are included
and conditioning should include integrative neuromuscular training (1,2,3,4,5,7,8).
(INT) to ensure that fundamental movement skills, sport-specific
movement skills, and muscle strength are developed (5). INT is It is important for high school strength and conditioning coaches
an approach to strength and conditioning programing designed to remember that each level of high school strength and
to maximize general and sport-specific skills through motor conditioning should be assigned a different training age and not
skill mastery and muscle strength activities while addressing every athlete will be at the same training age. Programs should
movement deficiencies to promote successful participation in be personalized for each athletes level of skill and motor mastery,
sports and physical activity across the lifespan, in concert with the rather than generalized for the best athletes or based on more
principles of physical literacy (8). advanced program design. Additionally, not every high school
student pursues college, plays college sports, or is mandated to
WHAT CAN HIGH SCHOOL STRENGTH AND take a wellness course, so high school may be the last opportunity
CONDITIONING COACHES DO? to teach them lifelong health and wellness habits. The program
High school strength and conditioning is an integral component design should also include instruction for all students to be able
of youth strength and conditioning, and is the link between youth to participate in strength and conditioning to meet physical
sports and collegiate sports and lifelong fitness. Many high school literacy-based national standards for their essential health and
strength and conditioning coaches are responsible for the middle fitness needs (6). This also is in keeping with the tenets of physical
school program and act as physical educators within the entire literacy to develop all students to their potential given their
school district. The job of a high school strength and conditioning natural endowment.
coach can be optimized by attending or participating in strength
and conditioning clinics or conferences and creating LTAD
programs that span from youth through adulthood (2).

34 NSCA COACH 2.4 | NSCA.COM


NSCA.com

HIGH SCHOOL STRENGTH COACHES HAVE AN


IMPORTANT JOB ABOUT THE AUTHOR
It is clear that high school strength and conditioning coaches Rick Howard helped start the National Strength and Conditioning
can have a significant impact on students of varying ages and Association (NSCA) Youth Special Interest Group (SIG) and served
abilities, both on and off the field. Principles of LTAD, including this year as Immediate Past Chair. In addition, Howard serves on
recommendations for strength and conditioning, practice and the NSCA Membership Committee and is the NSCA State/Provincial
game ratios, and time off between sport seasons, should help Program Regional Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region. Howard
guide high school strength and conditioning coaches as they work is involved in many pursuits that advance knowledge, skills, and
with athletes. High school strength and conditioning coaches coaching education to help all children enjoy lifelong physical
can influence youth to gain motor skill competence, which may activity and sports participation.
encourage them to participate in high school sports and continue
to be physically active into adulthood (7).

REFERENCES
1. Faigenbaum, A, Kraemer, W, Blimkie, C, Jeffreys, I, Micheli,
L, Nitka, M, et al. Youth resistance training: Updated position
statement paper from the National Strength and Conditioning
Association. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
23(Suppl 5): S60-S79, 2009.
2. Howard, R, and Faigenbaum, A. Issues in training youth that
impact high school athlete preparation. Strength and Conditioning
Journal 31(3): 55-57, 2009.
3. Lloyd, R, Oliver, J, Faigenbaum, A, Howard, R, De Ste Croix,
M, Williams, C, et al. Long-term athletic development Part 1:
A pathway for all youth. Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Research 29(5): 1439-1450, 2015.
4. Lloyd, R, Oliver, J, Faigenbaum, A, Howard, R, De Ste Croix,
M, Williams, C, et al. Long-term athletic development Part 2:
Barriers to success and potential solutions. Journal of Strength and
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