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In Practice Punishments (Part 3 of 4)

PSPVB Final Blog Photo

I apologize for the delay in this post but I could not have written part 3 without the valuable knowledge I have gained on vacation. While I was gone I had the incredible opportunity to read a book called The Power Of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. It sounds like a self-help book, but is far from it. The author follows several peoples’ lives (from crack heads to Michael Phelps), and talks about the habits that frame their lives. The book is a fantastic read and helped me realize one of many of the issues in today’s athletics.

 

So, back to the question: Why are these inappropriate punishments being administered?

 

1. It’s what the coach did when he/she played.

Nearly every current coach has competitively played the sport he or she is coaching. There’s at least one or two coaches that they fondly remember. They remember the drills and punishments they did, and instead of trying to actually think about the conditioning from a scientific point of view, they carry on the routine of their fondest coach. When I was still coaching, I was certainly guilty of this.

 

2. The coach sees another team on campus doing it. 

Scenario: Coach of sport “X” sees the successful “Y” team working extremely hard doing sprints for 1 minute straight with only 30 seconds rest. Coach “X” thinks, “this is the secret to their success, look at how hard they are working. I need to get my team doing this ASAP!” 

 

In reality sport “X” is a volleyball team and sport “Y” is a cross-country team. Now it’s obvious these are completely different sports, but each sport uses completely different energy systems. Instead of me me going on a rant right now, just go read my post about energy systems. You wouldn’t put diesel into a non diesel engine. So stop training as such.

 

3. Giving out these punishments has become a habit.

This is where The Power Of Habit really helped me realize what was going on. This may be the biggest reason why players receive the same disciplinary conditioning practice after practice. Have you ever driven home, and not remembered how you got there? That’s because it is a habit. The routine is so engrained in your brain, you just let your body take over. It becomes mindless. This is the same issue with any given practice. Any habit has 3 crucial components. A cue, routine, and a reward.

 

In my example the cue will be 3 missed serves in a row and the routine will be suicide sprints. As soon as those 3 serves are missed, the routine kicks in to play, whistle is blown, “everybody on the line!” Ready? Go! The reward is a toss up, it could be the perception that everyone is now “fitter” to play the sport, that everyone has now learned their lesson, or a myriad of other answers.

 

The underlying issue here is that there needs to be a interdisciplinary respect within professional fields. Your history teacher shouldn’t assign you math homework. It’s like a race coach telling a race car driver how to go tune his engine best for a certain track. The coach knows the best way to go about the track, but the mechanics know the best way to prepare the car for the race.

 

Usually, it isn’t the coaches fault. Sometimes they are tasked with being the sport’s coach and the strength and conditioning coach. Most probably don’t even realize what their conditioning program is doing to their athletes, and just picked out their programming because it was in Men’s Fitness, or some basketball training book. Some may be restricted by funds, certain rules of the division or college, or some are just misinformed. The misinformation is the worst because it means the coach has stopped asking questions. They have stopped being a student. If you keep asking questions and search for the best answer, one with actual evidence/science behind it, ignorance will never be a problem. It may be more time consuming if you are not an expert in the field, but the results will be worth the effort.

 

“You are always a student, never a master.”

-Conrad Hall

 

 

Train Smarter to Play Harder

Please comment or feel free to email me with any comments, critiques, or questions.

Austin Einhorn, CSCS

Volleyball Skills & Conditioning Specialist

Contact: austineinhorn16@gmail.com

Schedule your appointment today!

Runners, It’s Not Just About the Shoe!

imgresAlmost every day I get asked the same question about shoes and it goes like this, “I hear that these new minimalist- type shoes can help improve my form and possibly prevent injuries, is this true and if so what brands do you like”? My response is always the same, the shoe has a role in the whole equation, but what is more important is what you put into the shoe than the shoe itself.

That is not to say that you should not take care when selecting the ideal running shoe for you. There is a wealth of brands to select from and even more individual shoes within those brands that they manufacture. It’s important to have an idea of your budget before starting your research as the price will greatly affect which ones you’re likely to go with. Perhaps using something like this adidas promo code will help give you a discount so that you can consider a greater range of shoes to purchase. Happy shopping!

Runners, please understand that YOU need to start discovering how your body is getting from point “A” to point “B”, and not just focus on the destination. We call this a Movement Signature, which is a term coined by Sparta Sports Science. Get to know your Movement Signature and whether it is optimal or suboptimal. Shoes can be part of this process, but they are not the magic bullet. Running is a skill! So start working on becoming more skilled in the art of running.

 

Enjoy the Process,

Jeff Moreno, DPT, OCS

Precision Sports Performance Running

 

 

In Practice Punishments, Mental Gains (Part 2 of 4)

PSPVB Final Blog PhotoWhen I was playing, I remember watching every inspirational video that was offered on the internet. One of the quotes that stuck with me was an athlete saying, “somewhere, someplace there is a person that is practicing while you are not, and when you face that person face to face he will beat you.” He was so dedicated and driven that he worked out constantly. This attitude helped shape my collegiate career. I completely changed my lifestyle and adopted numerous diets. I kept a mental graph in my head that compared overall improvement to time. If I didn’t improve that day, it was a failure. I always had to try and get better, every day. No one was going to beat me. I wanted to be invincible. Back then, that meant skipping rest days and voluntary 7am workouts in order to have enough energy to work out or practice again that evening. For an entire summer, my fellow 3 time All-American teammate, Brad Sullivan and I would serve and pass to each other.

Alone.

Every day.

 

 

When practice rolled around, I was amped to apply the gains I thought I had recently acquired. When sprints came around (coach’s favorite), I almost always would try and compete with someone on the team and relish in my hard work. I told myself, “I can’t be tired, I’ve worked so hard, my body is ready for the demands of practice and any game.” Whenever there was a long rally, I would tell myself the same speech. Except it was “I’ve worked way harder than everyone on the other side of the net.” (At times I thought I really was invincible.) Then I would usually demand the ball on the next play from my setter (Middle’s don’t get set nearly enough).

 

(If you or your players don’t put in as much work off the court, completely understandable. I didn’t expect most of my teammates so follow suit, especially with the diet. It is the hardest habit to change, but probably yields the most results.)

Regardless of the work players put in off the court, they probably still gain some confidence from the blood, sweat, and tears they expended in practice. Mechanics are bound to fall apart (if the player had them to begin with) if practice includes endless sprints, push ups, squats, and burpees. If players don’t immediately hurt themselves during these exercises, there is the off chance that this compensation of mechanics might be worth it for the mental gains in confidence. It really comes down to how powerful the placebo effect is. This will differ player to player based on their personality. For me, the punishments and tough love were rapturous. I remember many interactions with all my coaches, but the tough love approach worked on me the best. The power of the mind is awe-inspiring, but imagine the possibilities of such a hard work ethic with year round periodization, proper biomechanics, and succinct week-to-week microcycles of maintenance in-season.

 

I leave you with a scene from the movie, Miracle. It was a several months before the winter olympics and the the US hockey team had just been thrown together. It was full of talented college kids around the nation. Hardly anyone knew each other, and everyone was used to being the All-Star within their own team, playing for themselves. They had just lost a match, and the coach is having them sprint on the ice hours past closing time, the lights have turned off, even the assistant coach thinks the players are being pushed too hard. It seems as if hours pass by until one of the players speaks up. He states his name and that he plays for USA. The coach just wanted them to realize they no longer are individuals, rather one cohesive unit.

Granted this is Hollywood, it may or may not have happened. But for this team, fictional or not, it was a necessary process that the coach had to speed up. Consider the risks though, what if one got hurt? What if they developed an overuse injury due to compensation and loss of mechanics? Their olympic dreams are shot. In college, high school, and club, I see the above scene too often. Players are overworked, biomechanically failing, struggling, but continue to sprint because it is expected of them. (Most of the time they are struggling because they have been training the wrong energy system).

Do I regret overworking myself?

No. Part of my mantra was that I wanted to have no regrets. I wanted to know I worked as hard as I could every moment possible. As a player, I knew older players with these regrets, and know many now. I did not want to be that Alum.

I just wish I knew what I know now. I can only imagine the possibilities, all that hard work backed by science and education… Maybe I’m a 4 time All-American instead of 3, maybe that 2010 loss in the National Championship becomes a victory. But I digress, I won’t go down that path of the “What if?” game, it’s a dangerous road. But I can ask current athletes, “will you be OK with having regrets when you finish the 4 best years of life?”

 

What do you think?

Do mental gains outweigh the risks?

Should players continue to believe hardwork regardless of form/science equals maximum benefits?

 

 

Train Smarter to Play Harder

Please comment or feel free to email me with any comments, critiques, or questions.

Austin Einhorn, CSCS

Volleyball Skills & Conditioning Specialist

Contact: austineinhorn16@gmail.com

Schedule your appointment today!

 

 

 

In Practice Punishments (Part 1 of 4)

PSPVB Final Blog Photo

There were many different forms of punishment and conditioning that I endured as a player, but none more than sprints. When we complained of sprints, it became burpees, pushups, sit ups, squats, dives, and other movements. Did these barrage of physical tests help me as a volleyball player? In retrospect, I’d like to think think they did, at least mentally. But they probably didn’t. I’ve seen sprints administered from five seconds to a minute and seventeen seconds. Endless burpees demanded of players with complete disregard to form. I have a few key questions about these punishments:

 

1) What’s the problem with these punishments?

2) Do the mental gains outweigh the poor movement mechanics that usually occur?

3) Why are these punishments being administered?

4) What is the best punishment?

 

I will address these 4 questions in a huge 4 part blog post.

Firstly, what’s wrong with most punishments today? They are applied incorrectly, in excess, and at the wrong time of the year. I will elaborate on some of the most common punishments below.

Sprints: Sprints can be a great training tool if they are applied correctly.

  • Correct work-to-rest ratio (in season 1:5, off season 1:12-1:20). If players are sprinting not utilizing a volleyball energy system, their bodies are not going to get better for volleyball. Check out my energy system blog post for more details.
  • Players shouldn’t have to touch the line. Most every player will do this incorrectly by side bending and lose their core stability. If they lose their foundation (core) they have lost the ability to have efficient energy transfer from their legs to their center of mass, and this is an injury just waiting to happen. Not to mention this is extremely hard for tall people like volleyball players.

 

Push Ups: Again, push ups can be OK if they are done and applied correctly.

  • Push ups should be a core exercise, NOT a chest exercise. Keep elbows in, entire body should move as a plank with their shoulder blades in the correct position.
  • Your pec in volleyball does two things: eccentrically contracts in pre-swing phase, and concentrically contracts during the swing phase. So why train it do push ups? I quoted Gray Cook (Physical therapist and strength and conditioning guru) in a previous post – doing push ups to get a better arm swing is like taking a shoe box of letters and words, throwing it at a wall and expecting a dictionary come out.

 

Burpees: Probably the worst offender of all punishments.

  • To do a burpee correctly is incredibly hard. You must lower yourself down in a push up without compromising your core. Do a correct push up. Jump up into a proper squat, without rounding your lower back, and them jump. It doesn’t end there, landing must be down with just as much technique. You should land the same way you loaded to jump, assuming it was done correctly.
  • Just don’t do burpees. They are awful.

 

In conclusion, next time you receive or see punishments being administered, think: is this working my sport’s energy system? Is this a movement I normally do in my sport? Am I being forced to compromise my mechanics due to the high volume/intensity of the punishment?

 

Train Smarter to Play Harder

Please comment or feel free to email me with any comments, critiques, or questions.

Austin Einhorn, CSCS

Volleyball Skills & Conditioning Specialist

Contact: austineinhorn16@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

GO muscles vs. SHOW muscles

PSPVB Final Blog PhotoHere is a picture of two tennis players.AbdominalsI invite you to guess a few things:

  1. Who is the better tennis player?
  2. Who is stronger?
  3. Who has less injuries?

(Please post answers in comments)

 

 

There has been a plethora of high-intensity training strategies that have gained a lot of popularity lately. They sell the idea that hard work equals an increase in fitness. These training strategies may help develop socially desirable muscles. Most of these muscles are very superficial and will not always translate to success on the court. It’s a shame that people think they need to look good in a bathing suit to be a successful athlete. Look at some of the best people in sports: (Misty May-Treanor, Logan Tom, LeBron James, Muhammed Ali, and Kobe Bryant)imgres-2 url-1

urlurl-2 imgres-3They all look good in a bathing suit, but they don’t look like they belong selling Hydroxycut next to Ronnie from the Jersey Shore.

All of these athletes have been the best player in their sport at one time or another. I would like to point out a few things; none of them have huge bulky superficial muscles, they do not have any huge muscle imbalances, and they don’t have a huge protruding “six-pack,” but rather a very full stomach. This goes to show that you don’t need to look like this…imgres-4

to preform like this…(Matt Anderson of the USA on the left)

url-3

Unfortunately for some time now, the barometer of fitness has been someone’s “six-pack” or, rectus abdominus. Having this huge muscular imbalance in your core does not help you stabilize your torso as you move your extremities. Instead of this one muscle doing all the work, the work should be distributed throughout all your core muscles. These include, rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominus, quadtratus lumborum, diaphragm, and pelvic floor. Those are the muscles that make up your core, not just your “six-pack” muscles. They help stabilize your center of mass so your extremities can move you efficiently. After reading this, have your answers to my three questions changed?

 

Here are the faces of the two tennis players…Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 8.41.27 PM

Did anyone guess correctly? For anyone who doesn’t know who these two are, it’s Rodger Federer (L) and Rafael Nadal (R)

 

Current ESPN rankings have Federer at #2 and Nadal at #5 in the world. Yes, Nadal is still very highly ranked, but he is also currently injured and thinking about pulling out of the next two tournaments?because of this injury. All that muscle imbalance is keeping him him from moving optimally. No matter how talented of a tennis player he may be, if he can’t stay healthy he won’t ever be able to play. Our bodies will do whatever we want them to do as long as we do it correctly. No one sport or activity is inherently bad, but if athletes?repeatedly?move and train incorrectly, injury is in their future.

 

Recently I was talking with a friend about Robert Griffin III’s knee injury after seeing this photo…528024_495215163857898_2032052309_n

Now, it doesn’t take an expert to see that something has is not right in this picture. I told my friend that RG3’s second ACL tear was due to his improper movement mechanics, and lack of hip stability. He rebutted with, “but I saw him squat like, 600 lbs on YouTube.” All that squat strength means nothing if he can’t move his own body correctly.

Train Smarter to Play Harder

Please post any comments or questions!

Austin Einhorn, CSCS

-Volleyball skills & conditioning specialist.

Contact for an appointment: austineinhorn16@gmail.com

 

Back setting and your muscles!

 

As a middle, I depend on where, and how the setter jumps during a set more than any other player on the court. A few times throughout my years of playing, the setter has flown forward and taken out my legs underneath me. It is quite terrifying and painful. Ever since those incidents I would always have more caution with setters that would throw their hips forward when they neglected to set me and back set (always set your middles :-)).

Has this ever happened to you as a setter or middle? Have you seen it happen? Most of the time this happens because peoples abdominals are overpowered by their lack of shoulder mobility. How do you know if you are lacking abdominal strength or shoulder mobility?

Here’s a quick test:

  1. Sit or stand with good posture and your arms straight out in front of you.
  2. Have your palms facing up.
  3. Now, keeping your palms facing the same direction bring your hands as high overhead as possible.
Did your back arch? Did you ribs come up? If so then either your Latissimus Dorsi is too stiff/short, and/or you’re lacking abdominal stability.

 

This back extension happens due to lack of shoulder mobility. One of the many muscles that plays a role in this lack of mobility is the Latissimus Dorsi (Lat). Your Lat originates in your low spine and attaches on the inside of your upper arm. This muscle is stretched when your arm is at a high degree of overhead flexion and slightly externally rotated. If you increase this stretch without adequate length and mobility of the muscle, it will pull your spine along for the ride. This is one of many factors of the shoulder that create this arched back position.

 

 

Now onto why it is important…

 

Think about your core as the frame of a bike. When you pedal on a mountain bike with lots of suspension there are many energy leaks and thus a less powerful stroke each revolution. However if you are on a sturdy road bike, each pedal has a much greater transfer of energy to propelling you forward. When your back is arched, your core resembles the mountain bike and is effectively “off.” It now is not in a position where it can work optimally or support your extremities. Thus causing you to lose the stable foundation from which your limbs will generate force. This movement pattern deficiency increases the difficulty of an already difficult backset. Ideally, your core would be strong enough to keep your abdominal muscles properly positioned as your shoulder blades upwardly rotate and shift inferiorly (down).

 

 

 

This dysfunctional movement pattern causes some major issues:

 

  • Lack of mobility in the Lat and other shoulder muscles overpowers your core, which causes you to lose a ton of potential energy

 

  • Middles (that are on time) are at risk

 

  • The offense is much easier to read from the other side of the net

 

Check out Lloy Ball, possibly one of the best setters to play the sport.

(First picture is before the ball has made contact with his hands. The second picture is immediately after)

Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 8.57.58 PMScreen Shot 2013-01-13 at 8.59.15 PM

We see very little arching of the back. His ribs are still congruent with his abdominal wall, telling me his core is “on.” This gives his arms have a sufficient foundation to generate force from. This foundation is especially important since he is in the air and there is no ground to push back against him.

 

Take home message: Fix your shoulder mobility/abdominal stability and improve your back set.

 

Train smarter to play harder

Please comment!

Austin Einhorn, CSCS

-Volleyball skills and conditioning specialist

-Contact for an appointment: austineinhorn16@gmail.com

The Recipe to Win (Part 2)

For the past couple of years the FIVB has analyzed nearly every major volleyball competition in the world and created video compilations of each tournament. While browsing this amazing archive of volleyball clips, I noticed the length of the long rallies, especially with the men. The longest rally team USA had in the 2008 Olympics was only 16 seconds! The women averaged around 20 seconds. This realization led me to think about our body’s energy systems.

 

Here’s a “long rally” video for those who want to watch: http://www.fivb.org/EN/Technical/WorldChampionships/Men/2010/Video/WCH2010Men_USA_LR_Hi.wmv

Now, check out this table about energy systems in regards to training.

 

While I watched more professional and collegiate volleyball I saw that most plays are 5-8 seconds with 20-30 seconds of rest. The rest is even longer for players not involved on the preceding play. Based on looking at the table, what energy systems do we use primarily? (Ignore the color and size bias I threw into the table :-))

 

We have established that volleyball is a phosphagen sport, while occasionally dabbling with fast glycolysis.

 

Let’s apply this knowledge to training. Often times people are not training the right energy system for their sport. It is illogical for an olympic weight lifter to train by running 2 miles. While training should vary depending on the proximity to the competition period, the energy demands of volleyball will not change and should always be kept in mind.

 

Often times when working in the phosphagen energy cycle, like in a volleyball game, the athlete is not experiencing the grueling pain of lactic acid build up that would normally occur in long intense activities. This brings me back to last week’s post – volleyball players don’t have to work so hard that they collapse on the floor after each in-practice punishment or training session. Even if you train with such intensity that you can’t walk the next day, it won’t necessarily translate into success on the court. Training must be methodical and purposeful.

What energy systems are you training in?

Comments and questions are encouraged!

Train smarter to play harder

 

Austin Einhorn, CSCS

-Volleyball skills & conditioning specialist.

Contact for an appointment:austineinhorn16@gmail.com

The Recipe To Win (Part 1)

PSPVB Final Blog Photo

I have seen a plethora of motivational videos, but only a couple stand out. It’s always clips of people some how pushing their bodies beyond their limits to achieve success. Recently someone showed me this video. It is one of the best inspirational videos have ever seen. I’ve heard this speech before, but never paired with these clips and music. After watching it I wanted to fight a bear, climb a mountain, hurl a car, workout harder than ever and go play volleyball in Europe again.

 

The more I thought about the message that’s being sent, the more I realized there was something missing from the video. The missing link was the quality of training. Imagine preforming optimal, scientifically proven training methods with this kind of attitude. The chance at failing becomes minuscule!

 

Pair this incredible motivation, with sport specific movement pattern training and that’s how you win. There are over 650 muscles in the body, and they are ALL used in conjunction to move you. Training individual muscle groups is like “taking a shoebox full of words and letters, slinging it at a wall and hope a dictionary will appear,” says master strength and conditioning coach, Gray Cook. We must train muscle patterns, and we must train for our sport of volleyball. Do we run in volleyball? Not really. We sprint very short distances using only 1 of 3 energy systems in our body, but that’s a topic for a post in the future.

 

Hard work is only half of the equation. You must work hard AND work smart. You can study any subject for a science test, but only if you study science will you do well on a science test. Just because you studied, does not guarantee success on the test. Same concept applies with sport.

 

I’m not saying people shouldn’t work hard, but the hardcore, sleep when your dead, type attitude should be adopted during competition. You need to earn the skill and body control to keep the quality of movement high BEFORE you start increasing work threshold.

 

Train smarter to play harder

 

Please comment!

Austin Einhorn, CSCS

-Volleyball skills & conditioning specialist

Contact for an appointment: austineinhorn16@gmail.com

 

Runners, STOP only treating your symtoms and start treating the CAUSE!!!

Dan Pfaff, arguably one of the greatest track and field coaches of our time, eloquently uses an analogy to describe his approach to treating the cause of pain in his athletes.

“One of the analogies I use to describe my approach to sports medicine is that joints are pulleys; connective tissue (muscle, tendons, ligaments) are ropes; and this pulley system is driven by a computer. To achieve high performance you have to do correct therapy to rehab and prehab the ropes so they do not fray. You have to ensure the pulleys are clean so that everything can slide efficiently and then you have to clean up any viruses in the computer program to remove guarding or dysfunctional movement patterns. If you get away from that trinity you are doomed to failure.”

Plantar fasciitis, stress reactions, achilles tendinopathy, anterior knee pain, ITB syndrome, low back pain, are great examples of types of pathology that runners commonly deal with. Runners, it is important to understand that those areas of pain are symptoms. Nothing ever happens in isolation during human locomotion, therefore, find the dysfunctional link(s) in the chain and treat the cause of your pain. Those causes vary rarely occur at the actual site of your pain/pathology.

Running is a complex pattern of movements that continually needs addressing to ensure optimal efficency. If you are only treating the site of pain your can guarantee, sooner than later, you will be on the sideline always looking for relief. Healing from injury and running injury free is a process, learn from it, be proactive, and do not look for the quick fixes.

 

 

Jeff Moreno, DPT, OCS

Precision Running Clinic

Running Performance Clinic at the Precision Wellness Center

 

I am proud to introduce the Running Performance Clinic at the Precision Wellness Center on the campus of Cabrillo College. The Running Performance Clinic is dedicated to providing an athlete-centered environment for runners that can efficiently enhance the movement system and bridge the gap between rehabilitation and performance.

The Precision Running Programs are aimed at uncovering the specific asymmetries in your running pattern. Whether you are in pain or not, asymmetries lead to inefficiencies and repeated abnormal movement patterns, which ultimately create tissue damage and pain. If left unaddressed running may no longer be an option for you. The identification of these asymmetries allows for the prescription of a precise corrective exercise program to remedy your specific imbalances and inefficiencies ultimately allowing for skilled running and uninterrupted training.

The entire program is based on peer reviewed research and clinical expertise that deals specifically with the skill of running and injury prevention.

My objective is to develop and deliver the best rehabilitation to performance programs that are specific to the patient’s/client’s goals. My desire is to promote running as a healthy lifestyle, and bring that lifestyle to the community, the Central Coast, California’s youth, and nationally.

Check out the link (http://www.facebook.com/pwccabrillo) to a video of the Precision Wellness Center.

Enjoy the Process!!

Jeff Moreno, DPT, OCS

Precision Sports Performance

 

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