Day 1 featured two keynote presentations and three track options so I decided to see Sean Skahan (NHL), Jose Fernandez (EPL Consultant), and Art Horne’s presentation. Bill Knowles and Craig Presented in the morning and both provided some great information. Before I get into the three tracks I will share my thoughts on presentations in general. I don’t like the presentation zen style of talking about stories with a stock photo and key word. I know this is trendy but I am not interested in vague concepts. I also don’t like slides that look like microsoft word documents or copy and paste jobs. Reading off of slides treats professionals like little kids getting tucked in at night while daddy or mommy reads a story. We can read, just share what you do.

Presenting information isn’t easy. I am not very good at that but I do have taste one who is good and who is just doing a secret informercial for themselves and their friends. Right now BSMPG in my opinion provides the best information in the Northeast, because it’s growing and the reputation is top notch. I will comment on Craig and Bill later as some discussion on EMS, hydrotherapy, and what truly works with spine care was talked about during dinner and other social options. Right now I will review the track presenters.

Sean Skahan- Sean is a good dude and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what he does as he just shares. He is rather blue collar and bread and butter without any guru stuff like outlandish claims or hidden agendas. I wish he talked more about vertical testing and what he sees with his players since power development is very critical now as coaches are wanting evidence to say that they are doing something unique or adequate, or that we should start second guessing things that seem too good to be true.

Several NHL strength coaches share that they don’t have athletes use weight room cards and that was hard for me to swallow. When I was interning in college printing cards for two teams was a responsibility for me and one team was professional baseball. I don’t know how one can assign loading or individual training if no way to leverage plans are shared. Without some breadcrumbs how do we know what is truly working? One attendee asked about monitoring the players and the response was observation of subjective fatigue was shared, showing the challenges of the NHL. I see whiteboards, iPads, cards, and digital projectors now and I am still a paper and pen guy for college teams. We are about 5-8 years from truly being paperless, and my experience helping one team doing this showed it’s expensive and valuable accountability was lost when they wanted to remove the burden of writing it down. While the paperless solution worked, the athletes lost their ability to communicate, even if they were able to tweet opinions on politics.

I am not a huge fan of Kettle bells and I have used them only a few times because they are just options, not essentials. I was not convinced to do TGU for athletes but perhaps they are great for older people trying to be more functional. I don’t do swings because the loads and velocities are far less than olympic lifts, but I may try using them for more pressing. The Goblet squat of going elbows to knees was awesome, a more realistic goal than butt to calves in back squatting. Dan John has some nice cues and options, but at the end of the day we need to get more conceptual methods from a wider range of people. I would consider KB goblet squats warm-up and not primary lifting. Again we need to start looking at seeing how much the game and various lifting routines work with preserving or improving power. Sean mentioned that he sees the fastest guy not doing any olympic lifts, but one idea would be to see why other guys are slower? If one doesn’t have the talent should an acceptance of wait for free agents or draft be the motto in pro sports? I don’t have skin in the game really as I am not a team coach so I can’t answer this.

Any time Sean speaks I feel I am getting honest information and an open look to what he does. I love his sense of humor and he being a Quincy guy makes me think he was one of the extras from the move The Town. Next time I would love more slides on weekly, monthly, and seasonal set-ups. I am very visual and need to see days, weeks, and months to see a time line of what is going on. I don’t know too much about hockey, but I think Sean offers some nice information that all can benefit from.

Jose Fernandez– I met Jose for the first time at BSMPG but have followed him on linkedin before getting off social networking and twitter all together. He is very holistic and I love a balanced sport science approach to training and recovery. While TMG is his specialty, he monitors a lot of other important variables. His presentation was excellent as it went int discussions nobody wanted to talk about, such as what really works.

Highlights of the presentation was how he uses TMG (Tensiomyography) with athletes. It was interested to see who was in attendance, as I saw a wide range of professionals in both medical and performance. The TMG system is unique that it’s both a methodology and a brand, sort of a current monopoly. The TMG system can evaluate each muscle for function, and currently UK Athletics is using it to determine therapy and injury protocols. What was interesting is that many teams in the EPL are taking advantage of this information, and the question who in the US is going to fire the first shot.

Another interesting aspect of his presentation was measuring coordination. It would be great to see how some of the functional training people would like to be evaluated with TMG to see if what they are doing is truly working. Does a specific exercises help strength but doesn’t link it coordination wise? Does it transfer? What about therapy and other methods?

I think Jose is a great presenter and he was good for the US market to see the big picture and ask the right questions. Anyone getting TMG will help the revolution in getting good data. The secret will be the users finding quick little tricks to use it without creating a time log jam. I think baseline testing of the team is wise, followed by an integrated approach of comparing other data sets.

Art Horne and Dr. Pete- I thought Art’s mini case study was a game changer. It combined technology,therapy best practices, screening, and of course moneyball concepts. He spoke on foot mechanics and therapy in a very complete presentation with Tekscan, Optogait, and manual therapy methods. One common corrective exercise method for getting ankle mobility was the wall knee drives. Art question the ROI (return on investment) of spending time trying to get the ankle mobility with this technique. I am not a fan because when I asked about this two years ago, one therapist got angry as I requested dorsiflexion data and things got nasty. I felt it was an ok option but who was actually measuring dorsiflexion correctly?

Art showed that manual therapy could objectively make change to pressure mapping scores and force time graphs with the intervention. The question I have is what about 6-8 players that have been in the NBA and play a very dense schedule? I have seen many teams use outsourced therapists with very good or similar methods not repeat the results because fibrotic tissue and other challenges like very beat up ankles cause barriers that conventional tissue work simply can’t fix. Still it was a landmark study that covered great research and tried to tackle something we are all trying to do, increase ankle mobility with ways that are realistic in team environments.

Next year I would like to see the Men’s basketball program at Northeastern be able to support changes over the season without having an outsourced professional. I would like to see more individualized prescriptions or blanket options for comparison. The more we dig deeper on one subject the more likely we are going to crack the code. Again kudos to Art for such as great investigation.

Next entry will be Day 2, and how Boo stole the show!

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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