A private meeting was in the Concord and Lexington area, purposely located to symbolize the future of what is happening in Boston. I predict that more private style workshops such as the one hosted by Ricardo will be the future. Flying halfway around the world needs to be more than just visiting a professional team and doing a keynote, the bar is raised as hotel and airports are not enough to make sure speakers are happy. Speakers want to learn and network as well, as they need to be aware of what is going on or find themselves seated watching the new blood like some are doing now. With several conferences fading and some extinct (Remember when SWIS was huge?) the disruption is keeping the speakers enticed, the attendees happy, and the vendors satisfied. Of course the people behind the conference such as Art Horne need to be thanked beyond he handshake and blog nods, as he is the one driving this and his hard work is appreciated.
Two presentations (Keynote) were Saturday morning and both were excellent. Keynotes are important as they are presentations everyone should watch because they are that universal and valuable. This year was more data driven and Fergus Connolly presented on High Performance. Anticipating the future and being cutting edge Art Horne reached out to Fergus, likely because of the Leaders in Performance credibility. I pleaded to share more examples of solutions by his work. For example, after practice share what the decision trees after practice for Rugby with regards to lifting and workout design and medical integration per day. Just three athletes with post game to pre game during a week would have been a game changer. Fergus made the right choice and gave principles to get people exposed to High Performance management, as skipping that step is good for 5% of the audience but the majority must be educated and exposed to new concepts. I was trying to take pictures of his dashboard and photos of moneyball for this blog, but the ken burns effect made the dashboard flash a moving target. I felt like I was getting hypnotized from the animation and needed to get some fresh air. Fergus did a fine job sharing his impressions of what was necessary, and his breakout session was more open for questions.
Stu and the battle of Waterloo was awesome. I will be using unholy like a bizzaro Robin as Dr. McGill always does a nice job. Three huge points of contention were brought up. One, the issue with FMS and prediction of injury or similar. I know I have been hard on the FMS but honestly I do a similar set of screens for mobility as part of my assessment. Still, some don’t want to talk about how effective it is. I like Gray Cook but now we are starting to get a little revisionist history. The great thing about conferences is when they video people’s beliefs, tough to delete it unless they are burning the tapes. We have a problem with DYI Drones in the NFL spying during practice! These guys are so smart they are not buying them but building them just in case they crash! Back to Stu. He brought up points that I stated about single leg exercises and FMS screens and he is going to debate Gray Cook at Stanford. Like a rap battle, I expect a few one liners and some awesome research by Stu. I think Gray Cook needs to rethink the research beyond the Rob Butler stuff because most of the research doesn’t zero in. Stu warned about hyper loading the single leg exercises with spine and pelvic strain. He also warned about thoracic mobility exercises and showed an alternative. Now another point I wanted to address to Stu was his use of GSP to validate core and the use of the pulse. If you look at the slide it’s too fuzzy to see the EMG rate but anyone doing a ballistic Kettlebell swing takes just as long as an olympic lift. I love how Stu says anytime he hears a statement he goes to the lab to find out. Marco showed this on EMG (not saying it’s only the cardinal sign) but I think we need like Fergus said more field tests with equipment and services. With Tekscan, Dartfish, Noraxon, Normatec, Surgicare, InsideTracker, and other vendors being at BSMPG, those tools and services can get people thinking about validation. Sport Science is not about ivory towers, it starts with one’s program.
My point is that Stu needs to realize the influences of different coaches and how they train athletes and share that with the audience. If GSP has unholy abilities to relax and win, how did he get that? For example pulse rates from sprinting are 4.5 per second, talk about relaxation rates. Stu should look at sprinters and see what general overclocking one can get from just raw sprints, even submaximal. GSP was trained for years with Jon from Adrenaline performance and seeing first hand training, one has to think do athletes get great pulse scores from pulse exercises or does a global program full of sound training create great cores? With the helicopter swings being both an exercise and test, will he look into the other aspects of the training to see how he got there. To say he got better from planks and chops is not the right history. Jon is one of the most humble and open people and brought an array of people to share and learn from. I still wanted Stu to talk about how the core may be silent right in some areas before footstrike as no core training can deal with valgus collapse of the knee because of his foot structure. One can see this in the video here and notice the collapse at the knees. I am not saying this was the cause of the ACL as it could have been contact based and not all injuries are preventable, but we have talked about valgus collapse for years and years and we still see it coming out everywhere. Cues don’t fix this and clamshells are not doing the trick. Think feet. Randy Huntington was thinking the same and he was leapfrogging everyone with regards to biological materials with elastic properties as well. I suggest watching million dollar baby and not skip ahead.
The next two presentations were small breakout with Bob Alejo and Fergus Connolly. Bob was one of my favorite speakers because he did the following three things brilliantly. Gave a brief history. Shared what he did. Explained how he came to his conclusions. I felt I was back in the 1990s when strength coaches in college just shared programs and why they did things. Now it’s definitions with research citations and that is ok, but we need to see how you cook not how others cook. I loved how he shared and recalled different information and it was good to see young coaches in the audience see history and appreciate what people were doing. Fergus presented and it was interesting to see who was in attendance. For example one coach was a private consultant that works with EPL players. When I brought up some players were being serviced I was poorly communicating the fact that many teams don’t lift besides BOSU and some athletes use their own experts. Like the NBA private coaches exist in the EPL. I figured Fergus would talk about the unkown unknowns given his lecture, but I was trying to say too much because I respected his time and the people in front of him, but if one doesn’t trust the athletes away from the facility how do you trust subjective indicators during the times you are with them? Also I do think you need to be radical in beliefs to change elite soccer as nobody wants to get people hurt lifting and so what happens nobody lifts, so all the attention is dashboards and monitoring the games but the problems are obvious. Nobody is lifting or training. The problem with pro sport it’s about entertainment and now track is getting the same issues with meets in Asia and Middle east. Travel is making impairments in preparation and you can’t do that at 30,000 feet. Maybe teams will get super jumbo jets and have athletes train inside the planes in 2015? I smell it brewing after seeing a blueprint influenced by one consultant. One other factor of discussion was medical data being the hardest to collect and display. Fergus believes that the US does the best job here. If that is true we are in trouble! I was very happy Fergus presented in Boston and it was much overdue.
I am excited what BMSPG is going to do next year. I hope a few changes can be made to accelerate even more learning. Thanks to everyone involved and see you in 2014.