Home Posts tagged "Greg Rose"

Random Thoughts on Sports Performance Training: Installment 38

I'm going to try to get back on track for one installment of this long-running series each month. This month, it's a speed/agility theme, as it's fresh on my mind with this week's $200 off sale on Lee Taft's awesome Certified Speed and Agility Coach certification. Let's get to it.

1. I'm not sure I really like sled sprinting for making most athletes faster.

I'll probably take some heat for this, but hear me out.

Research has shown that running with sled resistance can help athletes run faster. If you search for "resisted sprinting sled" at Pubmed, you'll get 63 results - most of which show a beneficial effect. You know what most of them will also show? A bunch of study subjects who really haven't done a whole lot of strength training. It seems like 2/3 of these studies are in:

a) professional soccer players, who we all know LOOOOOVEEE the weight room (that was sarcasm, for those who aren't picking it up)

or

b) high school soccer players, who are even weaker than the pro soccer players who hate lifting (and don't have much training experience)

My feeling is that anytime you take athletes who are either a) really weak or b) hard-wired to the absolute speed end of the continuum (or both) and shift them toward the absolute strength side of things (even if it's not all the way), you'll see benefit.

Here's where things take a twist. In the real world, resisted sled work actually gets integrated in two ways:

a) coaches who don't have a lot of equipment or an actual facility look for ways to challenge strength a bit more outside at a field. So, it's a little load for athletes that probably need a lot of load (absolute strength) to thrive.

b) coaches/athletes who are infatuated with lifting heavy stuff and don't know how to program/coach sprint/agility work very well use sleds as a way to try to convince themselves they're actually making getting faster a priority. The loads are typically far too heavy to move the weight fast and challenge elastic qualities to a great degree. As such, it's not enough of a shift to the absolute speed end of the continuum to give them optimal benefit.

If you dig in on the research enough, you'll see this. This 2020 study demonstrated greater benefits over 8 weeks of training with 40% of body weight as loading than with 80% of body weight (the latter group actually got slower). Another 2020 study of rugby players found that "80% BM [body mass] induced significantly higher hip flexion, lower knee flexion, and higher ankle dorsiflexion than 20% BM condition at 5-10 and 10-20 m distances (p < 0.05). Lighter sled loads (<40% BM) seem to be more adequate to improve speed ability without provoking drastic changes in the unloaded sprinting technique, whereas heavier loads may be more suitable for optimizing horizontal force production and thus, acceleration performance."

You know who already typically have great acceleration scores? Strong people. They can muscle their way through the first portion of movement and get away with just dabbling in the long (or slow) stretch shortening cycle (>250ms ground contact time) before they get exposed in the short (or fast) stretch-shortening cycle (<250ms ground contact time). Sprinting (and its derivatives) should be short/fast SSC initiatives.

In short, I really don't think sled work makes people faster if they're already doing a lot of strength training work. And, I'm not sure I buy that it's the most efficient way to teach acceleration mechanics. If you're going to use it in conjunction with a comprehensive strength training program, make sure the load of the sled is really light.

And, if you're planning to load it up more, it'll probably work best in scenarios of naturally elastic athletes who don't have a huge foundation of strength. It's probably good for limited equipment scenarios, but be cautious of how much you integrate because it may actually negative impact sprinting mechanics.

Now, feel free to argue on Twitter if you want to disagree with me.

2. Just coaching a directional step doesn't necessarily improve speed; you have to coach the other leg, too.

In a 2017 study, Tomohisa et al. found that the jab step (also known as the directional step) is superior for base stealing. No surprise there; it's what the overwhelming majority of successful baserunners do at the pro and college levels. However, what I think this study did do a great job of is discussing why the jab step is superior to the crossover step, thanks to both a motion capture system and two force platforms:

"The results showed that the normalised average forward external power, the average forward-backward force exerted by the left leg, and the forward velocities of the whole body centre of gravity generated by both legs and the left leg were significantly higher for the JS start than for the CS start. Moreover, the positive work done by hip extension during the left leg push-off was two-times greater for the JS start than the CS start."

Boiled down to simpler terms, while the right leg gets a ton of attention for it setting up acceleration via a) creating a positive shin and b) mechanically repositioning the center of mass outside the base of support, the truth is that we should be talking about how the left leg is doing the lion's share of the work. Doubling your hip extension is a HUGE deal, as you're gaining ground without having to reach with the front leg (which could set you up for negative shin angles on subsequent steps).

That said, it still has to be coached; just coaching the right leg doesn't get the job done. You have to teach them to feel the left leg push-off. I like telling the athlete to "push the ground away" on the trailing leg, and have also seen some benefit by standing between 1st and 2nd base and having the athlete isometrically against me to get a feel for what the back hip/leg should be doing.

3. Playing multiple sports is great not only for exposure to a wide variety of movement patterns, but also because of the high volume of variable plyometric activity involved.

Playing multiple sports builds better long-term athletes in large part because they're exposed to rich proprioceptive environments that enable them to develop motor strategies for dealing with any challenge sports or life may throw at them. If you build a big foundation of general athletic proficiency, you're more likely to be successful when the time comes to stack specific athletic proficiencies on top of that base. However, there's likely another benefit: volume.

I recall reading years ago that the average midfielder makes 2,200 changes of direction in a soccer match. That's a ton of work - and no two cuts are like one another. I'm sure you can find similar crazy statistics with basketball, tennis, football, and a host of other activities. It's so hard to find that "varied" volume in any other way - and it's particularly advantageous that many of these activities take place during childhood growth spurts, when it's super advantageous to train power (great stuff from Dr. Greg Rose on this in this previous podcast), because long bone growth has outpaced the ability of muscles/tendons to keep up. As such, you get springy athletes!

I've often said that it's easier to make a fast guy strong than it is to make a strong guy fast. One reason for this is that it's not hard to build strength with a limited volume of work in the weight room. However, it's incredibly hard to build elasticity without a ton of reps. And, if I get a baseball-only kid at age 16 who hasn't played multiple sports, I've got an uphill battle to chase elasticity - both of the tendons and fascial system - without hurting him.

So, take my word for it: early specialization is a bad idea - and we're discovering more and more reasons why that's the case with each passing day.

One Final Note: If you're looking to learn more about Lee's approach to programming and coaching speed and agility work, I highly recommend his Certified Speed and Agility Coach course. The information is top notch, and it's on sale for $200 off through Sunday. This resource is mandatory viewing for all our staff members, and it was actually filmed at Cressey Sports Performance - MA. You can learn more HERE

 

 

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The Best of 2020: Podcasts

We launched the Elite Baseball Development Podcast in 2019, but 2020 was the first full year we had it available. In all, we released 41 episodes in 2020 - and I learned a ton from some great guests. That said, here are our top five episodes from the year:

1. Optimizing Rotational Power with Dr. Greg Rose - Greg talks about evaluating and training rotational power across multiple sports. We also delve into programming and coaching strategies, and long-term athletic development in different athletic populations.

2. Mobility Methods with Dana Santas - Dana speaks about how to fine-tune methods of improving mobility. She also highlights common mistakes baseball players make when implementing yoga.

3. Helping Hitters to Higher Ground with Doug Latta - Doug contributes some great thoughts on hitting set-up, mechanics, and approach.

4. Speed Training in Baseball with Lee Taft - Lee discusses baseball movement competencies and how to coach them. CSP-MA Director of Performance John O'Neil takes the lead as a guest host.

5. Tackling Controversial Throwing Topics with Mike Reinold - In this episode, Mike and I take on two controversial topics in the world of managing throwers: the sleeper stretch and weighted baseballs. Mike and I collaborate to discuss whether they belong in your training and rehabilitation programs, and if so, how?

We're back to the regular EricCressey.com content this upcoming week. Thanks for all your support in 2020! We've got some great stuff planned for 2021.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Optimizing Rotational Power with Dr. Greg Rose

We're excited to welcome Dr. Greg Rose to this week's podcast to talk about evaluating and training rotational power across multiple sports. A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 10-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • How Greg’s professional journey began as a young, aspiring engineer and how becoming involved in the world of golf persuaded him to leave engineering and become a doctor of chiropractic
  • How Greg became involved with Titleist and, in turn, the Titleist Performamce Institute
  • How Greg led the way for the incorporation of motion capture technology with athletes
  • How TPI has evolved to include other sport specific coaching tools like OnBaseU
  • How Greg’s interaction with Tom House evolved into a more comprehensive interaction with a variety of rotational athletes
  • What it really means to move efficiently as a rotational athlete
  • Why individuals need to be careful when analyzing movement from single still shot photo or snapshot of data and how professionals can apply a systematic approach for understanding and improving movement
  • How coaches can utilize all the tools in their toolbox to understand the what, how, and why a person moves a certain way
  • How collecting data should drive intervention rather than just being descriptive
  • How coaches can influence the learning experience for their athletes and how strategies like external vs internal coaching ques and random and blocked practice influence how an individual learns
  • What research says about the impact of external and internal coaching ques on performance and how coaches can better understand when to use each of these strategies with an athlete
  • How does considering a sport’s window to excel allow coaches to better prepare athletes for success
  • How to approach long term athletic development, with particular focus on critical windows for developing certain qualities
  • Why talent identification can’t be truly trusted until after a child’s growth spurt and how being a early or late bloomer influences an athletes athletic development
  • How Greg conceptualizes developing rotational skills with young athletes
  • What books anyone in the rotational sport world should read
  • You can follow Dr. Rose on Twitter at @OnBaseU and on Instagram at @OnBaseU.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 10 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

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Sports Rehab to Sports Performance 2010

Just wanted to give you all a heads-up that Joe Heiler is following up last year's successful Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Teleseminar with a 2010 installment.  I'm thrilled to be one part of an incredible lineup: Gray Cook Shirley Sahrmann Robert Panariello Stuart McGill (bonus interview with Chris Poirier from Perform Better) Craig Liebenson Clare Frank Mike Reinold Greg Rose Mike Boyle Gary Gray (and Eric Cressey) In all, it will be nine awesome interviews. The teleseminar series will begin on January 27th and Joe will play one interview per week (Wednesday nights at 8 pm).  If you can't catch them that night, don't worry; he'll be putting them up on his site for another 48 hours. For more information, check out the Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Sign-up Page.
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