Too often, a “new” training or exercise method will emerge, and everyone will get in the cart and quickly incorporate exercise or change into the training method. This in my experience has been found to be prevalent at Grassroots and Amateur sport.

The attitude is, if this and the other is what the world record holder does, it must be good and therefore I will copy it. This is known as monkey sees, monkey do

The use of chains in weight training, using Ladders to improve agility are two examples that comes to mind. They are viable tools if they fit in. Before we incorporate something, we need to see how it is inscribed in the context of what is already being done and we need to carefully evaluate the context in which it was successful.

However, we must always keep an open mind and incorporate sensible innovations where appropriate.

Context is a key element of an S&C system. The context establishes the nature of the relationship of the various components of training within the system. What we do today in training must fit with what we did yesterday and should flow into what we are going to do tomorrow. Bringing something alien that is not proven or shown to be effective undermines the system.

The same is true for training components particularly in contact sports. Perhaps the biggest violation of the context principle is taking one of the components, for example, speed or strength training it to the exclusion of all other physical qualities. This is flawed. It is possible to design a program where a component is emphasized during one phase, but they must be taken into proportion to the other components and placed in the context of the total training plan.

If the context principle is not observed, then the training components will be disproportionate, and adaptation will not occur at the intended level. The best way to keep everything in context is to plan well and stick to the plan, explain to the athletes how does it work so they can buy into the Planning.


How important is planning? Not planning is planning failure. So obviously I think it is important, but I have some questions about the concept of periodization that acquires popular acceptance. Where does it come from that focus on planning should be, long-term or short-term? I have concluded that the focus should be on short-term detailed planning, the real micro cycle, and the training session. I have found in recent years that the Meso Cycle plan demands constant adjustment particularly at levels other than elite.

Personally I used to put too many details into the plan and in the long run had to cut back or changing it anyway. The other aspect of planning that should require attention is planning the interaction between all components of the training. Is everything in context or is there something unexpected?

Ironically, some of the most productive training sessions I have had as a coach have come when I threw away the plan and followed my instincts because of unexpected variables. There are no secret programs or shortcuts to athletic excellence. Great training programs focus on fundamentals and build on the basics

Periodization is an art, moving forward and making more meaningful planning will require a major paradigm shift. Periodization in S & C follows in its current format follows linear reductionism (it’s the science that involves breaking things down into their smallest possible parts.), which has brought us to this point, but which prevents us from moving forward into the future.

Adaptive approach

Advances in Sports Science and coaching methodologies in the last 25 years has come in leaps and bounds, logically, this led us to an Adaptive approach to training planning (i.e., best optimal performance) The adaptive approach focuses on relationships and connections.

This framework integrates performance indicators such as training load measures, physiological constraints, and behaviour-change features like goal setting and self-monitoring. It provides a training plan, being adopted by the athlete, and its goal adapts to the athlete’s behaviour.  The framework for this adaptive approach is to have it personalized for athletes.

Adaptive Approach is to take advantage of these constantly changing connections and relationships. The one thing to avoid is overtraining, staleness, failure to develop transferable skills, psychological (e.g., decreased enjoyment, sense of failure) and social (e.g., limited social opportunities) particularly in young athletes or people just wanting to enjoy the sport.

(In terms of unpaid athletes, unplanned conditions such as overtime jobs, family issues and illness may intervene in the athlete’s plan. Reorganization of the training plan may be needed to cover these unpredictable issues to maintain or raise athlete’s performance as much as possible in the remaining time until competition day.)

The use of this training approach literally becomes a dance of discovery. It requires the coach to participate more actively in the follow-up of all aspects of the training. This is a significant deviation from focusing on the training parts (components) and goal setting also it assumes that the training parts will meet in a kind of reasonable useful set to work with.

The plan should constantly seek critical relationships that will allow the body to adapt to the stress of training. The body is a fully integrated system, to optimize the performance of this system you must have an approach to the planning and execution of training.


The Gambetta Method (2nd edition): Common Sense Training for Athletic Performance – Authors                James Radcliffe and Vern Gambetta

Science Articles:

A Conceptual Framework for the Generation of Adaptive Training Plans in Sports Coaching | SpringerLink

Planning a sports training program using Adaptive Particle Swarm Optimization with emphasis on physiological constraints | BMC Research Notes | Full Text (

Suicidal thoughts (ideation) among elite athletics (track and field) athletes:

This is an original research paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine first published in 2020.

A sobering paper on the current issues of suicide thoughts among Elite athletes, reading this paper it is also applicable to the lower tiers of sport including Amateur on Male and Female players in all sports where issues of suicide go unreported, National Bodies must take action.

The paper examined associations between suicidal ideation and sexual and physical abuse among active and recently retired elite athletics (track and field) in Sweden.
For the full paper click on the link :

Suicidal thoughts (ideation) among elite athletics (track and field) athletes: associations with sports participation, psychological resourcefulness and having been a victim of sexual and/or physical abuse



Recently I have been reading interviews of players mentioning the 4D’s of success. I have been researching the subject and how the four Ds served as a motivational tool for players.

No matter the level of play, (amateur, semi-professional or professional), age, sex, role within the team (coach, player, manager), or you are on or off the pitch; If you want to be successful, either as an individual or as part of a team, it is important to keep these four principles in mind. Some studies have shown that those players who are successful in their personal life (family, studies, businesses) are also successful on the playing field.

The four Ds must exist together, if any are faulty it will not be possible to be successful. The four Ds as I see them are: Desire – Drive – Dedication – Discipline

 Desires: These are the dreams, goals or goals we all have, have you ever thought about what yours are? Do you really want to catch up with them? Yes! Anything is possible, “wanting is power”. There are no impossible. Desire to be the best, to win, to have success. How strong is your desire?

Drive: You have made the decision to make it possible, to make “something” happen. Never give up, you deserve the best. Visualize, think, feel, act positively Always move forward looking to achieve your goals, such as get 3 more reps; to force yourself during your training and not back down. That is Drive – no easy roads.

Dedication:  Stay true to yourself and your goals. Do not be dissuaded by “friends” and “concerned family members” who want to distract you, getting what you want takes time and effort. Practice will make it possible for you to get better. So, try again and again until you make it.

Discipline:  The last on the list is the most important.  This is the element that joins the previous three. It is the “internal force” that we all have and that pushes us to continue, continue to try, not to give up and not to lose sight of the ultimate goal.

To be successful is to achieve the goals, to achieve this you must have desires, drive, dedication and discipline. The four Ds of success.


The 4 Ds To Achieve Success: Desire, Determination, Dedication And Discipline ( – Afia Altaf

Article: Four D Words Are Needed To Be Successful ( Copyright 2005-2021 Gordon Bellows.

The Four “D’s” of Success | Ridgewood, NJ Patch

Sports Psychology in Action Copyright 1996 Richard Butler

Mental health in elite athletes: International Olympic Committee consensus statement (2019)

Claudia L Reardon,  Brian Hainline,  Cindy Miller Aron, David Baron, Antonia L Baum, Abhinav Bindra, Richard Budgett, Niccolo Campriani, João Mauricio Castaldelli-Maia, Alan Currie, Jeffrey Lee Derevensky, Ira D Glick, Paul Gorczynski, Vincent Gouttebarge, Michael A Grandner, Doug Hyun Han, David McDuff, Margo Mountjoy, Aslihan Polat, Rosemary Purcell, Margot Putukian, Simon Rice, Allen Sills,Todd Stull, Leslie Swartz, Li Jing Zhu, Lars Engebretsen
Reference: Claudia L Reardon et al. Br J Sports Med 2019;53:667-699


Mental health symptoms and disorders are common among elite athletes, may have sport related manifestations within this population and impair performance. Mental health cannot be separated from physical health, as evidenced by mental health symptoms and disorders increasing the risk of physical injury and delaying subsequent recovery. There are no evidence or consensus based guidelines for diagnosis and management of mental health symptoms and disorders in elite athletes. Diagnosis must differentiate character traits particular to elite athletes from psychosocial maladaptations.

Management strategies should address all contributors to mental health symptoms and consider biopsychosocial factors relevant to athletes to maximise benefit and minimise harm. Management must involve both treatment of affected individual athletes and optimising environments in which all elite athletes train and compete. To advance a more standardised, evidence based approach to mental health symptoms and disorders in elite athletes, an International Olympic Committee Consensus Work Group critically evaluated the current state of science and provided recommendations.

This is a very thorough and in depth study of Mental Health, a few things that stand out for me

The reported prevalence of mental health symptoms and disorders among male elite athletes from team sports (cricket, football, handball, ice hockey and rugby) varies from 5% for burnout and adverse alcohol use to nearly 45% for anxiety and depression.


The reported prevalence of mental health symptoms and disorders among male elite athletes from team sports (cricket, football, handball, ice hockey and rugby) varies from 5% for burnout and adverse alcohol use to nearly 45% for anxiety and depression.

Prospective studies have reported that mental health disorders occur in 5% to 35% of elite athletes over a follow-up period of up to 12 months.

The sports with the highest general substance use/misuse rates across all substances for men’s elite sports are lacrosse, ice hockey, football, rugby, baseball, soccer, wrestling, weightlifting, skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh and swimming, and lowest for track, tennis and basketball.


For women’s elite sports, the highest rates occur in ice hockey, gymnastics, lacrosse, softball, swimming, and rowing, and lowest in track, tennis, basketball and golf.

As women continue to engage in elite sport opportunities, their participation has led to varying degrees of cultural acceptance.

Women competing in sports traditionally considered ‘male’ may face being marginalised and stereotyped and may experience unequal training opportunities and resources.

Sexualisation, traditional gender roles, religion and ethnic beliefs all influence opportunities for women.

Tension may also exist between what is functionally optimal for women elite athletes to be wearing and what is culturally deemed acceptable. Gender stereotyping in the media may influence how women athletes view themselves.

Women athletes may be stereotyped as ‘lesbian’ to keep them from playing certain sports, or from playing for certain coaches or with certain teams. Some professional women athletes must train outside their native countries and may struggle to find a support network and cultural understanding from teammates in their new location

Summary on Male and Female

In general, those who participate in team sports are more likely to use or misuse substances than athletes in individual sports.

Common risk factors for use include: sport context and culture (eg, normative beliefs about heavy peer drinking or illicit drug use); situational temptation (eg, drinking games); permissive on attitudes among athletes, coaches and parents; male sex; use of performance enhancing substances or tobacco; identification as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer; party lifestyle or drinking game participation; sensation seeking; overestimating peer use; achievement orientation; lower use of protective measures (eg, avoiding serious intoxication, using a designated driver); leadership position; fraternity/sorority membership; problem gambling; and injury.


The IOC has committed to improve the mental health of elite athletes, recognising that doing so will reduce suffering and improve quality of life in elite athletes and serve as a model for society at large. The IOC hopes that all involved in sport will increasingly recognise that mental health symptoms and disorders should be viewed in a similar light as other medical illnesses and musculoskeletal injuries; all can be severe and disabling, and nearly all can be managed properly by well informed medical providers, coaches and other stakeholders. Mental health is an integral dimension of elite athlete wellbeing and performance and cannot be separated from physical health.

Mental health assessment and management in elite athletes should be as commonplace and accessible as their other medical care; ideally elite athletes should have access to the best interdisciplinary care. To advance a more unified, evidence informed approach to mental health assessment and management in elite athletes, the IOC Consensus Group has critically evaluated the current state of the science and practice of mental health in elite athletes.

Click on the link for the full report: Report


Mental health management of elite athletes during COVID-19: a narrative review and recommendations

Reardon CL, et al. Br J Sports Med 2020;0:1–10. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2020-102884

Claudia L Reardon, Abhinav Bindra, Cheri Blauwet,
Richard Budgett, Niccolo Campriani,Alan Currie, Vincent Gouttebarge, David McDuff,
Margo Mountjoy, Rosemary Purcell, Margot Putukian, Simon Rice, Brian Hainline

Article Abstract:

ABSTRACT: Elite athletes suffer many mental health symptoms and disorders at rates equivalent to or exceeding those of the general population. COVID-19 has created new strains on elite athletes, thus potentially increasing their vulnerability to mental health symptoms. This manuscript serves as a narrative review of the impact of the pandemic on management of those symptoms in elite athletes and ensuing recommendations to guide that management. It specifically addresses psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and higher levels of care. Within the realm of psychotherapy, crisis counselling might be indicated. Individual, couple/ family and group psychotherapy modalities all may be helpful during the pandemic, with novel content and means of delivery. Regarding pharmacotherapy for mental health symptoms and disorders, some important aspects of management have changed during the pandemic, particularly for certain classes of medication including stimulants, medications for bipolar and psychotic disorders, antidepressants, and medications for substance use disorders. Providers must consider when in-person management (eg, for physical examination, laboratory testing) or higher levels of care (eg, for crisis stabilisation) is necessary, despite potential risk of viral exposure during the pandemic. Management ultimately should continue to follow general principles of quality health care with some flexibility. Finally, the current pandemic provides an important opportunity for research on new methods of providing mental health care for athletes, and consideration for whether these new methods should extend beyond the pandemic.

The study states :

What is already known:

► Elite athletes suffer from many mental health symptoms and disorders at rates equivalent to or exceeding those in the general population.

► The COVID-19 pandemic has created several new stressors for elite athletes.

► Management for athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic has focused on cardiac complications, screening for asymptomatic disease and return to sport, incorporating hygiene measures

What are the new findings:

► The COVID-19 pandemic has created changes in the way in which management of mental health symptoms and disorders in elite athletes—inclusive of community-based or outpatient psychotherapy, outpatient pharmacotherapy and higher levels of care—should be delivered.

► Within the realm of psychotherapy, crisis counselling and other forms of individual psychotherapy, couple/family and group psychotherapy all may be helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, with novel content and means of delivery.

► Some important aspects of pharmacotherapy for management of mental health symptoms and disorders in elite athletes have changed during the pandemic, particularly for certain classes of medication including stimulants, medications for bipolar and psychotic disorders, antidepressants and medications for substance use disorders.

► It is important for providers to consider when in-person management or higher levels of care for mental health symptoms and disorders are necessary for elite athletes, despite potential risk of viral exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full Article Click here bjsports-2020-102884.full

Match and Training Injuries in Women’s Rugby Union: A Systematic Review of Published Studies

Another interesting study originating this time from Australia aimed at Women’s Rugby specifically a systematic review of all published studies until July 2019. To understand the conclusions read the full study.

Authors: Doug King · Patria Hume · Cloe Cummins · Alan Pearce · Trevor Clark · Andrew Foskett · Matt Barnes 


There is a paucity of studies reporting on women’s injuries in rugby union.


The aim of this systematic review was to describe the injury epidemiology for women’s rugby-15s and rugby-7s match and training environments.


Systematic searches of PubMed, SPORTDiscus, Web of Science Core Collection, Scopus, CINAHL(EBSCO) and ScienceDirect databases using keywords.


Ten articles addressing the incidence of injury in women’s rugby union players were retrieved and included. The pooled incidence of injuries in women’s rugby-15s was 19.6 (95% CI 17.7–21.7) per 1000 match-hours (h). Injuries in women’s rugby-15s varied from 3.6 (95% CI 2.5–5.3) per 1000 playing-h (including training and games) to 37.5 (95% CI 26.5–48.5) per 1000 match-h. Women’s rugby-7s had a pooled injury incidence of 62.5 (95% CI 54.7–70.4) per 1000 player-h and the injury incidence varied from 46.3 (95% CI 38.7–55.4) per 1000 match-h to 95.4 (95% CI 79.9–113.9) per 1000 match-h. The tackle was the most commonly reported injury cause with the ball carrier recording more injuries at the collegiate [5.5 (95% CI 4.5–6.8) vs. 3.5 (95% CI 2.7–4.6) per 1000 player-game-h; χ2(1) = 6.7; p = 0.0095], and Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) [2006: 14.5 (95% CI 8.9–23.7) vs. 10.9 (95% CI 6.2–19.2) per 1000 match-h; χ2(1) = 0.6; p = 0.4497; 2010: 11.8 (95% CI 6.9–20.4) vs. 1.8 (95% CI 0.5–7.3) per 1000 match-h; χ2(1) = 8.1; p = 0.0045] levels of participation. Concussions and sprains/strains were the most commonly reported injuries at the collegiate level of participation.


Women’s rugby-7s had a higher un-pooled injury incidence than women’s rugby-15s players based on rugby-specific surveys and hospitalisation data. The incidence of injury in women’s rugby-15s and rugby-7s was lower than men’s professional rugby-15s and rugby-7s competitions but similar to male youth rugby-15s players. Differences in reporting methodologies limited comparison of results.


Women’s rugby-7s resulted in a higher injury incidence than women’s rugby-15s. The head/face was the most commonly reported injury site. The tackle was the most common cause of injury in both rugby-7s and rugby-15s at all levels. Future studies are warranted on injuries in women’s rugby-15s and rugby-7s.

Study :Full Paper



Head impact exposures in women’s collegiate rugby

Original Research

Authors: Taylor L. Langevin ,Daniel Antonoff,Christina Renodin,Erin Shellene,Lee Spahr,Wallace A. Marsh &John M. Rosene

Published online: 01 Jun 2020

OBJECTIVES: To describe the incidence, magnitude, and distribution of head impacts and track concussions sustained in a collegiate level women’s rugby season.

METHODS: Data on head impact incidence and magnitude were collected via Smart Impact Monitors (SIM) (Triax Technologies, Inc., Norwalk, CT) within fitted headbands during practices and games of one competitive season. Magnitude data included peak linear acceleration (PLA) and peak rotational velocity (PRV) measurements and were reported as median [IQR].

RESULTS: Players sustained 120 head impacts ≥ 15g (18.1g – 78.9g) with 1199 total athlete exposures. In eight games, 67 head impacts were recorded with a mean rate of 0.40 ± 0.22 hits per-player per-match, median PLA of 32.2g and PRV of 13.5 rad.sec-1. There were 53 head impacts in 47 practices with a mean rate of 0.05 ± 0.04 hits per-player per-practice, median PLA of 29.8g and PRV of 15.7 rad.sec-1. Four concussions were reported and monitored.

CONCLUSION: The incidence and magnitude of head impacts in collegiate level women’s rugby over one season of practices and games were fewer than those reported in other comparable studies. These findings give insight into the impact burden that female collegiate rugby athletes withstand throughout a competitive season.

Cumulative Sport‑Related Injuries and Longer Term Impact in Retired Male Elite‑ and Amateur‑Level Rugby Code Athletes and Non‑contact Athletes: A Retrospective Study

Interesting study by Durham University on the impact of the accumulation of injuries on both professional and amateur rugby players, important role on the Concussion.
Rugby union and rugby league are popular team contact sports, but they bring a high risk of injury. Although previous studies have reported injury occurrence across one or several seasons, none have explored the total number of injuries sustained across an entire career.
Reading the paper efforts should be prioritized to reduce the occurrence and recurrence of injuries in rugby codes at all levels of the sport.
Strategies should be developed for supporting specific physical health needs of both codes athlete’s post-retirement.
To read the full Article click on the PDF : Durham Study

Concurrent Training Intensities: A Practical Approach for Program Design

National Strength and Conditioning Association


ABSTRACT Sports performance is influenced by the interaction of several physical variables.

For this reason, most sports need both strength and endurance capacities to maximize overall performance.

Therefore, a combination of resistance and aerobic training, usually called concurrent training (CT), has been used recently as a way of simultaneously improving strength and aerobic performances according to the needs of a specific sport. This combination can be challenging and can influence training adaptations, being a problematic issue for coaches.

The main objective is to provide coaches with a practical proposal for CT to improve athletes’ performance in different sports.

Strength and conditioning professionals have been advised to prescribe programs that include both strength and aerobic training concurrently to obtain better results with more efficiency and quickness .

For this reason, coaches and professionals should know how to program a specific CT regarding volume, intensity, duration, periodization models, to conjugate the loads, and to obtain increased performances. Thus, the main objective of this article is to provide the knowledge and recommendations to enable coaches to efficiently design a CT training regime that will improve sports performance.

To read the full article: Click on the Link: Concurrent Training Intensities A Practical

A Team Sport Risk Exposure Framework to Support the Return to Sport

With Amateur Sports returning to training this is a timely reminder how to training and player proximity interactions when following guidelines in minutiae.

BLOG: British Journal of Sports Medicine Published 1/7/2020

Useful for sports to quantify risk in training & matches, & help guide contact tracing

Authors : Ben Jones 1,2,3,4,5, Gemma Phillips 2,6, Simon PT Kemp 7,10, Steffan A Griffin 7,8, Clint Readhead 4,9, Neil Pearce 10, Keith A Stokes 7,11


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in global disruption to many sports. There are a number of challenges in returning to sport, especially given the unprecedented duration of time that athletes have not been able to train or compete in normal environments(1), the potential health risk to athletes, their coaches, support staff, the wider public, and the limited evidence base available to inform decisions. Every sport will carry different infection risks, given the specific match demands and training requirements(2). Furthermore, considerations regarding the return to training and match play will be greatly influenced by the national impact of COVID-19(3). A good example is the comparison of United Kingdom (COVID-19 mortality of >42,000), vs. Australia and New Zealand (COVID-19 mortality of <150)(4). In particular, New Zealand has now eliminated SARS-CoV-2, and rugby and other sports are now occurring ‘as normal’.

Full Blog can be found here:Blogs BJSM