Strength and Conditioning for Soccer Players

With England reaching a major Final in 55 years. here’s a paper on Football and S&C from 2014

Authors:

Anthony N. Turner, MSc, CSCS and Perry F. Stewart, MSc, CSCS

Summary

Soccer is characterized as a high-intensity, intermittent, contact team sport that requires a number of proficient physical and physiological capabilities to perform successfully. Apart from the necessary technical and tactical skills required, soccer players must also develop and retain a high level of aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, speed, agility, strength, and power.

These are best developed through high-intensity interval training, small-sided games, repeated sprints, coached speed and agility sessions and strength and power-based gym sessions. Soccer coaches and strength and conditioning coaches must work cohesively to ensure a structured and effective program is adhered to.

Click on the link for the full paper : Strength and Conditioning for Soccer Players

 

 

The Influence of Neck Stiffness on Head Kinematics and Maximum Principal Strain Associated With Youth American Football Collisions

A recent article from the Journal of Applied Biomechanics and on Neck injuries which is a current hot topic.

Authors:

Janie Cournoyer
David Koncan
Michael D. Gilchrist
T. Blaine Hoshizaki

University of Ottawa;
University College Dublin

Published: 08 Mar 2021

The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences in head kinematics and maximum principal strain in youth American football helmet-to-helmet collisions between an unbiased neckform and prototype neck apparatus, including springs, representing the upper trapezius, the splenius capitis, and the sternocleidomastoid muscles, for 3 impact velocities, 3 impact locations, and 2 striking masses. This research was part of a larger project funded by the National Operating Committee on Sport Safety Equipment to inform youth helmet testing procedures.

Understanding the relationship between head mass and neck stiffness during direct head impacts is especially concerning in youth sports where athletes have higher proportional head mass to neck strength.

For full study results and conclusions click on the link

The Influence of Neck Stiffness on Head Kinematics and Maximum Principal Strain Associated With Youth American Football Collisions

 

Looking after your mental health and well being

Publication from UK Coaching:

As a coach, your performance may, or will be, critical to success in your role. How you feel and what you think ultimately effects your behaviour in this performance role. Your mental health
has a ‘two-way street’ relationship with how you feel and what you think. Therefore, it is of great significance to consider – to care for yourself and your mental health and well-being.
The World Health Organization states that mental health is where an individual realises their potential, can cope with everyday stress, can work productively, and contribute to their
community. Mental health and well-being is associated with positive physical health, pro-social behaviour and the ability to self-regulate and cope with adversity. Key aspects to positive
mental health are as follows: you feel good on a regular basis; you can reflect positively on your life, your abilities and achievements; you can be self-compassionate to yourself; and finally, you feel and believe there is a sense of meaning in your life.

Click on PDF to continue reading :  Looking after your mental health and well being

 

Exposure to impacts across a competitive rugby season impairs balance and neuromuscular function in female rugby athletes

An Original research paper that went under the radar, another science paper coming out of Canada.

Authors

Stephanie E Black

Bruno Follmer

Rinaldo André Mezzarane

Gregory E P Pearcey

Yao Sun

Dr. E Paul Zehr

  1. Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
  2. School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
  3. Human Discovery Science, International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), Vancouver, BC, Canada
  4. Laboratory of Signal Processing and Motor Control, Faculty of Physical Education, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, DF, Brazil
  5. Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
  6. Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

The study did an objective assessment tools to detect subtle neurological deficits that accompany repetitive and mild head impacts in contact sport across a
season.

What are the new findings in the study:

► A competitive rugby season induces subtle deteriorations in neuromuscular function that is not captured in traditional sideline assessment.

► Differentiation between static stances which range

in difficulty is relevant to uncover subtle changes in

balance.

► Tandem-leg and double-leg static stances are sensitive to detect centre of pressure alteration following

a season of recurrent head impacts.

► Spinal cord excitability measurements suggest deviated values at baseline

 

The study also found impact in clinical practices in Future studies.

► Implementing an objective balance measure as a clinical assessment may uncover subtle neurological. impairments without diagnosed concussion.

► Double-leg stance is often overlooked by subjective assessments, but it provides an insightful outcome if performed using a sensitive tool.

► The challenging tandem-leg stance over a foam pad notably contributes to a clinical assessment after recurrent mild head impacts.

► Spinal cord excitability may be suitable for detecting particular neurological patterns in female athletes exposed to head impacts performed using a sensitive tool.

Study Conclusions:

The study concluded that quantitative measures revealed that exposure to impacts across a competitive rugby season impair balance in two specific stances in female rugby athletes. Tandem-leg stance on an unstable surface and double-leg stance on firm surface are useful assessment conditions when performed over a low-cost balance board, even without clinically diagnosed concussion.

Click on link for full study: Exposure to impacts across a competitive rugby season impairs balance and neuromuscular function in female rugby athletes

Changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviours from before to during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown: a systematic review

Authors:

Stephanie Stockwell, Mike Trott, Mark Tully, Jae Shin, Yvonne Barnett, Laurie Butler, Daragh McDermott, Felipe Schuch, Lee Smith

BMJ Open Sp Ex Med 2021

Abstract In March 2020, several countries banned unnecessary outdoor activities during COVID-19, commonly called ‘lockdowns. These lockdowns have the potential to impact associated levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Given the numerous health outcomes associated with physical activity and sedentary behaviour, the aim of this review was to summarise literature that investigated differences in physical activity and sedentary behaviour before vs during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Study Conclusions:

Given the numerous physical and mental benefits of increased physical activity and decreased sedentary behaviour, public health strategies should include the creation and implementation of interventions that promote safe physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour should other lockdowns occur.

What are the new findings?
► The majority of studies show that Physical Activity (PA) levels decreased during the COVID-19 lockdown across all
reviewed populations, except for eating disorder patients.
► The majority of studies show that Sedentary Behaviour (SB) levels increased.
► Public health strategies should include the promotion of PA and effective guidance on how to decrease SB during a lockdown, especially in populations with medical conditions that are improved by PA, such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Full study click here Changes in Physical Activity

 

 

Implementation of the Activate injury prevention exercise programme in English schoolboy rugby union

(Activate is the RFU’s Injury Prevention Exercise Programme) which all coaches should be made aware.

Authors:

Craig Barden1, Keith A Stokes1,2, Carly D McKay1,3

1.- Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK
2.- Rugby Football Union, Twickenham, London, UK
3.- Centre for Motivation and Health Behaviour Change, University of Bath, Bath, UK

Fascinating paper just published on the 4th of May 2021, The Objectives of the study about the implementation of the Activate injury prevention exercise programme has not been assessed in an applied context.

This study aimed to

(1) describe the knowledge and perceptions of school rugby coaches and players towards injury risk, prevention and Activate and

(2) evaluate Activate implementation in schoolboy rugby using the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation and maintenance framework.

►► Coaches reported significantly greater baseline Activate awareness than players (75% and 18%,respectively).
►► Coaches had significantly greater Activate adoption during the study period (76% and 13%).
►► Coaches appear to be critical in the adoption and delivery of Activate in a school rugby environment.
►► Focus on behavioural change in coaches will likely have the greatest effect of Activate implementation.

Addressing coach barriers and using behavioural change theories may aid this.

Conclusion

Coaches had significantly greater awareness and adoption of Activate, with players largely unaware of the programme and if they used it. Coaches are instrumental in the decision to implement Activate. Targeting behavioural change in these individuals is likely to have the greatest impact on intervention uptake.

FULL PAPER Here A MUST Read: Activate Injury Prevention

For further reading click on the link from England Rugby: https://www.englandrugby.com/participation/coaching/activate

Short and long-term differences in anthropometric characteristics and physical performance between male rugby players that became professional or remained amateur

From: Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness

Authors
Michael J.Hamlin
Richard W.Deuchrass
Catherine E.Elliot
Nuttaset Manimmanakorn

An interesting paper that investigates which anthropometric and physical performance variables characterised players that advanced to professional teams (professionals) and how these variables changed over time, compared to those that did not secure professional contracts (i.e. remained amateurs).

Performances analysed for  83 male rugby players collected between 2015 and 2019 were determined using repeated measures analysis.

Study Conclusion

The study conclusion are limited but it states the characteristics that are likely to assist players in becoming professionals include being older, heavier, taller and stronger.

Click on the PDF to make your conclusions. Short and long-term differences in anthropometric characteristics and physical performance between male rugby players

A qualitative investigation into the individual injury burden of amateur rugby players

Authors: Gemma P. Murphy & Rachel B. Sheehan
Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland

Highlights

Players shared similar experiences of burden when recovering from a severe injury.

Themes relating to personal and situational factors affect players during injury.

The highest burden of injury occurred during onset of injury and rehabilitation.

Burden of injury has the potential to affect a player’s rehabilitation outcome.

The Author’s findings indicate that individual injury experiences can affect a player’s recovery and rehabilitation outcome, potentially extending the injury process and affecting player availability for the team. As such, injury management should focus on alleviating any injury-related burden experienced by players, as well as burden placed on the team, to maximise rehabilitation outcomes.

Click on link to read the PDF Article: A qualitative investigation into the in..

Motivation and Coaching – A Misunderstood Coaching Fundamental Part 2

How do you help athletes find their Motivation?

Following on from Part 1 we continue with the different types of motivation or as I would call them inspiration methods as mentioned in Part 1 to help your athletes.

The first is a known theory and widely tested approach to motivation in sport and other achievement is the theory of self-determination. The theory is based on a number of motives or regulations, which vary in terms of the degree of self-determination they reflect.

Self-determination has to do with the degree to which your behaviours are chosen and self-initiated. The behavioural adjustment can be placed on a self-determination continuum Identified and  represent self-determined types of extrinsic motivation because behaviour is initiated out of choice, although it is not necessarily perceived to be enjoyable.

 

Fig. 1 Courtney E. Ackerman, MA -Positive Psychology

The next method is the extrinsic model of motivation aligns favourably with the “carrot and stick” approach school of motivation. Offering a player reward or enforcing their compliance with the threat of negative consequences is a little old school in terms of motivating your sport’s team in the 21st Century.

Another way of looking at Extrinsic motivation is when we are motivated to perform in an activity because we want to earn a reward and avoid punishment i.e. winning a championship or avoid relegation.

Fig. 2 Verywell / Joshua Seong

The final method is Intrinsic motivation is the internal desire by a player to improve, achieve and succeed. It is your job as a coach to be able to encourage that desire within a player, challenging them to become the best every single day. Coaches should use this to inspire players and is considered the healthiest type of motivation and reflects an athlete’s motivation to perform an activity simply for the reward inherent in their participation. i.e. learning a new skill or make new friendships etc..

Intrinsic motivation comes from within, is fully self-determined and characterised by interest in, and enjoyment derived such as sports participation.

Some athletes devote hundreds of hours to repeating mundane drills; they realise that such activity will ultimately help them to improve and when a behaviour becomes integrated it is in harmony with one’s sense of self and almost entirely self-determined.

For example, completing daily stretching exercises because you realise, they are part of an overall goal to enhance performance and be integrated within ones training regime.

What Coaches should do to help the players?

Simply: do nothing.

Just watch listen and observe.

Motivated athletes stand out like a light.

EXAMPLES:

  1. The Player who arrives early to help set up the training environment.
  2. The player who stays behind to help clean up the gym or volunteers at the clubhouse
  3. The Rugby Player at the end of a hard training asks the coach to stay and do kicking practice.

Motivation will, given the opportunity, express itself…. if you allow them to.

Every coach needs to get to know his / her athletes, because Motivation comes from within the key to better understanding what motivates your athletes is to get to know them.

Summary:

Motivation of athletes is like digging for gold: it can be difficult to find but if you persevere and persist until you find it, the rewards are immeasurable.

Coaches cannot motivate athletes: rather coaches must seek to provide the environment and opportunity for athletes to discover what it is that motivates them as individuals.

However, if coaches understand their athletes and what it is that motivates their athletes, Anything is possible.

Finally, Always strive to be original and innovative in applying motivational techniques.

 

Motivation and Coaching – A Misunderstood Coaching fundamental Part 1

Every coach i have ever met in one form or another talks about Motivation; however it seems to me is a misunderstood subject. some read about it or go to courses or do workshops and try to learn in a bid to help their athletes achieve their goals.

Some clubs bring in motivational speakers to try and motivate their athletes through team talk or an explosive, emotional pre-performance presentation or simple they go finding that magic bullet.

No one can motivate anyone to do anything it comes down to sports coaches to understand Motivation and Coaching.

Motivation is the foundation of all athletic effort and accomplishment, without your desire and determination to improve your sports performances, all the other mental factors, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotions, are meaningless.

1. Understanding Motivation

Motivation is desire. It is what fuels great performances, outstanding victories, persistence, perseverance, determination and drive.

Simply defined, is the ability to initiate and persist at a task. Which is why some athletes have a winning “attitude”. It is the rationale behind “mental-toughness”.

It is the strength and the character that allows athletes to overcome adversity, setbacks, disappointments, injuries, and non-selections.

The reason motivation is so important is that it is the only contributor to sports performance over which players have control. There are three things that affect how well they perform.

  1. Their ability, which includes physical, technical, tactical, and mental capabilities. Because ability is something players are born with, Coaches cannot change ability, so it is outside of your control.
  2. The difficulty of the competition influences performance. Contributors to difficulty include the ability of the opponent and external factors such as an “away game” crowd and weather such as temperature, wind, and snow, You have no control over these factors.
  3. Motivation will impact performance. It is also the only factor over which players not coaches have control. Motivation will directly impact the level of success that they ultimately achieve. If they are highly motivated to improve their performances, then you will put in the time and effort necessary. It will be the athlete who works the hardest, who doesn’t give up, and who performs his or her best when it counts.

It is the seemingly endless energy driving athletes to complete even the toughest, most challenging, and most exhausting workouts. Motivation is the cornerstone of success for every great athlete and every great athletic achievement. Unfortunately coaches constantly seek the breakthrough technique to motivate their athletes, Motivation is not your job. Which brings me to my next point

2. Motivation and Inspiration: There is a difference.

What most people think is motivation, i.e., the motivational speaker talking about money, power, success, and glory is actually inspiration. The two can work together, i.e., you can be inspired to change your behaviours to help you realise a dream, but there is a difference. Inspiration is something that comes the outside: from listening to another person or being involved in an event or through observing something which triggers an emotional response

This could be something like In-training and competitions, you arrive at a point at which it is no longer fun. The daily Grind, which starts when it gets tiring, painful, and tedious. This is the point at which it really counts. This is what separates successful athletes from those who don’t achieve their goals. Many athletes when they reach this point either ease up or give up because it’s just too hard. Truly motivated athletes reach this point and keep on going.

Sports Psychologists will say that players have to love the daily Routine. This is the exception for few hyper-motivated athletes, love is not in the cards because there’s not much to love. The key here is how you respond to the Routine that lies along a continuum. As I just mentioned, loving the Routine is rare. At the other end of the continuum is “I hate the Routine.” If you feel this way, you are not likely to stay motivated.

There are several tell-tell signs of low motivation:

  1. A lack of desire to practice a less than 100 percent effort in training.
  2. Skipping or shortening training.
  3. Effort that is inconsistent with goals.

I suggest that you neither love nor hate the Routine; you just accept it as part of the deal in striving toward your goals.

Focus ultimately on your long term goals this is to generate feelings of inspiration and pride that you will experience when you reach your goals. This technique will distract you from the discomfort of the Routine, focus you on what you want to achieve, and generate positive thoughts and emotions that will get you through the Routine.

Inspiration is something that comes the outside: from listening to another person or being involved something which triggers an emotional response.

Motivation, however, comes from within. Motivation is the fire in the belly: a fire which is ignited by a dream and fuelled by passion. The Routine may not be very enjoyable, but what does feel good is seeing your hard work pay off with success.

3. What is the coach’s role?

Simply, the coach’s role is to create the environment and to provide the opportunity for the athlete to express their motivation in all that they do.

It is the coach’s role to support the athlete and encourage in preparation and performance, to inspire and help athletes discover their own motivation: to find their “fire”. and make sure they feel confident and to feel empowered. i.e. The goal setting process works best when there is some flexibility from the coaches and the individual athlete or team take ownership of each goal also any goal setting should be realistic.

Motivation is an ally for coaches and an important aspect of successful coaching. Coaches need to generate feelings of inspiration and pride that players will experience when they reach their goals.

To be continued….

References:

Coaching Essentials(inspiring change) – Wayne Goldsmith

Motivation in Sports Psychology – Sports Performance Bulleting

Psychology Today – Jim Taylor PH.D

 

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