Sunday, January 17, 2016

Following Up the 2016 USYS Workshop and NSCAA Convention

It was a great few days in Baltimore and the joint Workshop and Convention and my please having the opportunity to speak.  I sincerely appreciate the interest in our work.  Attendance at my sessions was quite impressive and the questions from the audience were very interesting.  There were several great points raised by coaches in the audience, very thoughtful and insightful.  More importantly, it is os nice to see that an academic and researcher is so well received by the coaching community.  That’s what we’re here for – to generate and communicate information that will help you coach better and your players perform better.  As I mentioned at the meeting, if the research we’re doing, isn’t being put into practice, then we’re just spinning our wheels.

As promised, the PowerPoint files for my three presentations are linked below.  Feel free to look them over and use them as needed.

Recovery: Looking Forward to the Next Match
How Should the Referee Prep for Recover from a Match?
Half-Time Strategies: Preparing for the Second Period

Thanks for a wonderful meeting.  I look forward to 2017!

Monday, January 11, 2016

2016 US Youth Soccer Workshop and NSCAA Convention

A quick update on this week’s US Youth Soccer Workshop and NSCAA Convention in Baltimore.  I’m happy to have been invited to give several presentations.  My goal is to blend a little science with a lot of practical applications for the coach, player and referee.  Here’s my schedule for Friday and Saturday.
  • Friday, 10:30 - "Recovery: Looking Forward to the Next Match" (CC 324).
  • Friday, 2:00 - "How Should the Referee Prep for and Recover from a Match?" (CC 318)
  • Saturday, 9:30 – “"Half-Time Strategies: Preparing for the Second Period" (CC 323)

We will also have a couple of presentations at the poster session on Friday, 11:30-1:00 (CC Pratt Street Lobby)
  • “Energy Expended During a Match Depends on Opponent Strength”
  • “Altered Running Symmetry Following a Foot Injury in a College Soccer Player”
Summaries and copies of the presentations will be available on-line after the meeting

Looking forward to a great meeting and am hoping to catch up with many of you.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Confusion Over Post-Workout Ice Baths

Traditionally, ice baths have been recommended as a post-workout recovery tool.  They are designed to limit exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation and reduce the degree of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).  While the former is scientifically debatable, most agree with the later.  Ice baths provide some benefit in terms of soreness, pain perception and the severity of DOMS.  A new study from Australia questions the benefits of this post-exercise routine.  The researchers found that ice baths, used after weight-training sessions actually limited the gains in strength compared to an active cool down.  This raises the question, should players use ice baths after training?  Do they do more harm than good?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fast Food as a Recovery Meal?

Over the past several decades, researchers have worked towards identifying the ideal recovery diet.  The consensus is that following prolonged exercise, the idea recovery strategy is a high carbohydrate snack or meal containing some protein.  As for soccer matches, most recommend bringing recovery items to the match rather than utilizing the services of a fast-food restaurant.  The International Journal of Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism recently published a study that is sure to raise some eyebrows.  In this study, researchers found that consuming fast food was as effective in recovering from heavy exercise, as a meal comprised of sport supplements.  This study begs the question, are fast foods a solid recovery meal?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Halftime, Carbohydrates and a Re-Warm Up

Halftime of a soccer match is a short break between two periods of intense activity. It’s also a time for players to recover from the first period, re-hydrate, take in a few carbohydrates and a receive feedback and instructions from their coach. All squeezed into a 10-15 minute break.  As such, different coaches may approach halftime differently.  What is the best strategy for halftime?  What should players do to recovery quickly and prepare themselves for the next period of play?  Two recent studies shed some light on these questions.  They give some insight on diet, hydration and physical activity practices that may help players maximize their second-half performance.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sports Path's Technical Report on the 2014 World Cup

The World Cup is over and Germany are still celebrating.  And the first detailed analysis of the recently completed has arrived!  Robin Russell of Sports Path and his colleagues have compiled their “World Cup Technical Report 2014”.  In the first of which will likely be many analyses, their detailed look at the numbers offers some interesting observations.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hamstring Strength, Fatigue and Knee Stability

The incidence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries is all too common. In the U.S., it is estimated that as many as 200,000 injuries occur per year. Most of these are non-contact, meaning that movements associated with activity (landing, stopping, turning and cutting) stress the ACL, causing it to rupture. Some also estimate that women are five to eight times more susceptible to ACL injury than their male counterparts. Over the past 20 years, we have begun to understand the mechanisms of these types of injuries as well as ways to reduce risk and prevent ACL tears. A key risk factor is weak hamstring muscles.  Weaker hamstrings increase risk.  A new study shows that when hamstring strength is reduced by fatigue, the ACL is subjected increased stress, particularly when planting the foot and cutting.  the study emphasizes the need for improving hamstring strength as an important means of lowering injury risk.

Friday, June 27, 2014

What Can The US Team Expect Over the Next Few Days?

The US World Cup team has completed its group play.  Perhaps better than expected but maybe not as well as hoped.  However, there’s no debate that the team gave everything it had, rising to meet the physical challenge of three matches over 10 days.  Michael Bradley once again led the tournament’s group stage covering an average of 12.7 km or 7.9 miles per match.  In the Germany match he covered 13.1 km (8.1 miles) and performed 59 sprints.  In fact, the US team out distanced the Germans 10.2 to 9.8 km per player.  Add to that, the difficulty of playing on a rain soaked pitch and it’s easy to imagine that the match extracted a heavy physical price on the players.  What can the US expect over the next few days?  After such a physical effort, how long will it take them to recover muscle strength, speed and power?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Should We Have Expected John Brooks’ Goal?

Yesterday in a thrilling match, US defender John Brooks scored in the 86th minute to secure a win over for the Americans over Ghana. The goal came off of a corner kick delivered by Graham Zusi. An exciting play for sure and a critical 3 points for the US. But, at this point in the World Cup competition should we have expected a goal to come from a corner kick?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Prepping for the World Cup

The 2014 World Cup is ready to kick-off. Four years of preparation for an event that demands players pay a heavy physical and psychological price for success. As fans and coaches, we're excited when our team overachieves and secures unexpected points and advances to the next round. Unfortunately we’ve often seen our side underperform. They seem listless and lethargic for no particular reason, making rare and uncommon mistakes. Matches that should be easily won turn into losses. This is especially true during the critical times when multiple matches are played within a short span of time. Teams have trained on every aspect of the game and they are fit and ready to play. But is there something else needed for a team to play well? As it turns out, what teams do off the field and behind the scenes can impact success.  On the Science of Soccer Online, we have talked about a congested calendar, recovery and refueling. In this post, I’d like to us the World Cup as a framework to briefly summarize four key issues: how diet, recovery, sleep and daily hassles can play critical roles in improving or undermining performance during the match.  Links are included for additional info.