ESTU Coaches & Sports Science College – Part 2

Following on from Part 1 of my brief summary of the East Tennessee State University Coaches & Sports Science College, I will now give brief summaries of a few more presentations which I found really interesting.

Jeremy Gentles is a PhD student at ETSU and founded an online athlete and team monitoring system Sportably. This is a great site to monitor and quantify lots of types of sessions, both field and gym based with a huge library of exercises, the site is also free to use. Jeremy presented that Reducing Injuries is NOT Enough – It Also Helps to Win and started with the concept that a byproduct of proper preparation should include a reduced rate of injury. The main sport on focus was baseball and there has been a collaboration between ETSU Baseball & Sports Performance Enhancement Consortium since 2008 focusing on a truly interdisciplinary approach, such as screenings & rehab, athlete monitoring & testing, S&C provision, and highly skilled sports coaches. It was clear to see that injury rates recorded were at their lowest, when compliance to an integrated approach was a a high. In contrast, injury rates were at their highest when skills practice hours were increased, with a decrease in number of S&C hours. Low injury rates and improvements in performance test outcomes were also associated with increases in the number of home runs, and win percentage.

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Guy Hornsby is another PhD student at ETSU and his topic was A Scientific Approach to Training Baseball Players. There appears to be some misconceptions in baseball such as; limited overhead movements or Olympic lifting, and single leg training superior to bilateral. Two primary cases against overhead lifts and Olympic weightlifting – they are deemed dangerous, and don’t transfer as well as horizontal & rotational movements. To the authors knowledge there is no evidence to support that overhead movements cause shoulder injuries, and if so that it is not the mechanics of the movement, but overuse. Guy highlighted that data collected over the past 7 years show that new recruits arrive at ETSU untrained & relatively weak. Therefore a big aim of the baseball programme is to develop proper mechanics as early as possible as there is an issue with the players over-competing and under training. Again, a similar them across many presentations of ongoing monitoring of plan, evaluate, measure training effects, and revisit the training plan. Guy also showed an appreciation for unilateral, rotational and twisting work, but it is important to prioritise strength in these under trained athletes taking training history, training status, and time of season into account.

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Dr Satoshi Mizuguchi – Vertical Jump Height as a Monitoring Tool. Satoshi is an Assistant Professor at ETSU and explained how VJH can be a quick, easy, low cost method of indicating explosiveness when dealing with large squads. The presentation also explained how VJH height has strong relationships to aspects of sprint performance, change of direction, baseball bat velocity and weightlifting performance. Previous data has shown that loaded vertical jumps appear useful in monitoring changes in strength and tracking fatigue accumulation. This could be critical in team sports as athletes may be more sensitive to neuromuscular fatigue than others. With different devices available fore VJH measurement, it is important to test reliability as changes in jump height may simply be due to error inherent in the test. Dr Mizuguchi also referenced publications that find static jump appear to be more sensitive to neuromuscular fatigue than countermovement jump. Athletes at higher levels of competition also tend to jump higher in sports such as soccer, volleyball, and rugby.

Part 3 will share presentation highlights from Dr Mike Stone, Dr John Ivy, and Dr Bill Sands.

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