Where experienced-based evidence influences
Reconditioning is a performance-based model for training athletes following injury. It fully respects the process of allowing biological healing of the injury to take place; but encourages more athletic ways to train and prepare the individual. Because reconditioning is performance-based the plan for team training following injury focuses more on preparing the athlete, by focusing less on the specific constraints of the injury. This is done immediately following injury and is achieved through coaching the most appropriate movements that typically occur in daily training for the athlete; albeit with the correct intensity and load while maintaining tissue homeostasis. Understanding how this process differs from a medical or clinical centric model will decide the future path that reconditioning will follow for sports medicine and sports performance practitioners; and the athletes they care for.
Simplicity yields Complexity
Throughout my career I have chosen a simple path in helping athletes physically prepare for competition, reduce injury and recover from injury. I see the majority of this process through the lens of an athletic development coach, and much less through the lens of a medical professional. This perspective originated through studying physical education and the development of essential motor skills for children. These skills, both for children and mature athletes, are fundamental. The correct expressions of these skills should be considered normal for athletes; but they must continuously be coached throughout one’s career to ensure the greatest opportunity for an individual to move efficiently and resist injury. Therefore, the best injury prevention methods are entwined in the best athletic development methods. Reconditioning is based on an athletic development (or performance) model that aims to restore an athlete’s ability to consistently express fundamental movement qualities while preparing for the technical and tactical aspects of sport specific training.
The Restoration of Athletic Normal
Restoring athletic normal after an injury is as simple as re-establishing and improving one’s physical literacy. Following injury and/or surgery there is a temporary cessation of normal, functional, and pain-free movements. Regardless of the injury site, these total body coordinated and integrated physical actions will be further compromised for longer periods of time if they are not addressed early and often throughout the journey from injury to team training. These injuries are not just local or peripheral lesions; they are neurophysiological insults that have a central consequence. This is a very complex issue that I feel can be addressed with a simplistic approach if we allow it.
SPORT IS ABOUT MAKING SHAPES AND CHANGING SHAPES... Athletic Development is about preparing an athlete to get in and out of their sports' required shapes - with precision, style and grace.
The ability to perform athletic movements with precision, style, and grace requires total body coordination, strength, and timing. And these movements are a symphony of acceleration, stabilization, and deceleration acts that are constantly occurring with varying degrees of speed and intensity. Thus, it is essential to have the requisite physical literacies available at all times to stay "in-tune"; allowing one the opportunity to demonstrate consistent and competent movement strategies that are required to make the necessary shapes for sport.
Physical Literacy represents expressions of athletic movement such as walking, skipping, running, bending, squatting, pushing, pulling, rotating, reaching, throwing and climbing. At Knowles Athletic, we initially look to develop and/or improve these movements freely. We then add resistance to build strength; speed to improve coordination; and then implement special or specific movements to address timing. Ultimately the goal is to improve an individuals Movement Competence. This is where skills and movements (Literacy) come together and we witness a level of athleticism within their sport; and often times out of their sport as well. The key is to develop, improve and retain physical literacy and competency throughout the athlete’s journey in sport.
ATHLETICISM = getting in and out of shapes freely
Push...don't squish - If the athlete understands that you must push into the ground to both produce and reduce force with all movements; the opportunity to consistently improve movement quality in the training and competitive environment occurs. Poor timing often results in a "squishy" action, especially in deceleration. This puts the athlete at risk of slow uncoordinated movements...or worse it exposes them to injury.
At Knowles Athletic, our athletic development programs emphasize bracing and stiffness through well instructed fundamental movements that transfer effectively to the competitive environment. While strength is a critical component of stiffness (pushing/bracing), the timing of the strength application is very important. "Its not about how mush weight you can lift, its about how much strength you can use that matters most." Practically speaking; are your “of-the-field” training programs making the athlete stronger and more robust on the field? Is the effort actually transferring to performance and/or injury reduction?
The KA Athletic Develpment model IS the Injury Reduction model. Full stop.