Monthly Archives: February 2016

Extreme Sports – How Much is Too Much

ftFor the 30 million student athletes in America, sports can be an excellent way for high school students to build relationships, stay in shape and learn valuable skills about teamwork. But high school sports aren’t always fun and games. With scholarship hopes, parental pressures and an ultra-competitive atmosphere, some student athletes may begin to crumble under the pressure.

Pressure

How much should ride on throwing a ball in a basket, hitting a home run or running fast?

In many ways, high school sports have evolved into a high stakes game that puts student athletes under a tremendous amount of pressure. It may start in little league with over-eager dads and coaches lightheartedly inspiring kids’ major league dreams, but it doesn’t always end there. Student athletes don’t want to let down their parents, their teammates, their school, or with high profile sports, their town.

These pressures are coming at a time when most high schoolers’ confidence and self-image are in question. Children and teens want to live up to the potential that their parents see in them. They also want to ease the burden of college tuition. Earning an athletic scholarship would fulfill both of those goals.

According to The Sports Scholarship Handbook, only 1 in 50 high school athletes receive athletic scholarships. Consider the pressure to be that one along with those from school work, other activities and social lives; that is a lot for a teenager to handle. The drive to win, to be the very best, can inspire greatness in children and adults alike, but that winner-take-all mentality can also set unrealistic expectations. It is this kind of mindset that can sap the fun out of sports. Rather than create these pressure-filled pastimes, shouldn’t we use high school sports to foster well-rounded young adults?

Physical Dangers

In order to be successful in high school sports these days, students are required to commit to one sport and play on club teams all year.

When athletes play one sport day-in, day-out all year round, they put themselves in danger of damaging joints, tearing muscles, or causing stress fractures due to the constant repetitive movements. Despite these dangers, coaches continue to warn students that they risk their roster spot and any college hopes by playing multiple sports.

A recent study demonstrates the alarming increase in these repetitive stress injuries. The study tracked the number of “Tommy John” surgeries, procedures done on pitchers to repair damaged elbow ligaments, and was completed by the American Sports Medicine Institute, Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center, in Birmingham, Alabama.

“Before 1997, Tommy John surgery was performed on only 12 of 97 patients (12%) who were 18 years or younger,” coauthor and research director E. Lyle Cain, MD said.

“In 2005 alone, 62 of the 188 operations performed were on high-school athletes, a third of the surgical group,” Cain said. “The reality is that this surgery is successful and that’s good. But a disturbing trend of younger kids needing the surgery is troubling.”

Ironically, playing multiple sports can help athletes to be in better physical shape, develop multiple muscle groups, and keep them from burning out on their chosen sport.

Detavius Mason agrees in his article for The Guilford Orthopedic and Sports Medical Center titled “Age of Specialization: One Sport Vs. Multiple Sports.”

“Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, Tom Brady, Lebron James, Alex Rodriguez,” Mason wrote. “When these names are brought up, a few things come to mind: excellence, transcendent talent, winning, but the thought of them specializing in one sport should not. Kobe & Federer were soccer players, Brady played baseball, Lebron played football and A-Rod played basketball, football and soccer.”

He ends with advice to parents and coaches: “So allow your child to participate in multiple sports … Participating in multiple sports also allows them to see if they are talented in another sport, less stress on the body, overall athleticism increases, gain more friends & social interaction, and there is less pressure to be perfect.”

In extreme examples, some sports can endanger an athlete’s general health. Whether students are trying make weight for wrestling, stay slim for dance or bulk up for football, sports can trigger some dangerous eating and exercise habits.

The Out-Crowd

High school sports can also create an “in crowd” mentality that excludes those who don’t make the cut.

Let’s face it, not all kids are athletic superstars. Does that mean they don’t love the game and want to be a part of the team? Does that mean they should miss out on the social and physical benefits of organized sports? Though some kids stay involved as managers or fans, well-organized recreational options are few and far between.

These exclusions also extend beyond general skill level. With club sports being an unofficial requirement to make many high school teams, underprivileged students are put at a distinct disadvantage because they cannot afford membership fees and travel expenses that club teams require. When try-outs come around, coaches are more likely to favor club players that they’ve seen play for years over unknowns who have only practiced on the playground.

John Cochran, a parent from Newton, Mass., argues that all students should have the chance to play high school sports regardless of skill level.

“Studies have shown that students who participate in high school athletics have higher grade point averages, fewer discipline problems and greater self-esteem,” Cochran wrote in his editorial for Newton’s Wicked Local newspaper.

“By cutting everyone except the very best players, only a small fraction of students will ever benefit from those [government allocated] resources.” he wrote. “If the prevailing philosophy is taken to its logical conclusion, public high schools should provide inferior educational opportunities to students who are not at the very top of their class.”

The Solution

My goal is not to ban high school sports, but to return sports to their original purpose: fun. If we can change the general outlook on these sports – letting kids play multiple sports, refocusing on recreation instead of cutthroat competition, and creating a fair playing field for all would-be athletes – then high schoolers can really go out and play.

 

Getting Your Sports Medicine Major Allows Amazing Flexibility

manChoosing a career in sports medicine still leaves your career choices wide open. A sports medicine major does not tie you down to a single career calling but offers great flexibility. Depending on your choice of sports related majors you could be working in any of these interesting fields:

· Athletic Training

· Physical Therapy

· Medical Doctor – Sports Medicine Specialty

· Physiology Research

· Kinesiology Research

· Massage Therapist

· Corporate Fitness Consultant

· Personal Trainer

· Sports Equipment Design Consultant

This is just a small sampling of potential career paths you can find pursuing sports medicine majors. Let us take a closer look at a sampling of these careers.

Medical Doctor – Sports Medicine Specialty

Most people would consider this the pinnacle of practicing in Sports Medicine. It all starts with a driving passion and desire to help athletes and normal people with exercise injuries. This is a grueling career choice often requiring 60 hour work weeks, but the rewards are high.

To become a Medical Doctor with a specialty in sports medicine starts by getting a Bachelor degree in sciences or a pre-med degree. You will then need to pursue a med degree through an approved Medical College. This is all followed by a 3 year, or longer, residency which is when you finally may have the opportunity to start specializing in sports medicine. After you finish your residency you then move into a fellowship which allows you to choose your specific specialty and fine-tune your craft.

Many aspiring doctors intending to specialize in sports medicine choose Orthopedics as their primary direction of study. Others take a more general approach choosing either internal medicine or a study in general practice.

Physiology and Kinesiology – Studying the Art of Sports Excellence and Recovery

Human Physiology and Kinesiology major are two closely related courses of study. Kinesiology is the study of the body including how it moves, research in the functions of muscles and their connecting tissues, plus body mechanics. Human Physiology is the study of how our bodies function, move, and even down to the level of our tissues and cells.

Both of these courses of study can be considered a pathway towards a medical degree. Alone they offer opportunities for you to branch into exercise research, supplement research, or careers in corporate wellness programs. Experts in kinesiology and human physiology lead the research in how top athletes can excel and how to help average humans enhance performance and recover from injuries. They would both fall under the category of health sciences major.

The Sports Science Major

A Sports Science Major, offered by many universities and colleges, offers you an opportunity to learn the following basics:

· Human Biology

· Human Physiology

· Sport Psychology

· Human Anatomy, and then continue to expand into the areas of

· Coaching

· Exercise Science

If you have an interest in becoming a coach, trainer, or to pursue a career as a physical therapy assistant, then this is an ideal curriculum. It is one of the most comprehensive sports majors giving you a broad understanding of sports, fitness, motivation, and even sports law.

The Sports Medicine Major

Some universities have started offering a Bachelor of Science program in Sports Medicine. This is one of the sports related majors which will move you in the direction of being a trainer, physical therapy assistant, exercise instructor, fitness director, or many other possibilities. The Sports Medicine Major covers a wide variety of subjects similar to the Sports Science Major. A few of the items covered include:

· Nutrition

· Evaluation and Rehabilitation of Sports Injuries

· Personal Health and Wellness

· Physiology

· Strength Training

· Conditioning

· Clinical Exercise Physiology

· Intro to Psychology

You may want to pay special attention in both of these sports majors to the necessity of learning psychology. No matter what sports related majors you choose to pursue you should always make sure to include some psychology. The mental state of athletes plays a major role in their success in rehabilitation of injuries, game performance, and improvement in workouts.

It is not necessary to obtain a med degree to participate in the sports medicine field. You can select one of the highly popular and in demand medical degree programs associated to sports and find a career to suit your desires. Whether you choose a sports medicine major, the study of kinesiology, or any other health sciences major you are joining one of the world’s fastest growing industries. An industry filled with fun, fitness, and play.

Benefits of Using Sports Training Videos

viA good way to train, rehearse or improve a sports skills is by the use of sports video. Video tutorials for all sports games are now widely available and can be obtained either through online or non-online shopping. For a particular video to be useful, you must choose one that fits your skill level as well as your sports training purpose. Coupled with regular exercise and discipline, the use of sports training videos is of great help towards achieving a higher level of skill desired in any sports games.

While personal or professional instruction is needed to improve one’s skill, the following advantages can be obtained in using a set of good sports training videos:

Adaptable
Adaptability is probably the best benefit in using a sports video. You can use it in almost any place that is convenient for you without necessarily disrupting your routine or work schedule. Furthermore, you can watch your favorite sports training video over and over again, so whatever is it that you haven’t mastered from previous learning sessions can be learned anew. Also, depending on the audience for which a particular video is designed, it can be played either at home, in school, at the office (for official company or corporate sports and diversion activities), or in large gymnasiums.

Reliable
Reliability is another characteristics of a sports video tutorial. Generally, sports video tutorials are shots of real men and women athletes in actual game events and as such, the use of these videos in conducting sports lessons motivates as much as it enhances learning and training on the part of enthusiasts. Furthermore, because these sports training materials are made by industry experts, you can be sure that the presentation is accurate and is therefore worth your time. Apart from videos that deals with general sports topics, you can also find video tutorials that are presented by expert players and are therefore recommended by professional athletes themselves.

Dependable
Finally, good sports training videos can be used as an audio-visual material in conventional work out and exercise because it presents precise information, including drills for kids and adults alike. Almost all clips presented in sports video are well researched by professionals who make sure that the presentations are based on facts and actual sports activities. Trainers therefore can make use of these video tutorials with confidence.

Overall, sports video tutorials are undoubtedly a must for the soon-to-be sportsman or athlete, a sports team, or even a private coach.

These videos, in tandem with good sporting books as well as sporting goods, can help them polish both their ability and functionality and can therefore contribute to a sound sports training necessary for athletic success.

How To Become A Sports Psychologist

c4Psychology is a field that has diversified hugely over the past few years. One direction of interest is the growth and popularity of a career in sports psychology. With the hype surrounding many of our modern day sports people at an all time high, it is no wonder that more and more people are training for a career in sports psychology.

Sport and exercise psychologists focus on the mental and emotional aspects associated with sport and exercise. Most will either specialize in sport or exercise but it is possible to work in both areas. Once qualified as a sports psychologist, you can expect to work with teams and individuals at all levels of expertise from all backgrounds, from amateurs all the way up to top professionals.

Generally, a sports psychologist will work with a team or individual to deal with issues such as nerves and anxiety before a big game or event, improving self-confidence and thus improving performance, dealing with the stresses of a demanding training regime and also improving concentration. Many sportsmen and women struggle to maintain motivation and focus when faced with extreme pressure or stress and a sports psychologist will help to improve the situation. They will also help sporting individuals to deal with the frustration and stress of getting injured, controlling aggression during play and help individuals and teams to set themselves achievable goals in order to focus the mind.

Within your role as a sports psychologist you can expect to work in close proximity with not only sportsmen and women but other sporting professionals such as coaches, managers, nutritionists and physiotherapists. Sports psychologists need to be a specific type of person in order to be successful. They need to be genuinely interested in people and human behavior; they also need to have a keen interest in sport. It’s really important to have a desire to help others and have excellent communication skills. You need to be able to work within a team on a professional level and have a tolerant and patient manner. A good sports psychologist will have good problem solving skills and apply a logical approach to all areas of their work.

In order to work as a qualified sports psychologist you need to undergo the relevant training. You will need to complete a bachelor’s education requirements for psychology to begin with, and if possible choose a degree program that studies sports psychology. Most psychologists are advanced degree holders so in order to be competitive it is a good idea to further your career. You will be able to gain an entry level position with a two year degree but in order to be really successful, most professionals will advise the completion of a 5 year doctoral program based on sports psychology or sports science.

Many sports psychologists kick start their career with an internship as this can be really beneficial to set you apart from the competition. Gain at least 2 years of clinical work experience in order to gain the relevant on the job skills necessary. You will also be required to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) issued by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). This is a requirement if you want to work in any of the states in the US and once completed you can practice as a licensed sports psychologist.

Many sports psychologists combine consultancy work with education by teaching or researching in other areas of psychology. Others opt for full-time employment with a professional sports team.