Archive for Professional Sports

Dr. Todd Arnold On the Road With USATF; Part 2

New Balance Indoor Grand Prix 2017

A world record in Boston. Emma Coburn, Sydney McLaughlin, Brenda Martinez and Jenny Simpson passed the baton for 20 laps of the 200-meter track in world record time. They posted a time of 10:40.31, just under the previous world record. With each pass of the baton the crowd cheered louder and greeted Jenny with loud roars as she raced for the line. It was a great atmosphere!

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The day before the race I had the chance to talk with Jenny Simpson while she was preparing for the event. Last year at this time she was just beginning to train after dealing with an injury. This year is different, and she was anticipating the chance to turn on the jets during the last leg of their race. She stated something that I found very interesting.

She said that she was recently discussing goals with her coaches, with a focus on her strengths and weaknesses. Weaknesses? She won an Olympic medal last year after injuring herself during training only months before. Now she is completely healthy and strong, and is looking for weaknesses? I was baffled. But clearly she feels that there are things to work on. The body needs to be challenged.

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The lesson here is: there is always something that can be improved, even if you just won a medal for being the greatest. Jenny also shed some light on why I do what I do. Improving athletes’ weaknesses is what my profession does. Finding something so tiny in movement or joint mobility and correcting it can make all the difference needed to succeed at the highest level. Looking for those weaknesses has become the focus of what I do.

This meet had a high volume of great athletes that we cared for. Please continue to seek them out on social media and show them your support. They are all great athletes, and their athletic accomplishments may not be the only activity that inspires you to discover and attack both your strengths and your weaknesses.

Emma CoburnSydney McLaughlinBrenda Martinez | Jenny SimpsonJeff Henderson

Shannon RowburyPaul ChelimoNoah LylesVernon NorwoodEnglish Gardner

Courtney OkoloJessica BeardAutumne FranklinStephanie GarciaLeah O’ConnorJenn Suhr

Mary Saxer

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Dr. Todd Arnold On the Road With USATF; Part 1

As the calendar turns to the new year, the 2016 Rio Olympics are behind us. The games brought USA Track and Field 32 medals, the highest since 1932 (excluding the boycotted games in Los Angeles) and St. Vincent Sports Performance had direct connection to 27 of them. 2017 looks to have that continued success.

One of the first trips of the year has us in Texas to work with Darrel Woodson (D2) and his group of sprinters. This week it’s in the high 30s, but the commitment is made and the athletes are out and working. We assess movement patterns, strength and symmetry and connect these to their events. The start of the season is a very valuable time for us. If dysfunction is ignored now and fitness is applied over that dysfunction, the risk of injury is higher and performance can be limited. No one wants to limit their potential!

Assessments are no fun in the cold. This is a picture of Sharika Nelvis beginning her Functional Movement Screen in her winter gear:


Sharika competes in the 100m hurdles, arguably the most competitive event in American track and field. At last year’s Olympic trials, she finished fourth, just missing the team. But Sharika and D2 are focused on 2017, not the past. On this assessment she looks great, moves well and is ready to put in the work to compete. We often tell athletes that when they look good on the movement assessment that it’s the time to work. Be comfortable trying something new. Let the body that moves well adapt to something new and see how it impacts performance.

This trip was pretty unique as we took the roadshow to multiple cities and had the privilege of seeing athletes from multiple disciplines. We started in Texas and Los Angeles with sprinters and hurdlers, moved to Reno to see the pole vaulters, onto Chula Vista at the Olympic Training Center for throwers and jumpers, finally ending in Orlando with Lance Brauman and his group of sprinters.

Todd Scenic

Please seek out the athletes we saw on this last trip via their social media and show them your support as they attack 2017 with their focus on competing in the many events leading up to the World Championships in London August 3-13.

Sharika NelvisMookie SalaamDiondre BatsonBryce RobinsonAshley Spencer

Morolake AkinosunCourtney Ovolo | Brianna RollinsDalilah MuhammadNia Ali

Dawn HarperCale SimmonsJacob BlankenshipKatie NageotteLogan Cunningham

Kylie HutsonSandi MorrisMary SaxerMike Arnold | Dani BunchJarvis Gotch

Amanda BingsonDeanna PriceMaggie Malone | Curtis Thompson | Felisha Johnson

Amber CampbellAndrea GuebelleMichelle CarterKelsey CardOctavious Freeman

Noah LylesJosephus Lyles

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SVSP Strength and Conditioning Coaches

Have you met our strength and conditioning staff? Our coaches have the experience and expertise to take your performance to the next level. Wherever you are in your journey, they will help you maximize your potential on the field of play. Our coaches give you the same tools and attention that professional athletes receive. What are you waiting for?

Brandon Johnson


Greg Moore


Jaime Waymouth


Emily Burgess


David Williams


Stephanie Young


Jeff Richter

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The Thrill of the Victory and the Agony of Defeat

I’m sure that many of you can recall watching the introduction to ABC’s The Wild World of Sports and hearing Jim McKay say,” The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”. This past week I had the privilege of working with a number of USA Track and Field athletes as they pursued their dream of making this year’s Olympic Team.


I saw the thrill of victory when the world’s best times were posted by LaShawn Merritt and English Gardner. I witnessed the thrill of seeing Trayvon Bromell, Sandi Morris, Emily Infeld and Colleen Quigley overcome injury to make the Olympic Team.

I saw the agony of defeat when Molly Ludlow, Leah O’Connor and Georganne Moline had to deal with circumstances out of there control and were unable to make the team. Everyone felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and gratitude when track and field icons Sanya Richards Ross, Dee Dee Trotter and Adam Nelson failed to make the Olympic Team and announced their retirement. We will always remember their influences in the sport we love.


Americans love watching and participating in sports for the thrill we get when we are victorious. We keep coming back when we experience the agony of defeat. I feel very honored and blessed to assist athletes as they strive to reach their goals and feel the thrill of their accomplishments.

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Extreme Sports

Track and field isn’t an extreme sport like base jumping, kite boarding or mountain climbing. This week, however, I was in a world of extremes.

In one week I went from Florida heat that reached 105 degrees, to Park City Utah, where we ran in long sleeves and 49 degree temperatures. From sea level to an altitude of 7000 feet. From sprinters to distance runners.

The common theme amongst these athletes is that they push their bodies to extremes. They all push themselves continuously in the pursuit of athletic performance. Sprinters are always on the verge of tearing their bodies up as they explode out of the blocks and go as hard as they can. All this physicality for an opportunity to compete again later in the day or a few days later in the finals. The distance runners log hours of running in a week. They vary the intensity of workouts, trying to maximize their strength with every repetitive step. These athletes ask their bodies to tolerate 60, 80 or even 100 miles per week in preparation for races measured in minutes.

Emily Infeld and Shelby Houlihan doing repeat 400s on the track at the University of Utah

Emily Infeld and Shelby Houlihan doing repeat 400s on the track at the University of Utah

This is the end of my season and the most important part of theirs. I am finished helping them get ready for the USA Olympic Trials in early July. They are about to embark on the most important races of the year. If they can make the USA Track and Field team in July, they have the opportunity to compete for an Olympic medal in early August. I do my job in relative anonymity, they do their job on a world stage for all to see.

When people ask what I do for a living it can be hard to describe. It’s easy to say that I’m a physician and leave it at that, but caring for athletes is what I do. It’s what I love to do. My job is not just seeing athletes when they are injured or ill but trying to help them maintain their health in the pursuit of performance.

Members of the Bowerman Track team do a work out on the track at the University of Utah Matt Hughes (Canada), Mo Ahmed (Canada), Chris Derrick, Ryan Hill, Evan Jager, Lopez Lomong, Andy Bayer, Dan Huling, German Fernandez

Members of the Bowerman Track team do a work out on the track at the University of Utah
Matt Hughes (Canada), Mo Ahmed (Canada), Chris Derrick, Ryan Hill, Evan Jager, Lopez Lomong, Andy Bayer, Dan Huling, German Fernandez

I am blessed to work with some of the greatest athletes in the world. When I see them and especially when I leave I always wish them the best and tell them that I will be watching. Please follow them, reach out to them and tell them you will be watching, too.


From Florida this past week

Candyce McGrone | Alexis Love | Isiah Young | Justin Walker | Jeff Demps |

Kaylin Whitney | Justin Gatlin


From Utah representing the Bowerman Track Club

Emily Infeld | Colleen Quigley | Shelby Houlihan | Chris Derrick | Andy Bayer

German Fernandez | Ryan Hill | Evan Jager | Dan Huling | Lopez Lomong

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Track and Field Travels

The diversity of track and field impresses me, and the last 10 days did nothing but confirm those feelings.  The Olympic Trials are about 6 weeks away and athletes from all over the country are finalizing their plans, from their workouts to competition schedules.  This week SVSP was dispersed across the globe, caring for athletes competing in Diamond League events from Doha to Shanghai to Rabat to Morocco. Domestically we traveled westward, hitting Portland, Tucson and Austin.  Our personal journey started with the Bowerman Track Club in Portland, where we checked the health and status of the distance runners.

This is Pascal Dobert (also a former Olympian and university of Wisconsin runner) taking part of the Bowerman Track club runners through a workout.

This is Pascal Dobert (also a former Olympian and university of Wisconsin runner) taking part of the Bowerman Track club runners through a workout.

Next up was the Elite Throws Event hosted by the University of Arizona.  This year we witnessed some great throws, including an American record when Gwen Berry threw the hammer 76.31 meters.  This was followed by an 18.99 meter shot put by Jill Williams, putting her at 5th in the world. All this after recently having a child! Georeanne Moline ran the worlds fasted time to date in the women’s 400-meter hurdles at 53.97 seconds, followed closely by Dilaliah Muhammad at 54.64 seconds.  Cyrus Hostetler shined by throwing the javelin over 83 meters.  Distance runner Bernard Lagat showed off his fitness during a workout on the track. He won the 10,000 meters at the Payton Jordan Classic just two weeks ago, and has a legitimate chance to make the USA team at that distance.

Georgeanne Moline races toward the finish line after the final hurdle in he 400 hurdles on the way to a current world best time.

Georgeanne Moline races toward the finish line after the final hurdle in he 400 hurdles on the way to a current world best time.

The trip ended in the heart of Texas with Daryl Woodson and his team of sprinters.  Some of these athletes were in Shanghai just a week before, so we picked up where they left off in treatment. We placed a focus on mechanics for starts and high speed in preparation for the Prefontaine Classic this weekend.

This is Jill Williams on her throw of 18.99 putting her 5th in the world currently. Husband Dustin immediately tweeted out this is her personal post baby best.

This is Jill Williams on her throw of 18.99 putting her 5th in the world currently. Husband Dustin immediately tweeted out this is her personal post baby best.

Days like these reminds us of the great athletes we care for and the great environment we are blessed to work in. When you have time please seek out these athletes on social media and show them your support and support for the USA Track and Field team as they prepare for the Trials and the Olympic games.

From Portland: Andy Bayer | Evan Jager | Chris Derrick | Emily Infeld | Shalane Flanagan | Amy Cragg | Lopez Lomong | Dan Huling | Shelby Houlihan | Andy Bumbalough | Elliot Heath | Ryan Hill | German Fernandez

From Arizona Elite Throws: Gwen Berry | Jill Camerena Williams | Cyrus Hostetler | Michael Lihrman | Darrell Hill | Reese Hoffa | Liz Podominick | Matthias Tayala | Riley Dolezal | Tavis Bailey

From Austin: Michael Rodgers | Michael Tinsley | Natasha Hastings | Mookie Salaam | Bianca Knight | Jasmine Hyder

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MLB pitcher Joe Thatcher’s off-season training at SVSP

MLB lefty Joe Thatcher, a native of Kokomo, Indiana, has been slinging pitches in the majors for over eight seasons. He has recorded 244 strikeouts over his career that has seen stints with the San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.


Thatcher, now a free agent, has been training at St.Vincent Sports Performance for four off-seasons and is continually impressed with the results. “The innovations that go on here are pretty amazing. I leave here in the offseason feeling great and I feel ready every spring training.” With more than 160 games each season, nothing is more important to a pitcher than a training regimen that optimizes performance, prevents injury and supports longevity.

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When Should Athletes Work with a Sport Psychologist?

It is valuable for any athlete to work with a sport psychologist to develop a structured mental skills routine. Whether the athlete is performing well, or experiencing decreases or plateaus in their performance, a sport psychologist can provide all athletes with mental skills that can help lead to their peak level of performance. Sport psychologists also work to assist athletes in coping with outside stressors that can negatively impact their performance.

Things to look for:

  • Inconsistency in performance
  • Lack of clearly defined goals
  • Differing levels of performance in practice versus competition (not performing well under pressure)
  • Excessive nervousness prior to and/or during performances
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Difficulty controlling emotions when playing (i.e. anxiety, anger, frustration, etc.)
  • Negativity directed at oneself or others
  • Focusing on things that are not within their control (i.e. weather, the other team, etc.)
  • Lack of, or decreases in, motivation
  • Low levels of confidence

Athletes going through any of the following could benefit from working with a sport psychologist:

  • General mental health disorders: anxiety, depression, adjustment disorders
  • Conflict with coaches, parents, or teammates
  • Outside stressors (i.e. academics, social relationships, etc.)
  • Injury
  • Signs of substance use/abuse
  • Disordered eating/body image concerns
  • Sleep difficulties, changes in appetite

Lastly, it is important to answer the question, “How do I know if they are qualified to help me?” Identifying who is qualified to work with athletes is an important step in getting them the resources they need for success. Identify licensed mental health professionals in your area with a specialization in sport psychology. Mental health professionals with a counseling or clinical psychology background will be able to assist athletes experiencing a wide range of things, including both sport performance challenges and general mental health concerns.

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SVSP staffers often have a string of letters after their names. Some are shorter and more commonly known, like MD. And others take up a large chunk of the alphabet and not as popularly understood, like CSCS, USAW or HSPP. You may have often wondered what they all mean. Did you figure out the acronym we made up for the blog title – it stands for Do You Know Your Acronyms? There are so many acronyms in training, psychology, medicine and nutrition, even those in those fields may not have them all down pat. The Defining Sports Performance Blog is here with the answers to all the abbreviated degrees, certifications and classifications befitting our staff!


ATC: Certified Athletic Trainer

CES: Clinical Exercise Specialist

CSCS: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

CSSD: Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics

HSPP: Health Service Provider in Psychology

EDD: Doctor of Education

LAT: Licensed Athletic Trainer

MA: Master of Arts

MBA: Master of Business Administrationt

MD: Medical Doctor

M.Ed.: Master of Education

MS: Master of Science

PES: Performance Enhancement Specialist

PHD: Doctor of Philosophy

PRN: Practicing Registered Nurse

PT: Physical Therapist

PTA: Physical Therapist Assistant

RD: Registered Dietician

RN: Registered Nurse

USAW: USA Weightlifting Certificate


Hopefully this alphabetic lesson helps you understand the rigorous amounts of training, studying and education the staff at SVSP has gone through – and continues to go through- enabling them to define sports performance.

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Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Named June Spirit of Sport Honoree


In a sport where just half a second can mean the difference between a win and a loss, teams are constantly looking for that extra edge. For Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM), that means focusing on improving all areas of performance — at the track, in the garage and in the weight room. Employing the expertise of coaches, nutritionists and sports psychologists at St.Vincent Sports Performance, the SPM team works tirelessly to train their bodies, improve their diets, and prepare their minds for the challenge of each race.

Despite a five-month-long season, SPM works for each tenth of a second seven days a week, 358 days a year. (They do reward themselves with one week off after the season). During a race week, the team will typically log between 60-80 hours a week, but no one complains — they’re all working toward a common goal. It’s that dedication and competitive drive that has brought the team two wins, one pole and eight Top 5 finishes so far this year. Undeterred by being a small and young team in the Verizon IndyCar Series, SPM remains in the hunt for the 2014 championship.

Nominate someone you know for a Spirit of Sport Award by visiting

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