Archive for Youth Sports

2017 Summer Training Schedule

Register today for any of these programs and make 2017 the best summer ever with SVSP!

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Brain power: tips to mentally prepare for competition

Great athletes put in hours practicing, eating right, and sleeping for success. The best athletes, however, also spend adequate time harnessing the power of their minds. Sports go beyond physical capabilities, and often wins and losses can be traced to mental strength. Here are some tips from our very own Dr. Chris Carr regarding mental preparation:

  1. Begin your imagery of competition the night before; visualize success, great plays and victory.
  2. Focus on deep breathing during the ride to the event.
  3. Use music to focus and visualize making great plays.
  4. Keep your thoughts on the present…one play at a time.
  5. When you have distractions in your mind, create some type of release by visualizing yourself destroying those distractions.
  6. Write down a cue word that you associate with your own optimal performance and have it on your wrist or someplace easily accessible for reminders.
  7. Use the same routine before every game or competition.
  8. Love the game and enjoy playing.

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Travel Blog: USA Football in Florida; Part 2

Thursday January 26th

Taping and treatments started at 7am. Our last padded practice was this morning. The coaches and athletes are getting so excited for this game. Practice ends and we head back to the hotel for lunch and some down time before treatments starts. Our second practice is a helmet only practice to allow the boys to focus on attention to detail. The day ends at 9pm.

Friday January 27th

Last practice before the big game with Canada. The motto all week has been “Let’s go 1-0.”  Taping and treatments start at 7am. We are really healthy right now and the boys have really listened to what I have told them to do and have followed my instructions very well. We have a great group of kids and coaches. Our last practice of the day gives the boys an opportunity to hear from a four star general about football. It’s amazing how much patriotism you have when you have the USA logo on the front of your chest. The day ends and we do some final treatments and get the boys to bed for some rest.

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Saturday January 28th

Game day!!! The guys get a chance to sleep in today. We meet as a team at 9am to have breakfast and talk about the day. My day is filled with last minute treatments before we start taping at 2pm for our game. We head to the field for our game at 5:30pm. Final stretching and taping and the boys are ready to go. What a game for Team USA! We score in the first 10 seconds and that sets the tone for the game. The defense plays unbelievably and keep Canada from scoring. This is the first time the U18 USA team has beaten Canada. As we end the game, it’s a time to thank everyone and make sure everyone is safe for the trip home. What another great week with SVSP and USA Football!

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The AGE Old Question

At what age can athletes begin strength training? The answer is slightly more complex than just assigning a number. Every person is different when it comes to development, and every person is different when it comes to strength.

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What is strength training?

Strength training boils down to moving your body. Lifting weights is strength training, but the foundation of every athlete is sound movement. That being said, athletes can start developing good movement habits as young as 4th or 5th grade without ever touching weights. Learning how to properly move the body in space is far more important than lifting weights at any age.

Weight and resistance training

Once the athlete establishes good movement patterns, they can begin weight and resistance training as they physically mature. For an athlete starting out, lighter is always better and the focus should be on the quality of the movement rather than the quantity of weight. You will build more strength doing a squat properly with no weight than poorly with 200 pounds. Injuries can occur easily with heavy weight so understanding that quality is more important than quantity is crucial.

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Most high school athletes are expected to know how to use weight training on some level. In order to gain strength, understanding that movement is the foundation will go a long way to ensuring safety and growth for your young athlete.

 

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How to Achieve Your Goals

Whether you’re going for a gold medal, state championship or you just want to lose those last 10 pounds, you need a healthy set of goals to get there. It’s relatively easy to set them, but achieving them is a whole different monster.

Napoleon Bonaparte said, “The reason most people fail is they trade what they want most for what they want at the moment.” So how do you achieve what you want most? By understanding the difference between outcome and process goals.

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Outcome goals are pretty straightforward: they’re the endgame. They’re the goals listed in the first sentence. Improving your record time, running a half-marathon, becoming an All-American. Those are outcome goals. That is what you want most, and it’s easy to set those without a plan in place. Enter process goals.

Process goals are what you need to do on a daily basis to accomplish your outcome goals. Getting up early to run, eating a salad instead of pizza, doing an extra set of push-ups, spending an extra hour after practice shooting. Those are process goals, and those are the goals that often get brushed aside. Those are the goals we fail to accomplish when we fall into the trap Napoleon talked about. The more we focus on process goals, however, the better chance we have of accomplishing our outcome goals.

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There’s one more thing to understand before setting out to conquer your goals: motivation. The best and most durable motivation is internal. This comes from within you and fuels the drive you need to accomplish your process goals. Being the best version of yourself, being better than yesterday, getting to another level on the playing field. Those are internal motivators. Wanting your name in the paper, looking like a million bucks, winning that coveted award. Those are external motivators. Sure, motivation comes from those things as well, but only the fire from internal motivation lasts when you don’t want to get out of bed.

Shift your motivation internally, attack your daily process goals and watch your outcome goals get closer and closer to reality.

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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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Prepping for Game One

Hello from Harbin, China!  We made it!

That was easily the longest travel day I have ever been a part of.  Here’s a brief timeline of the last 36 hours:

  • June 24 9:30am Kean University – meet to load buses
  • 10:45am depart for JFK
  • 12pm arrive at JFK, unload buses, and begin flight check in
  • 5pm flight departs JFK
  • 1:30am local time (+12hrs) land in Harbin
  • 3am local arrive on campus, unload buses, room check in
  • 4:30am unpack/settle into room
  • 7:30am breakfast

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It’s been a crazy whirlwind, and now after being here for a little more than 24hrs, the focus shifts to recovery and gearing up for our first game in two days.  Nearly 30,000 tickets have already been sold for our game vs. Austria.

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While the coaches use these next couple of days to fine tune the game plans, Chad and I will use them to try and do the same for the athletes.  Rest, recovery, hydration, nutrition, treatments – they all play an important role in our success as we adapt to our new surroundings and get ready for game one vs. Austria.

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SVSP in Texas with USA Football

Anna Foster, LAT, ATC and several other SVSP staffers are in Dallas this week with the US National Football Team. Here’s a blog straight from the sidelines.

 

“Teamwork makes the dreamwork.” It’s a pretty common slogan that’s thrown around in and out of the sports world. I may be a little biased but I grew up around football, and as an athletic trainer the sport gets a bad rep in the medical world. No doubt it’s a tough and physical sport, but if you appreciate the finesse of the game you’ll find that it is one of the only true team sports left. The QB can’t get the ball off for a throw without his O-Line protecting him; the linebackers can’t get to the QB without his D-Line opening a hole. It’s really quite a fun game to watch and appreciate.

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SVSP’s Team in Dallas

We had all of ages of USA Football covered, bringing seven athletic trainers and one team physician to Dallas. I worked closely with the U-15 team, a group of 8th graders just learning to perfect their craft. I am humbled to see these young men work hard and learn to be a part of a team. On Monday, we had a hard-hitting practice and a player came to me after a some hard contact.

 

After performing an initial concussion review, I had our team physician, Dr. Pat Kersey, take a closer look.

 

Dr. Kersey, USA Footballs medical director, is well versed in concussions and watching his technique and evaluation protocol is truly artwork to me. After a thorough evaluation, Pat determined that the player may have had a small concussive event, but due to a previous issue, he may have not fully recovered. An eye test revealed a vestibular component to his injury and finding it may have changed his life.

 

After this revelation and a discussion with his father, it was determined that this could be why he has eye problems as well as issues with math and reading in school. It was a groundbreaking discovery and another humbling example of the impact that we have as athletic trainers and physicians.

 

It has been a whirlwind down here in Dallas, sometimes causing me to lose track of which day it is! It has definitely been worth the time to get to see these young men play the sport they love, but also to spend time with our close-knit team. The next time you are at a football game, take a glance at the sideline and find the team of medical professionals. Sometimes it’s fun to watch the group of athletic trainers and physicians run around with such finesse, not one being able to work as well without the other!

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Superstitious Young Athletes

Lucky socks, tying your shoes a certain way, stepping over the foul line, putting your gloves on left hand first, then right hand, rally caps… Superstitions abound among young athletes. Are they good? Are they bad? What can a parent do to help a child with useful pre-performance routines? Kacey Oiness, Ph.D., HSPP, a Sport & Performance Psychologist at St.Vincent Sports Performance is here to answer those questions and more.



Kids often develop superstitions in an effort to create consistency in performances and feel as though there is something they can control each time they compete. Therefore, encouraging kids to develop performance routines can be useful, as it can allow them to identify things that are within their control that can contribute to success. You can assist your child in creating pre-performance routines that contribute to performance such as healthy behaviors (i.e. a good night’s sleep, eating healthy, etc.), as well as incorporating mental skills that lead to greater levels of confidence and an ability to maintain composure (i.e. positive self-talk, relaxation strategies, visualization). By encouraging them to develop a routine that facilitates their performance, you are giving them a way to feel a sense of control and consistency, without necessarily having to turn to superstitions.

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Superstitions, however, can be a part of sport and are not necessarily bad. But it is important to be cautious about allowing an athlete to depend  on their superstitious behaviors. Flexibility is key: if an athlete is unable to perform an aspect of their performance routine or engage in a superstitious behavior, it is important for them to learn to refocus on things that are within their control moving forward. When an athlete has difficulty moving past the idea that they have to engage in a superstitious behavior, that is when it can become harmful. The more you can assist your athlete in developing useful physical and mental performance routines and reinforce flexibility in that routine, the more beneficial it will be to their athletic performance.

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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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