Athletic development specialists dedicated to the art and science of excellence in movement

Notes from 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Arizona State Clinic: Part II


Part I (morning session) is HERE

Dr. Jared Porter: Practice Makes Perfect.  Strategies to Make Practice and Training More Efficient and More Effective

*Teacher = Coach; Student =  Athlete

*Coaches often fail to investigate coaching process

*Well trained does not always equal well learned

*Practice = make people better at skill – Result in permanent change in behavior (accuracy, coordination, visual search)

*Training = ability to execute skill, performance effects; Physical and Cognitive

Goals of practice

  • -performance
  • -decision making
  • -information processing
  • -independence
  • -adaptation
  • -manage stressors

*Athletes should be able to develop independence – coach can work one-on-one in practice but stands on sideline during game

*Athlete brain is underdeveloped if not independent mentally but fully developed physically

*Need both mental and physical

*Biomechanics, motor learning, exercise physiology/nutrition, prehab/rehab, sports psychology, strength and conditioning = ALL important

*Producing efficient and effective movement is the hardest thing the brain does.  This is what separates us from computers

*If you are moving to accomplish a goal it is a motor skill – Focus on teaching/learning process

*Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect….BUT what is perfect practice?

*Cooking versus baking

  • Cooking – allows for compensations
  • Baking – pure chemistry; can’t compensate once reaction starts
  • Practice is like baking

*Reverse engineer competition environment to figure out how to practice

  • *Augmented feedback = external source (coach, technology)
  • *Sensory feedback = naturally available information (environment)

Knowledge of results versus knowledge of performance

  • *Knowledge of results – information about outcome
  • *Knowledge of performance – information about movement characteristics
  • *For beginners, more knowledge of performance is needed
  • *Advance – more knowledge of results (let athlete figure out adjustments on their own)

*Too much knowledge of performance hinders performance in skilled athletes

  • Augmented feedback – how much?  Less is better when close to competition.
  • Why? Increases problem solving skill/activity (functional MRI – brain shuts down with too much feedback)
  • Guidance hypothesis – too much feedback becomes a crutch – Humans can develop chemical addictions to feedback!

*Types of augmented feedback

  • -Fading technique – Initially a lot of feedback but later weaned off it
  • -Learner requested feedback – provide feedback only when requested
  • -Summary feedback – only feedback after set of trials

*Positive feedback better than negative feedback – no data to support negative feedback!!

*Encourage self evaluation – surprisingly accurate; information processing cortexes light up

*Always err on side of less feedback; guide toward correct behavior

*Practice variety – Get your reps in without being repetitive (Still need to train physical conditioning in addition to skill)

*Constant practice versus varied practice ---same amount of reps but done differently


  • skill variation (hitting variety of shots)
  • Physical context (rain, crowd noise…many T/F athletes faltered in London since they didn’t practice in rain)
  • Situational (overtime, 2 minute drill)

*Contextual interference

  • Low CI = better practice, worse performance
  • High CI = worse practice, better performance
  • (How often do you shoot 20 free throws in a row in a game?)

*As football coach, often worried if team practiced well.  Best games came after worst practice weeks, worst games after best practices

  • Need to sacrifice practice performances for game performances

*Create cognitive challenges in practice

*Parallel development hypothesis – if one cognitive or motor ability develops faster than the other, there will be problems

*Random environment induces forgetting…Forces athlete to re-solve the problem, which improves problem solving ability

*Practice performance does not give good indication of learning

*Train athletes to be independent problem solvers

*Separation of practice vs training – Still need to do your sets; still a small practice effect on skill during training/conditioning

*Should know WHY you are doing everything.  If you become critical of yourself, you might get a little depressed…tradition is not enough!  Sometimes you need to change!


Patrick Ward: The Role of Stress Resistance in Athletic Performance and Program Design

*Paraympathetic (PS) and Sympathetic (S) nervous systems both always “on.”  Neither is more important than the other and they are not antagonistic.

*Selye – stress is nonspecific response of body to any demand whether it is caused by or results in pleasant or unpleasant conditions

*Stress resistance is modulating quality – not just dependent on training

*Specific stressors – practice, training, competition, etc

*Non-specific stressors – travel, sleep, etc

*Can’t apply stress in both accounts (specific 

*Might survive training for a while but eventually break down if non-specific stress is too high

*Supercompensation - Functional overreaching - nonfunctional overreaching – overtraining syndrome

*Need way to monitor functional overreaching for it to work

*Vicious cycle – hard training works for 3 months, plateau, push harder, overtraining….

*Signs of overtraining – physiological, psychological, behavioral, performance

*Paraympathetic overtraining – weakened immune system, soreness, fatigue, reduced appetite…all body’s way to protect itself (these are the people who get upper respiratory infection before Ironman)

*Sympathetic overtraining – body still rallying the troops to avoid crash

“We have a technical term for low levels of stress…it is called stimulation” Sapolsky

  • *Stress = push over cliff
  • *Stimulation = teeter on edge of cliff

*Hormesis – certain stressors are toxic at high levels but are good at lower levels

*Training is not about days, weeks, months…it is about years!

*Build up reps over years….

*Train as much as you need to get the desired result and then train no more

*Why measure stress? Everyone needs something different on that particular day

  • Low tech – questionnaires, vertical jump, broad jump, grip strength, observation, resting heart rate
  • High tech – HRV, blood, saliva
  • High HRV = more “pull” from parasympathetic; overall fitness higher, better recovery, quicker return to parasympathetic state
  • Lower HRV = poor fitness, higher risk of cardiovascular episode, decreased recovery

*Options if adjustments to workout needed

  1. Lower volume for the day but keep intensity the same
  2. Lower intensity but keep volume the same
  3. Switch workout to low intensity or medicine ball circuit
  4. Switch workout to low intensity cardio
  5. Scrap workout and do light mobility work

*During the season – do whatever you need to get ready for next game


Sue Falsone: Flexibility and Mobility Training.  How Does it Fit into our Strength and Stability Programming

*Systematic approach – all things equally important

  • Pain generator (matters whether facet or bursa)
  • Motion segment (if lack ROM body will find way to compensate)
  • Psychomotor control (muscle firing at proper time; synergists do not like to become prime movers)
  • Somatosensory control (where is the body in space)
  • Fundamental performance
  • Advanced performance
  • Functional measurement

*Short versus stiff

Short = loss of sarcomeres

  • Stiff = change in tension per unit of change in length
  • Don’t try to lengthen stiff – often need stability/tension elsewhere.  Not many muscles actually short

*Instability = abnormal movement of joint

*Flexibility = gross ROM of joint including joint capsule and soft tissue surrounding joint

*Viscoelastic material resists strain and shear linearly

*Elastic material return to original shape when force removed

*Treat joint capsule first, then fascia, nerves, neural tension

*Flexibility and injury – Not sufficient evidence to discontinue routine stretching before or after exercise to prevent injury

*BUT acute stretching decreases viscoelastic behavior of muscle and tendon.  Less energy to move muscle but body doesn’t know this and uses too much force…Gives credibility to idea of activating muscle first in new length

*Regular long term stretching affects stretch tolerance but does not change viscoelasticity.  Sacrifice shot term performance gain for long term gain

*Tightness is there to protect you.  Hamstrings often the point of stability in the low back (=weak core)

*Increased ROM beyond what is needed is not beneficial and can cause injury/decrease performance

*We are strongest in mid-range.  Lose strength if ROM excessive

*Regular stretching increases isokinetic force production and velocity of contraction…but studies not standardized

*Asymmetries do relate to injury but more research needed (see Does Asymmetry Enhance Injury Risk) ; most studies on ROM not flexibility

*Methods – AIS, McCook, Movement Prep/AP, MAT/Roskof, Fascial Stretching

*Assessment – FMS, upper quarter, lower quarter

*What do we know

  • Acute = decrease in performance
  • Long term – helpful
  • Stretching strengthens muscles; increases rate of contraction
  • Dynamic warmup beneficial

*What we don’t know

  • General flexibility effect on injury
  • Asymmetry
  • How to assess flexibility?

*What methods are best to improve with least detrimental effects


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.