Step One – Safety

SAFETY

Let’s take a look at probably the most important consideration in youth sports – safety

new survey by the non-profit advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide finds “an alarming gap” in what is known about sports safety and what is being done to reduce the risk of injury to young athletes, whether playing scholastic, intramural, recreational, select or club team sports.

According to the survey of 1,000 young athletes (seventh through 10th grade), 1,000 coaches and 1,000 parents:

  • 42% of players report that they have hidden or downplayed an injury during a game so they could keep playing; 62% say they know someone else who has done so.
  • 54% say they have played injured and 70% of those kids say they told a coach or parent that they were hurt. Top reasons given for playing injured: it wasn’t that bad (18%); couldn’t let the team down (13%); didn’t want to be benched (12%).
  • 33% say they have been injured as a result of dirty play from an opponent; 28% agree that it is normal to commit hard fouls and play rough to “send a message” during a game.
  • 53% of coaches say they have felt pressure from a parent or player to put an athlete back in a game if the child has been injured.

These findings highlight behaviors and other components within youth sports that need to be addressed.

Some of these actions are subjective and have been pervasive and even glorified in sport.  In my own coaching experience relating to injury, I have seen bravery, fear, false swagger, and outright stupidity by athletes and coaches at the highest level, people who should know better.

This is not a judgment against two of the greatest components of sport and competition – heart and courage, but rather trying to create a path so that athletes have an opportunity to display them.

BAMS GOAL AND THE PURPOSE OF TESTING

BAMTesting administers standardized testing to guide young athletes and parents to make the best choices for health and optimal performance.

Where can testing help?

Just like with the professional athletes, testing is essential to monitor the following areas:

  • Overtraining/Overuse
  • Physical Development
  • Back to Play Markers
  • Sport Competency/Physical literacy

In the next post we will take a look at these variables of safety.

Remember say thanks to a Veteran today!

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Athletic Participation and Development – Laying the Foundation

Athletic Participation and Development – Laying the Foundation

The National Federation of State High School Associations just released its annual report on participation in athletics for the 2013-14 school year. Here are the key highlights:

  • - the number of participants in high school sports increased for the 25th consecutive year to 7.8 million
  • - this year’s increase of 82,000 was largest gain since 2009-10.
  • - for first time in five years, football participation increased (6,600 new payers)
  • - baseball showed the largest single sport gain among boys with 7,800 new participants
  • - volleyball was top gainer among girls sports, adding 9,400 new players
  • - lacrosse had the largest overall increase when combining men and women (9,700 new players) bringing total participation to 188,000 players nationwide in high schools. Overall, lacrosse is the 11th most popular sport for boys and the 10th most popular for girls.

It is great that theoretically participation is up and more of our youth are getting up off the couch. However, larger numbers can create problems without proper planning, competent coaching, and health markers.

The Foundation – Standardized Testing
All of this points to the increased demand and need for standardized testing. Athletes and coaches need reliable information to participate at an optimal level and improve safety, to know where you are going, you first must know where you are.

Next
How can Standardized Testing improve the overall athletic experience?

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Importance of Injury Prevention

Revolution Sports wants you to perform at your best without injury. This is the first of a series on injury prevention.

Some of the most devastating injuries to athletes are knee and ankle injuries. These injuries are on an epidemic rise in youth, high school and collegiate sports.

ACL Injury Facts:

200,000 new ACL injuries each year and growing!
Surgery and rehab will take 6 to 36 months to fully recover
75% of ACL injured athletes return to sport
70% of all injuries occur with no direct contact
Cost for ACL repair ranges from $15,000 to over $45,000 but depends on insurance

Ankle Injury Facts:

Sprained ankles have been estimated to constitute up to 30% of injuries seen in sports medicine clinics and are the most frequently seen musculoskeletal injury seen by primary care providers. 41% of all sports related ankle sprains are basketball related, according to the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

The better you prepare off the court, the better you will play on it. Start your preparation with a pre-sport injury screening process designed and implemented by our sports medicine team.

We can identify risk factors based on functional tests that are commonly seen in higher risk sports. Our testing includes a history of previous knee and ankle injuries, posture, functional static and dynamic movement assessment and foot type.

Prevention:

1. Awareness – know the risk factors, what to look for, understand the consequences

2. Screening – determine who is at risk

3. Prevention – empower, prepare

4. Training – off-season and pre-season preparation program

Revolution

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How does your vertical jump compare?

Now you’re probably asking yourself, how do I compare on my vertical jump. Using BAM Testing’s results data from around the country, the average vertical jump for a typical high school basketball guy is 18.75″. For the top high school guys we’ve tested at Adidas Nations, the average vertical is 26.5″. Based on the last few years of our NBA Draft Combine results, the average for those guys is 27.5″.

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Measuring the impact of vertical jump training

If you’ve read Volt Athletics last post on vertical jump, it’s time to set a benchmark and goals.

To make your vertical jump training effective, use your last BAM Score as a benchmark . Now set a goal for the next training mesocycle (6-12 weeks) and appropriate test date. Work with your coach to establish a goal that is reasonable and accounts for your age and overall conditioning level. Be realistic with your goal setting, a 5-15% increase for this development period falls within this parameter.

Let us say you’re a 15 year old male basketball player with a vertical  jump of 20″ at your last BAM Test. With the training described by Volt Athletics in the previous article, increasing your vertical by  1.5″ – 2″ over the next three months is possible.  Just adding 1.5″ would increase your BAM score by at least 4 points. You should expect to see a positive impact on other protocols too.

Remember set reasonable goals; be consistent with your training, including adequate recovery; be dedicated to a sound nutrition program; have fun.

How does your vertical jump compare with NBA, college, and high school athletes? We’ll post some comparisons for you very soon.

– The BAM Team

 

 

 

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Methods for Improving Your Vertical Jump

BAM Testing is excited to bring you the first of many articles over the next several weeks that tap into the knowledge and expertise from our partners and affiliates.   Posts will cover a variety of important issues; training, nutrition, and so much more.

We hope you enjoy the first posting from The Training Series by Jace Derwin, a strength coach with Volt Athletics.

If you’ve recently participated in a BAM testing combine, chances are you completed a vertical jump test. Across all sports, the vertical jump may be the most common and most translatable test to sport performance. If we break down the mechanics behind jumping, we see that it is a combination of explosive leg and hip extension against the resistance of an athlete’s body weight. Regardless if you are a baseball, basketball, football, or a soccer player, explosive leg and hip action is a viable and useful skill in competition.

Why is the vertical jump such a dynamic talent to possess?

The answer is POWER. Power is simply the result of two variables, force over time. A more powerful athlete will be stronger in a shorter amount of time. Athletes who apply more force through their legs at a faster rate will result in higher vertical jumps.

To improve your vertical jump, you must get stronger through your jumping mechanics, and increase the speed at which those mechanics take place.

So, how do we accomplish this?

LEARN HOW TO JUMP. Jumping, in and of itself, is a skill to be learned and refined. All the strength training in the world will have a limited effect on someone who has lousy jump mechanics. One effective method of improving jump technique is through plyometric training. Plyometrics, or “plyos” for short, are a type of exercise designed to produce fast and powerful movements. Plyometrics are a great way to learn how to control and propel the body against its own resistance. Your primary goal should be to initiate as much force through the ground while maintaining a fast and explosive leg drive.

Work on jumping from different starting positions (such as a small bend in the knee vs. a full squat) and move towards jumping following a drop from elevation (called a “depth jump”). As you do this you will build the timing between the hips and the legs, which is critical to being as explosive as possible. In addition to improving jump mechanics, the next critical piece to maximizing your vertical jump is to develop strength in the hips and legs.

So how do we train to that effect?

The answer is in the weight room. Look for my next installment where I will write on what kinds of strength training are most effective in building a foundation for your athleticism. Until then, get out there and start jumping!

– Jace Derwin, CSCS Strength Coach, Volt Athletics

 

Volt enables sports teams worldwide to easily and affordably implement elite-level strength and conditioning programs using innovative web-based tools. Volt’s sport-specific programs are individualized for each athlete, customized to each team’s training calendar, and optimized for a team training environment. Volt offers the most affordable and effective training system available for competitive athletes today. Volt is offering a free 30 day trial.

 

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Twice the Value

The recruitment process for college athletics is a unique undertaking. This process is further complicated by the vague rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).  In addition, athletic participation for high school athletes nationwide will pass 7.5 million this year. The NCAA maintains 23 sports represented by 450,000 student athletes. For this reason many parents, students, and institutions look for help from third party services.

All involved should be concerned with the value of their return on investment when obtaining or giving a college scholarship. Parents can pay fees for these services. Recruiting budgets at universities can be astronomical, and at others, almost non-existent. The bottom line is everyone wants the most bang for the buck. One unifying component in this venture should be reliable, truthful, comparable information.  These qualities speak of time and money well invested. BAM endeavors to become the standard, reliable, independent, third party providers of standardized athletic testing.  The tests taken and the results obtained are the same in Portland as they are in Akron, a unified collection and transcription of information across the globe. BAM brings an objective benchmark to the areas of talent identification and recruiting exposure, benefiting athletes and universities alike.

Next – How BAM makes this happen.

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“OLD SCHOOL”

Portsmouth Invitational just around the corner

April 11th – 14th, 2012 marks the 60th annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT). This is the longest running basketball combine in the U.S. For the third year, BAM Testing will be present to provide athletic measurements in speed, power, agility, and reaction.  We’re excited to participate in the discovery of the very best.  Take a look at recent NBA draft picks that participated at the PIT.

  • 2010 PIT participant Jeremy Lin is making headlines with the New York Knicks!!
  • 2011 PIT MVP Jimmy Butler (Marquette) was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls.
  • 2011 PIT participants Vernon Macklin (Florida and Portsmouth native) and Andrew Goudelock (College of Charleston) were second round draft picks.

For the latest on PIT format and participant update check out the PIT site.

Have an opinion on the PIT format or who participates? We want to hear your comments.

More PIT updates soon.

 

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RELIABILITY = CREDIBILITY

BAM’s initial blogs with regards to Jeremy Lin, his contemporaries, and their comparisons were driven by timely events. Besides the media love fest and an interesting storyline about great athletes, what makes this story different? For the sports geek in a lot of us it is the objective measurements that make it compelling.  Objectivity should be a key component upon which talent identification (as subjective as it can be sometimes) is based, and is the cornerstone to our philosophy.

In athletics the success of a program, individual, or agenda is largely dependent upon setting intelligent goals and then achieving them. Evaluation (testing and measuring) is an important tool in that outcome. The means of collecting the information for such a process is paramount in the success of the evaluation.

Testing Considerations

BAM tests are performed as an objective third party, whose one goal is to perform the most reliable, valid testing possible.

Reliability                                                                                                                                                     This refers to the consistency, accuracy or repeatability of a test. If an individual does not change his or her athletic ability then a reliable test, repeated will show no difference. The only variable the test should measure is the one it is designed to. Reliability is important for the following reasons:

  •      When you repeat the measurement.
  •      For performance tests, it’s usually more important than validity.
  •      Reproducibility is paramount to monitor small changes and comparisons in individual athletes.
  •      It’s crucial for physical development specialists, trainers, coaches, and researchers.

To improve reliability BAM eliminates these factors (and more) that contribute to non-reliable tests.

  •      Different examiners are used for retesting, who use a slightly different protocol.
  •      The examiner uses poor technique failing to standardize the test and calibrate equipment.
  •      External factors have not been controlled, such as environmental conditions, methodology, order of tests, or using different equipment.

BAM uses the following general guidelines as well, to standardize the testing procedure and ensure accuracy and reliability.

  •      Strict protocol, from warm-up to test.
  •      Administration of tests that follows a consistent design developed by over 25 years of testing.
  •      Use of the worlds most accurate timing system.
  •      Orientation for pre-test preparation – hydration, nutrition, rest, etc.

In our next blog post we will cover Validity

 

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The “Lin”side Point Guard Review

As we continue to evaluate these point guards (Lin, Wall, Irving, Rose), let’s look at the BAM Score. Remember we had a total BAM Score.

The score includes standardized test results for speed, agility, and power**. These norms are established from a large athletic population base and are not sport specific. What does this mean? In the simplest terms, when we consider an athletic component we utilize data from a variety of tested athletes, football, soccer, lacrosse, etc. So when a basketball athlete scores an 80 for speed, a good result for basketball, they may not be as fast as other sports with regards to speed. One of the fastest times for the NBA combine came from Nate Robinson (yes, the three time dunk champion) who would have a BAM Score for speed in the 95-98 range. Nate comes from a very diverse athletic background. He was a starting cornerback at the University of Washington, state record holder in the high hurdles, and you’ve seen his hops.

Logic dictates that the highest scoring athletes stand a better chance at success, even though typically most athletes have a weak link in their performance chain. This is illustrated in the below diagram. Lin has comparable speed and agility but ranked lowest on power. Irving and Wall have lower individual BAM Scores for one attribute but an overall better BAM Score.


Why is this useful? Quantifying this provides a tool for physical development and injury prevention. Ability to reliably measure a specific athletic attribute such as agility or power may be even more significant. The BAM Score does all of the above, while establishing a preferred range by gender, sport, and position for the overall and specific attributes. This is what makes the BAM Score unique.

More to come soon.

** Besides speed, power, and agility BAM Score can also include other athletic qualities: reaction, local muscular endurance, and performance ratios. For this study those metrics were not available for all athletes.

 

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