Bracket Busters

Why NC State Busted Your Bracket

If there was an NCAA Basketball Combine Championship, the favorite to win the tournament this year would be North Carolina State. The question that automatically follows is: They would have better test numbers than Kentucky? When it comes to the tests for speed, agility, reaction time, and power, the Wolfpack would likely even edge out the Wildcats. Just how athletic are the Wolfpack?

Brett Brungardt, founder of BAM (Basic Athletic Measurement), has the numbers. BAM is the official testing provider of the NBA. BAM tests the college draft class every year at the Chicago combine and the best seniors at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT). Over the last five years, BAM has also collected numbers at NCAA schools. BAM has a simple goal:  administer standardized, reliable, valid tests, using the latest technology.  “As the gold standard of athletic testing,” Brungardt says. “a key piece of the process is our extensive database.” Over the last seven years they’ve compiled a large and diverse database from around the globe, ranging from elite to youth athletes.

NC State Head strength and conditioning coach, Bob Alejo, is also a numbers guy. He was the strength coach for the Oakland A’s during their “moneyball” days. The last three years, he has hired BAM to test the NC State team. Testing is directly linked to athletic development. You’ve got to verify that your methods are achieving the results you want. Alejo’s goal is to help every player achieve his athletic potential. Having both NC State’s number and the NBA’s last five draft classes, gives BAM a unique data set to compare how NC State stacks up against the best of the best.

“When you look at the numbers,” Brungardt says, You can see that on average NC State tests (an objective measurement of athleticism) better then an NBA draft class. This is remarkable. This is a credit to Alejo and Coach Gottfried (and their staff).

Here’s how the numbers break down:

Vertical Jump

NBA draft class: 28.35 inches.

NC State it’s 28.66 inches.

Approach vertical

NBA draft class: 34.17 inches

NC State: 34.94 inches

¾ Court Spring

NBA draft class:  3.35

NC State:  3.30

Reaction Shuttle

NBA draft class:  3.13

NC State:  3.01

4-Way Agility Drill

NBA Draft Class:  11.26

NC State:  11.34

What does NC State’s unprecedented collection of high scores mean when it comes to winning and losing games? This is always the question with data. Can you make the data meaningful? We all know that games are won and loss by how players perform on the court under pressure. In the data-driven sports world, we also know that uber-athleticism can level the playing field, even create havoc on the court. When NC State combines their athleticism with smart basketball and makes open looks, they can beat the best. They’ve already beat a who’s who list this year: Duke, LSU, North Carolina (on the road), Louisville (on the road), and now Villanova.

Moving from data to the pure eye test, the simple joy of watching the game, NC State’s athleticism deserves some attention. When they play Louisville on Friday, every now and then, just watch NC State move, take in the game from the lens of movement, like a ballet. Watch the wolf pack jump, break down court in a sprint, move side to side, stop and go, change directions. See how Louisville moves with them. Can they hang? Does NC State’s athleticism create havoc? Then go back and watch the game like a normal fan: the decision-making, the execution. Then with NC State, watch for moments when it all comes together. How long can the athleticism and the execution be sustained? Will it be enough to get by Louisville again?

As Kentucky pushes for a perfect season, it is clear that there may never be another team like them. As the Wolfpack pushes into the next round, in their own unique way, there may also never be another team them. Yet, it could all come to end this weekend.

 

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BASIC ATHLETIC MEASUREMENT TO ADMINISTER THE U.S. ARMY NATIONAL COMBINE

 

BASIC ATHLETIC MEASUREMENT TO ADMINISTER THE U.S. ARMY NATIONAL COMBINE

ROCKAWAY, N.J. and SEATTLE, WA (December 18, 2014) – All American Games (AAG) and Basic Athletic Measurement (BAM), today announced an agreement that BAM will be administrating the U.S. Army National Combine event testing.  The U.S. Army National Combine is the Athletic Testing component for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which will take place at San Antonio, TX.  The U.S. Army National Combine testing takes place at Alamo Stadium on Friday, January 2nd.  BAM testing is the recognized leader in Standardized Athletic Testing, with over 30 years of experience with elite athletes around the world. BAM’s clients include the NBA, Adidas, and Major College Programs around the country.   

As part of this agreement, BAM will provide and certify test results with their proprietary technology that will not only help ID talent, but benchmark athletes while allowing comparison and categorization.  “BAM is deeply committed to providing athletes, coaches, and sports medicine with meaningful and accurate performance parameters that promote proper physical development, back to play metrics, and potential talent identifiers”, said Brett Brungardt, founder of BAM. “This unique event allows us to provide reliable and valid testing to a deserving group of outstanding athletes”.

“”We are thrilled that BAM has joined us and will provide their precise measuring tools at this year’s U.S. Army National Combine.  Their team’s collective expertise and technology has benefitted sports professionals and we look forward to them bringing this experience to our young athletes at the National Combine,” said All American Games Chairman, Douglas Berman.

The U.S. Army National Combine, focuses on measuring speed, strength, quickness, and football skill, while also providing educational seminars touching on the recruiting process, speed and strength improvement, and leadership.  Held annually in association with the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the U.S. Army National Combine is the first opportunity for the Nation’s top underclassmen to demonstrate their physical talent and compete against one another before high school and college football’s top scouting organizations, including 247Sports and XOS Digital, as well as the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee.

The U.S. Army National Combine is specifically designed to highlight the football abilities and talents of today’s rising underclassmen and tomorrow’s high school, college, and NFL stars.  U.S. Army National Combine alumni include Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs), Percy Harvin (Seattle Seahawks), LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles), DeMarco Murray (Dallas Cowboys), and Patrick Peterson (Arizona Cardinals).  National sponsors of the U.S. Army National Combine include: the U.S. Army; adidas; American Family Insurance; Gatorade; Football University; 247Sports; XOS Digital; Xenith; NCSA; Battle Sports Science; and San Antonio CVB.

For more information on the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and its related events, visit www.usarmyallamericanbowl.com and visit www.bamtesting.net for additional information on BAM.

 

 

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Overtraining/Overuse

Overtraining/Overuse

The conversation about this topic is becoming more prevalent, but in the field of physical development (strength and conditioning) it is a foundational element in developing methodology.

Overtraining/overuse syndromes are consequences of mismanaged stressors. In reality most experiences in life are stressors. Sport, training, etc. are no different – the good news is that these stressors can be beneficial. If properly controlled (not always possible in life, but more controllable in sport and activity) this stress allows us to adapt and become stronger.

When discussing safety and overtraining/overuse issues a good place to start would be to look at risk factors. Understanding risk factors and controlling stressors will help improve safety.

RISK FACTORS

  • Prior injury is a strong predictor of future overuse injury.
  • Overuse injuries may be more likely to occur during the adolescent growth spurt.
    1. Skeletally immature athletes in a rapid phase of growth are less resistant to tensile, shear, and compressive forces than either mature bone or more immature prepubescent bone.
    2. Decrease in age-adjusted bone mineral density that occurs before peak height velocity.
  • Other factors that may contribute:
    1. A relative lack of lean tissue mass, an increase in joint hypermobility, and imbalances in growth and strength.
    2. A history of amenorrhea is a significant risk factor for stress fractures.
  • Higher training volumes have consistently been shown to increase the risk of overuse injury in multiple sports.
  • Other factors that may contribute to overuse injury but lack clinical data include:
    1. Overscheduling, such as multiple competitive events in the same day or over several consecutive days. This factor may be better considered as a marker for a high ratio of work/recovery.
    2. Readiness for participation/development/competition.
    3. Sport Specialization.

Reliable and valid testing conducted at appropriate times can indicate performance issues related to overuse/overtraining issues and help  improve methodology.

Next post – A deeper look at these factors.

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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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