Top 5 Most Important initial assessments in personal training for hoops
Previous injuries/health history:
Addressing previous injuries and acquiring a health history is vital to progression for an athlete’s performance. The restrictions and limitations that follow specific injuries such as an ACL rupture or concussion are essential to ensure they are completely resolved prior to moving into a loading phase of training. Both of these injuries can and will haunt you for life if not treated properly. With concussions in particular, the inner ear and cranial nerve function must be assessed and the patient must be released by a healthcare professional trained in this field. As for ACL reconstruction patients, the focus should be on range of motion and hip and core stability/control. Those two key factors should be at the forefront of the training regimen. Even if they have been cleared it doesn’t hurt to assess again. The reason this is so important is to be able to train in full ranges of motion and not train into pain and restriction leading to compensation and later injury. Even worse these restrictions go from a small problem to a major problem leading to antalgic gait, chronic instability and swelling, inability to balance and so forth. A big reason why 1 on 1 training can’t be matched. Eyes are constantly on you as you perform each exercise and movement. Along with tactile cueing to allow each muscle to fire when it’s supposed too, getting feedback as you go. There are multiple ways to get the most detailed information from your athlete. The knee outcome survey activities of daily living is a great survey for numerical tracking of progress and details into your athlete’s restrictions. Another simple survey is a PAR-Q which stands for physical activity readiness questionnaire. Both of these questionnaires will give you insight into some of the lingering injuries they may be having. This can then give you ideas on different functional tests to perform and where to focus your time.
It’s pretty well known that the number one injury in basketball is ankle sprains. There are many reasons this occurs. Whether it be from lack of range of motion, weak musculature, previous injury, external force, decreased proprioception and the list goes on. One thing that is known for sure is that when the ankle is in an open packed position it is most predisposed to an ankle sprain. The open pack position of the ankle is a combination of plantar-flexion and inversion while the foot is non weight bearing. Once this injury occurs there is an approximate 70% chance of recurrence. Basketball players are 5x more likely to suffer from an ankle sprain with a history of a previous sprain than someone with no previous history. That’s why I will address this as one of the first assessments.
Star Excursion Balance Test:
- Used for dynamic postural control
- Defined as how far a participant can reach maintaining a stable base
- Strong capability to differentiate injured from uninjured in patients with
- ACL reconstruction
- Patellofemoral pain
- Ankle instability
- Great for tracking progress
- Can help determine injury risk
- Reliable and consistent
- Cheap to administer all you need is tape and a flat surface
Knee valgus and toe in landing
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries have been in the lime light for too long now. And for good reason. Recovery length of time, cost and complications after reconstruction have long plagued athletes in all sports. Especially females that have been shown to be 2-9 times more likely to rupture their ACL than their male counterpart. Studies have shown that dynamic knee valgus and toe-in landing position are key factors to evaluate when predicting an ACL injury. The vertical leap and land video analysis, along with the SEBT are the two most important tests when working with any athlete to predict injuries especially the youth.
Vertical leap and landing technique in slow-motion video capture
- Cost effective: only need slow-mo video and a balloon
- Not only to evaluate but also used to correct with feedback
The single most controllable factor in becoming an elite performer is eating the proper food and providing the body with ample nutrients to first perform then recover. It needs to become an integral part of who you are….it’s a lifestyle. A personal trainer would be setting themselves up for failure if they didn’t address nutrition right off the bat. I don’t believe counting calories or weighing food is the way to go. It’s just not sustainable. Reading ingredient lists and focusing on nutrient density and bio availability to the body is the most effective. Avoiding additives, artificial ingredients and processed food is a great start to changing your diet. General rule of thumb, if it comes in a box, bag or wrapper avoid it. Eat real wholesome organic foods. I consider bread a processed food. It’s best to avoid it unless you know you can tolerate it and you know it’s organic and made with traditional techniques. At this point there are not too many good breads out there. The risk versus reward just isn’t there. Another huge factor here is timing. Especially carbohydrate timing. Every workout is essential to get the most out of each session. Getting light headed in the first ten minutes because your blood sugar has plummeted is a wasted day. It’s important to know fast acting carbs and slow acting carbs.
Foods that are high in fiber are more of the slow acting type:
- Sweet and white potatoes
- White rice
Carbs that are fast acting would be:
- white rice
- Orange juice
Fats is where things get tricky. Polyunsaturated fats are unstable and are inflammatory especially when heated. I feel comfortable saying vegetable oil is the worst food you can consume. You want to be fat, sick and inflamed eat vegetable oil. Stick to saturated fats like tallow, coconut oil and grass-fed butter. This will keep your brain and nervous system happy. Each nerve fiber is surrounded by a sheath called myelin and is made up of saturated fat. This conducts sensory information to the brain. Think that’s important for optimal performance? Most definitely.
This is by no means a comprehensive nutrition plan but a simple intro of the importance of nutrition in training. To evaluate eating habits a good practice is to record what you eat or even better take a picture of it. When you find recipes save them. That way you’ll always have ideas on hand. One of the only reasons I get cable TV is for cooking shows. My previous athletes would send me pictures of their meals and ask for critiques. I like to use shopping lists and info-graphics for my clients as well as proper cooking strategies to keep their nutrition in check. The first question I’ll ask when I see a client is what did you eat today? Instead of how are you feeling today? Based off of what they ate it should give me a pretty good idea of how they are feeling.
Vision is the number one feedback mechanism your brain uses to get its feedback from your surroundings. Any small minute change in vision whether it be from lack of range of motion, strength or acuity can drastically affect your performance. Especially if you wear glasses. Glasses only let see within a small window pane. This retains your vision within that small box of that lens. Outside of that lens is becoming part of the use or lose it principle. You’re basically telling your brain you don’t want to see beyond that lens. This has adverse effects on peripheral vision and actually trains the brain to be fearful of those ranges of vision. A stress response is created when your eyes reach a range of motion they aren’t used to by the weaknesses created by not going to visual end-ranges. This fearful event can predispose you to getting injured. Your brain likes things to be safe. Remember that for your brain to send the correct feed back to your motor neurons (what makes you move) its needs the safe view from your eyes. This is just scratching the surface. This mechanism can affect every single joint in the body. Below are a couple of evaluation techniques used to bring about any discrepancies in an athlete’s visual field.
Pencil pushups for convergence and Divergence
Circles evaluating end ranges including peripheral vision
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