Motor Learning and Strength & Conditioning

After speaking at the Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group conference last week, I spoke a couple times to Shon Grosse, a physical therapist from Pennsylvania. Today I saw a post on his blog about the conference with the following about my presentation:

Lecture 3-Brian McCormick-Skill Development and the Strength and Conditioning Coach

Again, a fantastic presentation given by a coach who implements the strategies he spoke about on a day to day basis.  Brian is a PhD. candidate at the University of Utah in Psychology, is a basketball coach who has extensive knowledge in the motor learning arena;  this is what his talk focused on.  Brian spoke extensively on the task and environmental constraints in jump training as it pertains to female basketball players, and the role of bilateral jump training in a “closed loop” enviroment vs. training in a  more random unilateral fashion, which is more realistic in the context of the basketball competitive enviroment.

Active learning was encouraged, with small breakouts among attendees.  In true motor learning/ motor control educator fashion, no definitive  cook book answers were given (which was also  the case with my stroke rehabilitation classes in PT school), but acceptance of the fact that ”jump stops”, jumping, landing, and varied taxonomies of task will continue to be part of basketball (the latter could be said of almost any team sport).  Strategies involvind training the brain to alter feedforward/ anticipatory responses were discussed, and we were encouraged to brainstorm drills and progressions for jump training that took into account the randomness of basketball sport performance.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed Brian’s presentation.  Not the type of information you would typically hear at the majority of conferences, but about as sport specific as you can get.  After the lecture, Brian and I spoke occasionally over the course of the weekend, comparing notes from other presentations, as  they pertained to jump training, pressure mapping as well as the role of absolute/ relative and single leg/ bilateral lower extremity strength to jump performance.  The fact that presenters were willing to spend time with participants throughout the two days  was really refreshing, and my interaction with Brian was a prime example of that.

These are the slides from the presentation:

The following are two short videos from the talk. The first is a sort of introduction to the talk and the idea of a strength & conditioning coach.

The second is more about task complexity as it relates to jump landings and ultimately non-contact ACL injuries in female basketball players.

The conference was outstanding, and Art Horne is working hard to invite a great group of speakers next year. I highly recommend the conference. I’ve been to a Perform Better conference and an adidas Basketball Clinic, and the BSMPG blew those out of the water.

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