Jim is well known for his career as a strength and speed advisor for NFL players, from the Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, NY Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Carolina Panthers, as well as many other high performance athletes of all ages. His extensive experience with training athletes and excellent track record in keeping athletes on the field and out of the training room makes him a perfect performance expert that Ecore is delighted to partner with. To begin our journey with Jim, we have asked him to shed some light on injury prevention and deliver clear, direct points for all to follow. The Following points are broken up into 4 segments - What does every, 1. Coach 2. College Athlete 3. Teenage Athlete (13-17) 4. Young Athlete/parent (12-under), need to know/do in order to prevent injuries.
1. Every Coach...
"You can easily teach an athlete how to be a player, it’s much harder to teach a player how to be an athlete." - Jim Launer
- Movement is crucial for performance. Athletes who are stiff, clumsy or have poor movement and posture in general are going to get hurt. Identifying these athletes and getting them in a program to fix these issues will keep them heal
- Observe your athletes. If they look tired, broken down, or weak they need recovery. Injury occurs when athletes are tired. Be adaptable and have backup “recovery day” practices ready for when you see this happening
- Talk to your athletes. Know what extra practice or activities they include in their training. This will help you identify those who are at risk for an over-use injury, and those who are at risk due to lack of training.
- There is such a thing as too much. Over-use injuries often occur when athletes are demanded to play and practice too often or too much. Seasonal training regiments (periods) should be planned accordingly to prevent over training.
- ***Strength and conditioning programs are an important part of development. Include time for this activity in your practice and recovery schedule. What seems like lost practice time to strength training will pay dividends.
- Warm up, cool down and stretch after workouts. It may take an extra 10-20 minutes of your day, but this habit will pay dividends in your longevity over the years.
- Eat to perform. Examine the food you are putting in your body, and ask yourself if it is helping you. Bad nutrition slows recovery, and lack of recovery leads to injury.
- PLAN! You need to make a schedule of when you will practice, study, attend class, eat and sleep. If these basics are not taken care of, you will quickly wear down and get hurt.
- Use breaks from school to improve an aspect of your athleticism that is lacking. Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to take a step back to take 2 steps forward.
- ***Stress is one of the most damaging things you will experience in college. It changes what hormones are produced, and can lead to injury, poor recovery and weight gain/muscle loss. Learning how to manage stress will keep you mentally and physically healthy.
- You are not a professional athlete, and therefore cannot train like one. Your body is not ready for the volume and techniques of professional players.
- ***You need to be able to do push-ups and pull-ups. These are essential areas of strength to build upon in the future.
- Play multiple sports as long as you can. You will be faster, stronger, and better coordinated. College coaches will recruit you higher. Plus, most professional athletes played multiple sports until college or the pros.
- A strength and conditioning program will have the most impact on your future development now than any other time in your life.
- There is a difference between sore and hurt. You will get sore at certain points of your program, and that is a good thing because muscle is building. Make sure you can differentiate between muscular soreness and muscular strain.
- Fast or frozen food is not nutrition. Cut out the garbage food. The difference between a good athlete and a great athlete is how they fuel their body.
- Play multiple sports, as many as you can, but play none of the year round.
- Play outside as much as possible.
- Eating healthy now builds good habits for the future.
- ***Learning how to master body weight exercises is the best way to stay healthy. You should be able to do push-ups, pull-ups, squats and lunges well.