Highlights from the episode:
- Key areas of biomechanics before creating a set of tests
- Isokinetic testing for measuring quad and hamstring strength
- His advice for S&C coaches when training athletes
- Pose estimation apps for biomechanics
- Key principles when building a technical model for a specific sport
The Foundation: Needs Analysis
Graham-Smith emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive needs analysis. This foundational step involves a holistic examination of each sport and event group, taking into account biomechanics, strength and conditioning, psychology, and nutrition. This meticulous approach sets the stage for tailored training programs that address the specific demands of each discipline.
Crafting Precision: Top 10 Qualities
With the needs analysis as a compass, the next step is identifying the top 10 qualities crucial for success in each sport. These qualities serve as the benchmark for designing tests that are not only accurate but also swift in providing actionable insights. Graham-Smith highlights the significance of creating tests that mirror the real-world demands athletes face, ensuring the collected data is both relevant and immediately applicable.
Evolution of Testing Methods
Biomechanics testing has come a long way, as Graham-Smith recounts the transition from traditional measures of eccentric quad and hamstring strength to innovative methods. The journey includes utilizing the Concept 2 dyno machine and the I squat with portable force plates. This evolution reflects the adaptability and constant pursuit of more effective ways to assess and enhance athletic performance.
Conditioning Matters: Beyond Strength
In a thought-provoking perspective, Graham-Smith urges the strength and conditioning (S&C) community to shift focus from just strength (S) to conditioning (C). He emphasizes that while strength is vital, the true essence lies in conditioning – the factor that facilitates the transfer of improvements into actual performance. This insight challenges conventional norms and directs attention to the holistic development of athletes.
Tech Advancements: Pose Estimation and AI
The integration of technology in biomechanics is an ever-evolving aspect. Graham-Smith discusses pose estimation, a technique that kinematically tracks movement using AI algorithms. Collaborating with NSA Tech, he explores solutions for movement tracking. Acknowledging the effectiveness of single-camera solutions, he emphasizes their coach-friendly nature and their potential to provide valuable information, especially in tasks involving changing directions.
Decoding Technical Models
The discussion moves into the realm of technical models and their construction. Graham-Smith sheds light on the principles and considerations involved in building a technical model, especially in scenarios where none exists, like in Australian Rules Football (AFL). While acceleration mechanics may share common principles, understanding the unique demands of each sport is crucial for tailoring technical models that optimize performance.
Conclusion: A Holistic Approach to Athletic Excellence
In conclusion, Graham-Smith’s insights highlight the need for a holistic approach to athletic excellence. From needs analysis and precision testing to embracing technological advancements and redefining conditioning, the journey toward unlocking athletic potential is multifaceted. It requires a dynamic and adaptive mindset that combines tradition with innovation for optimal performance.
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Jack McLean is the founder of Prepare Like a Pro. He loves coaching people so that they can reach their personal/professional goals and become the best that they can possibly be. He is currently the Strength & Rehab Coach of Melbourne Football Club and has worked as Strength & Conditioning Coach at Hawthorn Football Club. Jack is a Level 3 Australian Strength & Conditioning Association and Professional Coach and a Level 1 Australian Weightlifting Federation Coach.