Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Athletics on Wikipedia

I looked up "athletics" on Google
and found nothing but heartburn.
The link to Wikipedia took me right
to a disambiguation page. Nice.
The page called "Athletics (sport)"
waxed poetic about track and field,
and other forms of footracing. There
was nothing on general training,
coaching, technique, you know--
all the stuff of athletes (that word
is screwed-up too).

This frustrated me enough to do
the research and write the page.

My philanthropic, Wikipedia gift
to the world is called "Athletics
(overview)." I'm going to post it
here, because it will likely get
edited and changed substantially.

Athletics (overview)

Athletics is a broad term encompassing the competitive sports and games requiring physical skill, and the systems of training that prepare athletes for competition performance.[1]

The word athletics is derived from the Greek word "athlos" (ἄθλος), meaning "contest" or "task." The Ancient Olympic Games were born of war; running, jumping, boxing, wrestling & chariot racing were the earliest events, followed by field events like the javelin throw which was adopted from spear-throwing.[2] The Olympic Games were revived in the 1800s, and added figure skating and ice hockey to the list of sports in the early 20th century. The 2008 Summer Olympics held 28 sports and 302 events, while the 2006 Winter Olympics held 84 events. Athletic clubs worldwide offer athletic training facilities for multitudes of sports and games.


Athletic Body Type
Gender and genetics play major roles in assessing athletic potential. There are few full-contact football leagues for women; however, women have been active in martial arts for centuries, and sports like figure skating and tennis tend to favor women in terms of spectator popularity. Basketball, high jump, and volleyball favor taller athletes, while gymnastics and wrestling favor shorter ones. Long distance runners tend to be thinner, while competitive weight lifters and American football players tend to be stockier. Athletic development often begins with athletic parents.[3][4]

Physical Conditioning
A primary athletic function is the body conditioning required for competition. Most often, trainers utilize proven athletic principles in order to develop athletic qualities; these qualities include coordination, flexibility, precision, power, speed, endurance, balance, awareness efficiency, and timing.[5] While physical strength is prized over most other qualities in Western athletics,[6] it is forbidden in the physical conditioning of Tai Chi Chuan.[7][8]

Psychological Preparation
Critical to a team’s or an athlete’s success is a winning attitude. Inherent in the drive to win is the ability to remain relaxed and focused under the pressure of competition. Modern athletic coaches employ the use of sports psychologists to help athletes organize themselves through visualization, relaxation techniques, self-talk, concentration, etc.

Sports Medicine
High-level athletics not only treat injuries with medical procedure, but attempt to prevent problems such as trauma and overuse injuries. Sports medicine can also include the use of massage, glucose testing, Rolfing, physical therapy, and performance enhancing drugs like caffeine & anabolic steroids.

Technical training
Athletes first learn basic movement patterns such as running, stopping, jumping and throwing. Coaches help athletes refine these movements into sport specific skills. A skill such as high jumping can then be refined into a competitive technique like the Western roll or the Fosbury Flop. An individual’s expression of a technique is often called a style; while various competitive swimming strokes are also called styles. Technical training may also include teaching the rules and restrictions of a sport or game.[9]

Elite athletes and teams require high-level coaching. A coach is often associated only with an athlete’s technical development; however, a coach will likely play all the roles of mentor, physical trainer, therapist, medical responder, technical trainer and performance facilitator. Coaches may or may not involve sportsmanship in their program. Coaching typically signifies a quadrennial, ongoing mentorship for athletic development, as opposed to a clinician who might only assist for a short period of time.[10]

Analysis / Evaluation
Not only must coaches be able to teach technical form, but recognize and correct problems with an athlete’s technique and conditioning. Recent advancements in video technology can provide accurate biomechanical data to optimize the form, precision, timing, efficiency and power of an athlete’s movements.[11]

^ Kennedy and Guo (2010). Jingwu. Blue Snake Books. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-58394-242-0.
^ Bruce Lee (1975). Tao of Jeet Kune Do. Ohara Publications. p. 43. ISBN 0-89750-048-2.
^ Lisa Feinberg Densmore (2000). Ski Faster. McGraw-Hill. p. 22. ISBN 0-07-134381-4.
^ Clem W. Thompson (1989). Manual of Structural Kinesiology. Times/Mirror. ISBN 0-8016-5031-3.
^ Warren Witherell and David Evrard (1994). The Athletic Skier. The Athletic Skier, Inc.. p. 4. ISBN 1-55566-117-3.
^ Patrick Thias Balmain (2005). The Inner Glide. Destiny Books. ISBN 159477160-X.
^ Allen E. Scates (1989). Winning Volleyball. William C. Brown Publishers. pp. 221–251. ISBN 0-697--6822-6.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Loss of One Joint

Let's say you're co-worker opens a grappling
gym, and you make the decision to start
going there on a regular basis. You're Grappling.

A couple months into the fun, a guy grabs
your hand in an awkward position, twists
and pulls on it to gain an advantage, and you
try to fight off the attack. Your ring finger dislocates
proximally at the metacarpal, and you cry uncle.
With your hand throbbing and on fire, you head
to the doctor's office. He ex-rays it and muds the whole
thing up in a cast.

So what's changed ?
You're not grappling anymore. And driving home
wasn't nearly as easy as the drive to the grappling
gym. Cooking dinner just got harder. Work just
got really annoying. Sleeping is tougher. Skiing
is out. So much of your life just got more complex
and time consuming because of that one little joint.

One elbow. One knee. Even the loss of one toe
can blow up everything you have going. This,
my friends, is from taking risk. When you practice
risky behavior and get injured, you find out the
hard way that your fitness plan wasn't sustainable,
nor was it so much of a plan.

Invest, don't divest.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Perk & Grunt

Try a Google search for "grunting."
The first item that appears is grunting
in tennis (Wikipedia).

The Wikipedia article says that Monica
Seles and Jimmy Connors are often
credited with starting the "grunt" in
tennis. Serena and Venus Williams
grunt like crazy. Rafael Nadal does too.
Maria Sharipova's grunt sounds more
like the shriek of a banshee. Martina
Navratilova thinks that grunting is
cheating, and that it should be penalized.
And those penalties might be coming.

This is interesting because athletes in
many sports make a grunting noise when
they issue power, or when they take
a hit, like in football, or when a fencer
thrusts forward.

Let's examine where else we grunt.
In disgust ? During orgasm ?
Urination ? Defecation ?
When you lift something heavy ?
Tim Allen grunts after his jokes.

Another link that comes up in my
Google search is from the Children's
Hospital of Wisconsin. The page
lists "Signs of Respiratory Distress."
Grunting - A grunting sound can be
heard each time the person exhales.
This grunting is the body's way of trying
to keep air in the lungs so they will stay open.

So if tennis players grunt. And grunting
occurs so naturally that it accompanies
bodily functions, and even comes as a
beneficial response to breathing problems,
grunting must be good, right ?
Could grunting be a high-level response ?

Now imagine you're going to lift a
heavy table with your friend. Set your
posture: bend your knees, back straight,
breathe in... and grunt.

Why did you breathe in ? Because you
knew you were going to need to grunt.
Why did you straighten your back and
bend your knees ? To set yourself up
for the most efficient power.
That's perking.

If a grunt is the higher level expression
of power, could the perk be the next
thing to consider ?

Think of the word Perk. Where else do
you see it ? Breasts perk. Perky can be
likened to a bird. Perky is up, up, up.
Perk is posture.

Consider a sneeze. The breathe
in is long and deliberate. The back and
neck extend and expand. The body
relaxes. This is the perk.
The sneeze is the grunt.

Or how about for orgasm. The grunting
relief is just right around the corner, but
before it comes, you have to breathe in
and set your body up correctly.

Before those tennis players grunt, they
perk. They put themselves in the most
optimal position they can and breathe in.
Power issuance comes like thunder, and
the grunt is just the natural sound.

In Tai Chi, the power is called fa jing,
and it comes with a grunt. But we practice
the perk all the time so that we're ready
to grunt and issue power at any instant.

Perk is posture and grunt is power.
You have to practice both to do either well.