Bill Sands on specificity of training

Dr. Sands feels many coaches are filling training plans with exercises that do not contribute towards the final goal.

“You need to do those exercises that are important for transfer to your sport. And not much else.“

Unnecessary training is a waste of time and may even contribute to overuse injury.

The number of training hours should cycle over the season and even over the week. Recovery should be better planned.

Listen to Dr. William A. Sands on The Gymnast Care Podcast AUDIO (37 min).


male Baseball players can’t hit Jennie Finch

Time magazine described Jenny as the most famous softball player in history. She’s 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m).

Jenny Finch

No sooner did Finch arrive at the mound than the defensive players behind her sat down. Yankees infielder Aaron Boone took off his glove, lay down in the dirt and used second base for a pillow. Rangers All-Star third baseman Hank Blalock took the opportunity to get a drink of water. They had, after all, seen Finch pitch during batting practice.

As part of the pregame festivities, a raft of major league stars had tested their skill against Finch’s underhand rockets. Thrown from a mound 43 feet away and traveling at speeds above 65 mph, Finch’s pitches take about the same time to reach home plate as a 95-mph fastball does from the standard baseball mound, 60′ 6″ away. A 95-mph pitch is fast, certainly, but routine for pro baseball players. Plus, the softball is larger, which should make it easier to hit.

Nonetheless, with each windmill motion of her arm, Finch had blown all her pitches by the bemused men. When Albert Pujols, one of the greatest hitters of his generation, stepped forward to face Finch during that practice, the other major leaguers crowded around to gawk. …

Click PLAY or watch what happened on YouTube.

Softball hitters are able to hit Jenny. To find out why, click over to Sport’s Illustrated – Why MLB hitters can’t hit Jennie Finch and science behind reaction time

The Sports Gene (2013) – a review

MANY told me I MUST read this book. And I finally did get to it.

Very entertaining. And thought provoking.

The_Sports_Gene_Book_Cover_2013Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training?

In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success and the so-called 10,000-hour rule, David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving it. …


I wouldn’t count on every factoid being correct. He’s out of date on women’s Artistic Gymnastics, for example.

The 10,000-hour rule is quickly debunked, David Epstein repeatedly pointing out that researcher Anders Ericsson NEVER called it a “rule”. If you train Beam seriously for 10,000 hours, your chances of making it to the Olympic Beam final are still infinitesimal.

There’s no controversy. The best of the best have both very specific genetics and excellent training.

If you don’t have time to read this book, you can get a glimpse by watching David Epstein’s TED Talk from 2014 instead – Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger? (15min)

Read reviews on NY Times and The Guardian.

IOC doping tests are a mess

The IOC should test all athletes at the Olympic Games. Announce the results.

End of story.

This breaking news is absurd. You should not FOREVER keep going back to retest old samples. 😦

The IOC said that the 30 athletes from the Games came from four sports and eight National Olympic Committees (NOC). …

A third and fourth wave of re-tests will take place throughout and after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with the samples being re-analysed using the latest scientific methods.

The athletes, NOCs and International Federations concerned by the positive drug tests are being informed, the IOC said, with proceedings against the athletes able to commence after B-samples are tested. …

Twenty-three medallists among 45 positives announced by IOC after second wave of Beijing and London retests

Ukraine's Yulia Kalina was the first athlete to be stripped of a medal after testing positive in the first wave of re-tests ©Getty Images
Ukraine’s Yulia Kalina was the first athlete to be stripped of a medal after testing positive in the first wave of re-tests ©Getty Images


• GymCastic #206: The Russian Situation

Should the Russian gymnasts be allowed to compete in Rio? RRG’s view

• Skating Lesson – An Invitation to Cheat: Following Up With Christine Brennan

• Skating Lesson – Russia on Thin Ice: A Conversation With Christine Brennan

Concussion – the film

Have you seen Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian forensic pathologist who fights against efforts by the National Football League to suppress his research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brain degeneration suffered by professional football players?

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

Anyone who boxes or plays football should know the risks by now. I’m more concerned for coaches and athletes in sports who assume they are at low risk of micro-trauma injury to the brain. Trampoline? Artistic Gymnasts?

related – League of Denial

Taylor Lindsay-Noel audiocast

Canadian gymnast Taylor Lindsay-Noel was paralyzed in 2008 training a toe-on double front dismount from Bars. No pit. No spot.

She’s very eloquent. Very active online.

And now she’s launched a podcast called Tea Time with Tay.

In her first podcast Taylor details the day of her life-changing accident.

Here’s her website.

correct position for L-sit

Bruce Craven is an owner of Craven Sports Services. He and his wife Karen have worked with gymnasts for decades.

Currently Bruce is assisting male gymnasts at Taiso Gymnastics Saskatoon. As always he’s focused on training the correct muscles for each element. And contracting those muscles in the best sequence.

Click PLAY or watch L-sit training on YouTube. (Flexibility and specific strength.)

monitoring height in Gymnastics

Dr. Dave Tilley reports on monitoring for peak height velocity in his Gym.

Dave’s been tracking 3 numbers for each of the growing kids:

• height
• seated height (torso length)
• wing span

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

At MINIMUM your gymnasts age 10-17 should have a place in the Gym where they pencil in their standing height on some regular basis. They should know when they are growing. There are implications for training load.

If you want to research this topic, get Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science, Gymnastics. (2013).

Here’s the Google Books preview.

related – Tracking Growth and Development To Reduce Injury Risk In Gymnasts