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E79 | Keep It Real #20: What Do We Look for in a New Hire?

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On today’s episode, Greg, Trevor and Doug #KeepItReal while discussing what to look for in a new hire.

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E78 | Dr. Stephen Rush: Lessons from Cancer to Combat Medicine

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Lt Col Stephen Rush is a medical doctor who practiced Radiation Oncology from 1986 – 2015. He specialized in the treatment of brain tumors, head and neck cancer, and Gamma Knife Radiosurgery. In 2008 he joined the U.S. Air Force and became the Flight Surgeon for the 103rd Rescue Squadron where he oversaw medical training for the Pararescuemen (PJs). From 2012-2018 he also served as the U.S. Air Force Pararescue Medical Director. During that time, he:

  • Modernized battlefield medical care provided by PJs during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
  • Created the protocols for combat trauma
  • Introduced new equipment and techniques
  • Rewrote the Medical Operations Handbook

He is currently creating a program for training new Air Force Special Warfare Flight Surgeons.

In September 2019 he became the Medical Group Commander of the 106th Rescue Wing. His responsibilities include ensuring medical readiness of Wing members for deployment and the preparation of Medics for combat and domestic emergencies, such as the Air National Guard response to COVID.

Topics Covered:

  1. Why Dr. Rush left a successful career as an oncologist in NYC to become a Pararescue flight surgeon at almost 50 years of age
  2. Dr. Rush’s responsibilities as flight surgeon and the medical capability of the unit he managed
  3. How Dr. Rush went about auditing the medical readiness and training of the unit as an outsider with little military experience
  4. How running a private practice prepared Dr. Rush for his responsibilities as a military physician
  5. Practices Dr. Rush employed to help PJs perform under immense physical, emotional, and environmental duress
  6. How to maximize readiness with limited training time and minimal patient contacts
  7. Strategic insight about how to bring the best medical capability to the combat environment
  8. Best practices from military and civilian medicine
  9. How to improve medical education
  10. Memorable missions and experiences

Links of Interest:

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E77 | Keep It Real #19: Operating Near Performance

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On today’s episode, Greg, Trevor and Doug #KeepItReal while discussing operating near performance.

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Unconventional Arm Care Methods

For those not typically entrenched in the baseball health and performance realm, “Arm Care” is a term and common type of training within baseball culture that is somewhat vague and inconsistently defined from person to person.

Traditionally, I would say that Arm Care has most commonly been synonymous with a certain subset of exercises specifically targeting isolation of the musculature surrounding the scapula, humerus, and forearm. It’s most commonly implemented with pitchers and the goal would typically be to train these muscles for both injury prevention as well as for rehabilitation after a throwing injury.

We believe that Arm Care for a thrower is much more than checking the Throwers 10 box (often something like this) and moving on. I find this dissatisfying as it doesn’t align with the physiological principles of adaptation which guide me to choose interventions and training methods with the purpose of improving speed, strength, power, etc.

Though I’ve spoken about the shortcomings of a traditional Throwers 10 type program, I don’t however recommend it be removed completely as a puzzle piece from the year round Arm Care plan. However, this traditional and simplistic approach needs to be better understood and applied when appropriate. Perhaps the topic for another post, another day.

Instead, I offer a couple other options that are more interesting to me now and can be quickly inserted into a training program sooner than later.

Contact Preparation exercises were introduced to us by Andy Ryland (podcast episode with us here). Though pitching is a non-contact skill, the violent forces occurring in the shoulder might as well be a demolition derby. Because of the forces occurring at the shoulder, I think these exercises have a place within a performance program for a thrower.

This 46 video YouTube playlist shows a ton of options to use, however, some of the more common ones I’m using or consider more practical and applicable to the throwing population include:

I like the single arm variations of some of these as well but they are significantly more challenging and I don’t always have the oversight to progress my throwers to the more advanced options before they are done with me. I don’t know how much is appropriate to prescribe for your athlete so start with a little bit and progressively add more, like any other exercise. I’d say a good start might be 5-10 yards in each direction for the traveling exercises for a few sets or a few sets of 8-10 reps for the stationary ones.

Battle Ropes. Yup, you read that correctly! Nothing in the gym can truly mimic the speed and action of throwing but I think it’s important we consider finding things that apply the forces of faster movements when we can. I like the stiffness required from the trunk, speed of shoulder movement, gripping action, and resistance to distraction forces at the shoulder. The plyometric-ish and/or ballistic nature of using ropes aren’t often trained in a weight room for the arm. Therefore, I think there is utility to using battle ropes with your throwing athletes. Here are two simple options to consider trying with your athletes (after you do them first, of course).

The first video shows what I’d call extensive where the focus is on maintaining some speed with rhythm and quickly moving the rope up and down with quick changes in direction of the rope. I’ve used this for a few sets of 3 reps, 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off per rep.

The second video would be an intensive variation where the focus is to be as violent as possible with the rope ballistically slamming it into the ground. These can be programmed similarly to med ball throws, 4-6 sets of 4-8 reps or so makes sense to me.

I would recommend the extensive variation be used during the throwing season while the intensive variation would be more appropriate during the off-season training program when throwing isn’t occurring.

What unconventional methods do you implement despite the cultural expectations of the athlete’s sport?

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E76 | Boo Schexnayder: Rehab Insights from Track and Field

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Irving “Boo” Schexnayder completed his return to the LSU Track and Field staff in August of 2018 being named Strength coach for the Tigers. He previously served with LSU from 1995 – 2007, coaching jumpers, vaulters, and the combined events. He returned to the Tiger staff in 2017 in an interim capacity as throws coach before shifting into his current role. He is a well-known commodity in the track and field coaching community with 39 years of experience in coaching and sports related fields.

Schexnayder has been the mastermind behind 19 NCAA champions and over 70 All Americans in his collegiate coaching career, and is one of the most successful field event coaches in NCAA history.  He was a part of 12 NCAA championship teams during his first tenure at LSU, tutoring past Tiger greats like Derrick Prentice, Suzette Lee, Levar Anderson, Russ Buller, Marcus Thomas, Walter Davis, Keisha Spencer, Hareldau Argyle, Gretchen Francois, Lejuan Simon, Nicole Toney, Monique Freeman, Claston Bernard, Megan Akre, Daniel Trosclair, Bianca Rockett, and John Moffitt. He coached Spencer to the Honda Award as the nation’s top female Track and Field athlete in 2000, and coached Davis to SEC Athlete of the Year honors in 2002. He became one of only a handful of coaches who have coached a 1-2-3 sweep in a national championship meet when the Tiger triple jumpers captured the top three spots on the podium, leading the Tiger men to the 2004 NCAA indoor title.

His collegiate coaching career began with successful stints at Blinn College and Louisiana-Lafayette. At Blinn he was a part of two Juco national titles, and as a member of the Cajun staff coached several All Americans, including NCAA triple jump champion Ndabe Mdhlongwha.

He has also been a force on the international scene, having coached triple jumper Walter Davis to world indoor and outdoor championships, and long jumper John Moffitt to silver in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He has coached 11 Olympians, and has served on coaching staffs for Team USA to the 2003 Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo, the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, and was the Jumps Coach for Team USA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. His return to the Tiger staff in 2017 was highlighted as he coached current Tiger Jake Norris to a World Championship in the U-20 Hammer throw.

Noted as an educator and a mentor to hundreds of coaches, Schexnayder has been involved in coaching education for 30 years. He served as chair of the Coaching Education committee for USATF, and in 2009 created the Track and Field Academy, the educational branch of the USTFCCCA, directing it through 2017. He continues to teach and lecture in the U.S. and abroad on the topics of speed and power development,

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