Term Paper: Athletic Coach I Have Garnered

Pages: 11 (3570 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] "A pronating foot rolls toward the inside. A supinating foot rolls toward the outside. A Morton's foot is a combination of these two abnormalities." (Levy 199).

A pronating foot can result in knee problems from the joint being repeatedly twisted. I have found that most people with a pronating foot can be treated with a simple arch support, but naturally, this is not the right answer for everyone. I have learned that, "For 10% of runners, an arch support provides too little lift, and for another 10% an arch provides too much lift. These 20% of runners need a custom-made shoe insert, or orthotic device." (Levy 200). This is why -- for my distance team -- although I require every member to use an arch support, if they cannot become accustomed to it, I allow them to return to what they are most accustomed to.

Obviously, the most common ailment I have encountered in my years as a coach is muscle soreness. "This soreness, or more specifically 'delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS),' usually peaks between 24 and 36 hours after the exercise bout." (Brown 3). It is predominately the lengthening portion of the muscular activity that causes tiny tears in the muscle fibers, and thus soreness. An additional cause can be prompted by the body's natural response to send lactic acid to overworked muscles. I have always found that there are three general ways to reduce muscle soreness.

First, stretching and warming-up of the muscles is essential. Obviously, this prevents more injuries than just muscle soreness and should be done by everyone before and after exercise. Second, since soreness usually occurs when an athlete performs an activity that is in some way new to their muscles, they should repeat this activity until their muscles can "adapt." (Brown 3). Third, following a rigorous workout I always insist that my athletes complete a gentle "cool down" run. This can help to flush out some of the first lactic acid on the scene that the body initially sends to the muscles.

I have always found that athletes, particularly good athletes, seem to feel that they know what is best for their own bodies. I have told athletes suffering from asthma that the most effective way to overcome the problem is to stay active, and they look back at me like I have lost my mind. I repeatedly hear the phrase following certain tidbits of advice, "Ya, but my body is weird." Although this statement may be true in some respects there are many general scientific notions that all athletes can benefit from.

A read a book where basketball great Charlie Ward admitted that for the first portion of his career he was convinced the best way to gain muscle was to eat as much fat as possible (Schlosberg xxvii). Eventually, athletic trainers set him straight. It has become one of my goals to convince my athletes, with a scientific basis, the value of my advice and the things it can help them to achieve.

Flexibility is the best way to prevent most injuries associated with sports. It seems, however, that most athletes do not recognize the importance of stretching before and after a workout. When people who can hardly reach their hands over their head, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, are idolized in our society this fact is not surprising. Early on as a coach I found it difficult to convince a number of my athletes to stretch extensively, especially after a workout. This became much easier when I began requiring members of the cheer squad to stretch as a team before and after all practices, and always under my supervision.

A preventative measure I have taken with my distance runners is to encourage them to run on the grass on training runs, rather than on the sidewalk or the street. This has the effect of lessening the repeated impact on the lower body. Yet, it is simply not possible for runners to run on grass or dirt all of the time. Fortunately, "Today's shoes are designed to run on asphalt. The idea of the cushioned sole is to make the asphalt as easy on the body as grass. You can even run on concrete in these shoes, but asphalt is much better." (Garrick 257). However, on the high school level it is difficult to supply runners with proper running shoes. So I find that I can only encourage athletes and parents to buy the proper equipment.

Psychogenic, or emotional, factors in sports can be extremely important. Emotions not only influence an individual's performance, but can also cause some physical disorders. By referencing the Journal of Athletic Training I found that psychogenic factor can play significant roles in disorders as serious as seizures. More pertinent, however, is the influence psychological factors can have on an athlete's understanding of an injury. Some athletes seem to constantly believe that they have sustained some type of injury; others will refuse to admit to themselves or the trainer when they are hurt.

One member of the poms squad I coached had me look at one limb or another almost every day. Naturally, I could never find anything seriously wrong but my advice was always the same: I had her sit out of the practice and work on her injury. It is always better to be wrong and be safe, than to insist that an individual partake in an activity that could potentially harm them.

On the other end of the spectrum, one of my best runners on the distance squad suffered from severe blisters covering the entire bottoms of both feet. She never revealed the injury to me because she knew what my reaction would be. Although from a competitive standpoint she was invaluable to the team, competition cannot be a coach's primary concern. When I happened to see her feet after a race I promptly sterilized them, punctured the blisters with a sterile needle, and advised her to cover them with a piece of moleskin. I also had her sit-out of practice for the next three days, despite her vocal opposition, to allow the blisters to heal. When she returned to action her feet no longer bothered her.

A understand that protective equipment is essential in many sports. As a poms coach is was necessary to practice all lifts and potentially dangerous moves on safety mats. Because of proper spotting procedures the mats were merely the last stop in the effort to prevent injury. Clearly, contact sports require much more protective equipment than running, poms, or dance. Helmets, mouth guards, cups, shin guards, kneepads, and similar equipment should all be employed and inspected before any competition.

For a practitioner in the field of exercise science there are an abundance of resources available. Thousands of books on exercise and exercise science have been published, but it can sometimes be difficult to discern what types of sources can be trusted. Therefore, I feel that it is essential to refer to sources that have been peer reviewed and are generally accepted by practicing trainers or doctors. I have made frequent use of the Journal of Athletic Training, because of both its good reputation and the broad range of topics that can be found in it. Additionally, the journal can be located online and searched for a wide variety of topics. I commonly use this as a supplemental resource for crosschecking any information I find in other books, magazines, or others in the field of exercise science.

Exercise science and sports training is an exponentially growing field. Just fifty years ago the best advice most athletes received was from informational movies, encouraging hygiene and stretching. Today, sports trainers are at every school in America, and every major sports team is backed by an equally formidable team of trainers. In the past fifteen years there has been a dramatic transition from apprenticeship type learning to a formal schooling approach to the field. There is an ever increasing demand for qualified trainers who come armed with the latest and most effective techniques to improving athletes' performance. Professional sports teams invest substantial amounts of money in finding the best athletic trainers. As coaches and athletes in more and more sports look to exercise science to improve results, more and more employment opportunities arise.

Since demand has risen, and such a large amount of capital has been invested in athletic trainers, the necessary commitment and schooling has also increased. At my start as an athletic coach I earned no money -- I did it out of pure enjoyment. Not only did I coach these youngsters, but I informed myself of the best ways to keep them safe and get the most out of them. However, in the field of exercise science I quickly found that theories and methods change so frequently that it is almost a full-time job to keep pace. Accordingly, I doubled my efforts to ensure that I did keep pace. I… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Athletic Coach I Have Garnered.  (2004, October 9).  Retrieved April 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/athletic-coach-garnered/9258704

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