Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group, LLC Blog

I didn't want to step on anyone's toes

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 @ 19:08 PM

Whose toes were you going to step on?

If you translate “I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes” from its ancient Latin roots you will find that it means, “I really didn’t want to perform job/task “x”, so this is my way out.”  When we use this “excuse” we are missing an opportunity to do the right thing. Yes, it takes a little extra effort and yes it may require you to work through your coffee break, and yes it will require you to become exceptionally unordinary at work.

But who wants to do ordinary work?

For arguments sake, let’s say you are sincere, (I’ll say it again for emphasis) and I mean really concerned that you’ll be stepping on someone’s toes.  Do it anyways.  Because when it comes to doing the right thing, it’s better to act now and apologize later. 

You’ll often find that there is never any apologizing and instead simply a thank you from the mouth of the toes you stepped on.


Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at

Topics: Strength Training, basketball conference, athletic training, Good to Great, athletic trainer, customer service, Leadership

You've already been interviewed

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Wed, Aug 4, 2010 @ 19:08 PM

I’m amazed at the thought process employed by some people when a desirable job opens up within their organization.  It doesn’t matter what the job is.  It could be the leader of a special interest group, a Graduate Assistant Position for an unemployed graduating senior student, or even the head of your special unit.  It’s as if some people just wait their whole life for the moment that these positions magically open, and then suddenly now, as if a giant obstacle has been removed from their path, they are suddenly ready to take on this new position and all the responsibilities that come with it.

Forget that last week they wandered into work an hour late, shirt unchecked, 5 o’clock shadow at 10 am and that the TPS reports that they still haven’t completed, were suppose to be handed in with the new cover sheet last week.

“I’m still waiting on Jimbo down in printing to get me the green stock paper to print it on boss.  As soon as I get that green paper I’ll be right on it.”

everything basketball

All of a sudden, now that more pay and a title change are available, a better effort is now worth putting forward. That now, getting to work early or at least on time is the right thing to do and that now tasks will be accomplished on time and with vigor. That now, customer service comes with a smile.  The trouble with now is, well now is simply just too late.

Because right now, you’ve already been interviewed for the past three years.


Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at

Topics: athletic training, Good to Great, athletic trainer, Leadership

That's just not my philosophy

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 @ 21:07 PM

Whoever says, “well, that’s just not my philosophy” didn’t read the research.

When we attach emotion, or our personal feelings to a certain way we treat patients we end up losing what’s most important – the health of the patient. Because it’s no longer about, “what’s best for them.”  We already made it our own issue.

“I feel like…”

“I think that…”

“I was taught that…”

We need to get back to why we signed up to practice sports medicine in the first place.  We need to get back to patient centered care and what’s best for them.  That’s more difficult than it sounds, because what’s best for the patient sometimes isn’t what’s best for me.


Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at

Topics: athletic training, Good to Great, discipline, athletic trainer, patient centered care

Sick? No Soup for You!

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Mon, Jun 14, 2010 @ 21:06 PM

I've heard from a number of people in the past that in ancient China, the model doctor was the one who was able to teach a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent diseases, disability, injury and illness. Doctors got paid when they were successful (in keeping their patrons healthy) - not when the patients fell ill (which was considered a sign of failure!)

I don't know if this is actually true or not, but the concept is right up my alley.

Imagine if you were only paid when your patients/athletes were healthy?

How would this change your yearly training plans? Rehabilitation protocols? Strength programs? Pre-participation screenings and exercise prescriptions?

Would you be forced to take on a night shift at McDonalds to pay the bills?


Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men's Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at

Topics: Good to Great, athletic trainer, everything basketball, Seth Godin, sports performance, strength coach, off season training

Interview with Ray Eady, University of Wisconsin

Posted by Guest Blogger on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 @ 09:04 AM

Check out Brian McCormick’s interview with Ray Eady, Strength and Conditioning Coach from University of Wisconsin.  His interview can also be found on Brian’s Newsletter, “Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter” a must read for all those that follow the game of basketball.  Ray talks about training and evaluating the basketball athlete along with special considerations for the female athlete.
This week, I have an interview with Ray Eady, the strength and conditioning coach for the women’s basketball program at the University of Wisconsin. Previously, he was the head strength and conditioning coach for men’s and women’s basketball at the University of Akron and Northeastern University. Eady holds a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology form the University of Akron and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA – CSCS) and a Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM – PES).

BM: What assessments or evaluations do you use with your players in the pre-season?
Eady: During the pre-season, the athletic trainer and I will assess and evaluate the players in a couple of areas. First, we will do a functional movement screen. I like doing the movement screens because it allows me to asses an array of total body movement mechanics.  As you know, proper movement mechanics is needed to perform efficiently, effectively, and injury free on the basketball court.  The screens we typically use are:

1.    Overhead squat test
2.    Hurdle test
3.    Active hamstring test
4.    In-line lunge test

In addition to the screens, we will do the hop and stop test and the leap and stop test to assess a player’s ability to produce, absorb, and stop force on one leg.

We will also do some performance evaluations to measure leg power and strength.  To measure power, we will do a series of vertical jump test.  

1.    Static jump test to measure starting strength
2.    Countermovement jump test to measure speed-strength
3.    4-jump test to measure how efficient a player is using their power repeatedly

We perform these jumps on a just-jump mat while the athletes are holding a dowel on the back of their shoulders (as if they were going to do a back squat). The goal is to eliminate the action of the arms to really determine leg power. I like performing these tests because they can help you determine if certain players need more strength work or more speed/elastic work.

For conditioning, we will do the standard 300 yard shuttle test which is a great test to measure anaerobic capacity. This year, I will test the players in the 150 yard shuttle because the energy system demands are bit different (anaerobic power).

Lastly, we will do body composition assessments to determine body fat and lean muscle tissue.  I want our players to be at an optimal body weight for increased performance and to reduce the chances of injury.  

I must say the most overrated test when evaluating basketball players has to be the bench press test. So many coaches put a premium on the results. I am not saying basketball players don’t need upper body pushing strength but the relevance it has on basketball performance is minimal. When the bench press can prevent a female player from tearing her ACL then I will put more emphasis on the test.

Let’s make it clear, performance evaluations will never truly tell you if a player will have some success on the court. It merely predicts future performance.  All the strength and power in the world won't make you a successful athlete unless you're able to apply it in sport-specific contexts and integrate it with finer motor qualities.

I don’t try to re-invent the wheel when it comes to testing. I want to make my evaluations meaningful for my athletes and to make it applicable for what they will most likely be doing on the court.

BM: Do you have any good/different drills that you use with women’s players to teach proper landing and cutting techniques to prevent ACL injuries?
Eady: First, I don’t think we can ever prevent ACL injuries in female basketball players.  We all know that female players are two to eight times more likely to sustain an ACL tear when compared to males. Anatomical and physiological characteristic such as pelvis width (Q-angle), femoral notch, poor glute and hamstring recruitment, and joint and ligament laxity during the menstrual cycle puts the female player at risk. However, we can reduce the rate of occurrences by having female players participate in a well designed and progressive strength training program that focuses on improving maximal strength development. The stronger females can become, the less likely they will get injured.

Second, strength is the foundation for improving movement efficiency, central nervous system efficiency, nervous system efficiency, neuromuscular control, balance, coordination, stability, deceleration, and reaction.  All of these attributes are needed to reduce the rate of ACL injuries. With these non-contact injuries, poor lower body eccentric strength is usually at the root of the problem.  

Also, many jump programs tend to emphasize landing with correct technique but don’t address the ability to get into a safe landing position. If a player lacks the ankle, hip and T-spine mobility (and once again, strength) to get into a safe landing position with just her body weight, how are they ever going to do it when the forces are higher?  If you are going to address landing and cutting mechanics it is important that mobility and strength (most specifically isometric and eccentric strength) are addressed concurrently. The ability to decelerate, absorb and stop the forces a player creates on the court is the key.

With that being said, I am a fan of doing some yielding isometric (activation) work prior to our jump/landing drills. Yielding isometrics is great for re-enforcing how to control, absorb, and stop force production (which occurs when landing from a jump or changing directions). Studies have shown that a person can recruit 5% more motor-units/muscle fibers during a maximal isometric muscle action than during a maximal eccentric or maximal concentric action. This is great since we need our muscles to activate and fire eccentrically to decelerate force.  Of course, isometric work is not dynamic in nature but it’s also great for teaching, assessing and correcting body positioning. After our isometric work we will follow up with some dynamic work.  

For example, if we are doing double-leg jumps, we will do some partner resisted isometric squat holds to activate the musculature of the hips.  We will hold at three positions:

1.    Statically a few inches from the starting position
2.    Statically at mid range
3.    Statically at full contraction

Each position is held for approximately 10 seconds.  Following the isometric holds, we will perform maximum effort squat jumps with sticks (sticking the landing and holding for 5 seconds without any movement).  We do this set-up for the majority of our jump training/landing drills.  

Once again, the isometric work prior to our jumps just prepares our neuromuscular system for the dynamic action that is about to take place. It should be noted that the dynamic movement must mimic the isometric movement (i.e. squat holds for box jump downs, split squat holds for split squat jumps, single leg holds for single leg jumps, hops, leaps, etc.)

BM: Since girls/women tend to have poor hamstring strength compared to quad strength, what type of exercises (emphasis) do you do to correct imbalance or strengthen the weakness?
Eady: Of course, with most female basketball players, you will notice some lumbo-pelvis-hip postural distortion. This includes shortened and tight quads and hip flexors and lengthened and weak hamstrings and glutes. Therefore, our workouts always include some remedial and prehab work to correct these lower body imbalances. This will include soft tissue work, hip flexibility, glute activation, core stability and hip mobility.  

Some coaches are opposed to isolation work for specific musculatures but I think they have their role in training, especially when doing remedial work. With that being said, we will do a variety of isolation work for the posterior hip (glute max), lateral hip (glue medius), and the anterior hip (psoas).  

Within our strength training session, we will include more ground base posterior chain/hip extension exercises to re-enforce our remedial work.  On the days we squat, we will include more unilateral post-chain work. On the days we do single leg work (i.e. split squats, lunge variations), we will do more bilateral post-chain work.  My favorite exercise for posterior chain development and strength is actually the box squat.  There has been some debate about the squat especially for athletes that participate in movement based team sports.  However, I believe it’s a great exercise to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings and improve overall strength.  Of course, I would only prescribe this exercise if a player is capable and able to perform it proficiently.  Another favorite exercise is the one-leg squat to a bench or box. This is a great exercise to improve unilateral eccentric leg strength.

BM: Now that the season is over, how do you structure or periodize the players’ off-season? Do you use different training blocks emphasizing different things?
Eady: My goal for the off-season is to prepare our team for the upcoming competitive season by developing the physical qualities need to perform at a healthy and optimal level. Of course, this includes improving strength, power, sport-specific speed, quickness and conditioning. At the end of every competitive season, I will develop a yearly training plan based on a couple of factors (a few many include):

1.    The number of returning players.  Will we be a veteran or a rebuilding team?
2.    What type of playing style will we execute offensively and defensively?
3.    Are we a team that needs toughness?  More team unity?
4.    Are we skilled at all five positions? How many players do we have at each position?
5.    How will certain players be utilized offensively and defensively?
6.    Do some players need additional work (i.e. weight loss, weight gain, speed, etc.)?

Once these factors are identified, I can develop and implement a plan to meet our competitive needs.

I divide the training year into blocks (off-season I, off-season II, pre-season I, pre-season II, and in-season). Each block focusing on a specific physical quality.  For example, off-season I is typically dedicated to teaching and re-educating the players on how to perform certain “technical” lifts, as well as improving posture, balance, coordination, movement, core stability, and GPP (work capacity). These are the physical qualities that are needed to successfully complete summer workouts.

Our main goal for off-season II is to improve sub-maximal and maximal strength which is extremely important. Strength is one of the catalysts for enhancing athleticism.

We still train other qualities such as strength-speed, speed-strength, general conditioning, etc. but our number one priority is to get strong. This particular block is the best time to achieve this quality because of a couple of reasons:

1.    On-court activity is usually reduced during the summer. Players can give more energy and mind share to weight room activities.
2.    I don’t believe you can continue to improve strength at an optimal rate during the pre- or competitive seasons because players are now being exposed to stressors that can negatively impact strength gains.  (i.e. individual workouts with coaches, team practices, conditioning sessions, pick-up games, late night study sessions, early classes, etc.)

During pre-season I our goal is to prepare for the start of official practice.  The physical qualities that are highly emphasized are basketball specific movement/endurance, power, and strength. Our training tends to be more specialized to the demands of the sport.

The goal for pre-season II is to prepare for the beginning portion of our non-conference game schedule. At this point in time, on-court activity has increased dramatically.  Weight training frequency and volume will decrease but when we train the focus is to maintain strength gains achieved during the off-season and pre-season I. We tend to do more therapeutic work during these sessions to facilitate the recovery process as well.

Finally, the goal for the in-season is to keep the players healthy and competitive. Like most strength coaches, I understand the importance of in-season strength training but I also understand that practice takes priority. You can’t put too much physical and mental stress on your players that they are unable to perform efficiently on the court.  Eventually, you will have overtrained players and not so happy coaches.



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Topics: basketball conference, athletic training conference, athletic training, athletic trainer, female basketball, female strength training, sports performance, strength coach, sports conference

Movement Prep: Making the Most of It

Posted by Guest Blogger on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 @ 08:04 AM

Note: I first met Andy while he was the Strength and Conditioning Coach at Virginia Commonwealth University.  If you follow the CAA or are just a general hoops fan, you’ll remember VCU lead by a young point guard named Eric Maynor knocking off 6-seeded Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2007.  Eric is now displaying his magic throwing lobs to POY candidate Kevin Durant in the NBA and Andy is now working in the SEC at the University of Alabama.  Take a look at how one of the best young Basketball Strength Coaches develops each movement prep and the planning behind each one.

Whether it is a 2 hour practice or 45 minute weight training session, proper movement prep (MP) is an essential part of our basketball routine.  This short session of stretches can have a big impact on your team’s physical and mental well-being.  There are many factors that need to go into devising your MP.  I will explain 4 Elements of MP along with other factors to take into consideration when designing your MP plan.  In my case I have to specifically come up with a plan for basketball.  Now the needs for my basketball team and are very different from what another team or sport may need.  Therefore, it’s vital to identify what my needs are.

When I design a MP, the first thing I ask myself is, what are we doing it for?  Well that’s easy, basketball, duh!  True, but I need to get more in depth than that.  Some days we will practice for 2 or more hours and it will be at a high intensity.  Another day may be getting shots up for an hour.  We may do individual work in a ¼ court setting with moderate intensity.  The MP may be after we got off a plane or bus!

Now that I know what I’m using the MP for I can ask myself a few more questions.  How long do I have for MP?  Coach usually gives me a timeframe to work with, it’s important to know.  If I have 5 minutes, I have to use exercises that give me the most bang for my buck.  If I have longer, I better know what to do with my time.  I can’t exhaust the team with my 10-15 minutes.

Where are the players at mentally?  If I have great exercises but mentally the players have cashed out on me, it’s something I need to take into consideration.  The great MP I designed won’t do its job, unless I get them doing it with some level of alertness and focus.  Over the course of a basketball season the mental part is huge!  After talking with a colleague this year, he calculated all of the movement preps over the course of a year at over 300!  Your players may lose some interest; the question to yourself is what can I do to get them ready today?

How many players will I be warming up?  If I have the entire team, how specific and difficult can I get with exercise?  It’s difficult to view 15 players trying to do a split stance lunge with 3-way uni-lateral upper body drivers with 3 angulations.   At another time I may have a 4 man group, who moves well and understands exactly what I want.  Timing is important for whatever you’re flowing into.

Will I have any implements?  It can be a very specific piece of equipment such as a tri-stretch or something much more basic as a box.  You can get very creative and expand your toolbox of exercises with implements.  Something else to consider are your resources when you travel.  It may be wise to travel with some equipment but size is an issue.  I’ve also found bleachers and railings are hidden gems when looking for implements on the road.

After you’ve answered those it’s time to get into the actual MP.  With each MP I believe you need to incorporate 4 Elements into its design.  I did not create these 4 categories but I was fortunate to study under, Matt Herring at the University of Florida for nearly 3 years and take away these organized ideas about MP from him.

1.        Increase muscle temperature (Warm-Up)

·         Dynamic flexibility
·         Multiple joints & muscles
·         3-planes

2.       Clear dysfunctions and improve mobility

·         Identify dysfunctions & issues
·         Mobility vs Stability – what needs what
·         3-planes
·         The big 3 – Ankle, Hip, T-Spine

3.       Turning on the CNS

·         3-planes
·         Ground based
·         Gravity
·         Proprioception

4.        Movement

·         Basic movement patterns
·         Basketball movement patterns

There is a 5th category I have as well but I don’t include it with the previous 4 elements.  The last one is a needs category.  This category is unique from the others.  Most often it turns out to be an energy and enthusiasm category.   I don’t always use it but if I can see we need it, I’ll include it.  These exercises are sometimes very specific to basketball but not always.  I may view the need for communication and incorporate that into a drill.  There have been days where the staff has gotten involved with category 5.  This category is always last; so it is right before the guys are handed over to coach.

Below is an example of a pre-practice warm-up that will last for 2+ hours at a high intensity.  It is done in the pre-season so the guys are fresh mentally.    The entire team will be involved and I’ll have all of my normal implements.  Coach has given me 10-12 minutes.

Muscle Temperature - 4 Dynamic Flexibility
    Knee Hug
    Heel to Butt
    Straight Leg March
    Sumo Squats

Dysfunction/Mobility- The Big 3
     Ankle – Tri-Stretch
     Hip – Hip Rockers w/ 3 stances
     T-Spine – T-Hugs/T-Swings

     Jump Matrix or Pivot Matrix w/ Arm Drivers

     High Knees/Butt Kicks – Forward/Retro
     Skip Matrix – Forward/Retro
     S-Pattern Runs/Shuffles

Category 5         
     Star Passing

Here are a few other things to consider:

·         Recording and dating each session
·         Creating an encyclopedia of exercises
·         Grading the MP, ex. too long, confusing, lost focus
·         Reuse a MP, probably not every day but maybe once every few weeks
·         When Coach says, “We won’t go hard today, do we need to stretch?”  Say yes, 5 minutes won’t hurt!
·         In-Season this is the only thing you may get to do with them for a week or 2 stretch (hopefully not)
·         It’s ok to ask the players what they need, they’ll often tell you.  Doesn’t mean you have to conform!  They’re mental needs of, “I Feel It,” are important
·         If you can get a copy of the practice plan, it can help with design.  It helps to know if practice will start with a 5 on 5 full court or defensive skill work

Andy Weigel is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball team at the University of Alabama and can be reached at


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Topics: boston hockey summit, athletic training, athletic trainer, sports performance, strength coach, sports conference

What do you make?

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Wed, Apr 14, 2010 @ 08:04 AM

Uncle Sam did it again.

After another year of working countless hours, waking up early every weekend, and of course working on Christmas day… Uncle Sam showed no compassion.

I just returned from doing my taxes at the local HR Block where I get them done each year. It’s just a block away which I guess makes the pain of writing that check to the government a wee bit easier.

Reviewing my W-2 sheet made me think about one of Seth Godin's articles and exactly what I make.

I make kids better,

I make kids walk after surgery and I make parents feel good about the care their kid gets when they’re a thousand miles away,

I make push-ups feel easy,

I make shy kids walk with pride and I make bike sprints enjoyable,

I make spin, glide and roll move as they should,

I make slap shots harder, jump shots easier and high jumping higher.

So the next time your Wall Street brother-in-law rubs his thumb and fingers together and asks, “what do you make?”, just smile and say, “I make athletic dreams come true.”

Now get back to work.

Art Horne
is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA.  He can be reached at


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Topics: Strength Training, basketball conference, athletic training conference, boston hockey conference, athletic trainer, sports performance, strength coach, sports conference