Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group, LLC Blog

Watch highlights from last year's conference!

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sun, Feb 21, 2010 @ 09:02 AM

     A tab on the "Conference Info" page of this website has just been added to show highlights from previous events hosted by BSMPG including the 2009 Boston Hockey Summit.  Be sure to check back as we continue to post additional videos and information in the weeks to come.


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Topics: basketball conference, athletic training conference, boston hockey summit, boston hockey conference, conference video, sports performance, inspiratory muscle training

Seeing the world through the hole in a 45 pound plate

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sun, Feb 7, 2010 @ 10:02 AM

It was first described to me during the summer of 2005 when I visited my good friend Mike Potenza, who was working at the time as the S&C coach at the University of Wisconsin for both the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams (by the way, both teams won national championships that year).  He introduced me to Steve Myrland, a former strength and conditioning coach at both the professional and collegiate level and a guy that I now describe to others as simply “the strength Zen master.”  While having coffee one morning, Steve was describing to Mike and I the frustration he was having with a college strength coach who only “saw the world through the hole in a 45 pound plate,” and the coach’s inability to see and embrace the importance of movement, function and anatomy.  Now, all of us have taken a 45 pound plate from the rack, lifted it to squat bar height, peered through the tiny 2 inch hole and loaded it up onto the bar.  The view just prior to loading is exactly what Steve was talking to me about.  The world, (or weight room or even more simply your athlete’s performance continuum) has a very limited offering if only viewed through this hole, compared to the massive area that the plate encompasses, which basically equates to the entire rest of his or her development.

Up until that point in my very young career, I considered myself a “strength” guy.  If it wasn’t heavy, it wasn’t training. If it didn’t have chains hanging off of it, or if your training partner didn’t have to pull the bar off your throat, then you simply weren’t working hard enough.  About two minutes into our conversation I realized that I was one of the strength coaches that Steve was talking about.  I guess the hole in the plate which I was coaching through at the time never allowed me to see the epidural injections that some of our athletes were getting due to their back pain, or the multiple ACL injuries our female athletes were incurring on a yearly basis.  Steve challenged me to remove the dense piece of iron that obscured my vision and allowed me to evaluate and prescribe a training program that reflected the whole athlete (with respect to his/her sport, previous injury, movement impairments, volume at practice or games, current and future goals and yes, even strength development) and not just the athlete I once saw through the hole in the 45 pound plate.

Now, I’m still a strength guy, but my view on strength development (what really matters – a future blog) vs. numbers improvement (by any means necessary) has changed dramatically.  The next time you load the bar and you peer through that tiny hole, I simply challenge you to think about athletic development in its totality.  If all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail; if all you do is load plates, then the window in which you have viewed the world, and the development of your athletes have been limited.  Believe me, the world looks a hole lot different when you begin to look at it with a pair of fresh eyes; or at least a pair not obscured by only iron.

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, boston hockey summit, boston hockey conference, sports performance, strength and conditioning tips

2009 Summit Reflections: Beyond Muscle The Strength Coach Influence

Posted by Guest Blogger on Mon, Feb 1, 2010 @ 09:02 AM

Post by: Dr. Adam Naylor, AASP-CC

While attending the 2009 Boston Hockey Summit the name of an important influence in my professional career was mentioned.  Coach Boyle commented that Peter Friesen, strength and conditioning coach for the Carolina Hurricanes, was in town for a game and might be dropping by the conference.  The impact of a strength coach on a sport psychology guy can be unclear at best, but in 2000 Coach Friesen recruited a handful of Carolina players to participate in my dissertation research.  We exchanged only a couple of notes and I doubt Coach Friesen recollects this assistance, but the value of getting access to NHL players for research and helping a doctoral student become a doctor is as they say, “Priceless.”

The research itself examined professional hockey players, who was influential during their professional years, and how much impact these important others had on their performance (Naylor, 2001).  Eighty-two different individuals were identified as influences on players during their minor league careers through retirement from the NHL.  Within this social network, it was found that at about the age of 20 players perceive their relationship with their strength and conditioning coaches as important as close friends.  The strength of this influence only increased as one’s career went on, with strength and conditioning coaches and athletic trainers being viewed as more important than skill and bench coaches when a player was in his thirties (in most instances the only people of greater importance at this time were wives and children!).  The importance of teachings on strength and health were exemplified in a 13 year NHL veteran telling me the key to his longevity was, “Bottles of water and the exercise bike.”  Certainly the increased importance of strength and conditioning professionals can be explained by the need to maintain an aging body, but if you look closely this is only part of the story.

A lot of personalities and various perspectives were shared at the Boston Hockey Summit, but I suspect the coaches whose athletes made the greatest gains in the weight room and on the ice had one thing in common – close, trusting relationships.  Even the best, laid conditioning plan fails to fully benefit athletes if the coach is unable to extend beyond the science of programming.   A great coach must chose to be and become a respected and responsive collaborator with the athlete.  In examination of strength-coach athlete relationships, McCormick (2002) found that the benefits of a true working alliance in the gym extend beyond increased strength, speed, and injury prevention… self-efficacy grows.  More specifically, it was found that college athletes that have close, interdependent relationships with their strength coaches have greater confidence in their ability to succeed both in the squat rack and on the playing field.

Quality strength and conditioning coaches are important to both their athlete’s physical prowess and mental fortitude.  Furthermore, these impacts appear to only increase as the pro athlete ages.  Thanks Coach Friesen… for setting these findings in motion and helping a young sport psych guy go from “prospect to professional.”  I look forward to the 2010 Summit, while much will be said about the development of strength, speed, flexibility, and the prevention of injuries – I hope between sessions and during casual discussions a dialogue will begin about how great coaches make the science stick and build most resilient athletes – both physically and mentally.

Naylor, A.H. (2001). The Developmental Environment of Elite Athletics: An Evolving System. Doctoral dissertation. Boston University.

McCormick, H.C. (2002). Strength Coach-Athlete Relationships and Self-Efficacy. Doctoral dissertation. Boston University.
Dr. Adam Naylor, AASP-CC. is the Director of the Boston University Athletic Enhancement Center (  He has serves as a mental conditioning and player development resource for players at all stages of their sports career.  More reflections on player development and sport psychology can be found at and Dr. Naylor can be reached at



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

Welcome to BSMPG and our first blog article!

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 @ 13:01 PM

BSMPG aims to provide strength coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists and other health and fitness professionals opportunities and access to leaders in their respective fields through the use of conferences, webinars and online content.

Last year we hosted the First Annual Boston Hockey Summit which brought the likes of Mike Boyle fresh off Boston University Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship, Jim Snider from the University of Wisconsin sporting his Women’s National Championship ring along with other notable Hockey professionals such as Nico Berg from Vancouver, Canada and Darryl Nelson from the USA U-19 team.  With an all-star lineup presenting, we were equally as blessed to have just as many notable professionals in the audience.  The event was such a success we decided to run the program again, this time bringing in the likes of Matt Nichol (former S&C coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs), legendary 1980 Olympic Gold Medal Strength and Conditioning coach for USA Hockey, Jack Blatherwick along with San Jose Sharks S&C coach, Mike Potenza and a return visit from Coach Boyle.

Like any family, Boston Hockey’s little brother, in this case Basketball, felt neglected so we decided to bring in the brightest basketball strength coaches from around the country in a concurrent lecture setting.  Basketball fans have the opportunity to hear an array of former NBA strength coaches now at the college level, along with the mind and muscle behind the University of Pittsburgh Men’s Basketball program, Tim Beltz and National Champion Amanda Kimball from the University of Connecticut Women’s program to name just a few.  Whether you choose the Basketball or Hockey track, each group will have the opportunity to hear Recovery guru, Dr. Bill Sands and Corrective Exercise expert Bill Hartman in a general session for all.

Stay tuned for upcoming pictures and video from last year’s event along with updated training information from North America’s brightest minds in sports performance, medicine and rehabilitation.

See you in Boston!



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Topics: basketball conference, athletic training conference, boston hockey conference, sports performance