Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group, LLC Blog

Elevate or Fire: Managing Employees

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Tue, Jul 6, 2010 @ 13:07 PM

The old way to manage people is to instill fear in them.  Let them know that you hold all the cards.  That you sign their paycheck and ultimately can have their desk cleaned out.

"Fall in line or else!"

Wouldn't it be easier to instead instill motivation and vigor instead of fear? Let them know that you are there to help them solve problems, promote their work, help them make connections to other people and provide new skills for them to succeed?

I guess the end result is the same though.

In both scenarios their desks end up cleaned out.  The first scenario after you fire them, the second because you created an environment for growth and promotion and ultimately they leave to take a better job.

The only difference is a lot more work gets done in the second scenario. And of course, usually ends in a hug and a thank you.

Topics: john wooden, Good to Great, discipline, Seth Godin, strength and conditioning tips, superdiscipline

Video Release: Second Annual Boston Hockey Summit and Basketball Symposium

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sun, Jul 4, 2010 @ 10:07 AM

Video's of this year's Hockey and Basketball presentations are now available for purchase by clicking here.

Both sport tracks are available for purchase and include 6 hours of Hockey specific information and over 7.5 hours of advanced Basketball training techniques that are sure to help you and your team this coming season.

Watch Matt Nichol's (former Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs) presentation entitled, "Energy System Training for Ice Hockey" from this conference by clicking here.

 basketball training videos       hockey training video


Topics: basketball resources, basketball conference, basketball training programs, athletic training, basketball videos, hockey videos, hockey conference, strength and conditioning tips

Sorry. No Guns in the Magic Kingdom

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 @ 20:06 PM

Whether you're in favor of it or not, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution allows you the right to bear arms. That is unless you're visiting the Magic Kingdom. Apparently, Mickey Mouse doesn't think it's a good idea to bring hand guns into theme parks - pistols and peppermint patties just don't mix. 

So if Walt Disney can say no to this absolute silliness (believe it or not people are actually fighting Walt on this one) we can also say no to some of the silliness that goes on in our weight rooms as well.

I know, the Second amendment allows you to bear arms.  And I know a Strength and Conditioning degree allows you to program Bench Press every Monday, and allows you to put a bar on someone's back and load it up because you have to get those numbers. But just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Thanks for the lesson in common sense Walt.







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: basketball performance, basketball training programs, boston hockey summit, hockey conference, strength and conditioning books, sports medicine conference, everything basketball, sports performance, strength and conditioning tips

The Zen Master Speaks Again

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Tue, Jun 1, 2010 @ 17:06 PM

One of the most important points in the development of any young professional is when they’ve found a teacher and mentor that challenges them to not only develop their skills but develop the thought process needed for long term development and independent problem solving.  Steve Myrland, aka the “Strength Zen Master” challenges the “gurus” in this must read post.

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: basketball performance, basketball conference, boston hockey summit, athletic training, boston hockey conference, strength and conditioning tips, superdiscipline, inspiratory muscle training

Give Up Control: Build a Great Athlete

Posted by Guest Blogger on Sun, Mar 28, 2010 @ 14:03 PM

Dr. Adam Naylor, AASP-CC and Matt Shaw, MS

Strength and conditioning programs are written and, ideally, followed by athletes. Often time’s athletes record weights and reps on workout cards. When it is time to condition, the strength coach shouts out times and, occasionally, encouragement (or sometimes just let the "beeps" do their motivating best). This is all a quite reasonable approach to building faster and stronger athletes. The question however that must be asked is, "Does it build better athletes?"

Better athletes being one's that bring enthusiasm to the gym, make optimal performance gains, and can execute basic principles of preparing the body for play away from a coach's watchful eye... empowered athletes that learn better, sustain gains longer, and perform at their peak potential. Writing programs and closely directing athletes' workouts lead to physical gains, but will this approach alone lead to excellent performances?

How the strength coach directs his or her weight room can be the difference between good and great athletic performances. The art of this performance difference is in being less a director of conditioning programs and more of an empowerer of athletes. The key to this transformation is understanding the coaching nuances that encourage and teach "mindfulness."

This lies in giving athletes both choice and voice. Ellen Langer, psychologist at Harvard has spent decades examining how developing cultures of mindfulness creates greater learning in classrooms and better health in wellness settings.  Individuals who are regularly encouraged to engage their mind (not just their body) and have direct responsibility in their activities, have sustained health, better attitude, and greater ability to commit knowledge to memory. This mental engagement can be fostered by giving athletes choices on a regular basis... encouraging them to make decisions and consider the details of their training.

Similar to creating a mindful approach to the gym in your athletes is “questioning” athletes.  It has been found that "questioning" during the coaching process leads to superior long-term athlete development and greater athletic self-competence (Chambers & Vickers, 2006). Questioning involves asking questions to stimulate the athlete's analyzing of their own technique. This cognitive stimulation leads to improved self-awareness ultimately increasing autonomy and learning.  Asking questions as simple as, "Wow, how'd you do to that?" or "Tell me the keys to a good front squat?" make a better athlete and a better teacher-coach.

It is important to note, not all athletes are created equal when taking this coaching approach. A tightly structured coaching environment helps novice athletes learn fundamental techniques. As an athlete skill level increases, overly structured coaching may decrease motivation and prevent continuous improvement. Lack of cognitive freedom can produce boredom and unchallenged individuals. Experienced athletes reap benefits from mental engagement and freedom of choice. They are more motivated and progress in training most efficiently.

The two most common challenges/criticisms to this approach are time and patience. A coach might complain, "I only have a limited amount of time to make a large number of athletes stronger. Where will I find opportunity to have intellectual discussions with my athletes?" Finding time is simply about building new coaching habits and realizing, as illustrated above, it is about quick thought provoking questions not extended debate. As for patience... simply find it. Seeing a skill performed perfectly the first time is nice, watching an athlete master a technique after a bit of struggle is most rewarding. A little extra time and patience are worthwhile investments that pay dividends in long term learning and high performance.

A comprehensive way of considering combining technical teaching with athlete engagement is by:  1. Taking sufficient time to educate athletes on the form and the purpose of exercises; 2. Encouraging an environment where athletes may begin to help coach fellow teammates or freshmen.  This will actually create a more efficient training environment.  There will be greater consistency in form when the strength coach’s eyes are elsewhere. Furthermore, team communication and cohesion will be improved. This creates a win-win situation, where the coach can be most efficient, while the athletes can learn the most and make the greatest gains athletically.  Ultimately a strong, trusting bond is created between coach and athlete.

It is unfortunate when the coach of collegiate and elite athletes teach solely through direct instruction and feedback. This creates an athlete that is over-reliant on the coach and ultimately decreases motivation. Without the necessary cognitive challenge and stimulation, an athlete may become stagnant. We often we find the name of the strength coach on the doors of the gym, in reality however it ought to be the athletes' names there, claiming ownership over the gym and what goes on within. Encourage a mindful approach to strength training you will find athletes reaching their maximum potential.

Chambers, K. & Vickers, J. (2006). Effects of Bandwidth Feedback and Questioning on the Performance of Competitive Swimmers. The Sport Psychologist, 20, 184-197.

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
Matt Shaw, BS is a Graduate Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at the Boston University Varsity weight room.  He has been coached athletes from youth to adult at Boston University, Harvard University, the BU Athletic Enhancement Center, and elsewhere in the greater-Boston community.  He is currently working on his masters degree in coach education at Boston University.



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Topics: Strength Training, basketball conference, athletic training conference, boston hockey summit, boston hockey conference, sports performance, strength and conditioning tips

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