Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Can fruit juice help fight off obesity?

Fruit juice can be good for you! Recent studies are showing some positive results for juice drinkers. In a study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics it was determined that a daily glass of fruit juice can lower the BMI (body mass index) of adult Canadians. Results from a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion indicated that youth who consumed 100% fruit juice did not gain weight but valuable nutrients and a decreased intake of unhealthy fats. Finally, a longitudinal study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that milk and fruit juice were not among the sweetened beverages that attributed to an increase of BMI in young girls as the aged.

A healthy lifestyle combines smart nutritional choice with physical fitness. The food guide suggests consuming at least 8 fruit and vegetables a day and this can seem like a daunting task for some. Sneaking in a few extra servings through drinking fruit juice can be an excellent way to reach this goal.

Although juice is not a substitute for the nutritional value of actual fruit and vegetables these studies indicate that 100% fruit juice can be an excellent supplement.

You can find more nutritional information in the SIRC online resources area including past newsletters and full text articles on hydration and athlete.

Friday, March 26, 2010

2009 Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference

Check out the latest SIRC Newsletter -2009 Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference!

The third annual Sport Canada Research Initiative (SCRI) conference which was held in Ottawa on November 4, 2009 was a tremendous success. In all over 150 researchers, sport administrators, policy makers and sport enthusiasts attended the conference. The annual conference is a great opportunity to share knowledge and expertise with a view to maximizing the practical applications of sport participation research, more specifically to better evidence the benefits of, and barriers to, quality sport participation with the aim of improving Canadian sport policy outcomes. Be sure to check out the SCRI Conference video for a full recap.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What is the point of running shoes?

Running shoes; do we need them? What are they used for? Do they even work? Are they just a marketing tool? In all of the literature that crosses the desks of the information specialists at SIRC there seems to be one consistent answer, no one is certain and more research needs to be done. Since running shoes are constantly in the experimental phase of research it is hard to have any type of evidence based application to running shoes.

What does this mean? Historically running shoes have evolved and for the most part we can see (and feel) that it has been for the better. However, it could be suggested that when it comes to buying running shoes it may just be a personal choice. The five Ws’ could be applied to running shoes: who, what, where, when and why. In a 2008 study it was determined that cost doesn’t really matter when it comes to shoes, low and medium cost shoes provided the same and/or better support than higher price brands. This does not stop more and more shoes for being made to answer all the latest running trends.

There are shoes for all surfaces from the track to the trail. Whether you want lots of cushioning or are interested in barefoot running there is a shoe for you. Craving the latest trends? The Reebok ZigTech and Nike LunarLite offer speed, the Asics GEL-Kinsei® 3 adapt to gait or the Brooks BioMoGo line appeals to the eco conscious runners to name a few.

If you are looking for more information on this topic there are resources for you in the SIRC Collection. Some that may be of interest are:
  • C E, R. (2009). Is your prescription of distance running shoes evidence-based?. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 43(3), 159-162.
  • Clinghan, R., Arnold, G., Drew, T., Cochrane, L., & Abboud, A. (2008). Do you get value for money when you buy an expensive pair of running shoes?. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 42(3), 189-193.
  • Dzierzak, L. (2009). Bare Foot Your Soul. SGB, 42(7), 38-42.
  • Pearl, B. (2009). Barefoot Running, or Just a Minimalist Shoe?. Running & FitNews, 27(4), 14-15.
  • (2010). Shoes alter your running style. Athletics Weekly (Descartes Publishing Ltd.), 65(5), 10.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Refereeing - do you think you can make the call?

Every two seconds a top-referee and assistant referee makes a game-related decision in a 55-minute professional soccer (football) match. Can referee judgment be learned or is it natural common sense? In the January issue of Referee the debate was discussed considering what the key elements of judgment are, how newer officials are affected, the impact of judgment on veteran officials when rules change and dealing with areas in judgment that are not so black and white.

Overall there is agreement that having good instincts are essential to making a good official followed by how an individual handles stress and can concentrate during the game. A referee needs to be able to watch what is happening on the field while dealing with players, coaches and fans. Knowing what your role is, who you deal with on the sides (if anyone) and having an excellent understanding of the game can help an official make better judgment calls.

Although there is debate of how one makes a judgment call there is agreement that officials are humans and they sometimes make poor judgments. For example, in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan and Korea 26.2% of the offside situations were assessed incorrectly. So don’t feel too bad if you make a poor call now and again. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad referee; it means you are human and it can happen at all levels of the game. What is important is to learn from it and move forward.

If you would like to read more about this area check out the following resources in the SIRC Collection:
  • Korth, Todd. (2010) Can you learn judgment? Referee, (399), 32-35.
  • Catteeuw, P., Helsen, W., Gilis, B., Van Roie, E., & Wagemans, J. (2009). Visual Scan Patterns and Decision-Making Skills of Expert Assistant Referees in Offside Situations. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 31(6), 786-797.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Swing into Spring!

Last week’s blog discussed overtraining in spring, but how about those people that don’t train at all and just go out there and start swinging a golf club at the first sign of spring. This is when injury can occur. Although sports like golf are considered low impact, golf injuries are increasing at an alarming rate. A golfers shoulder, forearm and back are the most common injury areas. So what should a golfer do before he goes out swinging?

A stretching program is definitely recommended which should be initiated in the pre-season and then continued as a pregame warm up. Golf-specific stretching exercises should address those areas that are necessary for proper mechanics and subsequently the most injured, such as the shoulders, forearm, and back. Strengthening the forearm will also prevent “golfer’s elbow”. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends simple exercises such as wrist curls and squeezing a tennis ball to prevent elbow injuries.

Another recommendation is Resistance Training. Building up the muscles that have been left dormant during those winter months will do wonders to prevent spring injuries that could keep you off the course all summer.

And what about aerobic endurance? The average golfer walks 3 miles during the course of an 18 hole game which is certainly nothing to sniffle at! So how does a golfer prepare aerobically. Try a one mile walk and then build slowly over the pre season months to ensure that you don’t over do it. Look at walking programs such as PARC’s Walk This Way which is specifically designed for adults wanting to start a walking program. Remember aerobic endurance in the form of walking or cycling also has been shown to reduce the recurrence of low back pain after injury.

Remember, before starting any form of exercise or training program check with your doctor first and may all your balls be birdies!!

BRANDON, B. and P.Z. PFARCF. Training to prevent golf injury. Curr. Sports Med. Rep., Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 142-146, 2009

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hurling – The Irish know how it’s done.

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, Hurling. No it is not the result of too much Guinness, but an outdoor team sport of Gaelic origin which has been described as lacrosse with sticks or field hockey in the air. The game is played with sticks called Hurleys and a ball called a sliotar. The object of the game is to use the hurleys to hit the sliotar under or over the opponent’s goal crossbar. The sliotar can be caught in the hand and carried for a maximum of four steps. It can also be hit with the hurley on the ground or in the air. Body checking is not allowed, but side to side shouldering is. (this sounds like checking to me). In the tradition of rugby and Aussie Rules Football, no padding is worn, but helmets were made mandatory in January of this year for all levels of play.

The game is played primarily in Ireland and is widely known as the fastest field team sport in terms of game play. So is it played in Canada? You bet it is. The Newfoundland Gaelic Games Association has a league. In fact, hurling was first played in Newfoundland in 1788. Quebec too has a strong tradition of Hurling. The Montreal Gaelic Athletic Association was established in 1948 in order to promote Ireland's two most popular national sports - Gaelic Football and Hurling.

Click here to see what an incredible sport this really is!!

Does SIRC have resources in our collection on hurling? Here are just a few examples:
  • The civilizing of hurling in Ireland. Dolan, Paddy; Connolly, John, Sport in Society Mar2009, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p196
  • Science and the Gaelic sports: Gaelic football and hurling. Reilly, Thomas; Collins, Kieran, European Journal of Sport Science Sep2008, Vol. 8 Issue 5, p231.
  • Becoming Irland├ęs: Hurling and Irish Identity in Argentina. King, Seamus; Darby, Paul, Sport in Society May2007, Vol. 10 Issue 3, p425

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Over-training

With the sun shining and warmer weather starting to show its face many of us are getting the fever to move our exercise and training outdoors. Spring is a time when motivations and energy are renewed so take advantage and change your workout up a bit. Exercising can improve our health, help us relax, and consistent exercise prepares our body to adapt to the stress of our future training sessions. One thing to keep in mind is to pay attention to proper recovery in order to avoid overtraining.

Overtraining occurs when exertion is too long or too intense and the body isn’t given proper time to recover. Signs of overtraining include:

  • chronic tiredness
  • decreased performance
  • irritability, depression and/or decreased sense of well-being
  • increased susceptibility to infections
  • changes in resting heart rate and blood pressure
  • weight loss

The best medicine for overtraining is to prevent it in the first place. Here are some ideas to help avoid overtraining.

  • Change up the intensity and length of your training sessions.
  • Make incremental changes in length and intensity of the workout to give the body time to adapt.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep.
  • Regularly check your diet to make sure that you are getting the right mix of food and fluids to fuel your body and also help it recover after workouts.
  • Make sure you add break days in to your workout routine.

Providing for adequate recovery, listening to your body and incorporating prevention strategies in to your training routine can help you take better advantage of your workouts, avoid overtraining and maintain your healthy lifestyle.

Embrace that spring in your step and enjoy your training.

For more information on overtraining and other training-related materials checkout the online resources at SIRC.

Thompson, Dixie L. (2009). Overtraining. ACSM’s health & fitness journal, 13(5), 5.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Internships and Short-term Staffing

Does your organization have a project that needs extra work, or a short-term position that needs to be filled? With spring on the way many students are looking towards securing summer employment or post-term internships. A few simple tips could help fill a resource need at the same time as providing powerful on-the-job work experience for students looking to get into the sport administration field.

As an employer there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Specifically define the work that needs to be done, better yet have a finite program or project that an intern can complete.
  • Identify someone in the organization that will serve as supervisor and mentor to the intern.
  • Have a defined training program.
  • Make sure that expectations of the position are clear on both sides, by defining goals for the work to be done
  • Be sure that you can fulfill your responsibilities to the internship program.
  • Perform an exit evaluation to determine how your organization can provide an optimal internship experience and get the best for your organization.

Providing temporary staff with specific projects and making sure that they have someone invested in mentoring their placement will ensure that both the organization and the student/intern will have a mutually satisfactory work experience.

Have a position that needs to be filled? Looking for a placement? Be sure to check out SIRC’s job board to post or access the latest openings in the sport community.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Muskoka – Home of the 2010 Ontario Winter Games

The Ontario Winter Games took place on March 4th to 7th in Muskoka and Sudbury. Amanda Street-Bishop from SIRC’s Toronto Regional office was lucky enough to be a part of the event. The Ontario Winter Games is a unique multi-sport event that provides young athletes with development and competitive opportunities that prepare them for national and international competitions. Approximately 3,300 athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers converged on the region during the games. The Ontario Games are a program of the Ministry of Health Promotion and delivered by the Sport Alliance of Ontario.

Because the games were scattered throughout five different communities it wasn’t possible to connect with every sport, but we were able to set up at the Registration area at the beautiful Muskoka Woods facility on March 4th, where Gymnastics, Synchro Swim, Tae Kwon Do, Field Hockey and Badminton were registering their athletes. The energy level was high and the young athletes and their coaches were excited about the coming events.

On Friday March 5th, the SIRC booth was set up at Gravenhurst Centennial Arena where Hockey and Curling events were taking place. SIRC had a great spot next to the snack bar where we were able to meet with lots of coaches, volunteers and parents. Many were interested in SIRC services and took away brochures and pens so as to connect with us on their return home. Congratulations to the Toronto Marlboros for winning gold in the men’s hockey and to St Thomas for winning the gold in the men’s curling. Click here for all the results from the Ontario Winter Games.

Friday, March 5, 2010

2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympics

Check out the latest SIRC Newsletter -2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympics!

With the completion of a very successful 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics the world's focus now shifts to the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games held from March 12 – 21, 2010. These games will go down in history for Canada as the first every Paralympic Games to be held in Canada. Canada will host 1350 athletes and teams officials (110 Canadian) from 44 countries competing in 5 sports.

SIRC would like to wish all athletes good luck at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Paralympics Torch Relay starts in Ottawa!

On March 3, 2010 the Paralympic Torch Relay started in Ottawa and will travel to Vancouver over the next nine days. There are 55 Canadian athletes expected to participate in the Games. If you check out the Canadian Paralympic Committee website you can find the athletes that have been nominated. The official announcement is March 8th . That is cutting it close!!

Wondering what to watch? If you were swept up with the Canada vs US rivalry of the Olympics, chances are you will see it again in Sledge Hockey. The Canadian Sledge Hockey team took gold in Turin shutting out the Americans and you can bank that there will be a rivalry again this year. You can take in the action on CTV and Paralympic Sport TV.

The Opening Ceremonies will be spectacular if they are anything like the 2010 Vancouver Olympics or the Beijing Summer Paralympic Games. According to news reports there will be dancers, singers and acrobats. VANOC’s goal is to inspire viewers while making it a family-friendly event.

Watch the brief video ‘Spirit in Motion’ the motto of the Paralympic movement to feel inspired as we wait for the 2010 Paralympic Games to officially begin.

Keep posted on upcoming Paralympic announcements in the SIRC Daily Press Release Service and upcoming SIRC Newsletter.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Coaches Association of Ontario – The Time is Now

This past weekend SIRC attended the 4th Annual Coaches Association of Ontario Coaches Conference – The Time Is Now. The conference was attended by almost 300 delegates from across Ontario and was held at the University of Guelph. SIRC participated in the trade show portion of the conference and Amanda Street-Bishop, Information Specialist at the SIRC Regional office in Toronto, presented a Professional Development Workshop on Competitive Intelligence for Sport Coaches.

The Workshop covered:

  • Where to find the best coaching resources
  • How to optimize your searching techniques, and,
  • The easiest way to access Canada’s National Sport Library

The presentation was very well received with some participants following along on their own laptops. The session was interactive and included some great questions from the audience for the SportDiscus™ database on Lawn Bowling, Volleyball drills and how to motivate a team before a game.

Other sessions at the conference included:

  • Understanding Your Coaching Style
  • Developing Athleticism – The Foundation of Long-Term Sport Success
  • Hot Topics in Sport Psychology
  • Increasing Leadership Roles For Women

Click here for a link to these sessions and others from the conference.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It makes you proud to be Canadian…

We are now in the lull of the storm. The Olympic Games wrapped up leaving two weeks until the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic Games. If you are living in one of the other three Canadian time zones it’s just enough time to catch up on some sleep.

The last three weeks of the Olympic Games were amazing, fantastic, exciting, unforgettable…the list goes on. There were 2500 athletes from 82 competing countries and Canada owned the podium. Not only did we break medal records with 14 gold medals, the most of any host country – ever - but we broke records with spectator involvement. The whole country seemed to be on the edge of their seats during the gold medal men’s hockey game on Sunday. It was a shining example of national pride when we won the gold and of the impact sport can have on a nation.

Some stats from the 2010 Vancouver Games:
- 14 Gold medals for Canada
- The most gold medals to be won by a host country in the summer and winter Games.
- 3 million red mittens sold
- 50 years since Canada beat Russia in the Olympic Games
- 206 athletes competed from Canada
- 86 of the 206 Canadian athletes received a medal

Canada surprised other counties with our enthusiasm and competitiveness. An abundance of news coverage discussed Own the Podium in the last three weeks and our desire to be the best we can be. We are still the country of politeness and modesty but we like our winter sports and we don’t mind showing it at home.