Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just a hit to the head or a concussion?

We often hear about the severity of head trauma and coaches are encouraged to check for symptoms of concussions (dizzy, headache, light sensitive). However, recent studies are showing that repeated hits to the head, concussed or not, may result in long term side effects. In particular athletes who receive frequent head blows in sports such as football, boxing, soccer, equestrian etc may suffer significant visual memory loss.

It was estimated that a concussion may result from a head impact of over 80 times the force of gravity, (the average header in soccer produces an impact of 20 Gs) however, a recent study in the US monitored college football players and found that players were receiving approximately 150 hits/week with a force often between 100-250 Gs. The amount of force regularly hitting the players is astounding and yet these players were not exhibiting any symptoms of concussions and they appeared fine to their coaches and parents. What was disturbing was to find out was that the tests were showing a 20% decrease in visual memory capacity (in particular the area that requires rapid identification of recurring patterns) for players after just 3 months of training.

What this is saying, is that we need to be more aware of all head injuries. Be very careful of both major concussions as well as all those minor impacts that “chip away at the brain”.

Consensus Statement On Concussion in Sport

SIRC Newsletter: Concussions

Reference from the SIRC Collection: Epstein, David (2010). Unexpected Findings: The Damage Done. Sports Illustrated, 113 (16), 42-47.

Friday, November 26, 2010

2011 SIRC Research Award

Call for Papers
SIRC (Sport Information Resource Centre) is proud to announce the official launch of the 2011 SIRC Research Award and the SIRC Research Development Award.

SIRC invites Canadians associated with a Canadian University or degree granting institution to submit their original sport related research for consideration of the 2011 SIRC Research Award.

SIRC Research Award
The SIRC Research Award recognizes outstanding sport research that benefits the Canadian sporting community. SIRC invites Canadian researchers to submit sport related original research papers in consideration for the 2011 SIRC Research Award.

This year, the 2011 SIRC Research Award has two categories. Your submission must fall into one of these two categories.

The social impact of sport on the community:

This category contains research in four broad areas;

social, cultural, and/or economic benefits of sport
health and wellness
education and life long learning

The impact of applied research on athletic excellence / high performance:

This category contains research in four key areas of study;

Sport Psychology
Sport Physiology
Sports Medicine

The Award:
Winners receive $2,000, a SIRC membership, media coverage, inclusion in the SIRC Collection and international exposure to the sport and academic community through SIRC’s publishing channels.

The applicant must be a Canadian citizen currently associated with a Canadian University or degree granting institution.
You must submit original research that has not been previously published.
Your paper must be written in English or French.
Your paper must be a minimum of 2500 words and up to a maximum of 4000 words (excluding references).
Your research must be relevant and benefit the Canadian sporting community.
Review Process:
Candidate’s abstracts will be initially screened by members of SIRC (or a representative group).

Abstracts will be assessed based on the following criteria:

Abstract content
The results of long-term impact of the paper on the Canadian sporting community.

The review criteria for the paper are:

Relevance/significance of topic to sport, fitness or sport science in Canada
Relevant literature
Clarity of conceptual framework /appropriate methodology
The value to the Canadian sport system
All criteria will be evaluated on a 5-point scale (1 = poor, 5 = excellent). Judges are selected nationally and are considered experts in various areas of study within sport.

Important Submission Deadlines:

January 14th, 2011: Abstract and bio submission

March 25th, 2011: Research paper is electronically received by researchaward@sirc.ca. In addition, a complete hardcopy of the applicant’s submission, which includes a bio, an abstract, a photo of the applicant (passport photo) and the signed SIRC Content License agreement and eligibility outline, with original applicant signature, is received in our offices by 4:30 pm EST

SIRC’s mailing address is 180 Elgin Street, Suite 1400, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2K3

Winners will be notified by June 17th, 2011

*Subject to change without notice.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pilates: Great for Athletes

With the hectic and time consuming training schedule of athletes, it is often hard to find time to recover from a workout. Add to this the fact that often athletes are repeatedly using the same muscle groups, they are leaving themselves open to injuries. These days, many athletes (especially teenagers) are turning to Pilates as a great way to switch up their work out and help with injury prevention.

The following 6 basic principles of Pilates can be used by athletes to stay focus and improve performance:
  • Concentration
  • Centering
  • Control
  • Precision
  • Breathing
  • Flowing movement
The benefits of Pilates don’t end there. Because of the extensive core work, an athlete’s body alignment and awareness is improved. Pilates also focuses on conditioning the body and mind which can help improve sleep quality. Finally because Pilates incorporates numerous muscles of the body, athletes often work muscles they wouldn’t in their normal routine, which can lessen injury risk.

Reference from the SIRC collection:
Pilates: Tools for Teen athletes. Trap, Zoey., IDEA Fitness Journal Nov/Dec2010, Vol. 7 Issue 10, 80.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pomegranates .. the Super Food!

We have all heard of so called “super foods”. Well the” super food” that gets the most attention this time of year, is the pomegranate. A native fruit of Iran, pomegranates are now available year round, however are considered “in season” now until February.

The health benefits of pomegranates are constantly being researched. To date the list includes:
  • Very high in antioxidants
  • Lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Reduce the incidence of skin and breast cancer
  • Decrease blood pressure
Current studies on pomegranates are looking at the effect of this “super food” on diabetes, prostate cancer and various heart diseases.

To get the most out of your pomegranate it is best to consume either pomegranate juice or the whole fruit. Many people shy away from eating the pomegranate as extracting the seeds can be a messy and time consuming process. A quick and easy way to prepare a pomegranate is to cut off the crown and slice the fruit into sections. In a large bowl submerge the sections in water and gently pull the seeds away from the surrounding membrane. Seeds will sink to the bottom of the water leaving the membrane floating on top.

References from the SIRC Collection:
Food Focus: pomegranates. Webster, Sandy Todd, IDEA Fitness Journal Nov/Dec2010, Vol. 7 Issue 10, 57.

The Pomegranate. Samples, Evangeline Y., American Fitness Nov/Dec2009, Vol. 27 Issue 6, 66.

Pomegranate juice: a heart-healthy fruit juice. Arpita; Penugonda, Kavitha, Nutrition Reviews Jan2009, Vol. 67 Issue 1, 49.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Coaching Do's and Don'ts

We all want our young athletes to be the best that they can be. And in order for athletes to be at their best, their coaches also need to be at their best. Supporting coaches through a very stressful competitive season should be high on everyone’s priority list. What can coaches do to focus less on stress and more on constructive teaching moments? A recent article in the SIRC Collection (Arnold, 2010) provides the following top 10 list of Do’s and Don’ts for coaches:

DON’T match your athlete’s negative mood, lead them to a more centered mindset
DO move beyond focusing on problems and focus on improving correct techniques or skills
DO provide challenges that will motivate your athletes
DO provide praise for athletes’ success (training and competition)
DO praise athletes character development as well as skill development
DON’T present a negative training environment that supports negative athlete feedback
DON’T focus on correcting large technique issues at competition, this is the time for tweaks and emotional support.
DO pay attention to parents and make them part of the athlete support team
DO treat all your athletes the same with a single set of over-riding rules
DO make it fun!!!

Full article reference from the SIRC Collection: Arnold, Alison, (2010). Top 10 Coach’s Sanity Tips for Competition Season, Technique 30(9), 26-27.

For more coaching information check out SIRC’s latest newsletter on Coaching Leadership or ask us a question at our booth at the Coaching Association of Canada’s Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Conference.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Better Post-Competition Recovery

Research tells us that we should pay just as much attention to our post-race/post-competition routines as we do to our pre-race/pre-competition routines. Why is this? Simply stated, the sooner you return your body to its pre-competition state and give it the attention it requires to recoup later the same day, the sooner you will be ready for more hard training. It also helps reduce stiffness and soreness that may occur later in the day.

Your muscles are most receptive to refueling and other recovery strategies for the first 30-60 minutes after strenuous exertion. While this is often easy to remember after an intense workout, it is often forgotten in our competition planning. So what can be a good recovery plan? The following strategies were recommended in a recent article in the SIRC Collection:

  • Immediately post-competition/race, have some sport drink or other easily tolerated source of calories before starting a cool-down jog.
  • After cooling down, refuel further with food and drink you brought to the race. This food can be specifically targeted to your body’s needs as opposed to relying on whatever offerings the event has provided.
  • Do some gentle stretching before and after driving home.
  • Later that day do a light aerobic workout, followed by more stretching.

So next time the competition heats up, don’t forget to plan for the appropriate cool down afterwards.

Reference: Fraioli, Mario (2010). Post-Race Recovery. Goal: Recover Quickly From Your Morning Road Race. Running Times (373), 21.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Check out the latest SIRC Newsletter on Coaching!

Leadership has been described as a process of social influence in which one person can get the support of another to accomplish a goal or task. In order to be a good leader and coach you must possess certain skills and knowledge to be able to guide your team in the best direction to reach your goals. Studies have shown that a person with a growth mindset would believe that leadership abilities can be learned and acquired through effort and experience. With this in mind, coaching education and leadership training programs should consider focusing on helping coaches and leaders develop a growth mindset about their leadership abilities. With everything in life one must practice the necessary skills to be the best and the same goes for coaching. National standards are set by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) and its partners are implementing new frameworks to help coaches reach for the stars as coaches help their players. The sport landscape is always changing; this is the same for the coaching world.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The toning phenomena continues…clothing that can make you fit?

Reebok has introduces an EasyTone clothing line that claims to help people get fit. The pants and shirt have strategically place rubber resistance bands to make the body work harder, toning elements. Will it last? Time will tell. The toning shoes that we’ve discussed before continue to be popular so this new installment may be around for a while. To check out the new line of clothing go to www.reebok.com .

Although there appears to be a lack of evidence that the toning products work. Consumer Reports project that it will become a $1.5 billion business by year end, increasing 500%.

How the toning clothing is marketed is up for debate. In North America they are used to tone your legs and butt whereas in Europe they are marketed as a health product. The positive reports of the toning products lean towards the health benefits of posture and core control not necessarily as a fitness product.

The toning clothing line has just been released so stay tuned for upcoming articles however in the meantime you can find articles such as these are currently available in the SIRC Colleciton:
  • (2010). Toning Shoe Skeptics. Fitness Business Canada, 11(5), 12.
  • Ryan, T. (2010). Toning Footwear Trend or Fad?. SGB, 43(2), 12.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Anti-Doping in Qatar

Have you ever wondered what is going on in the anti-doping commission in Qatar?

This week we got to find out when Spirit of Sport, the journal from the Qatar Anti-Doping Commission arrived in the Resource Centre. It had some articles over viewing things like:

- The who, what, when, where and why of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

- Facts about masking agents and nandrolone

- What athletes have made it to the Doping Black List

- The benefits of acupuncture in health

- Highlights from the International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance (ICHPER-SD) congress

- Fencing and what equipment is needed

- What's new in the QADC library

Spirit of Sport is just one of many publications that can be found in the SIRC collection. If you'd like to find out more information email askalibrarian@sirc.ca

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Abs-olutely perfect exercises!!

Core strength has been linked with a host of benefits to healthy active living. It provides better physical performance, less back pain and a host of other benefits. Most of us realize that abdominal strength is one of the key elements in strengthening and stabilizing your core. But what is the most effective exercise to engage your abdominal muscles?

A recent issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (as reviewed in the IDEA Fitness Journal) compared eight stability ball and two floor-based abdominal exercises to determine which activated the abdominal muscle groups the most effectively. Exercises compared included the following:

  • Stability Ball: roll-out; pike; knee-up; skier; hip extension right and left; decline push-up; and seated march.
  • Floor based exercises: crunch; and bent knee sit-up

The most effective exercise to activate the different groups of muscles in the abdomen turned out to be the roll-out and the pike. These exercises are from a more advanced group of exercises, so should only be included in a workout once an individual is strong enough to perform them with proper technique so as to avoid risk of injury.

References from the SIRC Collection:

  • Halvorson, Ryan (2010). Which Exercise Is Best for Abdominal Activation? IDEA Fitness Journal, 7(8); 15.
  • Escamilla, Rafael F.; Lewis, Clare; Bell, Duncan; Bramdlet, Gwen; Daffron, Jason; Lambert, Steve; Pecson, Amanda; Imamura, Rodney; Paulos, Lonnie; Andrews, James R., (2010). Core Muscle Activation During Swiss Ball and Traditional Abdominal Exercises. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 40(5), 265-276.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What to Keep in Mind When Eating …

Now that Halloween has passed, what do we do when tempted by those extra leftover candies? Do we indulge in a little “guilty” snacking? Do we bring them in to our workplace to share with our colleagues? A recent article coming in to the SIRC Collection examines research compiled on the topic of mindful eating. This growing trend begins with the concept of paying attention both to inner cues (thoughts, emotions and sensations) and to the environment when contemplating triggers to eating.

Research suggests that mindless eating is a major factor in weight gain and plays a large role in the failure of weight loss attempts. It also notes that most of our eating decisions are automatic and made without awareness. Without this awareness most of our eating decisions are made without taking stock of the state of our bodies, our minds or our environment and the information to make conscious decisions. According to researchers the majority of our food decisions are not based upon hunger, but rather are influenced by stress, anxiety or frustration.

The philosophy behind mindful eating stresses the importance of carefully thinking through your food choices. It is not about what to eat and what not to eat, but rather being aware of the food you are about to eat, the reasons you want to eat, how you are eating and the choice you make in eating different foods. Learning to work with your body’s rhythms and your mind’s thought process leads you to make conscious choices.

A few electronic resources are provided to learn more about mindful eating:
· The Center for Mindful Eating
· The Cornell University food and Brand Laboratory
· The Association for Size Diversity and Health
· Mindful Eating: The CAMP System
· Dietitians of Canada
· American Dietetic Association