Friday, February 27, 2015

Pre-Season Training
The best athletes are made in the off-season.  When the season rolls around and you are about to start your first game or event, it is too late to prepare.  That is why it is essential to take advantage of every opportunity you are given in off-season training and workouts.  Progress should be constantly strived for to reach your goals.  Each day you are either getting closer to reaching your goals or farther away, you have the power to make off-season success happen.  Here are a couple of things that coaches, players, and parents should keep in mind with -training:

Training does not mean over-training
Although it is important to strive for improvement every day throughout the off-season, this should not be confused with training every day which will likely lead to over-training.  Recovery is just as important, if not more important, than the time spent training.  Over-training can lead to increased fatigue, decreased performance, increased risk of injury, as well as several other physical and psychological side effects.  On the other extreme, that does not mean sitting on the couch all day with an XBOX controller on off days.  Active rest and mobility work will be the best way to prioritize time outside of training to set the body up for success the next time training.

Leave your ego at the door
Proper technique is the most important component for improvements in performance and reduced risk of injury.  Regardless of what off-season training program being used, performance will be greatly hindered if ideal technique is not prioritized. However, this is often a sacrifice in the amount of output produced in the short-term and requires some patience as new movement patterns are learned.  In the long-term, this is a critical component that needs to be mastered in the controlled environment of the weight room before it is translated into competition. 

Don’t get fancy
Master the basics.  It is critical to be very proficient at basic movement patterns and have the required strength through the muscles required to stabilize before progressing too quickly through a program.  If the program requires progression in intensity or difficulty of movement before an athlete is ready, the athlete will be limited in reaching their optimal performance as well as being put at an increased risk of injury.  Programming throughout the off-season is key and is the coach’s responsibility to put their players in a position to succeed while keeping their players healthy and on the field.

It should be FUN!
Training should never be boring, and while there are certain necessary components to an off-season training program, athletes should constantly be challenged in order to grow physically and mentally. Training isn’t always synonymous with fun, yet still something that should be enjoyed as it is a great way for teammates to bond and grow more disciplined as a team.  Provide an environment for your team training that players enjoy showing up for!

There’s only one important measure when it comes to pre-season training, and that’s the results you see when the season is finished.  Are you doing everything you can now to succeed later?

 These are just a few tips on considerations for off-season training.  Please contact us with any further questions on pre-season training or regarding our packages for team training led by physical therapists.

- Dave Paczkowski, PT, DPT

Pre-Season Training Flyer

Thursday, February 12, 2015


With all the heart shaped goodies and signs around on Valentine’s Day, we are served an important reminder to take an active role in keeping our hearts healthy.  There is little argument on the importance of a healthy heart, however developing strategies to meet this goal can be more difficult.  Proper nutrition and activity levels are both key components in keeping your heart working its best.  Nutritional recommendations are very individualized and vary based on age, weight, current eating habits, and other medical conditions.  If you have specific questions regarding nutritional recommendations do not hesitate to contact our dietician to discuss an individualized plan of action.  When planning to achieve proper activity levels, it is important to remember that keeping your heart healthy does not require hours at a gym and can be achieved through simple lifestyle changes.  Although Midwest weather makes it more difficult to be active outside during these winter months, there are plenty of ways to stay active without having to battle the outdoor elements.  The majority of us have the destructive habit of sitting way too much.  One of the best ways to avoid this and maintain a healthy heart, without even having to touch a machine, is by walking more.  There are plenty of devices out there for counting steps taken throughout the day to monitor how many you are taking which can be a great way to track progress.  If you choose this option, there is no magic number of steps to aim for.  Pick a goal number, and once you are able to achieve that every day for a week or two try increasing the goal.  Although it’s easy to take a walk outside or at the park in the summer months, going to a local mall or store and taking laps around are other options to increase steps while staying warm if you do not belong to a gym.  Other ways to increase activity can be performed in the comfort of your own home.  Make it a habit whenever you’re watching TV to stand-up at each commercial and take a lap around the house, go up and down the stairs once or twice, or perform 5-10 squats.  This option is only limited by your own creativity so find something that fits you!

There are also plenty of other alternatives to conventional exercise that do not involve staring at the calorie counter on cardio machines and wondering why the time seems to be standing still.  People that prefer exercise classes and a group atmosphere would benefit from a course such as Yoga or Pilates.  The benefits of these can address heart health, but also go above and beyond by addressing strength, mobility, balance, and body awareness as well.  If aches and pains are preventing you from exercising, please stop in for a complimentary injury screening to address any physical limitations that are preventing you from reaching your target activity levels.  Whatever way you decide to be more active, make sure you have a plan to achieve your goals and get started right now! 

Happy hearts day to all,

Dave Paczkowski, PT, DPT

                                                               TheraCORE Clinic Locations

                   350 E. Ogden Ave., Ste. 200                                         16622 W. 159th St., Ste. 503
                         Westmont, IL 60559                                                         Lockport, IL 60441
                              (630)908-7430                                                                (815)838-5070