What Motivates a Team?


Building motivation in swimmers is necessary for a successful team. Unfortunately, knowing which factors increase motivation is highly individualized and difficult to assess. For this reason, many coaches feel research is not able to provide individualized tools of motivation for a team. In a recent interview (stay tuned for the whole interview), Kansas Women's coach Clark Campbell discussed the importance of motivation and developing a motivated team. He indicated knowing everyone's role is essential, as each team member brings a different element to the team.

This discussion got me thinking, what motivates a team? 

Most individual motivation is categorized as intrinsic (IM) or extrinsic motivation (EM). Blegen et al. (2013) surveyed 224 in-season Division III college football players (athlete's without financial incentive for performance) with a sport motivation survey. Blegen compared the results of football players on championship and non-championship caliber teams. 

The results suggest there were no motivational differences between starters and non-starters or year in school. However, players on championship teams had greater IM-stimulation, IM-accomplishment and IM-to know, as well as greater EM (Identification, introjection, regulation). This lack of importance on playing status and academic year, suggest the caliber of the team and likely the team environment is a large contributor to motivation. Moreover, improved IM is extremely important, as non-associative self talk is common during harder exercise (Gibler 2012). Non-associated self talk likely causes a dissociation from exercise, impaired  motor learning , and eventually decreased performance.

Even research in swimming suggest, the motivation of the team alters one own motivation. Dr. Rushall (2011) notes this in his book Swimming Pedagogy:


"Peer relationships are one of the most important motivational sources in swimming (McPherson,
Marteniuk, Tihanyi, & Clark, 1977; Reitter, 1982). Peer approvals of behaviors are much more
frequent and influential than those of the coach (Rushall, 1982). It is important for procedures to be
developed where swimmers have the opportunities to reinforce and recognize each other for good
behaviors and achievements. Experiments have shown that peer reinforcement in swimming settings
is more influential than coach reactions (McKenzie & Rushall, 1980)."

Conclusion
EM and IM have been previously suggested as the main modes of motivation in elite athletes. Specifically, IM appears to correlate with success. As a coach, it is vital to encourage a team of IMed athletes. Coaches of all levels, especially in those where financial resources are limited/irrelevant (Division II, III, age-group), should strive to increase IM and EM and their swimmers for the sake of motivating their team.

Reference

  1. Blegen MD, Stenson MR, Micek DM, Matthews TD. Motivational differences for participation among championship and non-championship caliber NCAA division III football teams. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):2924-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182719123.
  2. Campbell, C. (2013, Jan 23). Telephone interview.
  3. Rushall, B. S. (2011). Swimming Pedagogy and a Curriculum for Stroke Development (Second Edition). Spring Valley, CA: Sports Science Associates.
By G. John Mullen Doctorate of Physical Therapy founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration, Dochead strength coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

Shoulder Blade Contribution to Axial Rotation

The role of the shoulder blade during overhead movements is still being discovered. Despite the assumed role of the shoulder blade, research studies confirming the necessity of shoulder blade stability are still necessary (discussed in shoulder injury prevention). In swimming, the shoulder performs frequent overhead axial rotations, making understanding the role of the shoulder during axial rotation mandatory as it likely plays an essential role for injury prevention and force production. Luckily, Ribeiro (2012) et al. looked at the contribution of the shoulder blade at end-range shoulder rotation in overhead athletes. In this study, handball players without a history of pain and controls both performed a seated full-range internal and external rotation in the scapular plane with the humerus supported. The athletes utilized greater shoulder blade retraction and posterior tilting during external rotation.

These results suggest alterations in scapular kinematics occur during shoulder axial rotation in athletes compared to a control group. It is unclear if these adaptations occur to aid sporting success, decrease repetitive stress, or is simply an adaptation to repetitive injury, but one could speculate all three of these reasons play a role in this adaptation (Mullen 2013). The amount of scapular retraction is also greater in athletes, as Ribeiro states:

“the inability to retract the scapula, appears to impart several negative biomechanical effects on the shoulder structures, including a narrower subacromial space, reduced impingement-free, reduced strength of the glenohumeral muscles (Ribeiro 2012)”.

He further suggest healthy athletes:

“keep their scapula stable while the arm is fastly moved from a full external position to a full internal position. Scapular stabilization could be challenged when the arm motion is very (too) fast. Therefore, an inadequate scapular position at the end-range of glenohumeral motion will lead to shoulder dysfunction and pathology (Ribeiro 2012)”



Practical Implication
It seems shoulder adaptations are present at the shoulder-blade in overhead athletes during axial plane movement. It is imperative to provide strengthening exercises of the shoulder-blade in retraction and posterior tilting movements for shoulder-blade stability. Future studies must look at planes other than the scapular plane and without the arm supported (Mullen 2013). 

Ensure you are keeping you and your team healthy, as any injury deceases the likelihood of success, purchase the Swimmer's Shoulder System today.

References:

  1. Ribeiro, A, Pascoal, AG. Scapular contribution for the end-range of shoulder axial rotation in overhead athletes. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2012) 11, 676-681.
  2. Mullen, GJ. Swimming Science Research Review. (2013) 1: 9, 30.
By Dr. G. John Mullen founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration, head strength coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

Compression Garments and Swimming Continued

A while back Allan Phillips discussed compression garments and recovery. His conclusions were inconclusive, stating "[f]or now, know the evidence indicates compression gear may or may not be helpful but it’s unlikely to be harmful.  The mechanisms behind compression are still unclear, but warming, proprioception, and assistance in the mechanical removal of waste products are all common theories. as these devices are relatively new". 

Since his piece, a new article using a randomized blinded study was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Hamlin et al. used a placebo compression garment to decrease the amount of a placebo effect. In fact, these garments not only felt similar, but looked similar!


Compared with the placebo, the compression garments had substantially higher tissue pressures (8.6 mm Hg compared to 2.6 mm Hg). Compression garments had a likely positive effect on 3-km heart rate maximum. There was a positive effect on sprint times creatine kinase levels demonstrated trivial differences between trials. 

This study suggests the use of small compression garments is beneficial for recovery in sprint and endurance activities associated with rugby. The physiological mechanisms behind this improvement is still unknown, but it is hypothesized an improvement in venous blood return is likely the reason. However, the relationship between improved venous blood return and improvement is still uncertain (perhaps it aides glycogen recovery).


Summary
Compression garments during a 24-hour recovery period seem to aide sprint and endurance performance in rugby activities. However, these improvements were not statistically significant, preventing a full recommendation of compression garments. Moreover, it is necessary to see if these improvements are noted over a long period of training, as a removal of fluid may prevent strength improvements. Future research is still needed and replication studies of different parameters are necessary before advocating compression garments. Until further studies are performed, it seems Allan's recommendation still applies: "[f]or now, know the evidence indicates compression gear may or may not be helpful but it’s unlikely to be harmful.  The mechanisms behind compression are still unclear, but warming, proprioception, and assistance in the mechanical removal of waste products are all common theories. as these devices are relatively new". 

Reference

  1. Hamlin MJ, Mitchell CJ, Ward FD, Draper N, Shearman JP, Kimber NE. Effect of compression garments on short-term recovery of repeated sprint and 3-km running performance in rugby union players. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):2975-82. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182711e0b.
G. John Mullen received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science of Health from Purdue University. He is the founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration, head strength coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

Are Tight Muscles Fatiguing you?

All swimming programs use high-intensity training. No matter if this high-intensity comes from short race pace sprints or high volume training, every team does some form of high-intensity. High-intensity will undoubtedly result in sore muscles. Sore muscles, typically cause tight muscles, commonly referred to as myofascial trigger points (MTPs). These trigger points are commonly associated with injuries and pain, but latent myofascial trigger points commonly exist in tight or over-worked muscles. 

Now, I know it seems obvious, but recent research has shown these latent myofascial trigger points can increase fatigability in muscles during isometric exercises of the shoulder (Ge 2012). Moreover Ge et al. found the muscle fibers surrounding the MTPs also exhibited early fatigue!

 Luckily, there are simple methods which likely improve latent and active myofascial trigger points. Unfortunately, not many swim clubs are incorporating these simple fatigue preventing exercises prior to workout! Instead, swimmers will take a hand full of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or supplements with the goal of striving off fatigue. These supplemental tools may help, but more evidence is supporting the notion of performing soft-tissue techniques for improvement of MTPs. It seems clear to take advantage of the simple tools and tricks to prevent fatigue and injury.

Last week on Swimming World, I went over a new soft tissue technique to the subscapularis. This is just one of many potential techniques to take your career and health to a new level. 



Summary
Improving latent (and likely active) MTP is essential for reducing early fatigue.It swimming, it is imperative to perform techniques to prevent fatigue. It is believed myofascial releases (self or with a rehabilitation specialist) may improve these MTP, but future studies must confirm this notion and confirm these improvements improve fatigability. If you are not performing self soft tissue techniques for injury and fatigue prevention, you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage before you hit the water! Make sure you're doing all you can to stay healthy and prevent fatigue for every workout. 

For more information and methods for improving MTPs, consider purchasing the Swimmer's Shoulder System.




References:


  1. Ge HY, Arendt-Nielsen L, Madeleine P. Accelerated muscle fatigability of latent myofascial trigger points in humans. Pain Med. 2012 Jul;13(7):957-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2012.01416.x. Epub 2012 Jun 13.
G. John Mullen received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science of Health from Purdue University. He is the founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration, head strength coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

Bursitis and Swimming

At Swim Sci, we try our best to reply to every e-mail. Recently our team has received a lot of questions regarding a shoulder condition, bursitis. A lot of this article comes directly from the Swimmer’s Shoulder System, if you want to learn about preventing or improving swimmer’s shoulder, pick up your copy today!


Before we unlock the solution for bursitis, lets discuss bursae:

Bursae

Around every major joint are multiple bursae, which act as cushioning pads. These pads help reduce friction in the shoulder to allow movement. During musculoskeletal injuries these bursae commonly become inflamed. This inflammation is known as bursitis which is caused by either excessive rubbing or irritation that can be caused by a variety of structures (for example the rotator cuff tendons).


Many adaptations occur during an injury, most notably inflammation occurs. For a review on inflammation, please see these articles: Tips to Improve Shoulder Inflammation; Inflammation and anti-inflammatory medication; Inflammation in Sports; Reader Mailbag: Cortisone Injections

Lets discuss an inflamed bursae:

Bursitis

As stated, around every major joint are multiple bursae, which act as cushioning pads. Unfortunately, when a muscle is too tight or has inadequate timing, the shoulder can get “sloppy”, cause slight subluxations, and irritate the bursae. Once the bursae are enlarged, the rotator cuff tendons have less room to move and impingement can arise. This is an unfortunate combination of muscular irritation and inflammation.

Now improving bursitis depends on the clinical presentation of the swimmer. If inflammation is driving the pain, resolving inflammation is the most likely road for success. 

If altered movement patterns are the resulting cause of pain, then it is essential to improve these areas. In most cases, inflammation and mechanical adaptations (impaired muscle length, strength, and timing) are the drivers of pain, but pain is rarely this clear cut. This makes a combined treatment with medical professionals essential, as improving one of this areas is neglecting complete resolution and prevention. Make sure if you are addressing shoulder pain, that you assess the clinical presentation and seek complete resolution of pain, as pain will alter movement patterns, result in weakness, and impair swimming performance.

For more on shoulder pain, consider these pieces:
10 Minute Solution: Shoulder Pain
10 Minute Solution: Shoulder Pain Part II
10 Minute Solution: Shoulder Pain Part III
Shoulder Pain? Protect Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

By G. John Mullen founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration, head strength coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

Does Caffeine Ingestion help short-term high-intensity Exercise?

Take Home Points:
  1. The mean improvement with short term caffeine ingestion was 6.5-9.4%.
  2. Individual variation influences caffeine effectiveness.
Caffeine, who doesn't drink it? Whether you consume a Red Bull with a 4-hour energy
drink stirred in or a Quadruple Mocha Cap' with 12 double shots of espresso, most of Americans consume caffeine in one form or another. However, caffeine is a banned substance and although the 120 mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee will not cause a positive test, it is estimated that three cups of coffee directly before competition can exceed the urinary caffeine limits of 12 micrograms/milliliter permitted by the International Olympic Committee. (For a more detailed and humorous look at the NCAA urinary caffeine limits visit my high school friend's blog at http://www.kastawayblog.com/2009/12/how-many-mocha-frappuccinos-does-it.html.)

Enough about what it takes to be in violation, does caffeine work? There is strong evidence that caffeine is beneficial in long endurance events and this drug is most abused by distance athletes, example triathletes. In trained athletes, caffeine’s main effect is glycogen sparing (which is simply using fats as the primary fuel source instead of glycogen, which is important in endurance athletes because glycogen creates lactic acid and is not as energy efficient as fat).

Today’s study was a systematic review (a study that reviewed other studies) that addressed the efficacy of acute caffeine ingestion for short duration, high intensity performance (less than 5 minutes). Studies have found a multitude of results from short term caffeine ingestion in sports performance and this paper looked to look at generalities from these papers. Unlike endurance events, high intensity short duration events use gylcogen as their primary fuel source, but do not use all of this fuel, therefore it is important not to utilize fat as its fuel source.

Of the 28 studies analyzed, the mean improvement with short events that utilize glycogen sparing for benefit, glycogen needs to be the primary fuel source in high intensity events, therefore a different mechanism needs to be utilized for improvement, proposed mechanism to the right.

Of the 28 studies analyzed, the mean improvement with short term caffeine ingestion was 6.5-9.4%, but variability across studies was great and the amount of caffeine ingested varied greatly (1-5 mg/kg of body weight). As a 160 pound male, 75 kg, 1 mg/kg of body weight keeps me way under the legal limit and is less than one coffee consumed, but 5mg/kg of body weight, 375 mg of caffeine ingestion is on the upper limit of legality (should be legal, but you never know) and is about three cups of coffee. One proposed reason for the variability in results is due to the athletes' training status. Of the studies reviewed, athletes that were highly trained (typically college athletes) showed the most consistent improvement with acute caffeine. Another variable is whether the subject regularly drinks caffeine. Unfortunately, this variable has not been studied greatly, but it appears that subjects who ingested coffee on a regular basis had a more positive effect with the acute ingestion. The last variable is that the subject’s genes. Science time!

Caffeine is metabolized in the liver by cytochrome P450 1A2, but this is remarkably different in individuals. This difference variables the metabolism in individuals, more specifically if a person who is heterozygous (two different alleles) metabolizes caffeine slowly, whereas a person homozygous for this allele is a fast metabolizer which is optimal.

Overall, the physiological effects of caffeine use for high intensity short duration exercises is uncertain, but seems to work best in highly trained athletes (modifiable), who consumes caffeine regularly (modifiable), with a homozygous P450 1A2 allele (modifiable… at this present time). Therefore, this short term ingestion works variably for everyone and should be trialed at workouts prior to competition with various legal limit loads.

Just keep in mind, red bull and/or coffee does not equal caffeine. These drinks have many other ingredients, possibly altering the effects.

Check out:
Friday Interview: Dr. Ricardo Mora-Rodríguez, Ph.D.
Supplements for Swimmers

References:

  1. Astorino, Todd A; Roberson, Daniel W Efficacy of Acute Caffeine Ingestion for Short-term High-Intensity Exercise Performance: A Systematic Review Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research:January 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - pp 257-265.
By Dr. G. John Mullen received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science of Health from Purdue University where he swam collegiately. He is the owner of COR, Strength Coach Consultant, Creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.