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Thursday, 19 December 2013

One Year at Florida State

Today marks one year since I started work at Florida State University. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of it.

I am lucky to have such an awesome group of colleagues, athletes, and friends around me in Tallahassee. Looking forward to a fantastic 2014! Go Noles!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

NCAA Soccer Senior CLASS Award

This week, it was announced that FSU's Kassey Kallman and Itode Fubara (Fubi) from ETSU were named as finalists for the Senior CLASS Award for women's soccer and men's soccer respectively.

According to; to be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

I could not imagine two better candidates for these awards than Kassey and Fubi. Please help us out and vote for them below. You can vote each day!

Vote for Kassey

Vote for Fubi

Go Noles & Buccaneers! 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Practical challenges for S&C in team sports (part III)

This is part III of an article published in Professional Strength and Conditioning.
Here are parts I and parts II incase you missed them.


CB: Conditioning coaches need to remember that sport is all about the players, and all about the on-field performances: we are a (vital) support service to the process. Another lesson that I once learned from a marketing expert is that the impact of communication is based upon the impact that a message has on the audience, and the frequency with which they hear it. In the rugby environment, where I currently work, players generally buy into things with both explanation and feedback. It is also essential to have consistency in the process – players will not ‘buy-in’ to your programme if you follow fads, or trends, or you are inconsistent in your messages or delivery.

Typical discussions relating to this might be something like: ‘This number is the power output you achieve in this exercise. When you load the bar more, you can see it moves too slowly so your power output is less. At this time I want you achieving this power output so that when you go into a collision you can break through the first contact’. Similarly, if a player asks why we are doing something, you need to be able to answer and explain it in a manner which they will understand. They want evidence and aren’t impressed by the science thatthey can’t understand. In other sports that I have worked in, such as track and field, the athletes are very numbers and evidence driven, and want an active involvement in what and why they are doing things.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Practical challenges for S&C in team sports (part II)

This is part II of an article published in Professional Strength and Conditioning. Part I is here, and part III is here.


CB: If I was working with children, I would preface this answer with a view that this approach is one that often leads children to associate conditioning work with punishment, and so I would argue against it. However, with performance athletes, the view has to be different, and I think that this can be explained by ignoring the context of punishment and looking at the problem in the same way that I would if the coach wants to change anything in the agreed schedule.

At Widnes Vikings I work really closely with all the coaching staff, and Denis Betts (the head coach) in particular, so that we jointly control the training volume load in all aspects of the training. Planning is essentially a joint process: working on the principle that it is the head coach’s programme (it is he who is ultimately judged by what happens on the field at the weekend), I lead the discussions on the volume loads that can be incorporated into each week/session/day in order to enable us to arrive on the game day as optimally prepared as possible.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Practical challenges for S&C in team sports (part I)

My first blog post in 9 months comes in the form of a roundtable that I primarily worked on last year with some people who have been very influential on my career. Inspiration for this came from discussions with Meg Stone at the Center of Excellence.

Thank you to everyone that contributed, and also to Ian Jeffreys and the folks at the UKSCA who edited it and made it look pretty for their journal, Professional Strength & Conditioning. 

Bob and weave: practical challenges for strength and conditioning in team sports

As strength and conditioning professionals, we seek to utilise training programmes based on scientific principles with our teams and athletes. However, often things do not go to plan and adjustments need to be made. The authors of this roundtable combine experience working with youth, collegiate, and professional teams in a multitude of sports, including American football, basketball, football, rugby league, and rugby union, amongst others. In this article they are presented with a number of scenarios: from their responses we hope that readers will understand different ways to ‘bob and weave’ when faced with challenges in strength and conditioning.

Howard Gray and Meg Stone in conversation with Clive Brewer, Dwight Daub, Craig Duncan, and Kunle Odetoyinbo

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Analysis of ETSU team sport game performances

Disclaimer: This analysis is not formal research, nor is it a claim of causation as their are many factors involved. It is merely a summary of observations from publicly available records on ETSU team sport games. Typical statistical processes were deemed inappropriate due to the nature of the information presented. This form of analysis may complement more typical measures of success such as performance testing, injury rates, etc.


H. S. Gray, J. A. Gentles, B. D. Johnston, K. C. Brown, S. Mizuguchi, M. W. Ramsey, W. A. Sands, K. Sato, M. E. Stone, and M. H. Stone.
Dept. of Exercise and Sport Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614

PURPOSE: To investigate the potential impact of integrated sport science support from the Sports Performance Enhancement Consortium (SPEC) on game performances. METHODS: Seven years of game results and scoring from an NCAA D-I institution were analyzed in reference to each individual team sport’s involvement with SPEC. Winning percentage (W%), Rating Percentage Index (RPI), and scoring differentials (scoring for vs. scoring against) for each period of play were the main variables. RESULTS: Baseball: W% and RPI improved while with SPEC, scoring differentials better in later innings. Softball: Marginally better W%, RPI, and scoring differentials with SPEC. Men’s Basketball: W% and RPI slightly better with SPEC, better 2nd half scoring differential but poorer in the 1st half. Women’s Basketball: No involvement with SPEC, better scoring differential in the 1st half vs. the 2nd half. Men’s Soccer: W% and RPI, along with 2nd half and overtime differentials improved with increased SPEC support. Women’s Soccer: Improvements in W%, RPI, and 2nd half differential since recent full SPEC integration. Women’s Volleyball: Long history with SPEC. Mixed W% & RPI, 5th set wins occurred more of late. CONCLUSIONS: While many other factors influenced observations, the signs are positive for SPEC. Overall, teams with integrated sport science support have had better W% and RPIs than teams without. Additionally, teams working with SPEC have performed well late in games.

Please view the full poster as a picture file (save to computer then zoom in and out):

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Thank you ETSU

Yesterday was my first day of work at Florida State. One would think that that fact would signal the end of one thing (at ETSU), and the start of something new. What really brought it home, however, was the task of taking the email account and the @sportscienceed twitter account off my computer, along with leaving the Center of Excellence media and ETSU men's soccer dropbox folders. This marked the end of a lot of work put into many different projects.

I was fortunate to get some recognition during my last week with the Center of Excellence. The Catapult announcement attracted a lot of attention from the local media, and during the Coaches College I was lucky enough to speak on monitoring and had plenty of mentions from other speakers re: integration of monitoring into the training process. This was very, very flattering!

While I must thank everyone for recognizing my work, there are so many other people at ETSU that are getting things done in the sport science field that I could only dream of. I can think of at least 10 people who could have spoken about on-field monitoring at the coaches college and nail it; the remaining men's soccer staff, women's soccer sport scientists, anyone from volleyball, along with the guys from the new ETSU club rugby team. Both tennis teams have also been looking to track the demands of training and competition in new and creative ways. I hope everyone, in time, gets the recognition they deserve for all the work they are putting in.

The PhD program and Center of Excellence continues to morph and develop and I am proud to have been part of it for the past 2.5 years. While there will always be a strength & power emphasis in the lab and in our work with athletes, I hope that people can see the breadth of knowledge and other valuable resources that are housed in the basement of the Minidome at ETSU. Every academic department has to do some research, but Meg & Doc's main goals are, and always have been, to improve the performance of the teams that they work with and educate young professionals to help do the same elsewhere in the country / world after they leave. They are succeeding.

Thank you ETSU / Center of Excellence / Lab / ETSU men's soccer!