Hazing In Sport – A Briefing

Hazing in sport has been an ongoing issue, from the youth to elite levels, for many years. As Dr. John Heil says, “any and all athletes are vulnerable to hazing” (Heil, 2016), and it can be a traumatizing experience for those involved. Many athletes refer to hazing as “team-building” and “tradition”, while studies have shown that hazing can decrease team cohesion rather than improve it (Van Raalte et al., 2007). Professionals, parents, coaches, and athletes all should be informed about how to recognize and prevent hazing, and how to reduce hazing in sport.

According to Waldron (n.d.), hazing can diminish an athlete’s confidence by promoting self-doubt, depression, low self-esteem, and in the worst-case scenario, suicidal thoughts.

Some athletes think that hazing creates a group identity.

Fact: Research shows that group identity is established when the athlete joins the team (Van Raalte et al., 2007). Hazing does not build attraction to the group.

Some athletes claim that hazing is a tradition that builds character (Smith & Stellino, 2007).

Fact: New players may feel pressured into hazing if they want to be accepted by the older players on the team. This may be driven by a “sport think” phenomenon cultivated by veteran players, producing fear and persuasion. Once the new players become veterans, they often maintain the perspective of valuing hazing and create the cycle of hazing.

Why Does Hazing Happen?

When new athletes are introduced to a team, promoting a positive and constructive environment is key to a fluid transition. When this outcome is not achieved, harsh exclusion and hazing may take place. Given the inherent need for belonging and acceptance by the “in-group,” athletes may be vulnerable to hazing (Maslow, 1971). Many may succumb to the hazing ‘sport think” phenomenon and overlook potential consequences and risks. To justify these hazing behaviors to themselves, individuals frame them in a positive way through displaced responsibility, attribution of blame, and diffusion of responsibility (Heil, 2016).

What You Can Do: Strategies to Reduce Hazing in Sport

(This briefing was originally published under the American Psychological Association Division 47 on the Virginia Commonwealth Games Sport Hazing Awareness Site.  For full literature, please visit their website.  Reprinted with permission.)

References:

  • Hamilton, R., Scott, D., LaChapelle, D., & O’Sullivan L. (2016). Applying social cognitive theory to predict hazing perpetration in university athletics. Journal of Sport Behavior, 39(3), 255-277.
  • Heil, J. (2016). Sport advocacy; Challenge, controversy, ethics and action. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 5(4), 281-295.
  • Kirby, S. L., & Wintrup, G. (2002). Running the gauntlet: An examination of initiation/hazing and sexual abuse in sport, Journal of Sexual Aggression, 8(2), 29-68.
  • Maslow, A. M. (1971). The Farther reaches of human nature. New York: Viking Press.
  • Smith, H., & Stellino, M.B. (2007). Cognitive dissonance in athletic hazing: The roles of commitment and athletic identity. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 29, 169-170.
  • Van Raalte, J.L. Cornelius, A.E., Linder, D.E., & Brewer. B.W. (2007). The relationship between hazing and team cohesion. Journal of Sport Behavior, 30(4), 491-507.
  • Waldron, J. Reducing hazing in sport teams, http://www.appliedsportpsych.org/resources/resources-for-coaches/reducing-hazing-in-sport-teams/.

ISCA Coach Education Program

We are thrilled that after about a year of production and development, the ISCA Education Program has officially launched!

The program is available online internationally and features evidence-based curriculum developed by sport scientists specifically for swim coaches. Our modern education portal is easy to navigate and secure, with transcript tracking and interactive course content.

ISCA Certification is available for coaches that are ISCA members and also complete the six core science-based courses (Biomechanics 101 & 102, Physiology 101 & 102, and Sport Psychology 101 & 102). The science behind swimming is something that all coaches need to understand to be effective and successful–and we look forward to providing this crucial piece of education to coaches around the world.

Get started today on the ISCA Education Portal: https://isca.courselaunch.com/

Learn more about ISCA Education: https://swimisca.org/education/

Get the details on ISCA Certification: https://swimisca.org/education/certification/

Demo an ISCA course: https://swimisca.org/courses/demo18/content/

4 Fundamental Shoulder Exercises for Swimmers

Fundamental shoulder strengthening exercises for competitive swimmers

Written by Behnam Liaghat, recognized specialist by the International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy, based in Denmark at the University of Southern Denmark. Email: bliaghat@health.sdu.dk

Following my recent blog about identifying joint hypermobility in swimmers, in this blog I will go through some of the top shoulder exercises for the competitive or elite swimmer to develop fundamental strength and neuromuscular control of the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers.

In our recent research about young competitive swimmers with joint hypermobility (Liaghat et al., 2018), we found that swimmers with inherent shoulder joint hypermobility displayed reduced internal rotation strength and a tendency to poor activation of the scapular muscles. Another interesting finding was that swimmers with joint hypermobility not only display reduced absolute internal rotation strength, but these swimmers are weaker through the entire range of shoulder rotation. The suggested dry-land exercises in this blog can be designed to be beneficial for both hypermobile and non-hypermobile swimmers with few adjustments in range of motion, i.e. by increasing shoulder rotation to be as close as possible to the individual end range.

What are the benefits?

The four exercises specifically aim at improving shoulder retraction (refers to moving the scapula towards the spine), internal rotation and external rotations strength. To avoid injuries, it is important to target muscles on both sides of the shoulder to achieve a balanced intermuscular function. This is the rationale for including exercises for both internal and external rotation movements. Adequate strength in these movements has, besides injury prevention purposes, a positive effect on swimming stroke performance.

General guidelines

Some general guidelines for these exercises include performing them without producing any pain or discomfort and slowly through the entire range (approximately 6-8 seconds per repetition) to engage all important muscles. As there are no golden standard number of repetitions, you may want your swimmers to start with 3 x 30 seconds for the first 2-4 weeks and then move on to 3 x 8-12 repetitions with heavier resistance. Depending on the load applied and experienced level of muscle soreness, the exercises can be performed 3-5 times weekly. Make sure your swimmers breathe in a relaxed manner and engage the whole kinetic chain in all exercises.

When introducing these exercises to your swimmers, be certain that they can control the shoulder so excessive movement of the tip of the shoulder in either upward (towards the ear), backward or forward directions is avoided. In principle, reducing resistance and/or decreasing the range of movement may be applied to increase quality of shoulder control.

Fig. 1. Infraspinatus muscle on the posterior side of the scapula http://c1healthcentre.co.uk/one-of-our-top-5-reasons-you-have-arm-pain-infraspinatus-muscle-problems/

Active release of muscles before you start

Before instructing swimmers in performing these exercises, it is recommended to do some active release of the posterior rotator cuff muscles by standing against a wall with the arms perpendicular to the trunk and putting a pressure to the mid-point of the scapula with a lacrosse ball to target the infraspinatus area (Fig. 1). From here the swimmer can simply roll on the ball and add a shoulder external and internal rotation movement for up to two minutes to release tight and sore muscles (Fig. 2 A-C). The active self-release can be performed in supine for adding more pressure.

Fig. 2 A-C. The Danish swimmer Matilde Lerche Schrøder showing an active release of the posterior rotator cuff muscles.

Now let us move on to the top dry-land exercises for fundamental shoulder strength

 

Exercise 1: Prone 1-arm diagonal lift

Either lie on the floor or on a gym ball supporting with your feet and one arm. Apply resistance with an elastic band. Slightly retract and depress your shoulder before lifting your arm with a 45 degrees angle away from the trunk´s midline. While lifting the arm, a maximum external rotation is performed in the arm so the thumb points towards the ceiling.

Level down by lifting the arm perpendicular to the trunk’s midline.

Level up by adding a back extension in the movement or lifting the opposite leg.

 

Exercise 2: Supine internal rotation 1

Either lie on the floor or on a gym ball supporting with your feet. Apply resistance with an elastic band. Slightly retract and depress your shoulder before turning one arm at a time internally as far as possible without losing shoulder control (e.g. protracting the shoulder towards the ceiling).

Level up by adding oscillation (fast movements back and forth) through the movement.

 

Exercise 3: Supine internal rotation 2

Description: Either lie on the floor or on a gym ball supporting with your feet. Apply resistance with dumbbells. Slightly retract and depress your shoulder before slowly turning one arm at a time externally in cranial direction and then back to vertical position in the underarm without losing shoulder control (e.g. avoid pushing the shoulder towards the ceiling).

Level up by adding more load and increasing range of external rotation.

 

Exercise 4: Prone external rotation

Lie on a gym ball supporting with your feet and one arm. Apply resistance with a dumbbell. Slightly retract and depress your shoulder before externally rotation your arm with the upper arm perpendicular to the trunk.

Level up by adding more load and increasing range of external rotation.

 

Every swimming coach should be familiar with these top shoulder exercises and include them in some content as part of the dry-land routines for injury prevention and for enhancing swimming stroke performance.

 

A special thanks to the Danish swimmers Matilde Lerche Schrøder and Line Virkelyst Johansen for giving their photo consents.

Resource:

Liaghat, B., Juul-Kristensen, B., Frydendal, T., Marie Larsen, C., Søgaard, K., & Ilkka Tapio Salo, A. (2018). Competitive swimmers with hypermobility have strength and fatigue deficits in shoulder medial rotation. Journal of Electromyography & Kinesiology, 39, 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2018.01.003

Download link: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1WU8g3kurobLDS

Dealing with hypermobility in swimmers

Written by Behnam Liaghat, recognized specialist by the International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy, based in Denmark at the University of Southern Denmark.

With hypermobility, it is really a balance for the swimmer between taking advantage of the condition by reducing drag and avoiding excessive motion that may potentially damage the joint. I propose that you may easily acquire the knowledge to test many of your swimmers for generalized joint hypermobility, including shoulder hypermobility, within 1-2 minutes.

In our recent research study on young competitive swimmers, the main findings were that healthy swimmers with hypermobility in the shoulder had a decreased strength and a larger fatigue development. In addition, more experimental data indicated a poorer stability of the shoulder blade. As a swimming coach, you can prescribe exercises to target these deficits and help your swimmers take advantage of their joint hypermobility. Generalized joint hypermobility is evaluated with the 9-point Beighton scale, which requires the performance of five maneuvers, four passive bilateral and one active unilateral performance:

  1. Passive dorsiflexion and hyperextension of the fifth MCP joint beyond 90°
  2. Passive apposition of the thumb to the flexor aspect of the forearm
  3. Hyperextension of the elbow beyond 10°
  4. hyperextension of the knee beyond 10°
  5. Active forward flexion of the trunk with the knees fully extended so that the palms of the hands rest flat on the floor

    Image credit: Clinical Examination in Rhuemetology, Michael Doherty and John Doherty (Mosby, 1992)

Each positive test scores one point, with cut-off values of more than 5/9 being indicative of the presence of generalized joint hypermobility. These cut-off values may vary, and some authors suggest lower cut-off values (e.g. 4/9) for males.

Since the shoulder is not represented in the Beighton scale, you may use a shoulder external rotation (positive score more than 90°) with the upper arm in neutral along the side of the body.

Image credit: Frederick A. Matsen III, M.D., UW Medicine, Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

In case further investigation is required of the musculoskeletal condition of the swimmer or in case the swimmer experiences pain, please refer to a sports physiotherapist, who can perform additional tests and examination.

For more detail on this topic, please read the freely available research paper by Liaghat et al. (2018): “Competitive swimmers with hypermobility have strength and fatigue deficits in shoulder medial rotation”. https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1WU8g3kurobLDS

Contact the author directly via email: bliaghat@health.sdu.dk 

WHOOP: Improve your recovery skills

For coaches, its long been difficult to objectively track an athlete’s rest and recovery. Proper recovery is necessary for peak performance. The WHOOP technology tracks and analyzes a swimmer’s daily Strain, Recovery, and Sleep. Best of all, it’s validated by science.  More sleep has been shown to correlate with faster swimming performance.

“With WHOOP, I can actually score my recovery every night, so I now know the things I’m doing during the day that affects my sleep and recovery.” – Connor Jaeger

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The WHOOP Strap slips on to a swimmer’s wrist and collects data from underneath sensors 24/7. It collects over 100MB of data on an athlete per day that is displayed in the WHOOP app. The WHOOP strap collects heart rate, heart rate variability, ambient temperature, and motion.

Your swimmers aren’t just swimmers for two or three hours a day. They are swimmers 24 hours a day. Are poor sleep skills negating all the hard work in the pool? WHOOP’s Sleep Coach helps optimize an athlete’s sleep schedule.

Wondering why Chris is struggling today in practice? Coaches now have insight into each individual athlete’s recovery status. This allows coaches to make better decisions to help aid recovery and avoid injury.

After just 4 months, WHOOP athletes…

  • dedicate an additional 41 minutes of sleep per night
  • reduce resting heart rate by 4.4 beats per minute
  • increase heart rate variability by 8 milliseconds
  • reported injuries 60% less often

Start tracking, analyzing, and improving your recovery skills with WHOOP today!

TritonWear: Real Data in Real Time

“Competitive swimmers don’t do a whole lot to track their performances over time.” – Tristan Lehari

Until now.

If you haven’t seen or used the Triton unit, you are going to want to check it out. The Triton unit sits comfortably on the back of a swimmer’s head and sends real time data to a coach’s tablet.

What kind of data? Every metric possible: stroke count, stroke rate, speed, distance per stroke, turn time, and time underwater. Check out TritonWear’s race analysis of Caeleb Dressel’s 100 Fly from World Champs or Kylie Masse’s World Record 100 Backstroke.

Stroke count and stroke rate are so critically important in swimming. Here is what Bob Gillett said at least year’s clinic:

“This is what swimming’s all about. We call it the essence of swimming. For coaches and swimmer’s, it’s the essence of life. This is what it’s all about. This is the meaning of life. It’s a concept you must understand.”

TritonWear allows a coach to access the data of all their swimmers simultaneously. It puts the “essence of swimming” into the palm of your hand, allowing you to provide instant feedback to swimmers. If your goal stroke rate is 1.2 cycles per second, you’ll want to train at 1.2 cycles per second. That’s deliberate practice at its best. TritonWear easily disseminates this information throughout each and every swim practice automatically.

“Using technology like this really keeps the swimmers engaged in their day to day training and keeps them focused on their performance. We do a set of best average 50’s every Monday night. I can tag all those workouts and pull them all up and evaluate apples-to-apples on a week-to-week basis and watch their progress.” – Kevin Anderson, Head Coach of Mississauga Swimming

Take your swimmers to the next level. Visit https://tritonwear.com/ and request a demo today!

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ISCA To Induct Dudley Duncan & Mark Schubert into Hall of Fame

ISCA’s 8th Annual Hall of Fame Coaches Clinic is slated for August 23-26, 2017 in Clearwater, Florida. This year’s inductees are Dudley Duncan of Quest Swimming and Mark Schubert of Mission Viejo.

We asked Rada Owen and Leigh Ann Fetter-Witt to reflect on being coached by these two legends.

“Dudley was such an influential coach for me because he really instilled the importance of technique, and developing the fundamentals of swimming. To this day, I use many of the drills I did with him for my own young swimmers. He also established the importance of overall fitness; he would lead us on runs and our dryland workouts, and more often than not, put us young swimmers to shame.
 
Dudley was also incredibly good at establishing a bond between our swimmers and it was the first time I really understood what it meant to be a part of a team.  He would organize activities for our senior group outside of the pool, and those were crucial to our team becoming incredibly close, and to this day, those are some of the best memories I have from my swimming career.” – Rada Owen

“I met Mark Schubert for the first time when he became the Women’s Head Coach at the University of Texas, where I was swimming. I had heard rumors about how he was a notoriously tough, distance coach. I thought, so why is he coming to one of the best sprint programs in the country. I am surely going to be in trouble. I soon found out that he wasn’t just a great distance coach, he could actually coach sprinters as well!  He encouraged me to keep a log book while I was swimming and write comments about my training/workouts. In doing this, it made me learn so much more about who I was and what I felt I needed as a sprinter. I truly became a student of the sport. Mark asked if I would ever consider coaching as a profession and the “bug” was placed. From that moment on, (and for almost 30 years now) that’s what I’ve done. Mark has had such a great influence on me both as a swimmer and now as a coach, I truly owe a lot of thanks to him. I am so very proud to call him a close friend.” – Leigh Ann Fetter-Witt

 

Attend the Coaches Clinic to learn, share, and network with some of the greatest minds the sport has ever known. To sign your team of coaches up to attend the 8th Annual Hall of Fame Coaches Clinic, please visit:

SSWIMT: Swimming Research

WHAT IS… SSWIMT?

Research on swimming is broad and essential for the evolution of the sport. The level of swimming related scientific research is very advanced, as is the level of coaching. However, as both fields are very demanding, their connection, in terms of knowledge and experience diffusion, is difficult.

In-depth reading of scientific papers is needed for a thorough interpretation of their results. However, this is usually time consuming and difficult for non-accustomed readers. The short display (shorter than their abstract) of interesting articles in a simple manner, without meddling, for someone to figure out if an article is helpful (and then go on with full-text reading), is our main intention. Additionally, useful notes from the coaching practice that are based on testing will be posted. The purpose is to assist swimming coaches and relevant sport scientists to keep up with the swimming research progress.

So sswimt comes to accelerate the dissemination of information and updates on swimming testing and research with a focus on physiology, biochemistry, metabolism, nutrition and training!  Our goal is to set off the abundant information provided by eminent sports scientists and swimming coaches, thanks to whom swimming is evolving constantly. Hope you will enjoy it! More interesting things are on the way…

Visit the blog that houses all of the research:
sswimt.wordpress.com

Like them on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Sswimt-465715247150211/

Follow them on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/sswimt

Coach Dave Ling: The Art of Making Mistakes

THE ART OF MAKING MISTAKES by Coach Dave Ling

 I was asked to contribute a notion of coaching wisdom to this blog, my first thought was to laugh because the one thing those who know me will say is that I’m never at a loss for things to say.  The catch 22 of the situation is that I hardly consider myself the smartest guy in the room but how I deal with that situation is likely a key starting point for introductory article. 

 I have been coaching for 9 years, this is my first season as a Head Coach, running a 200+ swimmer club in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.  In a city with a prominent fishing industry, when it comes to this town I’m a fish out of water.  I’m coming off a successful 8 year run with the Toronto Swim Club where I moved my way up the coaching ladder to earn the opportunity to come Head Coach.  The road to working my way up to earning the right to take on a Head Coaching opportunity would probably be best represented by the following diagram…

  dave ling

 I was asked the question by my friend, the SwimNerd himself, Nate Tschohl… so what do you do best?

 Me… “Admit mistakes”

 Through the self-scout evaluation process, I find that attention to errors and being good at admitting when I have made a mistake (or multiple mistakes), when something is not working despite any and all supporting “evidence” that would lead me to believe it “should work” is critical to implementing impactful change.   I do not double-down because something has worked previously.  I keep a log of mistakes I have made and I look at it (and add to it) frequently and use that log to help myself evolve as a coach.

 A few years ago I had the opportunity to work under a head coach whose accomplishments could fill out a pretty resume.  I was fired up when he came to the club, I thought I could observe, contribute, and learn to be a better coach.  Sadly, the coach was a bust, a few years and out… but I did learn a lot because the root of his failures was in his unwillingness to evolve.  He had his ways and they worked (big time) in one specific situation, at one point in time, in one of conditions producing a number of Canadian National team members… but his process was not repeatable and his style did not evolve and it did not work in a new place.  It was during those years that I started keeping a log of coaching mistakes and it was at that point that I thought my coaching really started to improve and with it the results of my swimmers.

 I find that by being quick to admit mistakes, I don’t rely on the S.O.S.  (same old… you get it).  If something is not working, I love the process of brainstorming and finding a new way.  Scouring my network of coaches and former swimmers.  Looking at other coaches in the club, seeing what they are doing, looking for ways to scale and implement with my own swimmers.  Hitting the Interwebs, blogs, YouTube, whatever dark corner might have a kernel of knowledge that can be adapted to fit my program.

 The desired result is clear, when swimmers experience their inevitable plateaus, I want to lead a team that is driven to solve situation.  Be creative, look at both the basics and the specifics, the individual and the team, and if the current way is not working then evolve quickly, move on, try something different, and be fearless in the process.  The result, when swimmers come out of their plateaus as a result of teamwork and creativity, trust is built, respect is earned, and next-level excellence is ready to occur.  This to me is the art of coaching driven from the art of admitting mistakes.

 So where does this all lead?  Honestly, I don’t know.  Most of you smart enough to read this are clearly already reaching out, scouring for information, coaching in the year 2017.  You already know the coaches around you still coaching like yesterday was 2008, 2001, 1995, 1984 or worse.  You are the kinds of coaches I want to network with, evolve alongside, and help lead this sport into an exciting era of our sport.  With the retirement of Michael Phelps we enter an era of second-wave professional swimmers that will lead the improvement of understanding of swimming that when evaluated properly can improve our sport from the top of the mountain all the way down through the grassroots.

Dave Ling
Head Coach, St. John’s Legends
Twitter & Instagram @coachdling
Editor’s Note: Coach Dave Ling does an incredible job with his white board. He posts a picture of every swim practice’s white board on Twitter. Every day he makes writing practice a beautiful piece of art.