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FLEXIBILITY SCREENING AT BGS SCHOOL SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Posted on February 26, 2014 by

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ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

FLEXIBILITY SCREENING AT BGS SCHOOL SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Swimming is a highly skilled, technical sport which places unique demands on the body. Great technique can only be sustained with supreme physical conditioning, and this includes a highly evolved aerobic and anaerobic energy system, excellent flexibility and optimal strength, motor control and balance of the core, lower limb and shoulder complex. These characteristics are developed over years of intensive training, in and out of the pool.

At the BGS School Swimming Championships on Tuesday 11th February, we took the opportunity to screen all participating swimmers on key areas of their flexibility. These results have been posted on the Athletic Development Program portal of MyGrammar

(http://my.brisbanegrammar.com/d2l/le/content/8905/viewContent/114265/View).

The results have been tabled into Age Groups from 10 Years through to Opens. Within each data set, you are able to see individual results, as well as group averages.

A final document has been uploaded to show comparisons between age groups – via table format as well as a couple of different graphs. It is very interesting to see the level of improvement as the boys get older. We can take a couple of message from this… in the first instance, it’s most likely an indication that boys are settling into their bodies after a rapid period of growth and development, and in the second instance, I believe it also demonstrates our collective focus on flexibility as a key component of athletic development.

The flexibility measures are ranked on a traffic light system:

Red = Requires Urgent Attention

Amber = Work to do

Green = Target

Flexibility essentially means “range of motion” around a joint. The Traffic Light Targets are based on achieving optimal range of motion around a joint through which muscles can effectively work. Such a ranking system will obviously differ between sports. For example, sports such as gymnastics and diving demand extremely greater flexibility than most other sports. From a swimming point of view, if swimmers have poor ankle flexibility, this compromises their kicking ability. Or, if their hamstrings are too tight, this will affect their ability to get into a good start position on the blocks, and therefore a powerful start.

I certainly encourage all boys to compare their individual results to the Traffic Light Targets, with the aim of working towards hitting levels in the GREEN zone. A specific Stretch Routine has been put together to guide the boys on stretches to do in addressing some key areas for swimmers (this can also be found on MyGrammar).

 

WHY FITNESS TEST?

Fitness Testing forms an important part of the training process, as it helps us to provide measurement and objectivity to various components of performance; the ultimate aim being to realise an athlete’s potential. There are a number of reasons why testing is valuable:

1. To identify areas of weakness or limitation… Are there any factors that will (potentially) inhibit an individual’s path to improvement? In other words, various forms of testing can red flag potential obstructions to performance or even injury risks.

2. To determine an athlete’s status of physical preparation… Are they prepared to meet the demands of the sport or game… or the training program that has been set? This helps to guide the coaches’ training sessions.

3. To provide feedback on how an athlete is progressing and adapting to a training phase… Are goals being met? Is the athlete on track? Is the training program appropriate to the athlete? Is the athlete following the program?

4. To better individualise physical conditioning programs to meet athletes’ needs… Every athlete is different and therefore every athlete will have a different level of response to training. 

5. To teach athletes to self-monitor and self-manage… Many measurements can be taken by the athletes themselves… e.g. heart rates, flexibility testing, counting strokes, counting strides, recording feelings of wellness… It’s important to teach athletes what this information means and what to do about it.

 

Importantly, testing should not be considered a one-off event – but more like a roadmap to track progress over time. This is particularly so in developing athletes. We encourage boys at BGS to not feel threatened by any fitness testing, but to see it as an opportunity to learn what they need to do to be the best they can be.

 

HERCULES PROGRAM

The Hercules program kicked off for year 8 boys on Monday this week. 50 boys have signed up to participate in the program, which is a super positive response. Some snaps were taken on Monday’s session… these can be seen by clicking onto the link: http://flipagram.com/f/LObV9CkqDb.

 

 

Sally Bailey, Director Athletic Development, Brisbane Grammar School

 

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