Always Growing

The AFA team is always looking for opportunities to build relationships and learn from the world's best performance coaches. It plays a tremendous role in how we build the most impactful programs for our trainees. 

In April 2018, Jim Eckhart attended the Bay Area Sports Performance Symposium hosted by Ramsey Nijem. In the past, the AFA team has visited elite performance centers like Boyle Strength and Speed, Cressey Sports Performance, and EXOS. We've experienced a number of collegiate training facilities. Jim's trip to Sacramento, however, was the first time seeing the in's and out's of a major professional performance center. He also had the opportunity to connect with and learn from some of the top performance coaches on the west coast. 



One of the biggest takeaways from the conference for Jim was understanding the effects of workload throughout a year and how it relates to injury recovery and prevention. 

Here's a few key points to chew on: 

  • If you're strong before an injury, the chance your recovery will be faster and easier than someone that hasn't been strength training is significantly higher. 
  • The most important thing for injury recovery is rest. 
  • Strength training, with reduced impact, and proper rest can significantly decrease chances of re-injury. 
  • The more consecutive days you train or play, the higher your chances are of re-injury. That's why it's important to have rest days! 
  • Data about specific injuries is providing actionable insights for planning workloads for athletes.

For example, an athletic trainer can use a heat map of a players schedule to see risk of re-injury given the amount of in-game minutes they accumulate, travel days, practices, and even monitoring sleep and heart-rate variability. All this data can help coaches decide how much they should push a player to play from week-to-week and even throughout a career. 

Biggest Impact

Although all the data science and analytics sound cool, the biggest impact the conference had was establishing fantastic relationships and solidifying our understanding of what matters and what doesn't. 

It's pretty cool that Jim is able to share his stories about what it's like for guys at the highest levels of performance because it can have a big influence young athletes. Often times athletes feel like they need to be doing more. Instead, it's more valuable to know what are the simple things to focus on that matter most. Being able to witness what actually goes on at the highest level makes it easier to trust that you're doing the right things, instead of allowing distractions to get in the way.