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B2A welcomes you to the family, in your journey to become a better athlete.

Thank you for choosing to take matters into your own hands and develop yourself as a football player. You are one of a small percentage of individuals who seek and take action to improve as a football player.

Before you start this program

The goal of this program is to assist you in becoming proficient mover, build a solid foundation for yourself, reducing the risk of injury whilst assisting you to develop on your overall strength, speed and power.  There are a number of ways to add progressions to this program whoever we would like you to be patient.  Complete this program to its entirety, taking consistent steps each week, and understanding your body and where there may be weaknesses and restrictions. We want to find all these and begin to improve on them which will result on better performances on the training field, and more importantly on match day.

When using B2A Training Templates, it’s important to monitor your intensity to make sure you’re working at a pace that is challenging enough to help you reach your goals. One way to do that is to use a Perceived Exertion Scale. It’s often abbreviated as RPE—rating of perceived exertion.

RPE Scale

For the workouts we designed here, we use a simplified perceived exertion scale (RPE). You will see it listed next to exercises under the loads column. It’s a little easier to remember as it only goes from zero to ten rather than the 20-point Borg Scale.  Please note, we do want you to record the actual load you are lifting so we can begin to accumulate additional information for tracking your progress in the future.

When you are exercising, ask yourself how comfortable you are, how hard you are breathing and how much sweat-effort you feel like you are expending. How easily you can talk, known as the talk test, factors into this scale and is a quick way to gauge effort.

RPE Levels of Perceived Exertion

Level 1: I’m watching TV and eating biscuits

Level 2: I’m comfortable and could maintain this pace forever

Level 3: I’m still comfortable, but I’m breathing a bit harder

Level 4: I’m sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly

Level 5: I’m just above comfortable, I’m sweating more and can still talk easily

Level 6: I can still talk, but I’m slightly breathless

Level 7: I can still talk, but I don’t really want to. I need to focus a little more on what I’m doing

Level 8: I can grunt in response to your questions and can only keep this up for a short time period

Level 9: I am probably going to die

Level 10: I am dead

In general, for this phase of training, you want to be at around Level 6-7.  Your last few reps of a set may tip you into level 8.

Why We Are Built to Run – Tips to Start Running in the Right Way

Running can be a “Superdrug” in helping life

When we look at the human body and how it is put together, we can see just how well adapted it is for running. From the shape of our feet and hips to the length of our legs we have evolved over time to become better and more efficient runners. Our legs and arms work in tandem to help power ourselves forward. We also have shock absorbers in between the vertebrae to reduce stress and pressure as we move.

Whether it be long distance or sprinting it cannot be denied we have features that make running come more easily to us than other mammals, and with running comes a long list of benefits both physical and psychological;

  • Burning calories
  • Increased strength and fitness levels
  • Mental toughness
  • Improved self confidence
  • Lifted mood through elicit hormonal response which can help with problems such as depression and stress.
  • Improved sleep

However, the general consensus about running can be that people are put off from participating in it as a sport. When we haven’t ran in a long time it can be quite brutal to pick ourselves up and set off for a run. We go out with the aim of doing 20 minutes and start off with great enthusiasm only to realise 2 minutes in, we’ve set off too fast and now the realisation, we may not be able to sustain it to the end kicks him.  Home seems like a million miles away and already you want to give up. This is incredibly disheartening, and we don’t achieve much physically or mentally.

However, running can be a major tool for stress release – you can use it to meditate and off-load. It can be blissful. You can get a sense of freedom allowing you an opportunity to escape from other areas of life. In a recently published article The Longevity in Male and Female Joggers: The Copenhagen City Heart Study it was found that running for as little as 30 minutes just a few times a week can improve mood and decrease depression which in today’s society can be very useful. The question is how do we make it more enjoyable and avoid almost immediate disappointment.

How do we get these benefits?

Following a progressive plan and understanding the levels of exertion can help you start to enjoy running.  This way you will progress both physically and mentally. Beginners should start off slow – even starting with 5-10 minutes a day is proven to be beneficial. Additionally, signing up to a local event such as a parkrun can be highly motivational as well as provide you with some accountability and reason to persist and drive forward towards your goal. There are some good Couch-5k Apps that will help set out suitable training plans. Alternatively, you could try out our beginners running guide.

How to prepare for success

Human performance is not just in the gym, your mindset is the key to seeing your human performance in everything you do. Organise, prioritise, challenge and grow in every aspect of your life.

At B2A (Back 2 Action) we deal with all aspects of human performance no matter the person, you could be an elite sportsperson or just want to lose weight and feel healthier.  The biggest change in the person is always the mindset when we align a change in thinking with a focus on performance all goals are within reach.

How do I prepare for success? Firstly we must set goals, they must be realistic and achievable or you damage your self-image and failure will become a habit.

Shape your mindset and you will be well on your way to shaping yourself to succeed.

  1. STEPS: To achieve your goal what needs to happen? Make note of the tasks you need to do to succeed.
  2. RISKS: What’s stopping you, be honest and note all the things that have stopped you achieving this already, separate them from things you can control and things out of your control. For a positive mindset, we need to own what we can control and be prepared for what we cant and find solutions.
  3. MESURES: How is success measured in your goal? This must be clear so you have a defined target in your goal
  4. REWARD: In as much detail possible write what the rewards are, this is a vital step as it gives a vision of the benefits of what you are going to do. If things get tough on the road to achieving your goals this step enforces the reasons to keep going, find solutions and achieve.

Making it real

Now you have a plan how do we make it real? We must attack it every day, we must every day do something to achieve that goal, some goals may have time scales, some are changes to lifestyle or performance that are continuous so we must have a daily focus on what we need to achieve, Carpe diem.

Planning for success will take time management ad no matter your lifestyle you will be planning time for you, time to improve you. This gift to yourself is hugely rewarding to your mental health as it allows you to take stock and prepare for any challenge.

Using the B2A (Back 2 Action) Goal setting and daily planning tool map out your tasks for the day and link them to your goal.

Time for you

Taking control of your time is vital to success as the tasks in your goal require focus but you have a life full of responsibilities now. So, don’t allow time to drift without focus or be stolen on things that are not productive or rewarding.

Set times every day and week when you review what’s going on and recognise your achievements so far and honestly address any issues that have held you back, don’t hold on to the guilt of failure, put more effort into understanding the reasons for failure so you can be aware of them and address them.

Want more information ?

This snippet is a small taste of how we reboot mindsets and subscribe to get asses to Unlock your potential podcast and blog series.

Steps to Manage MCL Injury

THE MCL SPRAIN, WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DO I DO?

Went in for a challenge, block tackle or you may have fallen awkwardly?  Experiencing pain on the inside of your knee?  Well hopefully you have spoken to a health care professional and following investigation of your symptoms you have had it diagnosed.  If not, here we are going to explore a Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) sprain.  One of the most common injuries following the previous events listed.  What you’re about to read will help educate you on the process of injury and stages you will go through as well as some basic management strategies to get you back on your feet.

I must advice, if you are in a position where you haven’t already had your symptoms checked out by a health care professional.  I highly recommend you do!

ANATOMY

Your Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) is found on the inside of your knee. Attaching from the thigh bone inserts on to the shin bone. Its job like all other ligaments is to maintain stability at the knee joint.  The MCL specifically protects the knee from excessively caving inwards (valgus).

INJURY GRADING

When with any ligament sprain you will be given a grade which describes the level of damage…

Grade 1: Here presents a minor tear.  It can often be sensitive to touch in the early onset.  However, individuals usually return to sport/ pain free life in 10 days.

Grade 2:  A larger tear than presented with a grade 1.  You may be experiencing a lack of stability, whilst pain may appear sharp/.  Here you may experience 6-8 weeks on the side-lines.

Grade 3:  Complete rupture, your ligament is no longer intact.   Ouch this one hurts, high levels of pain and a high level of instability. You will need to consult your GP for further investigation and potential surgery.  This can often leave you side-lined for 3-4 months

MECHNAISM OF THE INJURY

WHAT DO I DO?! INITIAL STAGES

For the purpose of this blog I am going to be basing the following example on a Grade 2 mcl Sprain.

Its day, you’re not in the best of moods following waking up and having the reminder your knee is hurting as you swing your legs out of the bed.  First things first, brush your teeth!  I’m pretty sure the others don’t want to hear and smell you complain about your war wounds.  Following this go to the freezer, take out the ice pack, bag of frozen peas or anything frozen and place it over the inside of your knee.  Then whack your feet up and call someone to make you that well-deserved cup of tea!

PRICE Protocol

Protection

Rest

Ice

Compression

Elevation

Its important we adhere to the rice protocol within the first 48-72 hours to ensure we maximise the healing process.  During this process its important you apply compress throughout day. Ensure you remove at night.

I recommend you ice regularly 3 times per day.  for 10mins on – 10 mins off x 3) making sure your leg is elevated when icing. This should only last for 3-5 days dependent on pain levels.

Before I delve into the rehab protocol it is key you are being guided by a health care professional and if you’re a citizen of Bristol let that proffessional be me. Also what I’m going to be baseing the following on is a grade 2 sprain.

Okay so if you’re reading this fresh off the injury then get on that classic RICE protocol to help the healing process do its thing and get a few days off work if you can. Get yourself some compression bandage wearing it throughout day, crutches if possible and icing regularly (3+ times per day, 10mins on – 10 mins off x 6) making sure your leg is elevated when icing (Sofa bound). This should only last for 3-5 days dependent on pain being experienced.

Days 5-14

Time to get moving!

Start off with the simple stuff just basic range of movement exercises against little/no resistance.

So lazy time is over lets get this knee moving again. Start off with the simple stuff just basic range of movement exercises against little/no resistance. The goal of this stage is to increase range of movement, minimize pain and swelling and get you full weight bearing by day 14. To accelerate this stage, I’ll getting to work on your soft tissue to  increase blood/lymphatic flow to your surrounding tissues and also most importantly friction mobilisation on your MCL to break down that scar tissue to recover the ligament quickly and make it as strong as possible for the future.

Okay so I wont go into anymore detail about what your later stage rehab should involve as you will not be able to carry out it on your own. However check out my youtube video (link below) to see what your rehab will look like at the later stages with me at Back2Action.

Like I said before you will NEED to be supervised by a health care proffessional throughout your recovery. Your Sports therapist/physio/chiro will carry out regular assessments so they’re able to make the final decision for when you’re ready to get back playing!

The goal of this stage is to increase range of movement, minimize pain and swelling.  Resulting in pain free full weight bearing within 14 days.  This phase can accelerate by seeing a medical professional who will perform techniques such as; soft tissue massage and friction mobilisation.

As mentioned, previous its important if you are experiencing pain on the inside of the need following incidents such as, a challenge, a block tackle and or if you have fallen awkwardly, you consult a medical professional who will guide you back to full recovery.  I hope these guidelines are useful for you and if you have a family member, friend and or colleague who may find this blog useful please share the love.

Many thanks for taking the time out to read this.

Craig Nurse

Are we losing talent at an early age?

Are we losing talent at an early age?

We all have different memories of school sport – whether good or bad, ask a friend and they will have a strong opinion.

All kids can find something enjoyable in sport and they should be given the chance to try out lots of different activities. But what about those who are gifted at a particular sport and play for teams out of school, are we doing enough for these individuals?

As a performance coach, I see day-to-day how important school sporting activities are. They are where the majority of kids learn about and experience sports and this understanding can have a profound effect on the rest of their lives. In my opinion, everyone should be encouraged to participate in sports for the health and wellbeing benefits they provide, but I also believe that individual excellence should be embraced and nurtured. Would you put an F level maths student with an A* maths student? No. Yet we see this all the time in PE and sports lessons. Talent starts from what we harvest at this core age and I believe that if we suffocate individuals at this early point and don’t give them the chance to shine, it can hinder their opportunities to potentially arrive at an elite level later in life.

On the other hand, is it fair to the individual who is not as talented to be exposed to or suffer the psychological barriers faced with feeling inferior and undervalued in a sporting environment? This can create a heightened sense of fear in this situation and over the years I have seen many individuals become disengaged due to similar experiences to those I have described. This ultimately results in them leading a life where exercise and physical activity is limited due to resentment. I mean, not everyone will be David Goggins (if you don’t know who he is then I recommend that you look him up https://davidgoggins.com/)

Play Fair vs Competition

Over the past decade the approach to sport and exercise has hindered the UK’s ability to continually produce high-level talent. Many schools teach non-competitive traits. There are some schools who do a great job and get all of this right, but often it’s left to the out of school coaches to nurture talented pupils. It’s time we reinstated healthy levels of competition.  I mean… It’s OK to compete – we need to show the future generation it’s OK to lose but also give them the tools they need to learn how to win. There are many life lessons in winning and losing, and the emotional rollercoaster these outcomes present are invaluable in enhancing skills such as decision making and managing pressurised situations. Both traits that as adults we would continually like to improve.

So what’s the answer?

  • Offer a wide range of sport opportunities so that all kids have the chance to find something that they enjoy
  • Teach healthy habits as part of the regular curriculum and link this to PE lessons for all students (not only those studying PE). Many schools do a great job of teaching health and fitness in the classroom but neglect to link it to PE classes.
  • Divide groups by ability rather than age