Thank you to Art Horne and his group at BSMPG. He goes out of his way to provide the opportunity for us, on a yearly basis, to come together and learn from the best.
Like last year - and each year prior - the 2013 edition of the summer seminar was one of "educational conducivity". One where colleagues, old and new, can come together to both learn in the setting of a traditional conference as well as indirectly in the relaxed atmosphere of a bar/restaurant.
And for me, it currently is about how I personally can take the next step forward in my lifelong, professional journey.
So here are my thoughts:
Marvin Chun kicked off the conference with his lecture on "Vision Training - Making a Difference". Having a decent understanding of the relationship between visual perception and brain processing (i.e. Sleights of Mind), it was nice to hear Marvin state, "how we see the world, fundamentally governs what we see." I think this statement is relevant in many contexts, from performance to patient care, and really consolidates the brain's role in all aspects of our life. Something we must continually be reminded of.
Adrian Louw followed, discussing "A Neuroscience Approach to Low Back Pain in Athletes". Not too disimilar to lectures by Lorimer Moseley, Adrian utilized humor and science to drill home the importance of looking beyond the tissues in athlete injury management. Similar to Dr. Chun, Dr. Louw utilized the important role of perception and the environment to stress the importance of "treating" the nervous system. He stated clearly that teaching the patient rapidly influences this system. Dr. Louw's presentation was one that resonated very well with me and I'm glad others had the opportunity to be exposed to a more-than-tissue approach to low back pain. I'd love to go into great detail with his lecture but simple background reading can be found in this paper.
Marco Cardinale, formerly of Great Britain, is an individual whom I've had the pleasure of hearing twice in three weeks. Speaking about "Strength and Conditioning in the Real World", Marco's sub-section of 100 things, 1% better was perhaps the highlight of his talk. From vascular occlusion training to caffeine infested chewing gum (15 min pre-competition) to the importance of staying warm right up until competition, I walked away from his talk with practical ideas that I can immediately integrate. Here's what Thomas Lam had to say about Marco's talk.
In addition to the keynote lectures, such as Stuart McGill's, at this conference were several break out lectures. Two of which were Val Nasedkin's and Joel Jamieson's. Perhaps the key lesson learned from Val's was that we NEED to decrease the cost of creating energy, via the facilitation of biological adaptations (which may or may not lead to transfer) to decrease the energy cost of performance. And from Joel's I walked away with a greater understanding of specific recovery strategies as they apply to specific athlete presentations such as sympathetic and parasympathetic dominance.
Finally, Fergus Connolly's talk on "The Art of Applied Sports Science for Competitive Advantage - 7 Principles" was one that was Leaders in Performance-esque, and was seemingly catered to the shot callers of crowd - even though it's applicability was for everyone. Stating clearly that "technology very rarely fails...(that) the failure occurs during implementation or the application", vividly reminded me that in this data-infested age of sports science, it truly isn't about collection, but more so about applicability. That sports science should truly be just a dashboard that provides information and indicators to help guide us (rather than rule us). Because what matters most is not how smart we are, but how much our athletes absorb. Here's a nice piece to give you greater insight into what Fergus is all about.
Ultimately, the only way to describe the annual BSMPG event is by saying "you should have been there". Because truly, it is a conference that must be attended at least once in your professional lifetime. Be it the indirect (or direct - your call) networking, or the conference (experience) itself, without question it is an investment that I can truly say is worth every penny.