Tag Archives: running

United States of Nike: USATF Sponsorship has failed our athletes, and our sport.

nike-blazer-usaI pledge allegiance to Swoosh of the United States of Nike, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under Phil Knight, indivisible, with liberty and justice for Michael Jordan, FuelBands, and cute running shorts.

Do my kids learn this in school ? NO.

Then why do we have a situation where a Mr. Nick Symmonds has been banned from the world championships for not agreeing to the “policy” on wearing “official gear”…..Nike gear….. in all USA Track and Field events, training sessions, and even in breakfast in the hotel.

Let’s make this very clear folks. Our national governing body for our sport is called ” United States of America Track and Field”. The goal of is this organization is to get medals at the Olympics and World Stage. That’s it. Then why is a fashion faux pas preventing our 800 meter National champion from representing our country @ the world championships?

I do understand that our governing body is dependent on sponsorship to keep the lights on, cover expenses, and hopefully provide unique and amazing opportunities to enable the most talented runner’s in America to represent us on the world stage. And I agree that sponsors should be entitled to coverage to reflect their efforts. But individual athletes also have their own sponsors, who deserve credit and exposure for their individual help. And these sponsors are entitled to their time in the lime light as well for the funding they provide to the individual. And by the way USATF, Nick fully complied with your requirements to wear official team uniform and Nike gear at meets, press conferences, pictures, etc. But why, and most importantly how, can USATF place a blanket ban on all non-Nike sportswear at all events related to racing and training?

Is this the goal of USATF to solely promote Nike? I don’t think so, because here is USATF’s mission statement  – taken directly from their website:

The mission of USATF is to provide vision and leadership to the sport of track and field in the United States, and to promote the pursuit of excellence from youth to masters, from grassroots to the Olympic Games.

Seems like USATF has placed their emphasis on the athletes, not their sponsors. Then how could a situation like this happen?

Is it some sweet heart deal Nike struck with the old boys club @ USATF? We should expect these type of demands from China, the Soviet Republic, or other dictator based nation, but not the US of A, where people have free will and individual rights. A NGB wouldn’t allow a corporate entity to flex muscle over on them……would they?

OK, I know I’m being too altruistic you say……sports has become big biz, and its all about the almightily dollar you say. Nike put up the $$$, and they control the shots. OK, well, sure, Nike, has offered some rather large sponsorship funding to USATF. Both now and for the foreseeable future. And I’m not so sure I’m really OK with this, and think both Nike and USATF are guilty here. Having the majoity of the USATF operating budget come form one single outside company is not OK. The Figures I’ve heard are 16-20 million from Nike out of a 24-30 million yearly operating budget. Half to two-thirds of the annul budget is coming from a fashion company that wants its wares seen. So if this is a pure financial issue in the real world,  it would be an anti-trust case. Any lawyers want to back me up on this one and go to town?

Who’s really in control here?
Look USATF – you got yourself into this mess when you allowed an apparel company to buy controlling interest. And if you were Tide, no one would really care. But this isn’t Tide. You exist to help “us” as individuals, as a community, as a governing body, and as a nation. Each athletes that trains and races under your auspice has nobel goals of being the best they can for themselves, and for our country. Its what the entire Olympic movement is based upon. Faster, Higher, Stronger is supposed to mean athleticism, not the stock ticker.

So how about some answers guys? Nike or USATF- either of you feel like telling us what kind of biz deal you struck for this holy grail of sponsorship? Because in general, sponsors have the best interest of those they support. That’s the entire reason you’d sponsor someone to begin with, right? You felt compelled to enable all US athletes to succeed at the highest level…..right Nike? And the terms that you, USATF, agreed to upheld your mission statement….right? They allowed for athletes rights to support themselves and maintain their own sponsorship and income so they can do things like, say, eat and sleep under a roof between training runs. Because I’ve got to tell you, the mumblings around the world of track and field are not so positive. Its completely backfired. The swoosh is not a sign of inspiration, but rather big brother looming overhead. Look Nike, we know you are a big company, and you have lots of money. That doesn’t mean you have to be the big bully that no one respects.

In short, I’ve got to say – this is embarrassing. The goals of our NGB have clearly gotten compromised. Nick has been training hard to be ready for you, and ready for the world stage. What have you done constructively to help him? I’m shocked, puzzled, and perplexed at your decision to leave Nick off the world team: a true conflict in interests. But if you guys try to pull this stunt again and look past him, or anyone else in this situation, for the Olympics, well, I’d ask all parties involved to read the mission statement of USATF, and ask yourself what you’ve done to uphold that message today, and for the future.

Win. Or Don’t. Life lessons learned from losing at individual sports.

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 11.37.03 PMMy kids are the best. They are awesome. They are perfect! Let me tell them how wonderful they are 24/7!

If you are a parent, there is no doubt how you FEEL.

But, now we are hearing different messages from psychologists that all this praise isn’t really best for our kids. We are hearing a new message: praise the work, not the kid.

Experts tell how this plays out. When you tell your kid “you are an awesome bagpipe player!” twenty times a day, your child begins to believe it. They begin to link “awesome” with themselves. But they don’t build a framework of why they are awesome, or what it takes to achieve awesome. Anyone ever heard of Justin Bieber? My 2-yr old makes better life decisions than this guy. While he’s been swooned by millions of adolescent girls, he’s completely lost the ability to discriminate feedback between from fans, and who he really is.  Perhaps this is an extreme example, or maybe its not. Experts tell us too much praise breeds a sense of false sense of security. Kids begin to believe what they are told, but they don’t associate the praise with the action required to achieve this praise.

Apparently, what we should be saying is “I’m so proud of all the hard work you put into playing bagpipes.” While some people may view this as trivial, kids appear to get a different message. They hear that you are proud of the WORK they put each day. They associate hard work with  success. And since everyone likes praise, they focus their efforts on the work to earn more praise.

The world of sport is pretty cool: we can learn complex life lessons while doing fun things that we actually enjoy. But team sports and individual sports give us uniquely different experiences.

Think about it. Its the finals. Your team scores the winning touchdown, 3-pointer, or homerun. The crowd rallies. Fans on on their feet. Cheers. Coach gets doused with the water cooler. In fact a lot of people confuse the vibe that these Norman Rockwell images convey with the actual   achievement of winning.

I love team sports (if you are an LSU fan and have seen a home game at Tiger Stadium, its a whole different state of mind) but they can be confusing for young minds. If you win, great. Why did your team win? Did every player on the team carry out each play perfectly? Did you win because 3 starting players are so incredible they made up for deficiencies on the rest of the team?  Or did you win because the other team made error after error, or had 2 of their best players hurt?

Because each of the three scenarios would convey a completely different sense of accomplishment. If YOU or your kid nailed the game – awesome! “I’m so proud of that key penalty kick you blocked” you may say. But maybe your kid didn’t play their best. In fact, maybe they screwed up big time, but the team still won. What kind of lesson does that convey to an 8 yr old? Is everyone on the team still a winner even if some of the kids blew their position that day? Or maybe the opposing team just couldn’t get their act together. does that make your kid a winner? Does being a “winner” really breed positive feedback for individual skill and inner drive?

I’m a firm believer that team sports can teach you a major lesson: sometimes things happen that are beyond your control (other players, other teams, bad calls from the ref). Team sports offer an immersive environment to build relationships and develop trust with others to help work around unique problems you encounter.

But kids can be overwhelmed with the desire to WIN, and lose focus of the process it takes to have a great performance. Individual sports offer the ability to look uniquely at yourself.  And from a developmental standpoint, this is big. The legendary coach Joe Vigil often says “there are few sports more nobel than track and field. Its you a fixed course and a watch. And there is no hiding.”

Let’s think about this. I’m twelve, swimming the 100 meter butterfly at the state meet. I’ve put in tons of work, and show up prepared. The gun fires, and I’m soaring off the block, stroking as hard as I can, only to show up at the finish one tenth of a second out of first. Next up is the 200 fly. Again, I showed up a few hundredths, or maybe a few tenths of a second off the big win. I have no idea how many times I didn’t win, but it was a LOT!

And in these individual events, the hard truth was obvious. The only reason I didn’t win was because I didn’t perform. Maybe I blew my start. Maybe I blew my race strategy. Maybe I showed up less fit than I needed to be. I was 12, and certainly didn’t have a lot of life experience to make sense of all this. But my coaches over the years were beyond incredible. Each and everytime I didn’t win, they helped me reflect on my limits, which motivated me to overcome these limits, and praised me for what I had done to perform. I learned specific lessons – and won – through losing. But each time, they were things I had control over. And when you have control over the situation, you can improve.

The take home from all this? All these “life lessons” obviously didn’t turn me into Michael Phelps. But they helped me grow as a person. I begin to understand what I was good at, and what areas of my training / life I need to work on. As a 12-yr old, I needed direction, and individual sports gave this to me. I learned to look at myself objectively. Oddly, things still happen to me now, that I can compare to experiences and challenges I learned from competing as a young athlete. And guess what? I still screw up in life, and I’m still trying to be a better person.

We all love our kids unconditionally, and win, lose, or tie, they need to know that. But as for lessons learned from the world of sport, Its up to us to help channel these wins and losses within our kids to help them grow.

Because there was another time I dove into the pool. And that time, things clicked. And a state record fell. And so did a spot on the national rankings. And I understood all the work I put in to make that moment come true. I was pretty pumped. Not only did I win, I grew. And I want my kids to know this feeling too.

LAVA Magazine comes to visit

LAVA Magazine came to visit, check out what they had to say, and find some tips to help your knee cap move like it should.

And if you want to read a snippet on the latest with now-local phenom Kate Grace- check this out here!

today, do something that scares you, something that challenges you, and something that makes you laugh. Its how we grow.

Brain Camps and Tri-camp: education for you and yours this new year

Happy NY! and with a new year, hopefully comes new stuff to put in your brain. Some of the knowledge below will help with your patients (talking to you MD’s and PT’s) , some will help your clients (hey coach!), and some is for you the athlete ( yup – come spoil yourself in a complete winter triathlon immersion camp here in Bend, OR). Together, we’ll discuss research and concepts that guide our thought process and training, do hands on assessments, drills, and interventions to help us all do what we do better.

Jan 16-17th
I’m headed back home to New Orleans to teach at the USA Triathlon Certification Course. If you are seeking to get certified as a Level 1 coach, or if you are a current USAT LEvel 1 coach and looking to get your Youth Coaching certification, follow this link for details. As a bonus, I’ll be offering a course on thursday the 16th on “Bike Fit for Performance” – of note, you can register for the Bike Fit talk even if you aren’t planning on going to the full Triathlon certification course. Click here for registration info on both.

Jan 25-26
Calling all Physicians, Therapists, and Athletic Trainers: Join us for the Health Running Course in beautiful and sunny Laguna Niguel, CA. Check out the link for an action packed weekend of peer-reviewed clinical knowledge and hands-on sessions designed to help you help your patients. At the end of the day, run along the cliffs and go for a surf. Not a bad place to be in January!

Jan 31st – Feb 2
Athletes, this one is for you. the REP Lab is hosting its first annual Winter Triathlon Skills Camp. We’ll talk shop, you’ll talk to professional triathletes, you’ll outline off-season conditioning plans and strength routines, do swimming form clinics, performance bike fits, and a 3D instrumented runing gait analysis. That’s right – a complete soup-to-nuts guided plan. Bring your 2014 goals, your gear, and a notepad, because we designed this camp to build a better you and a better season. NOW is the time of the year to make things better  – don’t wait until 2 weeks before your first race! More info in the link.

March 7th -8th
Clinicians, this is not to be missed. Join us at the longest running, running-speciifc CME course out there: UVA Running MedicineThis 11th annual event will be a dual focus on foot and ankle mechanics as well as strength and power development for endurance runners, field athletes, and sprinters. We are very excited to have Dr. Brad DeWeese as our keynote presenter this year. As of today- there are a few spots left for the Saturday hands-on lab, so register soon if you’d like to join us (the lab will sell out). Note: this isn’t a simple link – click here, then click on “live conferences” and then scroll down until you see “UVA Running Medicine” – you can download the brochure and register from there.

A lot of time and energy goes into each of these events to ensure that you have the best experience possible –  Hope to see you soon!


Lesson of the day: don’t hold back

A nice reminder to keep your eye on the big picture, but remember to enjoy yourself….
“The idea is to become an old wizard; to live a long and fruitful life and have a family and be healthy and enjoy the ride. And speaking of the ride, why not let it rip? At least just a little bit. Everyone I know who’s really stoked about getting out of bed in the morning does that to some extent.”
–Laird Hamilton

Total success under the stars: In the Highcountry

Last night, you as a community:

Filled a garbage can full of food (kudos to whoever brought the red beans and rice) for Neighborhood Impact


Raised money for Central Oregon Running Klub (CORK) Youth Development: 100% of the ticket sales went straight to a great cause

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Watched the YogaSlackers put on amazing show of athletic skill and balance, and come up out of your seats and joined in the fun (note: the 4 people you see on the ground in this photo are trained skilled professionals, the 4 people laying, hanging, and sitting on the trained professionals’ feet are not, and were pulling off these tricks within 5 min!)

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Watch as Joel Wolpert’s camera depicts the soul of Anton Krupicka trekking, running, and climbing all over our world. If you weren’t able to join us last night, you can check out the In the Highcountry here.

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Lastly – I’d like to thank our gracious sponsors for making this evening possible:  Deschutes Brewery, FootZone, Fleetfeet, and the REP Biomechanics Lab @ Rebound Physical Therapy.