Monday, November 1, 2010

Puppy Training: Trusting the Process

Like a majority of American families, I have a dog to take care of and teach some house etiquette in order to keep my sanity. When he was a puppy my wife and I had to potty train him just like any other puppy. Yeah, he had his share of accidents on the floor and we picked up a lot of poop on those days. It was a process teaching him to wait and go outside. We rewarded him and praised him every time that he went outside. My wife and I trusted that process of potty training and things have worked out.

One can say the same thing about resistance training, corrective exercises, rehab, weight loss, golfing, hitting a baseball – well you get the picture. I am an athletic trainer (would rather be called a movement therapist) and I do have some treatments that will have an athlete feeling pretty good going into a competition, but the results of the treatment don’t typically last. Modalities that are listed as “treatments” are really just band-aids on a ruptured aorta. I am talking about oral NSAIDS, cortisone injections, ice, massage, knee straps, physical therapy, and surgery - all reactive modalities. My athletes wait for issues to reach their threshold and its then when they start to perceive it as a problem. To be blunt – there will never be any modality or treatment that will overcome a dysfunctional athlete with a warped sense of reality with a few weeks or even days before their next competition.

When I would brag on my dog as a puppy he would end up whizzing on the carpet – I would be mad for a minute, clean it up , and take him outside. I made the time to help him out with the process of potty training and guess what - he’s a good dog. I know that if we all had the time (and the commitment of the athletes) that we could make some major adjustments in movement patterns. It’s a process – the runner that has been running for years is probably not going to fix an overuse injury in a matter of a few days. The same can be said about a pitcher with a sore shoulder. Trust the process!!

Chris Ham, MSA, ATC, CES
Athletic Trainer
Vanderbilt University Baseball

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