The 1st ever Own Your Playground (OYP) symposium was held on Sunday, November 20, 2017 at Sheridan College – Brampton, Ontario, Canada campus. Organized by Rory Kosonic (owner of Mettel Sports Training), it brought together numerous professionals from education, sports therapy, nutrition and injury prevention in sports (which is where I came in).
My day started with the Team Over The Top running clinic on the Egg Nog Jog race course in Terra Cotta. It was a cold, snowy and windy morning – vintage late November weather for the area – and my team ran wonderfully. I simply HAVE to include a shot of Terry, Kimberly and their 21/2 year old son, Edison, as they ran up the infamous Valley of Death II. I marvel at how young Edison actually WANTS to run – not just up the VOD II (950 metres at an average of 12% grade!) but – ALL of the course. He simply wants NO part of his jogging stroller. I cannot wait till he gets a few years older. Look the HELL out!
From Terra Cotta, I joined Rory and the rest of the presenters at Sheridan College where Mettle Sports Training was the lead team of health professionals.Some of the other presenters were a sports chiropractor from south Mississauga who focused in on body alignment,a strength and conditioning coach who guided the athletes through the process of building efficient power and applied strength moves to their conditioning routines,a sports nutritionist who stressed the importance of understanding the different energy sources within the body and how they are recruited most efficiently to maximize athletic performance and aneducation specialist who mainly addressed the parents on the process of attaining an athletic scholarship to a Canadian or American university for their children. This can be a rather daunting task for both the athlete and parents. A negative choice can wreak havoc with the life of a teenage student-athlete. This was by far the most detailed and intense session of the day – for obvious reasons.As usual, I leave the BEST for the LAST (just kidding). My presentation to the young athletes included my process of testing for body asymmetry (all of the athletes presented with 1 leg shorter than the other), body balance (eyes closed whilst standing on 1 leg – all of the attendees held a maximum of 15 seconds when the required time for good stability is 60+ seconds) and running technique (all of them had no idea how to run tight, light, compact and forward against the downward pull of gravity). From there, I proceeded to show them how to unlock the tightened side of the body (the ‘shorter leg’ side) and use the Health Bridges and Functional Chain Trainer systems to activate the Extensor Chain from head to ankle to improve balance, posture and body symmetry.Of course, none of my work would be complete without introducing the Barefoot-Science insert foot strengthening system. I put a set into the footwear of all of the athletes and, almost immediately, they felt the activation from the plugs through their arches and up the muscle chain. They were amazed at the almost immediate improvement in posture and balance along with their significant improvement in upper body strength. I transferred this over to learning my Squat-Scoot style of safe, efficient running which they picked up on rather quickly. The end results were total body symmetry (equal leg length), quieter, more efficient running, the knowledge of how to keep their bodies unlocked ALL THE TIME, the importance of activating the body from the feet up and, finally, the necessity of stimulating the Extensor Chain of the body to balance the Flexor Chain. All of this leads to virtually NO ‘avoidable’ injuries – critically important to ANY athlete. The responses of the athletes and the adults attending my session were consistent – “fantastic information, amazing new techniques to make us better athletes and easily applicable drills that do not require special equipment” (in other words – KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!).
Rory was (as always) supported by his family (his wife and young daughter are with him in the photo below) in putting such a progressive symposium together. Many TALK about doing things like this (AND I include myself in this group) but seldom carry through. To put himself out there with a good possibility of ‘failure’ is not only admirable but courageous. Those who DID attend were rewarded with leading edge knowledge as it applies to the student-athlete. Congratulations, Rory, and continued success.