Young Tej comes back from severe Bacterial Infection:

In mid June, my young autistic client, Tej, went on what should have been a ‘highlight of his life’ graduating (Grade 8) class trip to Cape Breton. Instead, he contracted a nasty bacterial infection that compromised most of his bodily functions. Almost immediately, he became violently ill, developed a temperature of 104.2 Fahrenheit and was unable to keep any food in his system. His body weight plummeted to 98 pounds from 112 pounds (he is not a large lad). Over the next 8 weeks, he was specially treated for the infection and monitored carefully for any side-effects.

Just before Tej left on the trip, we had a final training session where the results indicated to me that his level of overall fitness was at an all-time high. Needless to say, after fighting to get well since mid June, I was concerned that the fitness gains would be basically lost by the time we met to resume training on August 10. If you compare the photo of him below with photos from earlier blog posts, you will notice the gaunt appearance. The interesting part was his balance on 1 leg with eyes closed and Barefoot-Science inserts in the shoes had actually stayed the same. He locked in quickly and remained stable for 60 seconds on each leg.However, he showed significantly asymmetrical with the left side compromised. He had only slight pain in his left hip and knee. I put Tej through my standard unlocking drills (as per the series of photos below – note I did not have him use the Functional Chain Trainer cord system to activate his Extensor Chain due to a concern that he would not be strong enough to handle the resistance yet. He actually had no problem doing the drill!).

He then showed as symmetrical which allowed me to put him through a series of balancing and

centering drills.

Above, he ran on the spot for 1 minute with eyes closed without traveling outside the pylons. This indicates a high level of proprioceptive feedback and vestibular balance not often evident in most of us without significant training (try this at home!). Tej shocked me in his ability to complete ALL of the drills I laid out without too much difficulty.The 2 and 1 legged balancing drills on the flat and rounded sides of the Bosu Ball were done with eyes open and closed. Again, Tej handled these surprisingly well. Even he was impressed with his performance!!!

I then tested his ability to run over the Bosu Balls forward and backward along with running backwards with his eyes closed. Again, I wanted to test his ability to process complex physical tasks without undue fatigue. He passed each test with flying colours – not perfect but close!!

We finished with a series of ball bouncing drills to test his coordination and reaction time to varying stimuli (bouncing the ball versus throwing it level and reacting to different angles of impact without dropping the ball). Again, Tej did surprisingly well on these – we had not done them for at least 4 months.

My only explanation for Tej’s exceptional performance was muscle memory from the 10 months of training prior to his illness. It also indicated to me that children with physical and mental health challenges CAN perform progressively more difficult physical activities even after setbacks. Doing so helps them integrate better among peers and also improves self-worth.

In my books, there is no such word as LIMITATION!!!

Congratulations, Tej, and welcome back!!!

coach Jeff

 

 

#CoachJeff & #NaturalMethodTraining to Support #Injury-FreeRunning #Barefoot:

My summer  2017 Natural Method Training (NMT) clinic began in mid June and wraps up on August 9. I have featured the programme in a few previous blogs but have not made the association with safe, efficient BAREFOOT running…until NOW! As you will notice in the photos below, running barefoot

over ALL types of terrain leads to better balance, focus and reactivity to Mother Nature’s energy. Thus, within my NMT clinic, I isolate drills that lock in safe, efficient and, ultimately, powerful running. The foundation remains my Squat-Scoot method of tight, light, compact, forward motion from mid-foot impact with minimal foot-to-ground contact.As you can see above from the shot of my barefoot running client, John, we do NOT simply run up and down hills. I find one that is rough-hewn, uneven and covered with thistles. Then, my clients run it backwards up and down, forward at increasing speed (barefoot and shod in minimalist footwear),

angled sideways up and down the hill, hopping on both legs and 1 leg only and doing the Sumo Squat up and downhill.

We normally finish with a full pace downhill on ultra-rough terrain to lock in a fast turnover and perfect balance – not easy!!!I also mix in upper body and core drills (using the ground, benches and dug up

trenches) randomly along with balancing drills with eyes closed to help brace against the downward pull of gravity when running.

This, of course, facilitates injury-free running whether barefoot (a few of my clients) or in minimalist footwear – Vibrams, Sockwas, Nike Frees, Xero Prios etc. (most of my clients). As you will notice, I use whatever is available in the bush or fields of Mother Nature (and MAN-made!).

I am a big believer in the importance of explosive power to help the body perfect my Squat-Scoot method of safe running. This includes using fences and benches to incorporate plyometrics (a slow progression to ensure safety) and anti-gravity squat jumps. These are most challenging but rewarding as they apply to the running action.

Further, my clinic members are taken through a series of drills over rough terrain, wood chips and soft, deep sand to activate the synergistic (support) running muscles to better guard against avoidable running injuries. The drills include 1-legged hopping, backwards weave running and forward weave running.

I most often also include 1-legged balancing drills with eyes opened and closed on rough surfaces to better lock in the bracing, squared-up body position so important for injury-free running and use of slides. ladders and beams to improve total body response whilst out of one’s comfort zone.

We finish with unlocking and Extensor Chain activation drills in the gym before calling it a night. Without exception, the team feel stronger, better balanced and prepared to run injury-free…BAREFOOT or OTHERWISE…after every session.

Go ahead and incorporate the Natural Method of Training into your running regime – and reap the rewards!!

coach Jeff

 

#CampbellClanOpen2017 – The Youngsters Taking the Lead:

Blog #3 of the 2017 Campbell Clan Open series features the under 10 age group of our family asserting their ‘authority’. You will notice that our family’s tradition of gathering on the shores of Inverhuron Beach (Lake Huron) is most certainly in good hands.Of course, all of them have been introduced to my barefoot way of moving on any surface at the cottage. The even better news is all the parents are on board in supporting their children re: going barefoot. When you see them move freely, efficiently, confidently…and WITHOUT PAIN…on the gravel roads, grassy fields, sandy beaches and rugged trails, it simply reinforces evrything I preach about the importance of running barefoot!

On Day 2 of the weekend (Sunday morning) the old coach was put through the paces by his 3 year old grandniece, Esme. It started with a demonstration of a yoga move called the BOAT and carried over to coaching the coach in how to do it. Needless to say, this did NOT go well! Esme tried her best to get me in the BOAT pose…it simply was NOT going to happen. It did make for a few laughs from the family viewing gallery!

Next up was the STORK pose (as I call it!) that went a tad better BUT still not good enough for coach Esme. She WAS encouraging in her support – thank God I do not have to train under her daily! It would be WAY too difficult.Making our way to the rocky shoreline, Esme got me balancing on 1 leg on a flat, angled stone ramp whilst SHE balanced perfectly on 1 of the many boulders (she’s a natural show-off…just kidding!).She then announced “follow me, Uncle Jeff, OVER the boulders. It’s LOTS of fun!” Oh, yeah? Maybe at age 3 BUT NOT at age 64! I will say the old coach survived the obstacle course without much trouble.Of course, Esme then had to show me her running technique OVER the boulders along with the sun salutation with her mom, Sarah, as dusk settled in. I absolutely LOVE the shots of the 2 of them in full-on pose mode.

To finish off a glorious day, Esme and her 3 year old cousin (and good buddy!), Bennett sat peacefully on the shore throwing stones into the calming Lake Huron waters. How much better can it get for a pair of 3 year olds???This was followed by one of our guests (Chris Johnston) from Vancouver, B.C. (yes, we WILL allow the odd outsider into our Campbell compound!!!) holding a sun set worshiping pose on the ledge in front of our cottages. It looks almost surreal – just as the sun sets perfectly yet again.It also happened to be a night where the moon came out early, giving us the unique feature of sun setting whilst moon rises. I can count on one hand the number of times this has happened on my watch. Again, it reinforces the special atmosphere that is Inverhuron Beach.It was a perfect end to my stay at the cottage. For those of you fortunate enough to have a large, close-knit family PLUS access to a paradise like Inverhuron Beach, PLEASE take full advantage of it. AND whatever you do, keep it BAREFOOT!!!

coach Jeff

#CampbellClanOpen After Party Not ALL #Barefoot but ALL Fun!:

Part 2 of my Campbell Clan Open Canada Day weekend blog series features the ‘after party’ – held as it has been for the past 35 years at my cousins Bill’s and Hardie’s cottages – on the shores of Lake Huron (more specifically, my family’s ‘compound at Inverhuron Beach).

This is much more than a family gathering after a round of golf. This is a TRADITION that brings together members of the Campbell clan from all over North America (and sometimes from across the ‘pond’) to the tune of 100+!! There are more than likely other families who have gatherings similar to ours BUT I doubt they have the good fortune to span 7 generations and do so annually in such an idyllic setting.

In attendance, we always have a few newborns to age 3 – my cousins always say “they sleep better,

eat better and interact better in the Inverhuron air” – it’s a PROVEN fact! The next wave of family covers ages 4 to 14 – these are the ones who start to GET what Inverhuron represents, what the Campbell Clan connection really means and why they make the trek from distances far and wide. The experience simply transforms the kids in a positive way.

Of course, this being Canada’s 150th birthday, we had the full-on Campbell Clan t-shirt in Canada’s colours. As you can see from the photos, this made for an impressive visual! Beyond that, our official event coordinator and tournament director, my first cousin, Bill dons his Master’s Green jacket and officially welcomes ALL of the clan to the evening’s celebration. 

You will notice he is holding the homemade Campbell Clan Open’tournament trophy’ engraved with all the previous winning team members. It’s almost as famous as the Ryder Cup!!! He also gets presented with a pictorial commemorative book put together by my second cousin twice removed – Alison – a top flight amateur photographer. She does one of these every year – it serves as a physical reminder of a fantastic family gathering and another example of the importance of our family relations.Cousin Bill then opened the awards ceremony part of the evening by leading a rousing rendition of ‘Oh, Canada’ (with NO giggling!) followed by a performance by ‘The Hose’ (my cousins Bill, Hardie & Jimmy) – our family’s version of the Acapella group The Nylons. The 3 of them have been doing theme-specific songs at our family events for decades. This is always a ‘show-stopper’!

Before the awards are handed out (we have a massive prize table containing contributions by all family members that ensures EVERYONE gets a prize!), the family mingle, eat, drink and, basically, get caught up with the goings-on of ALL family members. As I always say to ‘newcomers’, there is NOWHERE to hide in our family – just the way we like it! This is NOT for everyone – if you like privacy, peace and quiet, you will NOT survive in our clan! We simply don’t role like that.

We always start with the trophy presentation to the ‘winning’ team. This year, my barefoot-playing brother, Arn, led his team to ‘victory’. I thus commented that ALL of my cousins better play barefoot next year if they want THEIR names on the trophy!!The other groups were introduced to rousing ovations in order of finish before proceeding to the prize table. Of course, the catcalls from the family ‘peanut gallery’ are always hilarious yet well-intended.

Even young Aaron decided to make a stage appearance as his mom, Caley’s, team was introduced (see below).

Then comes the individual award winners that include the standard longest drive, closest to the hole and most honest golfer (heck, NOBODY seems to win THAT!!!). There always seems to be new winners which is a good thing. It keeps TSN & Sportsnet coming back to film the event and conduct live interviews annually!!

No evening is complete at Inverhuron without a viewing of the 3rd BEST sunset on Planet Earth. You simply cannot believe how spectacularly breathtaking it is until you witness it. Everyone who visits us goes away spellbound, vowing to find SOME way to return.The only thing missing was a bagpiper outfitted in our Campbell Clan tartan. Maybe next year…! There were also at least 50 cousins who could NOT attend for various reasons. Can you imagine if ALL of us COULD gather at the same time for the event?! Hell, we’d have to take over the WHOLE beach instead of just half.

It simply gives us motivation to gather again next July 1. To our gracious, caring and loving main hosts (Bill and Judy), I send gratitude, love and deep-seated respect from the WHOLE clan for stepping to the organizational plate EVERY year!

Here’s to the positive power of family…especially OURS!! Don’t miss the 3rd blog next week on the Campbell Clan weekend (the little ones rule!).

coach Jeff

 

 

 

 

#CampbellClanOpen a Smashing Success at #PipersGlen:

For the 35th consecutive year (yup, you read that correctly!), the family on my mother’s side has gathered on the July 1st Canada Day holiday near the shores of the summer cottage ‘compound’ at Inverhuron Beach (Lake Huron – one of our 5 Great Lakes in Ontario) to play in the Campbell Clan Open. The 9 hole golf ‘tournament’ has been held for the past 8 years at Piper’s Glen near Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada followed by a post-tourney party (more on this in next week’s blog) second to none at Inverhuron Beach.

The tourney fills quickly (we only allow 48 golfers – 98% of whom are family!). There are always those who want in but are too late registering. This year was no exception. Thus, those not playing have to make due with the ‘after’ party – where over 100 of my relatives ( and a VERY few ‘outsiders’) gather to party hearty!! They come from all over Canada and the U.S.A. with some venturing from overseas depending on the year.  Truth be known, the after-party is the highlight of the Canada Day holiday weekend – especially with this being our country’s 150th ‘birthday’!

I choose to blog on this simply due to the fact that not many families have such a strong connection spread around the world that all started with the Campbell Clan back in the highlands of Scotland centuries ago. Of course, even fewer have the luxury of cottages in paradise (Inverhuron Beach) with the 3rd best sunsets on the planet where, on any given weekend, there are minimum 40 of us in attendance.

Let me guide you through my trip to the Campbell Clan Open. It starts with a sunrise (at 5:35 a.m.) on Lake Ontario (another of our Great Lakes where our home backs onto). I catch it after a VERY early run along the lake followed by a quick swim in the 8 degree celsius water – a perfect start to the day. We are one of the few families who can watch the sun rise on 1 Great Lake and set on another Great Lake – in the SAME day. We have been truly blessed!

The weather somehow held for this year’s event – in spite of torrential rain all around the area in the morning. Pier’s Glen held up well to the ravages of my family’s varied golfing skills. It even has environmentally sensitive protected areas throughout – one of the features that attracted us to the course years ago!We gathered for a pre-round photo op – all 48 of us! That might have been the highlight for many of the non-golfers – of which there were a few! If I do say so, we are a rather hot looking group. 🙂The skill level ranges from my cousin, Bill – who organizes the tourney wonderfully EVERY year with little fanfare and has played in the Canadian Senior Men’s tournament – to 3 year old Bennett – who shows promise as an up and comer already! Notice he sunk the putt!We had all age ranges covered from grandfathers to toddlers and every decade in between. My cousins’ husbands, Rick & Rob, had their sons, R.A. & Jeff and Chris respectively as well as their grandsons, Bennett (Jeff’s) and Charles & Tommy (Chris’) all took part – a testament to the importance of the day and our family ties.The female side of the clan was also well represented, again throughout many decades and varied skill levels.  My cousins Janet, Jane, Dawn and Rachel all took part along with my niece, Marley (who won the Ladies’ long drive contest!) and nephew, Todd’s girlfriend, Charlotte (her 1st Campbell Clan event). At the end of the day, skill level does NOT truly matter. Yes, we are a competitive family where few of us like to LOSE at ANYTHING. However, we are also a close-knit family that support each other – ESPECIALLY in the tough times!!

Of course, NO Campbell Clan Open would be complete without the only full-on barefoot golfers in attendance year after year. Those would be yours truly, the old coach, and, as you might have gathered, my younger brother, Arn. I have morphed into the resident tournament ‘floater’ and designated ‘putter’, running from foursome to foursome over hill and dale, making every effort to avoid the thistles! My brother, on the other hand, pulls out old family clubs for his one and only round of golf and proceeds to play as if he’s a seasoned pro! I always tell him it is due to the bare feet!!! Actually, he’s simply a great natural athlete.

Next week’s blog will cover the Campbell Clan Open post-party. You will NOT want to miss that!!

coach Jeff

 

#Grounding to Mother Earth with #RainbowRhythmKids and Young Esme:

http://www.rainbowrhythmkids.com is my niece, Sarah Rainbowheart Hawthorn’s website that introduces you to her business as an ‘earth connector’ for young children. If you click onto it, you will see how her programmmes transform kids into active, vibrant, earth-grounded dynamos. They develop a better awareness of their bodies in space by interacting with each other and Mother Earth in positive, productive ways.

Part of her programme operates out of the Toronto Forest School where kids in the various programmes get to walk, run, jump and free play BAREFOOT on various natural surfaces (sand, pebbles, river rock, mud, foliage and a myriad of other naturally occurring materials).  The mission statement is:

“Through song, story, movement, yoga and play, our nature-based music & movement programme builds a relationship between children and Mother Earth”

Parents comment that the difference in their children who participate in the programme is dramatic – from sleeping better to concentrating better in school to being calmer and more engaged with friends, family and school mates.

Of course, the best example the old coach knows of a youngster who is FULLY GROUNDED with Mother Earth those who follow my blog know only too well…my grandniece and Sarah’s daughter, young Esme (now a robust age 3). As you may remember from a few of the photos below, Esme eschewed crawling and started doing planks at 3 monthsand reverse pull-ups on chair legs,was an official Team Over The Top member at 5 months walking unaided at 7 months, running in the sand at 18 monthsas well as bobbing in the ocean with NO apprehensionand climbing up boulders barefoot at 27 months.

Most recently, Esme, at age 3 years has been jumping, bouncing and twisting barefoot freely, easily and with unbridled joy on a trampouline and, most impressively, walking along a log (again BAREFOOT) 3 metres above a rock bed for 15 metres…showing perfect balance and NO fear (which is merely False Evidence/Expectations Appearing Real).

As you can read above, Esme’s parents were confident in Esme’s abilty to accomplish the above feat (no pun intended!). Esme has been barefoot for most of her young life and is TRULY grounded with Mother Earth. She seldomly gets sick – not even the common cold -, has never injured herself at play with Mother Earth, has perfect balance on each leg, is symmetrical and squared up for perfect, safe running and has a naturally developed total body strength. Quite incredible, actually…and it all starts with her parents keeping her barefoot and GROUNDED with the Earth. Finally, she simply does NOT let FEAR paralyze her from being active and vibrant – something EVERY child can experience!

I absolutely LOVE what Sarah & Cheryl (Esme’s parents) are doing to allow Esme to flourish. Beyond that, I LOVE what the 2 of them are doing to bring more kids into the positive energy world of Mother Earth. Never give up on this, gals!!!

For those of you not familiar with the term ‘grounded’, it simply means “connected to the Earth”. The Earth’s surface holds subtle healh-boosting energy. All of us can access it for our own betterment by:

  • simply getting outdoors at every opportunity
  • going barefoot on trails, over river rock, grass, sand and snow
  • feeling your feet anchoring into the bedrock of the Earth and the peace and calmness that accompany this
  • being aware of your body and visualize becoming a tree (feeling your feet ‘root’ into the Earth)

As all of you know, I am pasionate about getting ALL of our kids moving barefoot at every opportunity AND getting them moving safely and efficiently. Get them the HELL away from all devices for the majority of each day. Let them ‘free play’ at every opportunity – even if this means (heaven forbid) that you HAVE TO PLAY WITH THEM! Let them go beyond their comfort zone in all aspects of life BUT knowing that the risk of harm is minimal. Finally, let them get grounded with Mother Earth at every turn – NO EXCEPTIONS.

By doing this, we will have fewer kids suffering from:

  1. depression
  2. anxiety
  3. obesity
  4. avoidable physical activity injuries
  5. learning challenges
  6. behavioral issues

What is holding you back? Get your kids ‘out there’…oh, and get YOURSELF the HELL out there at the same time!!

a frustrated coach Jeff signing off!!!!

 

 

#CoachJeff Kick Starts Summer #NaturalMethodTraining clinic:

I started doing Natural Method Training as a youngster MANY decades ago. Of course, I did not CALL it that nor did anyone else, for that matter. The Swedes called it ‘Vita Parcours’, the Scottish called it ‘Fell Training’, the Native Canadians called it ‘Trapping’. I called it ‘Free Lance Training’ – basically, I would  make up exercises and movements in different mediums as I ran or cycled or swam. If there was a natural object to go over (a tree stump or boulder or sand dune), I went over it. If there was a log floating in the lake, I swam under it. Well, you get the idea.

It was with this in mind that I set up my summer Natural Method Training clinic in Clarkson, Ontario, Canada. It is an 8 week, one class per week session that started on June 21/17 – the summer solstice! I begin by testing the balance and symmetry of my team members – no sense in doing significant training if you are unbalanced and asymmetrical. That’s a recipe for injury!In the top photo, you will notice that my gang had no trouble balancing on 1 leg WITH EYES OPEN. Once the eyes were closed (picture #2), it was a different story. The goal was to hold STEADY for 15 seconds on each leg. None of my team held for longer than 4 seconds. Running on the spot with eyes closed also proved difficult for most of the group. They traveled forward, sideways and in 1/2 circles during the 1 minute drill. Both of these indicate whether you have an imbalance or over-rotational activity on one side or the other. I then implement a series of exercises to correct the situation. Photo 3 above shows the team doing the SkiX exercise so important to activating the extensor chain of muscles in the body whilst Photo 4 shows the team lined up, symmetrical and ready to head outdoors.We started with forward and backward running over cedar mulch where balance and reactivity to uneven surfaces are key to survival.We then ran through a sand pit, over a bench and around a large tree – repeating the process backward and sideways to improve sensory awareness and reactivity to different mediums.By mixing in 2-legged and 1-legged hopping in the sand pit, my team were activating powerfully from the feet whilst learning how to fight through the resistance of the sand.

Next up was a series of exercises using the fence railing around a baseball diamond. The series included, forward powerful push-offs, backward powerful push-offs, side powerful push-offs and deep squat jumps. these were done consecutively for 30 seconds each – a tough sequence designed to build balance between the flexor and extensor muscles along with explosive power and fatigue tolerance. The gang battled hard BUT there is lots of work to do before we achieve perfection!

We finished with a series of running drills designed to lock in my Squat-Scoot style of safe, efficient, mid-foot running. These included the Paw-Back forward running drill – difficult to master BUT essential for safe running mechanics.The backward lunge drill was implemented to improve posture and activate the extensor chain for better running balance. It was followed by the forward lunge drill to better activate the flexor chain of running muscles in precise sequence.Further to this, the alternate forward-backward running drill forced the team out of their comfort zone and into a squared up, quick foot cadence that encourages more efficient running.I then had the team put all of the Natural Method Training drills into action with  forward running repeats to lock in perfect Squat-Scoot technique. The results were quite profound. Everyone ran tight, light, compact and forward – precisely as I wanted them to run!!As I explained to the team, this was only Session 1 of 8. Thus, the expectations and the challenges will increase with each passing week. This is a great way to mix up your training and give you a much better foundation for safe, efficient running!

Oh – throw in some water running as part of YOUR Natural Method Training session – assuming you can get close to a lake, river or stream. For THAT, you may want to be like the old coach…BAREFOOT!!

Coach Jeff