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Mike sits down with Dr. Ken Clark, Associate Professor of kinesiology at West Chester University with a focus on biomechanics, motor learning and doing research on running mechanics. He has been a consultant for USA Track and Field, Altus, and Parisi Speed School.
Dr. Ken Clark’s Background
2:30 - Ken was raised in Connecticut and played football, baseball and hockey growing up and played small college football. His dad was a biomedical researcher and high school football coach which allowed Ken to develop a passion for biomechanics.
Ken’s Passion for Biomechanics
5:10 - The most enjoyable part of Ken’s job is teaching motor learning and biomechanics in the classroom then transferring that science to the track.
Ken’s Tips for Coaches
7:00 - Coaches have to engage their athlete and understand how they learn best. Sometimes they love the technical cues and sometimes they just want to be told what to do. You have to give them enough information to make the correction.
USA Track and Field Experience
11:30 - Ken travels to the most elite sprint and hurdle groups around the country, utilizes video cameras and computer systems to develop an athlete’s biomechanical model to help them translate coaching cues.
Variation in Athletes’ Cue Correction
15:30 - For some, even elite, athletes, making a small change is very challenging. But for others, they can make huge strides in a short amount of time just from technical or physical cues. Mike had an athlete from the Canadian Football League do lateral lunges into a march position. Originally, he was losing his balance a lot. Mike gave him the cue to utilize his glutes to stabilize at the top march. He did it again and nailed it - that quickly - just from a couple verbal cues.
A Case Study: Doctor Collaboration
16:30 - Patient B is a collegiate football player with a history of some injuries. Dr. Clark had been working with him and reached out to Mike to take a look at his injuries.
17:30 - Through work with Mike and Dr. Clark, Patient B was able to heal his overuse injury without actually stopping training. It’s best to train around an injury, not stop training.
Barriers into the Field of Physical Therapy and Coaching
27:30 - Exercise therapy is very competitive. The best thing to do is to try to get experience although it’s tough to find opportunities because the physical therapy and exercise science field is so competitive. Dr. Clark recommends students getting involved in the West Chester Adapted Physical Education Program run by Monica Lepore. This way, they’ll get experience working with people, even if it’s not hands-on.
What We Can Be Doing Better in the Fitness and Medical Field
42:20 - Offer more experience opportunities and resources for young minds.
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