Sunday, November 9, 2008

CATZ is on point!

CATZ Sports Performance Center is the real deal! I know I may be late to the party but at least I have finally arrived.

Saturday morning at the CATZ facility was an eye opener. A Middle School club basketball team was being put through a rigorous training session with San Antonio Silver Stars Strength and Conditioning Coach, Mike Ekanem. Ekamen effectively handled 10 girls with ages that ranged from 9 to 14 years old. Trainers typically have to teach to the lowest skill-set so watching Ekamen give specific attention to a 3rd grader and still challenge an 8th grader was quite impressive.

The CATZ facility accommodates parents with a small viewing area that includes a few stationary bikes just in case parents get motivated by what their children are accomplishing. The facility includes a full blown Doctors office led by Dr. Shaylon Rettig. The facility's marketing director, Ricky Webb, is the icing on the cake. His professionalism and interaction with parents, coaches and his staff shows why CATZ will inevitably have to expand shortly. He is very good at promoting a product that is in demand and very needed. The most important development of the day happened later in an ACL Prevention Clinic.

Any informed girls basketball coach or parent will tell you that the boogie man is never far from their mind and his name is " ACL injury". Those dreaded words make the toughest dads shake with fear. Some parents expect it as an unavoidable situation. Last year at a University of Texas Women's basketball practice, I asked the mother of a current Longhorn to give me some advice in preventing a torn ACL. Her daughter had already torn both of her ACL's and currently plays with huge knee braces. This mother told me " There is nothing you can do about it, it's going to happen." Needless to say, that was not the advice that I was looking for. The comment does emphasize how prevalent the injury is in elite girls/women's basketball. That is why CATZ should be applauded with what they are doing in regards to ACL prevention and rehabilitation. The clinic was a joint effort between CATZ, College Promoters of Texas and Texas Physical Therapy Specialists.

Some Clinics notes follow:

- Girls basketball players are 4 to 5 times more likely to experience a torn ACL than their male counter parts. While there is no guaranteed prevention of an ACL injury, the likelihood of an injury can be significantly reduced with proper training.

- Anatomical differences are a major reason why girls have a higher risk of ACL injuries. Girls have wider hips, tend to be more knocked kneed and recruit their quadriceps instead of their hamstrings to decelerate.

-Most ACL injuries for girls occur during non-contact situations such as sharp cutting or landing.

- Since girls are typically Quadriceps dominate, it is important to create muscular balance by strengthening the hamstrings, hips and glutes.

-The PEP Program has been able to help reduce ACL injuries by 40% in some cases. Catz incorporates the PEP program in its training.

One of the highlights of the clinic was seeing some of the exercises and techniques that CATZ utilizes in ACL prevention and rehab. Head Performance Coach, Carlos Reyes was very informative. Coach Reyes's passion and expertise was very evident. I have been involved with coaches and trainers who guard their "secrets" like the KFC original recipe. They feel that their contributions will not be needed if they tell you their "secrets". Reyes openly encouraged the attendees to Google the PEP program and incorporate it into our perspective teams and/or children's exercise program. Reyes and the CATZ organization understand that girls will benefit from sharing knowledge and resources. They also understand that most informed individuals will pay professionals to do professional work. I was already aware of a few of the exercises and information that was shared with me at the clinic but I understand that the health of my daughters and players should supersede my need to do it all. With that being said, you can probably guess who will be providing speed, agility, strength and ACL prevention training for my girls in the future.