Friday, September 20, 2019

ALTIS High Performance Think Tank Recap

Last week I had the opportunity to fly out to Lake Tahoe and take part in the first ALTIS High Performance Think Tank.  Hosted by a combination of ALTIS and Barton Medical Center, it was the first collaboration.

The event took place over 3 days with ten speakers.  The format was nice.  Two speaker spoke individually.  Then both came up for a round robin of questions.  No days felt long, as some seminars tend to drain your brain.  This allowed plenty of time to drink coffee and get outside hiking to explore the great Tahoe landscape, the coffee was average, but the hiking more then made up for it.

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discus events, small minds discus people."
Eleanor Roosevelt

The general theme was dealing with Chaos of sport.

First: Dr. Joel Dudley.  I think 9 out of 10 presenters were Doctors of some sort.  Dr. Dudley was working in New York Mount Sinai system.  This was one of those guys that seems so smart, your like wow...I am not an intelligent man.   He talked about using Deep Learning (AI analysis) to look through 100k people over 20 years.  Things a human wouldn't be able to do.  The problem with this power is we don't know what questions to ask.  I think Einstein said something about the ideas that created the problem will not be the same ideas that solve it.  Joel used the example of trying to make a mechanical horse.  We know we need to evolve away from the horse, but we don't have the imagination of a car yet.  So we try to make a horse out of nuts, bolts and gearing.

They looked through the data and found that Alzheimer's had a huge correlation with patients and the HSV1 herpes virus.  They are now researching drugs along this line of thinking.

 They can now do a legit micro biome test.  In fact, everyone at the conference was given a microbiome test produced by the company Onegevity.

There needs to be more of an open health care system.  We have to much specialization.  There is no communication between practitioners and doctors.

When asked about health, he recommended people switch to the Impossible burger.  This gave me pause, my own bias says why trade a good healthy chunk of meet for fake?  Even brilliant people can be wrong.  (My own opinion)

2nd: Dr.  Duncan French.  Duncan is the  High Performance Director for the UFC Performance Institute out of Las Vegas.  His presentation was based on reverse engineering the result you are after.  This was a concept I have heard and used before, but this brought such clarity to each question or each step in the process.  MMA athletes have so many variable they have to train in that it was superbly interesting to see how all these different disciplines are thought about and trained.  Throw in, fights on short notice or different fights, fighters culture, fighters beliefs and you have one very complicated soup.  How do you navigate?  Measure and get the basics right.  This was one of my favorite talks.

An example from my own thinking.  Goal is to be a Tour De France rider.  What variable do we know.  Most have a 6 Watt per kilogram average.  If you don't have that, you probably won't be on the tour.  If I am at 4, how do I get to 6?  Can I lose weight?  Yes.  How do we lose weight?  How can I get more power on the bike?  Has the athlete every lifted?  Start at the target and work backwards.

3rd: Dr. Robin Thorpe.  Robin works from everyone from Manchester United to a few other performance teams.  He seems to be the guy that reads the data and interprets the decisions.  As in, give this guy some rest or he may get injured.  Rate of Perceived Exertion  (RPE) was highly prized.  Again, the take away was Measure and Keep it Simple.  Get your sleep, your hydration, your post game meal, your post game sleep.   Make small changes that add up to better quality of health.

4th:  Gerry Ramogida and Carl Bergstrom.  Both of these guys are Performance Members of the Golden State Warriors.  They previously were together in Seattle Seahawks.  Gerry talked mostly on the daily inputs he does with his athletes.
1.  Daily morning meeting: communication
2.  Table work:  Key area assessment
3.  Targeted Input:  tendon, activation of treatment area, stimulate
4.  Movement prep:  Step for transference
5.  Lift:  Athlete Specific
6.  Court:  Continuation of movement strategies with more effort and speed
7.  Post:  Timing dependent

Gerry is one of my favorite therapist and I feel like I learn something from him every time I get a chance to talk to him.  He's lead me to a few great seminars or concepts that have helped me improve.

5th:  Dr. Matt Jordan.  Matt may be one of the best presenters on anything I've ever had a chance to listen to.  Dynamic and smart.  He presented on data of when ACL in skiers are ready to return to play.  More specifically it was how to read stats and data as a thought process.  It really put percentages into perspective.  What does 20% mean to you.  If you had 20% chance to rain, would you carry an umbrella, probably not, if it was your wedding day, would you have a back up, probably.  The amount of data they have now on force, angles, power, symmetry and pre and post injury is truly amazing.  No more guesswork.  Measure.

6th: Dr. Sophia Nimphius.  Sophia is based out of  Australia.  She works with lots of athletes including, but not limited to Softball.  The first thing she did was show a diagram of two people squatting and we had pick the girl.  Most people picked the stick figure that had the knee cave.  As IMO this is more of a trait of girls then guys.  It was wrong.  It showed our bias.  But, I disagree with this, as yes we need to know whats more common as well.  She would like people to treat the person in front of them, not bring their bias into the situation they are evaluating.  Language matters.

7th: Dr. Dustin Nabhan.  Dustin is the lead Medical for the USOC.  He travels and works with all the teams that enter major competitions.  This one had some great practical ideas.  First and foremost, as the competition nears, the focus must shift from staying injury free, to staying healthy (not sick).
Flight Travel:  Window seats have the least amount of airborne particulates.  Aisles the most.  Limit how often you get up.  Blow the air nozzle right on you.  It provides an air barrier from said air particulates.  The air from the nozzle is filtered.  Take a hand sanitizer and wipe down everything in your seat, including the seat belt.  Avoid touching eyes, ears, nose and mouth.  If you see someone sneezing or coughing or looking rough, it is not a bad ideas to wear one of those mouth guards when the plane is getting deiced or when it sits and the air isn't going.  When 80% of training is met, the athlete is 7X more likely to meet their target goal.

8th:  Todd Offenbacher.  I'd be lying if I didn't say this was my favorite presenter.  Todd is a local Tahoe legend.  An avid mountain climber, skier, and guide the world over.  North and South pole were talked extensively.  He told about surviving in such extreme conditions and what it takes.  The thought process of surviving.  Never complain.  People invite you back when your don't complain.  Adjust your goals to the new situation.  Don't dwell on mistakes or panic about the future.  Treat the moment.  What do I have to do now.  Be good at suffering.  Get comfortable with it.  Personally, I think this is a bigger deal then what we talk about as a performance world.  I'd be doing him a disservice if I didn't say, "Polar bears are in the north, Penguins are in the south."

9th:  Fergus Connoly.  Fergus seems to be an advisor for many teams and organizations.  Most recently University of Michigan.  He wrote the book Game Changer.  I took quite a lot from his presentation and most impressively, Tahoe had a power outage, so his computer presentation didn't work obviously.  He busted out a white board and lectured on the topic.  My big takeaways were how important Relationships are.  How important it is to create an environment for the vision (not goal) you have or the team has.   Creating the environment you want was another them that came through.  I took it from a personal standpoint what can I change to create an environment for more reading, writing, exercise, diet, husband, father, son, writer, therapist, business owner, etc...break each one down (reverse engineering) and create and environment for that.  How can I improve my space?

Fergus stressed to have a great team, you have to understand desires and fears.  Figure out what people want, what they fear.  This person may not be money driven, but may want security.  This person may want simple recognition.

It also got me thinking.  Environment.  Our world, what are we doing.  What are we creating.  How is it influencing us.  Air we breath, the trees we see, the soil we still have.  Makes me think it's even more important.

10th:  Dawn Scott.  Dawn is the head performance leader for USA women's soccer.  She is a trailblazer.  The first one hired over a decade ago.  At the time there was about 3 staff that traveled with the team.   Now they have over 30.  To be honest, about halfway through I started saying good bye to a few friends and staff.  I had to go catch a plane home.  I left at 10am, got home a little before 1am.  The price to pay to travel west to east.

That being said I missed the last round table where all 10 presenters sat and took questions from the audience.

ALTIS and Barton did a great job hosting.  Venue was great.  Food was great.  Presenters were great. What I've come to believe is that the audience is the key.  Getting interesting people to come and having the opportunity to talk and learn from them is the true key IMO.

My takeaways were Measure.  Measure more, find out whats important.  Track it.  Look for simple things that can push you towards your end goal.  Reverse engineer that end goal.  Create an environment that helps make that end goal more probable.  Work at relationships.  Ask better questions.  Measure some more.  We can all measure stuff in our life.  Penguins are in the south, Polar bears are in the North.