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#WHOOPEd Weekly Digest, Vol. 3

By Thea Lee

#WHOOPEd Weekly Digest, Vol. 3

Volume 3 of the #WHOOPEd Weekly Digest goes behind-the-scenes of Italy’s premier football coach academy and imparts the details of a 20 minute warm-up routine that saw a 72% decrease in injury rates for youth rugby players.

Monday, May 22

At Italy’s Coaching Academy, a Pipeline of Champions

  • Every June, Italy’s cohort of aspiring coaches meets in Coverciano for the final stage of their education.
  • The program is called UEFA Pro License and consists of roughly 25 former football players who have spent the past year studying twice a week toward a qualification certificate.
  • Graduates of the program include Antonio Conte and Claudio Ranieri, both title winning coaches.
  • In this last stage of the program, known as Il Master, coaching students spending 4 days a week for four weeks training.
  • The coaching philosophy at this academy is to create innovative individuals, not carbon copy disciples.
  • The head instructor, Ulivieri, does not lecture, in a formal sense, and encourages the students to learn from one another and discuss their observations.
  • The takeaway message for students: every game is dynamic and in a perpetual state of flux. They should take the game in hand and adjust and tweak as the situation demands.
  • “We do a lot of work on what the future of football will be… and we are convinced it is tactical flexibility”
  • The academy’s “eyes are not on what worked before, but on what will work next. It has no use for nostalgia, or for fundamentalism. Like the sport it studies, it is constantly evolving”.

Tuesday, May 23

VIDEO: The 2-minute guide to getting better sleep

  • Each year, the average American loses 11 days of productivity from lack of sleep.
  • Sleepiness can lead to memory loss, lack of concentration, and lack of motivation.
  • Quality of sleep can sometimes have greater benefits than the quantity. Here are tips for sleeping better, not just longer:
  • Cool down your room: The best sleep happens when your environment is about 65 degrees F. You might fall asleep faster if you warm your body up just before bed by taking a shower
  • Use light to your advantage: your body has a natural sleep cycle, regulated by exposure to light. When you wake up in the morning open up the shades and expose yourself to sunlight. An hour before bed, dim lights and turn off screens. This cues the brain to prepare for sleep.
  • Incorporate herbs into your nighttime routine: breathe in lavender oil and pair with a relaxing activity like journaling or meditation. Studies have demonstrated that essential oils are a sleep aid.

Wednesday, May 24

Rugby research team find 20-min exercise plan reduces injury risk

  • The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that overall injuries fell by 72% when players completed a new exercise session at least three times a week, either just before a match or before training.
  • The training program focuses on balance, strength, and agility. It’s split into four stages and takes roughly 20 minutes to complete.
  • The first stage is a running warm-up with change of direction activities. The second stage is lower-limb balance training. Third is targeted resistance exercise with jumping. Fourth is side-stepping and landing exercises.
  • Researchers attribute the reduced risk of injury to the switch from traditional pre-match stretching to exercises designed to strengthen muscles around joints like the knees to promote core stability.
  • The Rugby Football Union plans to roll out this approach across the community game in England.

Thursday, May 25

A cognitive scientist has devised a drug-free sleep trick for your restless mind

  • To help people who struggle to fall asleep, a cognitive scientist has invented a method called cognitive shuffling which helps the brain into the groggy state that precedes a sleep cycle
  • A person should focus on random words and images without making connections between them
  • Technique: pick a word that contains at least 5 letters. Take the first letter and create a new list of words that begin with it, then vividly picture each in your mind. When you run out of ideas, move on to the next letter.
  • The science behind the game: as the brain transitions to sleep, it stops making sense of things. It turns off higher-order processing, allowing thoughts and images to become surreal. The word game deliberately pushes the brain to believe it’s safe to power down.
  • The age-old wisdom of counting sheep is too dull, Dr. Beaudoin says. Cognitive shuffling gives the brain enough to play with but not enough coherent information to stir executive functioning.

Friday, May 26

Rested Cristiano Ronaldo hitting form at the perfect time for Real Madrid

  • In recent years, Ronaldo has often reached the final stages of the campaign hampered by fitness issues.
  • This year looks different: he’s scored 13 goals in this last 8 games, eliminating Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in Europe.
  • “I have rested a bit more this year, to be good at the end of the season. It has gone well, this is when things are decided.” -Ronaldo
  • Zidane, the Real Madrid manager, has left Ronaldo out four times during the first 5 months of the season when he was fit and available.
  • “It is important the he has rested and he knows the he must rest sometimes too. It is also an accumulation of all the years.” -Zidane
  • Real Madrid are two games away from what would be their first La Liga/European Cup double since 1958. Ronaldo seems in a position this year to make it happen.