Archive for October, 2009

Marathon-Hay is in the Barn

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Justin Mayer, Executive Director of ISPA, always would caution me in the days before a race when I was fretting whether I did enough training or not, “The hay is in the barn, not much you can do about it now!” This is a great tip the night before a Marathon.

I always remembered that advice in every race. Which brings me to the night before a race and sleep. This is some advice you are not going to hear from many professionals and I’m going to be radical here. DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. Like all race preparation, ‘The Hay is in the Barn. If you are tossing and turning tonight. Don’t let that worry you on race day. It is what it is! The most important consideration with regard to sleep is your rest the week before and two nights before the race as well as your rest in recovery the night after your big race. If you are in the starting corral and are worrying about how much sleep you got last night you are not going to be mentally ready to run. Relax, the Hay is in the Barn!

Relax, have fun, enjoy the experience!

Dr. John E. Mayer, President-ISPA

Marathoneering-Catching On!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

ISPA World:

Hi all, I created a word a few days ago associated with Marathons. I did it a bit tongue in cheek, but it seems to be catching on. Here at ISPA we do have a goal of innovation in the field of sports, so bring it on.

Dr. John E. Mayer


Marathoneering Tips From ISPA

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

As many of you are preparing for the New York Marathon our international ISPA  professionals offer some race day tips:

If you start to feel over exertion: Change your pace slow to your race pace, then slow down until your comfortable again. (This is not a walk/run scheme.)

Believe it or not my Kenyan friends and colleagues advocate, ready, SMILE. Remember your are running for fun. Force yourself to smile. Look at someone in the crowd lining the race, smile at them, yell a cheer, or make a funny face. This is what they are telling me!

Also when you are feeling the old ‘wall’ being reached. Concentrate on your running form. Look deep into your body’s movements and think form, form, form.

At the International Sports Professionals Association (ISPA) we have professionals from all over the world to help you and your clients enjoy sports safely and with integrity.

Dr. John Mayer, President-ISPA

Let them Run! Marathons for All

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The New York Times has been running a series of articles on marathon running in build up to the NYC Marathon this weekend. One article about slow marathon runners caught my eye. The article debated what place individuals who run slowly have in the marathon. The article cited studies showing how since the 1980s the average marathon time has drastically increased. To find out more about the article click here: Plodders Have a Place, but Is It in a Marathon? One of the reasons why this article interested me is I have been at both ends of the spectrum. I have run marathons both fast and slow. I have clocked in at Three hours and ten minutes and I have also clocked in at six plus hours (I forgot that you had to train for a marathon!). I can personally say that whether I run a marathon fast or slow it is still hard.

Covering 26.2 miles whether you are running or walking is still a great accomplishment! Everyone feels pain, no matter what the speed, at some point during the marathon. However, I still feel that there should be some time limits. Having no limits creates situations in which people feel they can stop for extended periods of time and in some cases stop for lunch or other such extended breaks. Clearly, stopping for lunch is not the spirit of the marathon. The marathon is not a stage race. There is nothing wrong with the occasional pit stop as long as they don’t turn into mini vacations. Always keep moving that is my motto!

Individuals who attack “slow” runners are doing more to damage the sport than to promote it. Marathons maintain sponsorships because of the mass appeal created by the diverse level of participants. Sponsorship is what allows these races to exist and thrive. Many races have now adapted corral systems that allow the faster runners to be upfront and not “hindered” by the slower runners who interfere with time goals. This eliminates the complaint that slower runners get in the way. Of course one reason why some so-called hardcore runners disapprove of slow runners is they feel that the image of the marathon is tarnished because Joe Public now runs marathons. The ego of these individuals has been deflated; no longer is the marathon T-shirt the ego trip it once was. Of course these individuals could run the Boston Marathon (a race with a qualifying standard) or even better yet they could run in the Olympic trials!

The culture of the marathon has changed. No longer is it composed of a small group of gifted athletes strutting their stuff. It is a mainstream event that has broad appeal. The marathon is an event that raises millions of dollars for charity and inspires people to get off the couch and go outside and run. In an era of increasing waistlines and an epidemic of obesity how can this be a bad thing. In the process a few egos may get damaged but as Bob Dylan stated “Your old road is Rapidly aging Please get out of the new one If you can’t lend your hand For the times they are a-changin” (The TImes They Are A-Changin’, 1964)

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

Larry Johnson is being a “Tweet”

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

In this day and age it is ridiculous that players still think it is okay to use homosexual slurs. Apparently, Kansas City Chiefs running back, Larry Johnson thinks using these type of derogatory terms is okay, as he has done it numerous times on his Twitter page and in public. Mr. Johnson further shows his immaturity by making several negative comments about his coach, Todd Haley, on Twitter. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with you coach, but to do so on a public forum undermines the team. Intolerance and stupidity should not be tolerated in the NFL. Players who engage in activities unbecoming of an NFL player should face discipline.

When something like the above situation happens I always wonder where this type of behavior started. Several days ago, I blogged about Shiloh Keo the Idaho Vandals college football player who was involved in a misdemeanor battery. The team allowed him to play the very next game even though he was involved in this highly unbecoming behavior. This is yet another example of a player getting away with violent behavior and nothing being done to curb this behavior. My guess is players like Shiloh Keo and Larry Johnson were excused from many unbecoming activities throughout their lives. Why? Because come Saturday (or Sunday) they enhance their team’s chances to win and to some people victory is the most important thing. Never mind that the individuals whom are providing this victory grow to think they are invincible and conduct themselves as thugs. We all like winners, but at some point we must say enough and stop condoning (and in some cases glamorizing) these types of behaviors. Where do we start? We can start by guarding the ethical principles of sports. Organizations such as The International Sports Professionals Association (ISPA) are working to safeguard these principles. When you have a chance check out ISPA to see what they stand for and give them your support. Together we can keep the ethical standards of sports high.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

Marathon Fever Good for Body? NYT article

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

ISPA Friends:

I was excited to share an article  just read in my favorite daily, the New York Times. (Tuesday 10-27-09-Health Section) As is often the case with the NYT, the article was illuminating. How many of us runners have wondered, researched and debated whether the pounding is good for the body. This article sheds some interesting insight into this long standing debate. I won’t try and do t justice by paraphrasing what is in the article, so go to their web site and check this article out.

What I found interesting was how evolutionary biologists are claiming that man is in fact a natural long distance runner and that it is only recently that running has been associated with pain and injury. The article also brings up the concept of early man being what they call a ‘persistence hunter’ that our ancestors chased down prey until the animal was exhausted and they were easier to harvest for food. I never heard of this concept before. If you are a runner, this article is a must read.

Here’s the link to the NYT Article:

Dr. John Mayer, President-ISPA

Money Talks

Monday, October 26th, 2009

$4,400,000, 4,2,00,000, 4,000,000… No, these are not salaries of CEO’s. These are the salaries of the top paid college football coaches. Today, in Miami, the presidents of top level NCAA schools met to discuss reform in intercollegiate athletics. The presidents of these schools expressed that they feel powerless when it comes to controlling the athletic departments of their schools. The powerlessness is a result of the outside influence of sponsors and television networks. These outside influences provide the millions of dollars that sustain many of these programs. The figures above, indicting the top paid college football coaches, are telling as to the extent of money that is involved in college sports. Over 75 college football coaches make a million dollars or more. Many coaches, along with the large sums of money they receive, also get other perks such as access to private planes and lavish houses. There is no doubt that these coaches work hard and dedicate their life to their craft. Certainly, a great coach enhances a teams chance to win and a winning team has more potential to generate revenue for a school. The question becomes how much is a school willing to pay to win? Does the cost of winning come with the price of giving control over to corporations and not the administration of the school? At the end of the day the intended purpose of a college is to educate. College athletics are meant to enhance the college environment not dictate the environment. Stay tuned for more thoughts on this complicated matter.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA


Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Marcus Jordan, son of basketball great Michael Jordan, who is scheduled to play basketball for the University of Central Florida is drawing some heat for his sneaker preference. Marcus wants to wear his fathers Air Jordan shoes while he plays, however, the University of Central Florida (UCF) has a multi-million dollar deal with Adidas. Reports indicate the Marcus was upfront about his desire to wear the Air Jordan’s during the recruitment process and UCF never indicated there was a problem. Now that Marcus has committed to play for UCF the University is now weary about his sneaker preference and are indicating that they desire him to wear the Adidas. Clearly this has the potential to turn into a “he said she said”. Marcus had to be aware that UCF had a deal with Adidas (his father no doubt knows the sponsorship game) and what this entailed. However, if UCF never indicated during the recruitment process that this was going to be a problem then it does not seem fair that they suddenly change their tune when they have him already committed to playing. With the information at hand it is hard to tell who is to blame. The unfortunate part of this situation is that a young man, who already has a tremendous amount of pressure on him because he is the son of a basketball great, now on top of dealing with the pressures of being a college freshman and a basketball player must deal with this “sneaker scandal”. I guess we can chalk this up to the reality of college sports being big business (a topic for another day!).

Justin Mayer, Executive Director ISPA

Coaches Need Credentials-Think ISPA

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Last night I spoke to a group of coaches on bullying and teasing. What impressed me about this group was the wide variations in the range of knowledge about working with young people in athletics. It reminded me and energized me that our mission at the International Sports Professionals Association-ISPA is a valuable one. COACHES NEED TO BE CREDENTIALED to assure that they keep continuing to learn and also adhere to high standards of ethics to work with young people.

Here at ISPA we credential coaches. Coaches should also keep in mind that this credential is important for their career advancement. Even if you are a volunteer coach it is important to be credentialed. Look through our web site for more details.

Dr. John E. Mayer, President-ISPA

Winning Above Everything

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Idaho Vandals safety Shiloh Keo was cited for misdemeanor battery this past Saturday night after a win against Hawaii. While it is commendable that Mr. Keo eventually turned himself in this does not erase the fact that he committed a crime. It remains to be seen what will happen in a court of law; however, the most alarming news is the Idaho coach Robb Akey has done little to discipline Mr. Keo. In fact coach Akey has indicated the Mr. Keo will most likely play in an upcoming game against Nevada. How can a player be allowed to play, less than a week after committing a crime, in a football game? Does commonsense not tell us that the first step in punishing Mr. Keo would be to not permit him to play in at least one game. Coach Akey indicated that Mr. Keo would be punished. The question is when will he be punished? After the season? It is important to remember that Mr. Keo is the leading tackler on the Idaho Vandals and Idaho is off to a 6-1 start. If Mr. Keo was a second string player would he be allowed to play this week? No, he probably would be banned from playing because he is not an integral part of the team and his presence would not enhance the chance of a victory.
The Idaho Vandals are sending a dangerous message to athletes by allowing Shiloh Keo to play. Athletes must be held accountable by the team when they violate the law. The disciplinary actions must be stern and swift. All to often athletes feel above the law because of their athletic prowess and teams such as Idaho foster this mentality by not reacting to situations such as Mr. Keo’s. Hopefully, coach Akey and the Idaho Vandals will see the light and take the appropriate steps to discipline Shiloh Keo and stop the cycle of inflating players’ egos. However, as long as Idaho keeps winning this will probably not happen during the season and when the season is over it will already be too late.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director ISPA