When the difference between a first or fifth round selection can hinge upon tenths of a second, athletes will do everything they can for that extra advantage. Within IMG Academy’s NFL Combine training program, the Athletic and Personal Development staff have been proactive in the research and application of performance technologies to encourage their athletes to reach the next level. ALINE Systems, a leader in movement efficiency and functional mechanics, is one of a number of performance companies who lend their expertise. ALINE’s role during the initial NFL Combine athlete assessments was to evaluate each athlete’s lower body mechanics. Adrian Hubbard, a 6’6’’, 252-lb standout linebacker for the Alabama Crimson Tide, was one of several players who took special interest in the ALINE advantage.
As part of the initial assessment, Hubbard was fit using cutting-edge fit stand technology and provided a pair of ALINE Performance Insoles. He quickly noticed the difference in power transfer and response when working on his approach and agility drills, “I can really feel my legs staying straighter and my knees don’t collapse inwards. A lot more powerful and quicker response.” With his body in the correct bio-mechanical position, power was being driven to the proper engines to fuel him. Hubbard, a Georgia native, opted out of his final year of eligibility to chase his NFL dreams. During his tenure at Alabama with Coach Nick Saban, Hubbard won 2 BCS National Championships, 1 SEC Championship and garnered multiple personal accolades.
Recently, Hubbard was fortunate enough to be one of the elite athlet’s selected to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. In the midst of a hectic training and travel schedule he forgot to transfer his ALINEs into his practice cleats on Day 1 of Senior Bowl practice, and felt something was off. He did not make that mistake again during practice or during his game, and made an impressive six tackles at the Senior Bowl. At the conclusion of the game, in the hustle and bustle of interviews and saying goodbye to fellow pigskin warriors, Hubbard forgot to retrieve his cleats with the ALINEs inside. Once back on the IMG Academy campus, he was relieved to find another pair waiting for him.
IMG Academy aligns with a variety of industry leading performance companies to provide each NFL Combine athlete with every edge possible leading up to the ‘world’s toughest job interview’. The integration of ALINE provides athletes with a product and service that not only prevents future injuries, but also helps increase athletic performance though proper alignment.
ALINE is excited to share our list of Winter Games Athletes using our product at ESPN X Games and now to represent their countries. These elite athletes are like you, they want to Move Better so they Feel Better and Perform Better. If ALINE can do it for them, we can do it for you! Let’s root on our US Winter athletes as well as our athlete friends from around the world!
|Danny DavisLouis Vito||Snowboard HalfpipeSnowboard Halfpipe||USAUSA|
|Aimee Fuller||Slope Style Board||Great Britain|
|AJ Kemppainen||Free Style Skiing||Finland|
|Henrick Harlaut||Free Style Skiing||Sweden|
|David Wise||Free Style Skiing||USA|
|Isabel Derungs||Slope Style Board||Switzerland|
|Silje Norendal||Slope Style Board||Norway|
|Yuki Tsubota||Free Style Skiing||Canada|
|James Woods||Free Style Skiiing||Great Britain|
|Sven Thorgren||Slope Style Board||Sweden|
|Charles Guldemond||Slope Style Board||USA|
|Kim Lamarre||Free Style Skiing||Canada|
|Jamie Anderson||Slope Style Board||USA|
The IMG Junior Golf Tour teed off in Oxford, Pa. for the ALINE Systems Junior Open at Wyncote Golf Club, Oct. 26-27. Chilly temperatures and high wind gusts could not stop the competition from heating up among a field of 68 players from seven states. In the Boys 15-18 division, Liam McAnally of Downingtown, Pa. carded solid rounds of 76-79 to secure his first-career Tour victory. “It was very cold and windy out there so I just tried to focus on keeping my shots low and out of the wind as much as possible,” McAnally said of his performance. “The key for me was my short game; being able to get up and down when I missed greens.”
McAnally recently finished fifth in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) state tournament. Incidentally, McAnally wore a pair of ALINE insoles, which he says he has in every pair of shoes he owns, through the weekend.
In the Girls division, 13-year old Kaitlyn Lees of Bryn Mawr, Pa. turned in scores of 87-76 to secure the victory. Meanwhile, Alex Chin of Chatham, N.J. finished with rounds of 78-81 to claim his second Tour title after winning his division at Berkshire Valley earlier this month.
Title sponsor ALINE Systems provided all participants with free ALINEment analysis on site, and sponsored the #PowerStraightUp par-five contest on the ninth hole. Winners in the par-five contest were chosen for achieving the lowest aggregate score, with Andrew Bowyer of Summit, N.J. and Kaitlyn Lees earning free pairs of ALINE insoles for their performance.
The ALINE Systems Junior Open marked the sixth event on the IMG Junior Golf Tour calendar, and the last Northeast event in 2013. The event was hosted by Wyncote Golf Club, which is ranked by Golf Magazine as the ‘No. 5 course you can play in Pennsylvania.’ AJGA Performance Based Entry was awarded to the top five finishers in the Boys division and the Girls division winner. The Tour gets back underway at the PGA Golf Club – Ryder Course in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Nov. 9-10. The Tour will return to the Northeast in 2014 at Heron Glen Golf Club in Ringoes, N.J., April 5-6.
– To see original article plus more visit IMG Junior Golf Tour site at: http://www.imgjuniorgolftour.com
Endurance athletes are sick, mentally mind you, not physically. Who in their right mind would impose such punishment on their bodies, on purpose?! Ultra-marathons, Tough Mudders with electrocution on the course, Iron Man triathlons, obstacle races, multi-day team relay races and even circumnavigation of the globe as a solo-sailor. The rise in popularity of these events shows that this sickness is spreading to pandemic levels, but who can blame them? The desire for humans to push the limit is nothing new. Trace the lineage as far back as you would like; Pheidippides running to the city of Athens to alert the Greeks of victory in battle. But as we all know, sadly, the Grecian courier and father of today’s modern Marathon expired upon reaching the finish. Although this is a dramatic example, it is at the core of why ALINE Systems is in business. Endurance athletes desire to do just that…Endure! Against all proper thinking, against doctor’s orders and while ignoring all symptoms of pain and injury….Endure.
On the second weekend in November in Venice, FL the Rev3 70.3 Triathlon (www.rev3tri.com) took place. This tri-skilled competition involves swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and then running a half marathon for 13.1 miles. Enter Jeremy “Max” Fennell (www.maxfennell.net). Max is a 26 year old triathlete. He is aspiring to be the first U.S. African-American triathlete to receive his Pro card and make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team. No pressure Max!! As a former soccer player and track athlete, Max was unaware of the sport of triathlon. In just three years his rise through the ranks has been nothing less than meteoric landing himself on the podium 5 out of 8 races in 2013. Along with this Cape Canaveral style ascent through the stratos of triathlon comes hours upon hours of training. Swimming through the frigid, murky open water in suburban Philadelphia, cycling thru the famous Valley Forge Park and pounding the pavement thru all reaches of the Delaware Valley. Oh, well hello Plantar Fasciitis; how do you do Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome; nice to meet you Rotator Cuff, welcome to the party Hallux Valgus/Bunions. While all of these overuse injuries may seem severe, they are ALL reversible and avoidable. Improper and unsupportive footwear, unnatural surfaces and moving inefficiently and out of alignment are the cause…and ALINE is the cure!
Above you will see Max’s ALINEment Evaluation and Analysis performed at the ALINEment Center on IMG Academy’s (imgacademy.com) campus. We place the athlete’s in a static and dynamic position to illustrate basic movement patterns and functional biomechanics. Through this evaluation we are able to identify mis-alignments, movement inefficiencies, muscular imbalance and improper patterns leaving the athlete at a higher chance for injury.
In the top 2 images, Max has extreme levels of arch collapse in both feet with excessive pronation patterns as shown by the medial malleoli (ankle bone) slamming into the middle post. Follow the laser upwards and you will see valgus (knock-knee) knee patterns both statically and dynamically. How does an athlete of his caliber generate such power and results from feet that more closely resemble powder skis then a strong, powerful, athletic foot?!
In row 2 we now do the same evaluation, but we place the athlete on top of ALINE Foot Suspension System Insoles. Notice the change in the bottom right image…neutral balance of the feet and ankles between the posts. Knees tracking directly over the first and second toes with laser bisecting the tibial tuberosity and patella. This is what will produce real balance and power without compensation. This is ALINEment!!
The demographics tell the story of the endurance population in America. On average, triathletes are from high socio-economic backgrounds with median incomes of $126,000. Average age: 38, 59.6% Male, 39.5% Female. 52.9% of active population between the ages of 30-44. 49% report white-collar jobs while 19% report professional jobs such as doctor, lawyer or accountant. These numbers are transferable across the entire endurance community; astronomically higher than our orthodox American sports. This begs the question…how do such smart people make such bad decisions about their physical, kinetic health? Type A, hardcharging, goal setting, company owners, and champions of the corporate world are now attempting to dominate the world of endurance only to wear themselves down to the bone, literally. The same characteristics that has driven their professional success is also the source of their “itis”…tendonITIS, plantar fasciITIS, and arthrITIS!
As Max will soon find out ALINE Systems can bring you to the next level. Max has not made the Olympic Team. He is not a pro. On Sunday’s Rev3 70.3 Triathlon Max placed a disappointing 9th place in his age group. On Monday, Max was introduced to ALINE. 2014 should be interesting…
Recently the Puerto Rican National Basketball team made the pilgrimage to IMG Academy in Bradenton to prepare for the FIBA Americas Cup taking place in Caracas, Venezuela through August and September. ALINE was in the house to evaluate and assess our caribbean neighbors. The Puerto Rican team is comprised of Puerto Rican nationals, NBA, and NCAA Division 1 players that took advantage of all IMG had to offer. One of the services the guys immediately we’re intrigued by was the ALINE Systems Functional ALINEment Assessment. Andres Rodriguez was the first to enter the ALINEment Center inquiring about the assessment and ALINE Performance Insoles. Once the ice was broken, the rest of the team fell in. They could all immediately see the benefit and impact ALINE had on their lower bodies and could see how this would reflect on the court. Enrico Encarnacion, the director of Sports Medicine for the National Team, took a special interest in the assessment. Seeing players on a day to day basis, treating for overuse issues, and dealing with the previous injuries from years of high level competition, he was acutely aware of the beneficial impact a product such as ALINEs would have on his athletes.
Being selected as a member the national team creates a feeling of pride, professional success and patriotism while selecting a coach from a foreign nation to manage your national team brings about a feeling of failure, question and thievery for some. Nonetheless, its still a common occurrence. A perfect example of this is in the world of soccer. From 2008 to 2012 Fabio Capello, an Italian, coached the English National Soccer Team, who are widely known as the birthplace of “footy”. More recently Jurgen Klinsmann, from the Netherlands, was hired to the helm of the US National soccer team. The lack of success of a previous regime lends itself to heading in a new direction, with a new coach, adopting a completely new style which has proven more successful.
On July 18th, Francisco “Paco” Olmos, a Spaniard, was hired as the new coach for the Puerto Rican National Basketball team. Amid much controversy Carlos Beltran, the President of the Basketball Federation for Puerto Rico stated, “I had to, the team needed a change”. If you follow basketball on an international scale, you should be well aware of the success of the Spanish National Team. They have been consistently ranked in the top 5 internationally over the past decade as well as claiming silver in the past two summer olympic games
One of the early decisions Coach Olmos made was to remove the team from the hoopla associated with the change and bring the team to IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL to train for the FIBA Americas Cup. IMG is quickly becoming the chosen destination for the world’s elite athletics. The “one-stop shop” of athletics, performance, and medical facilities on one campus has made IMG even more attractive than the year round perfect weather. While on campus, some of the more noteworthy athletes to cross the path of ALINE’s own, Jonna Pento, were JJ Barea (NBA – Minnesota Timberwolves/Dallas Mavericks), Carlos Arroyo (Ex-NBA – Miami Heat), and Renaldo Balkman (Ex-NBA – NYKnicks/Denver Nuggets). The overriding trend seen throughout the entire PR Team’s evaluation were the typical signs of the stress from playing on an unnatural and unforgiving surface associated with basketball. Collapsed arches, repetitive ankle sprains/strains and excessive pronation syndrome. ALINE to the rescue!!! Before the team’s departure they invited Jonna into their private practice at IMG for pictures and to present him with official team apparel.
A last second three point shot by Alex Galindo ricocheted out as the Boricuas claimed silver 91-89 on September 11th as Puerto Rico lost a thrilling game to Mexico in the finals of the FIBA Americas Cup. Before the final game began both teams had already clinched spots for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Since then all of the Puerto Rican players have dispersed to professional teams throughout the globe.
Just the other day the phone rang with a mysterious unknown number from Louisiana. When I picked up Renaldo Balkman was on the other end. The Dallas Mavericks had seen how productive his performance was during the America’s Cup and picked him up for a pre-season contract. Renaldo was so impressed with his performance on top of ALINE Insoles all he wanted to know was…”Jonna, what do I have to do to get my hands on more pairs?!”
- Written/Edited by: Jonna Pento
If you’re looking for the Gridiron/Battle in the Trenches style of football played upon the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, you will NOT find it here my friends. This is 7v7 football – a high speed, lightning intensity paced game where the focus falls upon the skill players. If the vertical attack of the quarterback to his gravity-defying wide receivers virtually dicing the defense apart as a skilled butcher would take apart a side of beef sounds appealing to you, then this is your game!
On the weekend of June 21st, the Third Annual Cam Newton Skills Challenge kicked off the IMG7v7 National Championship weekend festivities, which took place at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. This event attracts some of the nation’s most elite high school talent reaching from Delaware, Canada, Colorado, Florida and all points between. Teams qualified through a series of events held all across the United States. This was one of the last opportunities to watch players by the names of Quincy Wilson(48 D1 offers), Richard Yeargin(40 D1 offers), Sam Bruce(Nephew of NFL great Isaac Bruce), Bo Scarborough(RB – Alabama commit), Jeff Holland(45 D1 offers), or Kevin Toliver II(CB – LSU commit) without paying top dollar for a ticket.
As an Official Sponsor of IMG, ALINE Systems was in attendance to evaluate and analyze all of the athlete’s functional lower body alignment. The results were, in a word, shocking. In this context shocking has dual meaning, as you will see.
The Skills Challenge kicked off the weekend’s competition. After a motivating speech from Cam Newton himself, the battle was underway to crown the tournament’s top Quarterback and Wide Receiver. The ALINE Team was placed just outside the End Zone ready to Evaluate Like Champions…(insert Notre Dame Fight Song)
As the day progressed two things became blatantly apparent. 1 – These young men were amazing physical specimens and individuals. 2 – Overuse Syndrome has become an epidemic! The amount and frequency of injuries along with severe mal-alignments were, as I mentioned earlier, quite shocking. Running the gamut from chronic lateral ankle sprain to medial tibial stress syndrome through ACL/PCL complete tears. Even at this youthful age, Lower Back Pain was a common complaint. Historically an issue developed late in life from the punishment placed upon the body from years of movement, now seems to have translated to the youth athletic population. The ALINE Team was in amazement at the contradiction of elite level athletic performance and severe injury frequency and history.
On the positive side, in most all cases the youth foot is flexible. Still malleable and not rigid from decades of punishment, we were able to place these young men on the ALINE Foot Suspension Systems and correct most of their alignment maladies. The severe pronation and correlated genu-valgum(knock-knees) knee patterns disappeared as the ALINEment advanced. Instant comfort was felt and healthier tracking patterns seen. The simplistic joy seen on the faces of these pigskin warriors when the Red Line bisected their well muscled legs and ALINE under foot was a constant pleasure. Again the ALINE Advantage was able to identify lower extremity alignment issues and aid in the prevention of further injury or deformity allowing these young athletes to perform to their utmost potential!
The event weekend concluded on Sunday with Team Tampa being crowned the NFA 7v7 National Champions for the second year in a row! It was an intra-Floridian battle with Tampa overtaking Miami’s own South Florida Express Elite, 25-24. Cam Newton was in attendance throughout the entire event. If his physical presence and personality didn’t alert you to his NFL pedigree, you would think he another one of the kids. As an outsider looking in, it’s always refreshing to see an athlete of his acclaim and success able to interact with young, aspiring student-athletes. Also, at the conclusion of the Skills Challenge, Cam was there to hand out award packages including ALINE Performance Insoles!
The facts are clear about the importance of alignment and foot care. The human body is not made up of separate parts. “The knee bone’s connected to the shin bone…”as the song goes. It is this kinetic chain that must be maintained and assessed over time. The challenge is changing the knowledge base of youth, coaches and families so they all understand that their foundation directly affects their function. This fact alone will have positive long term effects on not only their football careers, but their quality of life beyond the Gridiron.
- Written/Edited by: Jonna Pento
ALINE with The Wounded Warrior Project
As ALINE System’s Brand Ambassador on IMG Academy, I had the privilege of spending time with the Wounded Warrior Project. From June 12th thru the 15th members of the Wounded Warrior Project trekked down to IMG Academy campus to train, sweat, and be mentally challenged and coached by the same coaches training our nation’s elite athlete population. During their stay, I spent my time presenting and ALINEing the group.
To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history is the mission of the Wounded Warrior Project. This project is a non-profit organization founded for the benefit of our military’s wounded in battle protecting the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. One of the main directives of this project is to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of its injured service members. One of these unique programs was the Ignite 360 Performance Certification offered by Ignite 360 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Wednesday night was the welcome dinner and introduction. Service men and women from all branches were represented – ARMY, NAVY, MARINES, and AIR FORCE. The night began with an informal dinner where everyone ate together and became more acquainted with one another. After an introduction from Jason, Casey, and Johna (not me) – the Wounded Warrior group leaders – Jason Puckett from Ignite 360 and myself had a chance to introduce themselves and speak to the group about the next few days that lay ahead of them at IMG. Coincidentally enough, David Prince, a US Track Team member, Paralympian World Record holder and ALINE Athlete was having a dinner in the next room with his family who was in town to support him for the US Nationals Track Meet. David jumped at the chance to speak to the Warriors about his experience with injury, training thru adversity, and ultimately accomplishing his goals with the support of IMG Academy and their sponsors. Being able to see an athlete of David’s caliber and disability left a lasting impression on the group.
Throughout the next two days I was able to provide all Wounded Warrior participants with a free lower body alignment analysis, educating them on how improving their biomechanics can enhance athletic performance. In addition, a complimentary pair of ALINE Foot Suspension System’s were provided to each participant to help the athletes’ arches reshape and align for improved performance and decreased wear and tear on the body.
Sacrificing oneself for the greater good of another is one of the core values for any of our military elite. Gratitude and thanks is just the beginning of how we should honor these real-life Warriors that walk among us. At IMG Academy, ALINE Systems and Ignite 360 were able to give back and provide our soldiers with skills, training, and knowledge that will improve their lives and lives of others around them. Now when these honored few walk among us, at least we know they will be walking in ALINEment with Power Straight Up!!
Written By Jonna Pento, Edited by Kathryn McGonagle
Flip-flops, loose shoes can be damaging
We’re happy to share the bad news on Flip Flop and Bad Shoes. It was getting lonely telling people to reduce wearing flip-flops. While flip-flops can be great for summer, wearing them consistently can cause long-term damage in your feet. Extend this article’s great points up the kinetic chain to your hips and back. Stay ALINEd.
“Flip-flops are for beaches and showers, not for climbing towers.”
That was the rhyme devised by late Fort Gratiot lighthouse carekeeper Bob Hanford to explain why visitors couldn’t drag their summer foot wear up and down the 94 Civil War-era cast iron steps.
The lighthouse instituted the policy after sandals caused a young patron to slip on the spiral staircase, said Susan Bennett, executive director of the Port Huron Museum.
It turns out flip-flops can cause a lot more harm than many would think. As you head into the lazy summer days filled with sunshine, cutoffs and lemonade by the lake, be sure keep your feet happy too.
If you’re like Holland Woods eighth grader Kayleigh Johnston, of Port Huron, you probably wear flip-flops as soon as the weather permits.
“I like them because they are easy to put on and you don’t have to tie them. They are nice to wear on a hot day,” she said.
Flip-flop comfort comes with a price, however. Ask Johnston’s schoolmate, Karli Ross.
“If you wear them too much you can feel it in your feet, ”she said.
Ross’s opinion is shared by many foot experts.
“Flip-flops are awful,” said James P. Pitlosh, Port Huron podiatrist. “They are best reserved for occasional use in the shower or on the beach.”
Podiatrists have long recognized the negative affect spongy flip-flop soles can have on a foot. Because the soles allow the heel to drop down too far, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can develop.
Pitlosh admits he’s as guilty as the next guy, and used to enjoy wearing deck shoes, which offer poor support. But because of the injuries they can produce, he cautions against picking a shoe strictly for ease of use.
He estimates an average foot injury can take up to four years to completely heal if properly treated.
“Once you injure your foot, it doesn’t easily heal because you still have to walk,” Pitlosh said.
Open-toed shoes, like flip-flops, not only deny your ankle the support it needs, they can leave your foot vulnerable to protruding thorns and sticks. Because of these natural obstacles, Pitlosh advises closed-toe shoes whenever possible.
But it’s not just flip- flops to watch out for this summer. Pitlosh also rails against the fad of loosely laced shoes.
Without tightly lacing the shoe, Pitlosh said, “you won’t get any support, because the shoe spreads out.” This can allow the foot to rotate, placing the body weight on the inner sole.
Podiatrists refer to this as pronating or a flattening of the foot.
Pronation creates more movement in the bones, and is a condition that can lead to foot arch collapse, premature arthritis, bunions, and heel spurs, said Dr. Steve Bremer of Mercy Health Center North in Fort Gratiot.
Pronation also applies more stress to the inside of the knee, can lead to an early deterioration of hip cartilage as well as increasing the curvature of the spine.
In short, flip-flops increase stress throughout the lower extremities and clearly accelerate the process leading to knee and hip replacement, Bremer said.
Podiatrists also recognize an increase in foot skin cancer during the summer, Bremer said, so he advises a steady application of sun screen of at least SPF 30 or higher.
“Repetitive sunburn is certainly not healthy to your skin, and as you get older there is a higher incidence of skin cancer.”
Due to an increase in foot moisture, summer also means an increase in athlete’s foot and bacterial infections.
A regular application of drying agents such as corn starch or baking powder can reduce foot moisture and the risk of athlete’s foot infection, Bremer said.
He also advised daily sock changes to reduce athlete’s foot. Insoles or orthopedic supports should be removed from the shoe every day to reduce the risk of fungal infection.
To reduce foot moisture, Pitlosh advocates barefootin’ it.
“Kick off your shoes,” he said. “Go barefoot; it’s good for your feet and it’s good exercise.”
When it’s time to pick out new foot wear, Bremer said there “is a correlation between money you pay and the length of time the shoes hold up.” You’ll know it’s time to replace a shoe when it begins to warp or distort, he said.
Getting a new pair of shoes means your older ones get a new function. Instead of wearing flip-flops to the beach, an older pair of shoes can give you the support you need and still let you get your feet wet.
Taking care of your feet is a worthwhile venture, one that doesn’t require to much “solesearching.”
So give those flip-flops the boot and start off your Blue Water summer adventure on the right foot.
Written By Lance Farrell, Times Herald