United States Sports Academy
America's Sports University®

The Sport Digest - ISSN: 1558-6448

volume 16 number 3

Aromatherapy in Sports Medicine Practice With Elite Athletes

Ancient documents and archaeological evidence convince us that aromatherapy was developed over 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Its utilization was first recorded by Herodotus around 425 BC. The Greek historian described the use of distillation to extract essential oils from plant-based materials. Later, during the Middle Ages, the pharmaceutical properties of certain aromatic plants were exploited against infectious diseases such as the plague. In the First World War, René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist, used aromatic plants to treat soldiers’ wounds. Since then, aromatherapy has been utilized to ease aches and pains, heal injuries, manage stress and anxiety as well as depression, and restore well-being through relaxation, sedation, and stimulation (Cook & Ernst, 2000; Leach, 2004; Motomura, Sakurai, & Yotsuya, 2001).

Physiological Factors in Peak Performance of Tae Kwon Do Athletes

Tae kwon do is a full-contact, free-sparring sport in which points are awarded for head contact. Tae kwon do competition consists of three 3-min rounds with a 1-min break between rounds. Most points accumulated determines the winner. There are appropriate methods of training for peak performance in tae kwon do that equip the athlete with the physical endurance needed for continued training and competition—and success.

Chiefly, the tae kwon do athlete’s cardiorespiratory function, energy expenditure, and blood lactate system must be well controlled if peak performance is to be reliably achieved. Peaking, or the ability of an athlete to perform at his or peak capacity when competitions occur, is dependent upon proper physical training of several physiological factors (Hiroyuki et al., 1999). For optimum peaking, tae kwon do athletes should train, specifically, their aerobic and anaerobic capacities, their muscle strength, their neuromuscular coordination, their speed, and their recovery. It is well known that physical conditioning—aerobic capacity in particular—depends on four elements: maximal oxygen consumption, anaerobic threshold, work economy, and recovery (Howley, Bassett, & Welch, 1995).

Importance of Balance and Stability to Mastery of Sport Skills

It could be said that the world’s best athletes are always in control. It can be defined as mental control, as their recognition of specific situations within the game and how they can appropriately respond. Or as emotional control, their ability to ignore the things that don’t matter and focus on the things that do make a difference in the game’s outcome. But, certainly, the ability to control one’s physical self is a major issue for athletes. They must control their sports skills and execute them properly, despite numerous obstacles that are very physical in nature. An obstacle could be a rushing defensive lineman, in football; a tall, long-armed center, in basketball; or a quick-moving goalkeeper, in soccer. In all cases, a high level of physical control—more specifically, balance and stability—is required.

Balance and stability: The words may seem interchangeable, but they are not. The words are closely linked, of course, but they aren’t a two-way street, because it is possible for an athlete to have one but not the other.

The Functions of Yoga Exercise

Many studies have described the benefits of yoga exercises. Many scientific studies have found that mind-body interventions, including yoga, are effective in treating stress-related mental and physical disorders (Becker, 2000; Benson, 1996; Brown & Gerbarg, 2005). Brown and Gerbarg (2005) indicated that yogic breathing is a unique method for balancing the autonomic nervous system and influencing psychological and stress-related disorders.

The integration of yoga exercises into daily life can have great advantages (Scott, 2006). Evidence has shown that yoga enhances functioning of the body’s operating systems (Dinsmore-Tuli, 2002; Fronske, 2005; Gilmore, 2002; Heaner, 2001; Latona & Shelton, 2002; McGarvey, 2003; McGinnis, 2006). Heaner (2001) indicated that yoga increases self-control, self-discipline, and self-confidence. Yoga enables a person to manage both body and mind well.

Should Student-Athletes Get Paid?

Several issues are involved in the heated debate on whether student-athletes should be paid by their institutions for their athletic services. Some believe that student-athletes receive more than enough compensation through their awarded scholarships. Others believe that student-athletes should be rewarded for hard work and the revenue they bring to their colleges and universities. To further the debate, the authors would like to review a few comments from both proponents and opponents of pay for collegiate student-athletes, to help readers gain a better understanding.

Those who think student-athletes should not be paid provide several arguments. Their primary concern is that, once student-athletes start receiving benefits in monetary form, they will no longer be amateur athletes: When monetary rewards are given, the athlete is then a professional. In addition, cash payments could also impose unsportsmanlike conduct among players and university sport programs. When athletes accept scholarships, they are provided tuition, books, meals, housing, and sometimes graduate assistantships. At some colleges and universities, such support may reach a value of $200,000 over a four-year period. Student-athletes may also receive special treatment when it comes to academic issues, for example priority scheduling, tutoring assistance, and excused absences. Aren’t student-athletes, then, well-compensated already?

Athletic Departments Battle Facebook

Just as advances in Internet and digital technology have created new opportunities for collegiate athletic departments, they have also produced new challenges. Perhaps the most commonly encountered such challenge has been the advent of online communities such as Facebook and MySpace that give users virtual carte blanche to express themselves on the worldwide information superhighway. Athletic departments are learning that every student-athlete with a Facebook account is a potential public relations disaster.