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Ask The Coach Guidance for those lost in sports


Dear Coach: I'm a high school senior who's been buried on losing
baseball teams my whole career. I want to win a title. Do I stick
with my friends and hope for a miracle, or do I transfer across
town and win now?

Dear Jumping: If you go, there could be trouble. "Leaving would
mean telling your friends that they're not good enough, and
you're going to lose those friends," says Marty Ewing, a sports
psychologist at Michigan State's Institute for the Study of Youth
Sports. "You have to weigh the relationships you've established
against playing with strangers for a year." Pulling a Roger
Clemens can be the right move, but be certain the ring is truly
the thing.

Dear Coach: I'm a 42-year-old ex-athlete trying to get back in
shape. At first I tried using a StairMaster and lifting weights,
but my weight loss was minimal, and my bones constantly hurt. I
switched to running, and in two months I lost 30 pounds, but the
pain--this time in my Achilles tendons--was excruciating. Help!

Dear Feeling: You're suffering from what Nicholas DiNubile, the
76ers' orthopedic consultant, has dubbed "boomeritis," the
tendency of fortysomethings to overtax their bodies by treating
them the same way they did when they were in their 20s.
Physiological changes--like decreased tendon elasticity, which may
be contributing to your Achilles pain--make it unwise to exercise
as if you were still a jock. "Your original program was better,"
says DiNubile. "But the deep burn after lifting tells me you're
overloading--too much weight, not enough reps." DiNubile suggests
a diversified program: moderate weight training combined with
low-impact aerobics (like walking). Says DiNubile, "As your body
adjusts, you may find you can do some of the things you used to."