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Original Issue

Ask The Coach Guidance for those lost in sports

Dear Coach: What's the best way to prevent shinsplints?

Dear Running: The catchall term shinsplints is a nonmedical term
that refers to a range of overuse injuries affecting the lower
leg, from simple muscle soreness and tendinitis to stress
fractures. According to Bob Adams, an osteopath and chairman of
USA Track & Field's medical services committee, the key to
preventing shinsplints is to avoid doing too much. "Start by
running every third day for 15 to 20 minutes, at 70 percent of
your maximum exertion," says Adams. "Then run every other day,
then run for longer periods of time." Also, observe rules of
smart training: stretch and warm up; run on surfaces that are
soft (avoid concrete) and level (downhills in particular can
overtax lower leg muscles); and cool down with a jog or walk.

Dear Coach: My 13-year-old son looks up to a pro athlete who I
believe lacks the character a role model should have. How should
I discuss the situation with him?

Dear Model: You need to explain to your son that being
well-known doesn't make someone worth emulating. However,
slamming an athlete your son admires can alienate him, so Jack
Hutslar, founder of the North American Youth Sport Institute,
suggests this exercise: Ask your son to name a major league MVP
or a Heisman Trophy winner from eight years ago (which he likely
can't do); then ask him to name his kindergarten teacher (which
he presumably can). This illustrates that the people who have the
biggest impact on our lives aren't famous athletes.