Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2016

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Page 57 of 133

THE IMPACT OF INCHES An NFL team's criteria for selecting its next player can be acutely specific. Quarterbacks, for example, can be chosen or rejected because of the size of their hands. A span length of 9 inches from the tip of the little finger to the tip of the thumb is considered the minimum benchmark for NFL quarterbacks. Any smaller, and some coaches begin to worry whether the player will be able to maintain a controlled grip on the football in inclement weather. When Brandon Allen, a quarterback from the University of Arkansas, arrived at the XPE Sports camp, his hand measured 8½ inches. Conventional wisdom would dictate that Allen's hand size could not be increased, and that his position in the NFL draft would be negatively affected. Kousaleos had other ideas. In 2015, he used myofascial therapy to increase the foot and ankle mobility of Florida State University's star quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, who went on to be the first player selected in the 2015 NFL draft. Using a similar approach, Kousaleos was able to increase Allen's hand size to 8 7 /8 inches at Combine time, an increase of three-eighths of an inch in about a month. Kousaleos and Allen plan to improve that to just over 9 inches with continued therapy. SOMATOTYPES Somatotypes were developed in the 1940s by psychologist William Herbert Sheldon, PhD, to categorize the human physique according to physical traits. Most people do not fall neatly into one type, but are a unique combination of the three body types. ECTOMORPH: linear, fragile, delicate, lean, and lightly muscled. ENDOMORPH: spherical, round, soft-bodied, underdeveloped muscles, difficulty losing weight. MESOMORPH: hard, rugged, triangular, athletically built with well-developed muscles, thick skin, and good posture. Clients' body types influence how they will respond to training and treatment. Kousaleos offers these guidelines for performing sports bodywork on each of the three somatotypes: The ectomorphic structure (lean, endurance) needs more comfortable pressure with less specific depth. Because ectomorphs typically have more neurological sensitivity, the techniques and protocols should be smoother and less deliberate. The endomorphic structure needs a more layered approach, focusing on broad, less deliberate techniques, especially on the superficial fascia, before attempting to stretch and release the outer layers of dense, fibrous fascia. The mesomorphic structure of most football players allows for deeper repeated sessions with less postsession soreness and more immediate improvement of both structural and functional outcomes.

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