Abu Dhabi Day One & Two

I arrived in Abu Dubai Saturday night after a fourteen-hour flight from Houston. Frankly driving through Dubai from the airport, if it were not for the signs both in English and Arabic, I was not sure I had left Houston. Today’s world, to borrow Thomas Friedman’s term truly is flat. It is a ninety-minute drive to Abu Dhabi on a very modern superhighway. Checked in the Al Jazira Sport Club hotel that is actually attached to the football (soccer stadium). The main event of the day on Sunday was a press conference at the Abu Dhabi Sports Council to announce the initiative that we are working on. Kelvin Giles www.movementdynamicis.com, our team leader and Mahommad Al Mahmood, General Secretary Abu Dhabi Sports Council both spoke and answered questions from the press. Unfortunately Abu Dhabi leads the world in Type II Diabetes and rank high in childhood obesity. The prediction is that by year 2020 twenty percent of the population will suffer from Type II diabetes. The initiative that we are working is to create a continuum from community health and well being through to high performance to address these issues. The focal point of the visit is a conference on Wednesday titled “First Steps to High Performance,” to launch a concerted effort to address the need for exercise and health for all ages.

Monday dawned bright and early and we were off to Al Ain, the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, a ninety-minute drive from Abu Dhabi. It was an amazing drive through desert sand dunes and farms. The drive was not without incident as our driver nodded off to sleep several times on the trip while going 180km/h. I did not even notice as I was glued to the window like a little kid at Disneyland for the first time. I even saw a herd of camels off in the distance. We arrived safely at the Al Ain Sport and Social club. On arrival Mick McDermott, the conditioning coach for Al Ain Football club who was our host greeted us. We spent the morning doing athletic competency tests with a class of schoolboys all born in 1995. In the afternoon we tested the 20 soccer players born in 1995 and two born in 1994. The soccer players tested 8% better than the schoolchildren. Those boys born in the first quarter of the year were 30% better than those born in the last quarter of the year. (How important do you think growth and development is?) When we finished the testing Michael Dalgalgeish of our group, who is a physical therapist, looked at two of the soccer players. It was very interesting to watch him work and see commonalities of problems worldwide. The soccer athlete in Abu Dhabi is not unlike the soccer athlete in the US or Australia. They play too much and train too little!

Just being able to spend a bunch of time sitting around and talking with Kelvin and Michael has been worth the trip. Together they have developed a very comprehensive Athletic Profile that gives great practical information to determine training emphasis and remedial work. It is very practical and easy to administer. I have used some this in my GAIN Network and it is superb. In my opinion this profile is something we need to institute in our schools. I find it quite ironic to be here in a foreign country doing an evaluation that we need so badly in the US.


At 4/8/08, 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Athletic Profile...hmmm...?? I believe you did this when you were with the White Sox.

At 4/8/08, 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes the rich arabs are a good target market for alternative medicine and mumbo jumbo too :-) Nothing surprising about local kids from the UAE and its neighbors are mostly overweight, they eat a lot and hang out in air-conditioned shopping malls. And with oil at at $ 100 a barrell, they are going to get fatter and coaches are going to get richer even if they do not produce results. Schultz.


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