By Chris Korfist with Intro by Tony Holler
Editor’s Note: Many of you may not be familiar with the “Be Activated” system as taught by Douglas Heel. In a nutshell, the “Be Activated” system involves a series of muscle tests, coupled with releases through neuro-lymphatic, acupressure, and reflexive points (as is my understanding of them) to restore proper function to the body (see an example of the system). Many, if not all, athletes have formed compensation patterns over their years where distal muscles begin to take over function of proximal, core musculature, causing inefficiency, injury, and compromised performance. My own experience with “Be Activated” started with a seminar to which I carried a healthy skepticism, but I left a believer in the system. It wasn’t just track and football coaches in attendance, but physical therapists, chiropractors, and physicians. After working with the Be Activated techniques for several months, I believe in it more each week; it works amazingly well, and I’m a much different, and better strength coach than I was before I took a red-eye to Chicago on a cold February weekend.
Intro by Tony Holler:
Coaching has always been a mixture of science and art. What coaches creatively found to be true was later proven true by science guys. Sport science relies on volumes of anecdotal evidence and small sampling sizes. However, the evolution of what we know to be true continues day to day, week to week, and year to year. Coaches share their information like the great scientists of old.
We may never do double-blind testing on Be-Activated, but activation is here to stay. Be-Activated is a performance enhancer, pure and simple. Furthermore, I have networked enough with other coaches to understand Be-Activated’s value in preventing injury and injury recovery. These conclusions are not the result of work done by spectacled scientists wearing white lab coats. Instead, Be-Activated comes from the field. As Bob Dylan wrote, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
On-field Be Activated experiences, compiled by Chris Korfist
From a bigger perspective, we have had a team doctor who has been tracking injuries of his football team for a number of years. When he started to use activation on a small level, he noticed a drop in injuries. The more he implemented Be Activated, over the next two years, the less injuries they sustained as a team. And they won a state championship.
A coach was working with a researcher to create a concussion protocol and as they were getting baselines, the coach, who is trained in Be-Activated, activated the athlete and retested the athlete. His balance numbers improved dramatically. By the way, this coach’s football team made it to the NY state semi-finals and he was NY state coach of the year.
Another coach, who is a Be-Activated expert and a master of the Omegawave, has done numerous tests using the two together. He would measure his athlete on Omegawave, activate and measure the athlete again. There were dramatic changes in the athletes’ numbers.
Last year, my own track team, York HS, was a Be-Activated team. We survived the long track season without an injury that would make someone miss a meet. And we were state champions.
I don’t know, is there some connection between the Be Activated technique, performance and injury prevention? Isn’t that research or do we need a Ph.D in order to do real research? We have a number of M.D.’s, D.O’s, Chiro’s and Ph.D’s who use the technique. In most cases, people who are out learning to make themselves better and learn new techniques are not usually the ones who are locked in a lab, but yet we are so focused on what the people in the lab say. They listen to complete strangers over what they see for themselves.
On an individual level, we have countless stories of individuals performing at their all-time bests through help from the Be Activated protocol. Some of the best times in the state of Illinois are currently held by athletes who are activated. The naysayer will say that maybe they were fast before or some other reason which would make more sense, but here are some telling stories.
Some athletes are getting the courage to ask coaches from other teams to activate them, and because we are track coaches and are in this for the athlete, they oblige. In most cases, the athletes go out and run, PR’s and in some cases meet records. But in one case, a coach has been activating runners from other teams. It came to a point where the coaches own athlete was racing against another athlete who his coach has been activating, and his athlete asked him to not activate the runner from the other school. Below is a great example. This is a letter I received from a coach that my team competed against this past weekend. I have never met him before and he came up and introduced himself to me. We had a brief exchange and then I received this email that evening. He asked that I keep it anonymous.
First and foremost, I just wanted to thank you, Chris, for sharing your time, expertise, and athletes with me and a few of my athletes today at (the meet). Activation is a truly unique and almost healing experience. I wanted to thank you both for promoting and sharing so much about this. I must admit that after reading past blogs, I was rather skeptical that this really worked. I found it hard to believe that poking or massaging and individual in a few spots would have any sort of affect. However, after having Chris work on me for a few minutes today, I was blown away. I felt a sensation and tingling in my legs and feet that I have never felt before and I honestly felt three inches taller. After the meet, I told my wife about the experience and she responded with, “Something definitely seems different and it does seem like you’re taller.”
The biggest response was from a few of our athletes though. An athlete from Bartlett HS who was helping me work the F/S Long/Triple heard me talking to our two top sprinters/ jumpers and offered his experience and knowledge as well. I asked if he would be willing to activate our guys and if our guys were up for it. They had the “typical first time reaction”, the writhing and squirming during, but then popped up and were alive. One guy set a new PR in LJ and these two freshmen then ran an 11.52 and 11.77 in the 100. Both were also PRs for them. It was a major topic of discussion for the rest of the meet for a few of our guys and a few others were activated by a few athletes from Montini. it was pretty incredible. Throughout the day, these athletes kept telling me that this was something we need to be doing at (our school).
Basically, this is all just a really long-winded way of saying thank you. Even if it never progresses within our program, I know a few of our guys had a chance to experience something new and to really, “feel alive.” They really appreciated it too. You’ve created a community here. And it’s spreading.
From an individual level, countless people have had their movement patterns change to be pain free. I have had countless experiences with athletes ranging from people we watch on TV to the 8th grader whose knee hurt. But I will share my experience with Joel Smith. Joel came to Level 1 on a snowy February day and had a shoulder that didn’t work very well, accompanied by elbow pain. In fact, he claimed he hadn’t been able to throw a baseball or football well for almost 10 years, a frustrating experience for an ex-javelin thrower. After an activation, Joel went into a hallway and threw a baseball, really hard.
Another great experience started February 28th at the Proviso West Invitational. I was watching the triple jump when Coach Pereiro from Plainfield Central walked up to me and asked me if I was a believer of “activation”. I told him absolutely and we went on to have a great discussion about how it has worked so well with my athletes. I then asked him to give me one of his athletes to do a quick demonstration with. He brought me over to Kahmari Montgomery. He was about to run the 200m. I definitely wasn’t expecting Coach Pereiro to give me one of the best sprinters in the state. Needless to say the pressure was on! I then worked on Kahmari and activated his zone 1. He went on to break the meet record in the 200m with a 22.22. Since then I have had the pleasure of activating Kahmari at two more meets, The Mustang Relays and Bud Mohns Invitational. He proceeded to run a 21.05 200m and a 48.28 400m at the Bud Mohns, both lifetime PR’s. The 200m time is #1 in the state and #4 in the country. All I know is that it’s a great experience watching a phenomenal athlete like Kahmari Montgomery run and put up the times he does after he has been activated.
And then this came from another coach, Plainfield North HS Head Coach, Tony Holler:
One of my sprinters, Thomas Harris, has run the 100 meters in 11.39, 11.17, and 11.48 this season. The 11.17 was wind-aided. Yesterday, Thomas ran 11.22 in the prelims. For the first time, Thomas came to me asking for activation. After activation, Tommy ran a career best 11.05.
Anecdotal evidence? Of course. Practitioners of activation can tell these stories until your eyes glaze over. Thomas Harris is just one of hundreds of athletes who have benefited from activation. Too bad we can’t formally lab-test activation’s efficacy.
My point is, why should we wait for a research project to help us get better? We are all in the game of getting our athlete’s to fulfill their dreams. Imagine having a season with no injuries. Imagine how happy your team or athlete can be if they don’t worry about injuries. As a teacher in a very large high school, there is nothing more disheartening than seeing the walking wounded take the hallways 5 minutes before the bell rings. Wouldn’t it be great to reduce that number?
Douglas Heel’s Be-Activated is starting to take off globally. Take advantage of our sessions this summer and fall. We will be in Chicago on July 18-19 and in San Francisco July 25-26. Then again, Douglas Heel will be in Chicago on Oct.17-18 for a Level 1 and Oct 24-25 for Level 2. Also, for a primer, we will be holding a Speed, Activation and Strength seminar in Lombard IL on June 19-20, featuring speakers that will share the latest in speed training and how to incorporate activation with your athletes. Email Chris Korfist at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Chris Korfist has been coaching track for 22 years in Illinois. He has coached at Hinsdale Central, Downers Grove North and York HS, producing 59 All-state track athletes, 3 individual state champions, 2 team state champions, 3 second place team finishes, and 2 3rd place finishes. He owns the Slow Guy Speed School which is a gym that focuses on running and athletic development from which other All-state athletes have trained. He used to run the Inno-sport website and wannagetfast.com with Dan Fichter. He also had the opportunity to work occasionally with some Olympic sprinters and other professional athletes.