Friday, May 25, 2018

Review of "Play On"

I often marvel at athletes, no matter the sport, who perform at championship or elite levels when older than most of his or her peers. Several examples are cited in this book, as well as the science and the training behind this accomplishment. Here is my review of "Play On."

Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age” by Jeff Bercovici
Sports, training, records

Publish date:
May 1, 2018

288 pages

4 of 5 stars (very good)

Sports fans will marvel when an athlete can still perform at an elite level at an age where many of his or her contemporaries have either retired from the sport or are performing at a lower level.  Examples of these types of athletes abound in every sport, from football (Tom Brady) to hockey (Chris Chelios, Jaromir Jagr) to soccer (Carli Lloyd).  Reasons and explanations are varied, but most of them are covered in this book by Jeff Bercovici.  

The book starts off with the author’s experiences and at times, it can almost read like a kinesiology text book with explanations of what the athlete’s body is experiencing while competing or training.  Later the book talks about various types of training, how older athletes will “train smarter, not harder” and other breakthroughs that keep athletes going at peak performance.  Efficiency is an important topic in the book as no matter how much or exactly what types of exercises and drills are performed, nearly every example provided emphasizes efficiency

Just about every type of sport is covered in the book, whether it is a trainer from that sport or elite athletes.  Soccer, tennis (Roger Federer), basketball (the author marvels at the low injury rates of the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns), running (Meb Keflezighi) and football (many stars) are just a few of the sports highlighted by Bercovici for their training and fitness.

Athletes have their own chicken-and-egg problem stated in the book: “Do they stay healthy because they are so fit, or are they so fit because they stay healthy enough to train so hard?”  While the question isn’t really answered, the stories shared in attempting to answer make for very good reading, although a very good working knowledge of kinesiology is helpful.

I wish to thank Houghton Mifflin for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Format Read:
E-book (Kindle)

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