Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Pinnacle

Finally someone who has put it all together...

*Thanks to a student in one of my classes for pointing this out.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Critical Examination

I have to point out a great blog post by Carl Valle at EliteTrack today. Carl does a nice job of evaluating many factors in his recent post:

Spine Stress and Risk Return Ratios

I appreciate Carl because I really believe he gives an excellent dose of reasoning and critical examinations that are very much lacking in much of the sports performance training in our culture.

The thing that is very frustrating as a coach is dealing with each 'new wave' of athletes that come in every year having trained at a "pop" training facility while in high school and to not only have to re-educate the athlete but to convert a belief system that makes any type of improvement, regardless of the method, difficult (except for the "religious" method of choice).

Do I have to go with the "new" and different training methods to hopefully gain from the placebo effect? Or even; how do I convince the sport coach who is far from exempt of this creative marketing going on in the sports performance world? Often times educating is a challenge because it does not carry the emotional power that something NEW or DIFFERENT carries. We can use NEW and DIFFERENT, but we don't need to go on an absolutist rampage.

I guess the fact of the matter is, we have to somehow make traditional/proven methods of training sexy again so at least they can be an option... or just wait around 50 years or so until everyone has forgotten these methods and "revolutionize training" or discover "the lost secrets of...".

I understand some consider variety as the spice of life, but it's only spice; "the meat and potatoes" will always be necessary.

Honestly though, do be creative and do 'different' things, but please don't forget the fundamentals.

Note: I am a skeptic of many things, even the so called fundamentals. For example, I am skeptical of bilateral lifts as much as I am of unilateral lifts, but statistically and empirically speaking, bilateral resistance training has shown many positive things; so I am not ready to part ways. Skepticism helps create a more open mind than a narrow or closed one... much of religion has taught us that.

... anyway, here again:

Spine Stress and Risk Return Ratios


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Quality Control Coaching

Much of my time is spent teaching athletes how to train (it's part of my job right). Everything can look good on paper, but then...

-How to approach drills.
-How to finish them with the right level of effort, all the way through the finish.
-How to raise and lower their bodies at the right time.
-How and where to direct their feet.
-What the ground contacts should feel like.
-The posture their spine should be in.
-Where their eyes should be looking.
-Subtle movement tweaks that make giant differences.
-How to 'attack' weights.
-How to use serious internal fortitude to 'fight' through a difficult strength set.
-The intent needed at different parts of certain movements.
-What the athletes should be doing between sets.
-What's the necessary frame of mind to maintain speed in a conditioning exercise.
-Optimizing tension and relaxation at the correct times.
-How to "listen" to their bodies and what feedback to look for, and what action if any is necessary.
-If and when an athlete needs to feel their body and when they don't.
-Discussing options for putting together a personal schedule that is condusive to recovering.
-Strategies for how to ready themselves for a good night's sleep.
-Developing nutrition knowledge.
-Educating on the pitfalls that can sap an athlete's energy.

To sum this, what is only a short list, up; teaching athletes how to train and recover.

And for me to foster these things...

-Develop relationships.
-Educating the "why" of all that we do.
-Living out the values taught to the athletes.
-Making sure my feedback is given at the right time and in the right tone, or knowing when to just keep my mouth shut.
-De-emphasizing certain things; "don't sweat it".
-'Opening' my ears up to be able to listen.
-When to submit to requests and when to hold ground.
-Understanding when it's time to scrap what's on paper and when I should 'follow through'.
-Feeling, more than knowing, when and what to say.
-Knowing when to make eye contact or when I should look away.
-Discerning when to allow certain mistakes and patiently let the athlete figure things out.
-Who needs a little 'lashing' and who needs an 'arm around the shoulder', or a combination of the two.
-Managing my attention on a large group; who do I focus on more, who less, or is it equal.
-Understanding when I have done my job and it's time to turn the athlete loose...

The challenges and teaching are endless; and with all this being said, teach the bare minimum necessary to optimize performance.