Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Black Box

Heart Rate, Resting Heart Rate, Heart Rate Recovery, Heart Rate Variability, Left Ventricular Hypertrophy, Autonomic Tone, Electromyography, Motor Unit Recruitment, Energy Systems, VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, Glucocorticoids, Testosterone, Human Growth Hormone, Hematocrit, Body Composition, Protein Synthesis, Glucose, Insulin, and on, and on...

Important measures? Maybe. Helpful? Debatable.

I like the internal details - they can definitely add insight and direction... but when it comes to coaching, you better have the awareness, skills, and diligence to work with a black box.



Josh Leeger said...

Good post coach.

Are these measures really useful beyond careful observation on the part of both the coach and the athlete?

Only once you get to levels of performance where you're also supplementing training with performance-enhancing drugs.

No? Check this out:

We can see these definite "jumps" in 100m performance. They "just happen" to coincide with the creation/use of new methods of training and/or PED's.

In the 1930's training started to be truly "organized" and tracked. Obvious performance improvements.

In the 1940's training methods improved even more - and so did athlete-selection methods. Another performance improvement block.

In the 1950's testosterone was introduced to the athletic community. Performance jump.

1970's, amphetamines.

1990's, EPO.

Along the way, training, athlete-selection, and doping methods have gradually improved.

What % of the improvement was due to HR/HRV tracking? Were chemical physiology measures being tracked to correlate to training-stimulus response or were they being tracked in order to fine-tune drug use?

This is a fun page as well:

Aaron Schwenzfeier said...

Awesome Josh! Thanks for sharing!

So are we kidding ourselves without the use of drugs? And, so many are so, so far from the point of getting their athletes to really understand what training is.

Daily, we work on showing up on time, warming-up correctly (focus and technique), how to approach each exercise theme (focus and technique), recovery (going to bed early, eating right: what's eating right or how to figure that out, relaxation/stress management solutions, etc.), record keeping, attitude and effort.