Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Creating A Shared Reality

Olympic lifting is the best way to develop power. (Stated as a fact)

vs. these options:

I think Olympic lifting is the best way to develop power.

I think Olympic lifting is one of the best ways to develop power.

Olympic lifting is one possibility for developing power.


We are more powerful because of our use of the Olympic lifts. (Stated as knowing causation)

vs. these options:

We've become more powerful in the lower body from the Olympic lifts.

We've become more powerful in the lower body from the Olympic lifts, as our measurements by vertical jump indicate.

Olympic lifts are part of our program, which as a whole, has been successful in enhancing our vertical jump ability, indicating some changes in lower body power.

Some people might think the above sentences are just semantics, but I believe, very strongly, that the language we use is one of the major problems in the field of athletic development. I feel that we could have much more civil discourse, if we simply acknowledged that most of what we say is opinion (this includes the "experts"). There are very few, if any, eternal facts or absolute truths. Not one coach or scientists holds the "holy grail" of making people faster, stronger, bigger, leaner, and better.
This is one area I am trying to get better at with my writing - to use more clear language as it relates to my direct experience. It will doubtfully allow me to sell anything, as it is hard to market anything saying "This might work for you", but the honest truth is that everything is relative, and the answers are almost always, "it depends". What it does allow though, is a shared reality from which to begin a conversation or debate.

Even if some method might have made a positive impact, or a program was associated with someone winning a championship or medal, this does not imply that it will work for everyone or anyone else... nor does it deem that the method or program was the only possible history that could have led to similar outcomes. Along with many possible causal variants, there are just as many outcome variations, that can be considered a success. Life, in general, is a dynamical system, and chaos is something we all must deal with.

For some, this might take the fun out of trying to be 'right', and it certainly has made my quest to become a guru much more challenging.



Josh Leeger said...

Ballistics are more effective at developing power than Olympic lifts.

Aaron Schwenzfeier said...

Is that J-prime you speak Josh?!

True, as in the rate of work being done, in which case absolute speed during sprinting would likely be the most powerful of movements.

And, since you bring up ballistics and this post touches on language... the noted neurophysiologist William Calvin hypothesizes that ballistic movements such as throwing led to the brain development that made way for the possibility of language. Both ballistic movements and language processes share some of the same regions of the brain.

So, nice point on ballistics!

Josh Leeger said...


Just wanted to be a D! Messing with you man!

...but it's true...hahaha