Monday, May 13, 2013

Manual labor training of the 1920's & 30's

Last week, while in Kansas City, I toured through The College Basketball Experience (of which I do not recommend for the $12 I spent to look around) and took the photo below of Ward "Piggy" Lambert's champion Purdue basketball team, that John Wooden was a part of (Coach Wooden is front row, fourth from the left).

It's unlikely that the Purdue Boilermakers had a strength and conditioning program in 1932. But that certainly didn't mean that the players were not strong or conditioned. Looking at the team photo, it's evident that many of the players grew up doing "chores" (as Wooden did); probably on the family farm. The picture reveals some pretty sturdy legs, and deltoids that experienced some serious work. They maybe didn't lift weights, but many of them 'worked' moving weight... and if they were on a farm... double-days.

It's pretty impressive what the manual labor of the day did for many of their physiques. Imagine if they had the training (not the namby-pamby stuff) and facility resources (although maybe the luxury is part of the problem) we have today, with the work ethic of yesterday.

Wooden in high school without a bar, bench, dumbbells, or TRX


Friday, May 3, 2013

Eyal Lederman Interview

I briefly mentioned the work of Eyal Lederman in my presentation regarding the opposing viewpoints on "core stability". Lederman certainly hasn't hesitated to challenge many of the common manual and physical training/therapy methods.

Mythical Methods?
More Mythical Methods?

This interview will almost certainly stir the pot.

I would say Lederman is very much a pragmatist. While I think there is a bit more of a middle ground with regards to movement standards in high performance arenas (than 'absolutely' what Lederman suggests), I agree with much of what he has to say.

"Overload, exposure (frequency), and specificity" as Eyal states, is the requirement to make change... which many of the "corrective" methods (and sadly, some folks ideas of actual training) seem to miss.

I also like his points on motor control, the importance of task-oriented activities, and that the body is robust with 'reserves' to deal with so-called imperfections and injuries. The body has millions of years of evolution behind it, and my opinion has the ability to self-organize without always needing isolated intervention (just desire and good coaching) - meaning compensations may not be exactly so, but simply beautifully functional adaptations.

Either way, I recommend watching the video (and reading his papers).


*Thanks to Joe Przytula for pointing out this video to me. Video courtesy of Dean Griffiths' youtube page.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Small words, big meaning

When I first started in collegiate strength and conditioning, one of the unique things I noticed was after every workout, many of the women's soccer players would thank me. It kind of caught me off guard at first, as I had never been thanked by an athlete after having just pushed them through some pretty physically demanding work. I also, as an athlete, had never really thought to thank a coach post-workout or practice (maybe after the season, but never during)... yet, the more I think about it, however small it is, the simple gesture can go a long ways.

Right now, I specifically know each athlete who genuinely shows their appreciation for your help. And I know that when I am coaching those particular athletes, I consciously up my coaching 'game'. Reflecting, I also realize I subconsciously elevate my coaching performance because of the strong sense of reciprocity I feel from these particular athletes. I've noticed there's great power in reciprocity.

This is just one of the many lessons that a few of the athletes I've worked with have taught me.

Now I try to pass this show of appreciation on to my children. I make sure to have them thank their teachers, swimming instructors, coaches, or anyone else that assists them in even the smallest of situations... and to make sure they know why they are thanking them.

I hope to convey to them the importance of letting their coaches, teachers, and supervisors know that their efforts in helping and caring for them are recognized. And, that they (my children) should be grateful to all people who are helping support their efforts.

There's no such thing as a self-made man or woman.