Friday, May 30, 2014

a coach's battlefield

I recently posted this photo on Instagram and began to discuss some of the great things about hill sprinting and using hills for training purposes.

cute, huh?!
But as I tend to do while coach thinking, I added cautions to all the great possibilities that sprinting and training on hills presents, knowing full well the athletic development profession is full of hooligans inbreeding in an absolute universe - it's all good, or it's all bad. Whatever 'it' may be.

Here are the hill sprinting/training thoughts I posted:

Hill sprints - not the 'end all, be all', but hey, Walter Payton did them! 

NOTICE - Sprints (or walking/hiking). Not run. Not jog. Sprints (or walking/hiking). That middle ground purgatory isn't good for much. 

Good for some acceleration abilities but be wary of excessive inclines causing extensive ground contact times. 

Good for hip flexor (quad and hip/glute) work but be wary of chronic, hill sprinting-induced, shortened stride lengths... which then again may be ok for someone progressing back to function from a muscular strain (specifically hamstring) occurred during flat overground sprinting. 

Potential pedagogical enhancement of arm and leg drive and foot contacts for acceleration but be wary that it could be a detriment if the connection/bridge is not made to flat land acceleration. 

Good for the achilles/gastroc complex but be wary of the potential tendonitis(es) and subsequent tendinopathies from ill-timed progressive overloads. ... but also the potential to help with tendinopathies; eccentric loading from backwards walking down the hill or backwards double-leg hops down for the achilles and forward walking downhill for the patella tendon. 

Soccer shoes for maximal traction and minimal foot and ankle restrictions. 

And sometimes it's just a fun change-up from the horizontal earth. 

To name a few things about hill sprints... 

To say that my mind is a constant battlefield of arguments being shot back and forth regarding exercise prescription, sequencing, volume and such, is a massive understatement. MASSIVE.

Although, as a coach I think it is my major responsibility - to know about as many of the potential outcomes possible in order to make sound decisions with what I am asking other's physiologies to do; which then subsequently mold and adapt to. Sometimes (relatively) permanently.

As other great coaches have said before, "At what cost?". Every individual training stimulus has it's outcomes, but for every sport and individual, those outcomes can be anywhere on a spectrum from negative to positive. So many possibilities. So many decisions to be made. What are the consequences? What will be the end result? The anti-pattern of analysis paralysis...

But then, a good friend posted this statement (on Instagram):

"I like sprinting, but I hate being wary."

Touché.

Especially when sprinting.

AS

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Moving is probably just very pleasurable."


"There are at least two exploratory motives. The first one has to do with learning about one’s own action capabilities. For example, before infants master reaching, they spend hours and hours trying to get the hand to an object in spite of the fact that they will fail, at least to begin with. For the same reason, children abandon established patterns of behavior in favor of new ones. For instance, infants stubbornly try to walk at an age when they can locomote much more efficiently by crawling. In these examples there is no obvious external reward. It is as if the infants knew that sometime in the future they would be much better off if they could master the new activities. The direct motives are, of course, different. Moving is probably just very pleasurable. According to Adolph and Berger (2006), infants who have recently started to walk take, on the average, over 9,000 steps during a day. Expanding one’s action capabilities seems extremely rewarding. When new possibilities open up as a result of, for example, the establishment of new neuronal pathways, improved perception, or biomechanical changes, children are eager to explore them. At the same time, they are eager to explore what the objects and events in their surroundings afford in terms of their new modes of action (Gibson & Pick, 2000). The pleasure of moving makes children less focused on what is to be achieved and more on their movement possibilities. It makes children try many different procedures and introduces necessary variability into the learning process."

... from Action, the foundation for cognitive development by Claes von Hofsten.

... and Frank Forencich in a recent interview:

"I am mystified by the modern “motivation problem.” Many people report having poor motivation and believe that a trainer can supply it. Or, we resort to hyper-normal stimuli like loud music to get our bodies moving. Or, we sign up for boot camps so that coaches and trainers will force us to get moving. But this is all based on a flawed assumption: that physical movement in inherently unpleasant. We see this assumption at work all across the medical-fitness-public health world. In many cases, public health leaders have simply given up. Exercise sucks, so we’ll have to apply more interesting carrots and more fear-based sticks to get people to move their bodies.

This, of course, is nonsense. Every child and every dog knows that movement is inherently pleasant. They move, not for some ulterior motive, but because it feels good. That is, the motivation is in the movement, nor in something external. The art lies in finding movements that make you feel good, not in being driven by externals.

As trainers, we need to offer more interesting and pleasant movement experiences. The reason that people hate exercise is that we give them too many rigid, single plane drills. We’ve forgotten the bounce and the dance that animates our bodies and our lives. We’re so busy calculating numbers and tracking results that we forget how much fun we can have. So put down the clipboard (iPad), grab a few medicine balls and start creating. Free yourself from the notion that your clients have to suffer. Instead, help them to fall in love with movement."

... moving is probably just very pleasurable...

Jump yo!
Margo's loving this. Really.
full engagement.
intense vestibular action is a bit scary... which is a great reason to do it
don't let that serious face fool you, she's locked into some intense crawling fun.
... your's truly.
No need to always conquer, master, suffer, survive, whip into, grind, crush, suck, slay...

AS