HMMR Podcast Episode 136: Test and Transfer (with René Sack)

The Germans have put together a sports machine that continues to produce champions in athletics. You can attribute a lot of their success comes down to what they do, but even more comes from how they do it. The processes they have put in place for coaches education, sports science, and talent development all contribute to their results. On this episode of the podcast we invite national discus coach René Sack back on two discuss two processes that are key to his group: testing processes and trying to identify transfer.

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Notes and Quotes

A former elite thrower himself (personal best 19.84 meters in the shot put), Rene now belongs to the next generation of German coaches and is in his second year as German national coach for the women’s discus. He leads a group of throwers in Halle, as well as overseeing the women’s discus nationwide. This is his second time on our show and for this visit the conversation focused mostly on testing processes and specific training methods.

  • 4:15 – An outline of the German throws approach to testing.
  • 6:30 – The value in consistency and large populations for testing. “I can compare my athletes to any of the best German throwers over the past decade and even some international throwers.
  • 8:15 – Longitudinal value of testing in finding transfer. “We can go back in time what the situation was like when performance was at its best.”
  • 11:45- Making test results actionable. “When an athlete has been training for 20 years, change is about centimeters. Testing provides a chance to take a deeper dive and discuss.”
  • 15:30 – Testing technique.
  • 16:45 – Collaborating to find a solution. “I can’t say to other coaches what to do since I don’t pay their salary, so I have to convince them to work together as one team.”
Specific strength and the search for transfer
Other training methods

To hear more on these topics, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.

Further Reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:

  • The January theme on HMMR Media is testing. Throughout the month we will feature new podcasts, articles, and videos on the topic from leading coaches. Become a HMMR Plus member to get access to all the content. Support the podcast and don’t miss out on all the great content we have on HMMR Media.
  • To learn more from Rene, listen to our interview with him on Episode 79. Vern and I also discussed his recent presentations on GAINcast 94. You can also find him on Twitter at @ReneSack.
  • We rank the throwing results from each country on an annual basis and German is always among the top performers, especially in the discus. You can view the 2017 rankings here.
  • On GAINcast 88 Vern also discussed the testing process and best practices for making tests actionable with Ola Eriksrud.
  • We referenced two specific strength exercises in this episode: you can see Kibwe’s video of the German hammer machine and also watch Rene’s reactive discus throw exercise.
  • We discussed gymnastics, aquabags, and other topics on the episode too. Aquabags are for sale in the HMMR store. Gymnastics is a topic we also covered recently with Jennifer Joyce on Episode 133.