In some ways, training is about the constant pursuit of staying focused. Coaches can help in this regard. It isn’t just about telling athletes to focus; it’s also about what exercises you choose, how training is structured, and what tools are used. On this episode of the podcast Steve Myrland joins us to discuss mindfulness in training, finding focus, and rethinking the barbell.
Notes and quotes
Throughout Myrland’s career he has had success across different sports and different roles. He spent the largest span of time at the University of Wisconsin, where he worked with conference championships teams in hockey, soccer, cross country, tennis, and rowing over a dozen years. He has also worked in professional sports, including a stint as the head strength coach with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. Currently he is Wellness Director and District Performance Coach for Athletics at Middleton School District in Wisconsin.
Mindfulness in training
- 4:00 – The importance of mindfulness and staying focused: “The real bad stuff happens when we disconnect our brain from our bodies and the process of training. “
- 7:30 – The “effortless” throw, “swing” in rowing, and elements of the sport that are lost when training with derivatives.
- 11:15 – The role of autopilot in sports: “You need a good autopilot, but create a good autopilot by turning it off during training. “
- 16:00 – Mindfulness in short vs. long duration sports.
- 17:30 – Being aware of the differences in substitute training methods (e.g. roller blading for hockey, treadmill for runners, etc.): “If you are not aware of the significant differences and potential pitfalls of substitute training methods, you can end of practicing poor technique. “
- 22:30 – Coaching tips to keep athletes more focused: “Distracting athletes can help them stay more focused. “
- 25:30 – Finding training tools that bring about mindfulness and motor learning: “Your body learns how to predict unpredictability. That’s what we are trying to create in our athletes: create a good adaptable machine rather than an adapted machine. “
- 32:15 – When to slow things down in training and examples from various sports. “If you can’t do it slow, you can’t do it fast. Going slow can also help you understand the elements of the movement. “
Rethinking the barbell
- 41:30 – Rethinking the barbell. “Barbells require the body to organize itself the bar, rather than optimize the movement for the athlete. ” “Functional equipment asks your body what it can do; less functional equipment tells your body what it can do. “
- 49:00 – The hex bar as an alternative to the barbell.
- 52:00 – The spine and planes of movement: “The barbell helps create a spine that is strong and stiff, but we want structures that are strong and supple. “
- 53:45 – The struggle to find overload through functional training.
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.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- The site theme in April is “beyond the barbell.” Stay tuned for more on the topic in the coming weeks and don’t forget to join HMMR Plus so you don’t miss more on this topic. Sign up and get access to numerous webinars, online meetups, articles, our sports science newsletter, and more.
- Through our collaboration with GAIN, HMMR members can take a look at prior GAIN presentations such as Myrland’s GAIN presentation on and demonstration of exercises with sticks and straps to develop strength on the field.
- Mryland contributed to the site with two article last year: one on functional training and on one athlete-appropriate planning. You can find his site here.
- He has also been a guest on GAINcast 25 in 2016 and GAINcast 108 last month.
- Other topics touched on in this episode: Gary Winckler touched on his classification of training derivates on GAINcast 9. The fartlek was also a method discussed on GAINcast 91 on endurance methods.
- Keeping focus has been a topic of several interviews and articles on this site. Some of the resources referenced were games used by Sergej Litvinov Jr., strategies from Jüri Tamm, suggestions from Dan Pfaff, and the John Kiely’s thoughts on the role of slow training.