Long and strong: why athletes need both

As young people go through their growth spurts their bones become longer. In the short term this can be detrimental to skill and strength as they become accustomed to their longer levers. They have become long, but not strong. Imagine rolling modeling clay out on a table. You start off with a solid ball and watch as it gradually gets longer and thinner. You pick it up and it flops around, useful for shaping, but more likely to fall apart. Read more

Moving beyond the plank

There is a tendency within the education and scientific world to measure things. We benchmark things or test things, create an intervention, and then measure again to see if progress has been made. As the human body is immensely complex, we can’t measure everything, so this process requires us to isolate and reduce to simple measurements. What starts out as in innocent project can quickly become a dogmatic approach to training or education, where we “teach to the test” and lose sight of what our original aim was. Read more

Finding the right feedback for reflective coaching

Finding the right time for reflective coaching is critical, as I wrote about last week. But reflecting will not bring your coaching forward if you do not have the right information. In order to properly reflect, you need to search out the best information. Read more

Reflective practice for coaches

Plan, do, and review. That’s the basic outline of the coaching process. Most coaches love the doing part, some are good at planning, but what about the review? In my experience this is the poor, neglected child of coaching; an afterthought that might be brought up once a year in a formal evaluation setting. It is a bit like a cool down in the training environment, everyone knows it is important, but most are too busy or too tired to do it properly. Read more

Kids and weightlifting

Weight lifting is quite simple. You pick something up and put it above your head. Every granny who unloads her shopping and puts her jar of Marmite in the larder does it. Children helping granny will do it too. Why then do some people get caught up in making weight lifting so complicated? I prefer to keep things simple. In this article I shall endeavor to share what we do when teaching children at Excelsior Athletic Development Club, where we are affiliated with British Weightlifting, British Athletics, and British Gymnastics. Read more

The problem with pathways (aka how to put together a real Endgame)

The film Avengers: Endgame has smashed all box office records since its release. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which started with Iron Man in 2008, now encompasses 21 movies culminating in this three-hour epic. Multiple plot lines, dozens of characters, cameos and references to past movies were included. Nothing like this has ever been done before and eleven years ago no one would have predicted the path this franchise has taken. Read more