Strength Coach & The Way of the Dinosaur

This piece is a must read for all those interested in coaching athletes. Recently CBS wrote an article on the unregulated world of collegiate strength and conditioning. Let me preface this post by stating that this is not an impulsive post in reaction to this article. (More extensive discussion of this will be on tomorrows GAINcast, to down load and listen go to http://www.thegaincast.com/.) The issues raised have been a concern of mine for close to thirty years. The article brought to the fore some huge issues facing us today at the high school and collegiate level regarding the lack of professional training and control over what has been traditionally called strength and conditioning. This article underscores and exposes glaring deficiencies in the system. Let me state my bias and point of view up front – I abhor the name/label of strength coach. It is a very limiting title and is a term and a concept from a bygone area when it was just about getting football players big and strong in the weight room but the name goes to the heart of the issue. Read more

A Doping Primer

Anyone who knows me or has regularly read this blog or followed me on social media knows that I am vehemently anti-drug. So, it may seem strange to have a post on a primer for drug use and how to beat the system but I think this will give you context for looking at the issue. This is what I have seen up close and personal in my 48 years of coaching how athletes and coaches beat the system. Read more

Using Olympic Style Weight Lifting – A perspective

Olympic lifting is a sport. That sport consists of lifting as much weight as possible in the clean and jerk and the snatch. Those lifts have a high technical demand, but the skill is a closed skill that occurs in one plane through a narrow range of movement. The Olympic lifting movements do produce tremendous power production because of the distance the weight must travel, the weight and the speed requirements. This power production is highly dependent on the technical proficiency of the individual lifter. Essentially, the training of the weight lifter consists of the actual Olympic lifts and some derivative and assistance exercises. There is no running, jumping or other demands on their system. The sole focus is on lifting as much weight as possible. Read more

2017 Reading

Here’s a look at some of the books I have been reading so far in 2017: Read more

Track & Field Omnibook – A Great Resource

This book is truly a classic! It had and continues to have a huge influence on my coaching. Even though the Fourth edition was published in 1985, many of the concepts and principles are as relevant today as they were then. Even though this is a track & field oriented book it is a must read for all coaches who are interested in coaching the person in a systematic and holistic manner. It just underscores how Ken Doherty was an innovative thinker who was way ahead of his time. Read more

Resources to Learn How to Get Better at Getting Better

I am convinced that going forward in sport the biggest gains and the so called marginal gains too will come from how we get better at getting better. How we can improve our teaching, how we make practice and training more meaningful and effective will be the biggest difference makers. I am going to make this a major focus for the rest of my career. In that spirit, I am sharing with you this list of resources. This is by no means exhaustive, it is just the books I have in my library that I have read. I am now in the process of re-reading some of these books and going through them all and reviewing the annotations and underlinings to put together an action plan of principles we can all use as coaches. It’s going to take some time. I am interested in hearing from you about other resources and ideas in this area. We will all get better at getting better by sharing. Read more

GAIN 2017 Theme

Each year for have a theme that serves as a focal point for our presentations and discussions for that year. This year our theme is:

Making Connections to Foster Meaningful Change & Innovation Read more

Guru or Coach

This is an old post that I think is particularly timely. The bottom line message is to find a mentor not a guru. Read more

Unforgiving, Relentless and Undefeated

I am not talking about the UConn women’s basketball that just won their 100th straight game or the New England Patriots. I am talking about two of the greatest athletes ever! Who are they? You know them because you compete with them all day everyday. One is invisible but beats you every time. The other is always underfoot, but because it is so familiar we fail to recognize it. I am talking about gravity and the ground. Read more

Sports Science?

I see more gobbledygook and sciency stuff called “sports science” going on today that ever in my years as athlete and coach. Has anyone taken a step back and honestly assessed where we are going with all this? Everybody and anybody who administers a wellness survey or monitors some physiological function now calls themselves a sports scientist. Over the course of my career I have had the opportunity to work with some the greatest exercise physiologists, biomechanists, sports psychologists and motor learning/skill acquisition experts ever. I have seen how these professionals work as part of a performance team, backstage, not onstage claiming super bowl wins, world cup wins or Olympic goal medals. We were all part of a performance team with a clear goal working in one direction to make the athlete or team better. The great performance teams that I have worked in and seen work are coach driven. This demands that the sport coach be educated to ask the right questions and know how to direct the efforts. Read more