Running Mechanics – Part Three

To correct running mechanics it is best to use Fault/Reason/Correction Paradigm. First identify the fault in the mechanics. Then find the reason for the flaw and then correct the flaw. Look at the big things first in the context of the PAL Paradigm. Get a sense of the flow of the action, before looking at specific considerations. Focus in on smaller pieces of the puzzle only after global considerations have been addressed. This is in concert with the whole/part/whole concept of motor learning, start with the whole action in this case running, then look at the parts. Decide what parts need attention. Design task oriented drills or movements that will reinforce the correction of those parts. Rather than focus on the fault you are trying to correct, give the athlete a task to achieve that will correct the fault. Above all coach the correction, don’t coach the flaw. Allow the runner to explore and solve the movement equation, then, as soon as possible relate the drill back to the whole action. Read more

GAIN 2013 Teaching Schedule

Many of you have asked what the GAIN program looks like. This is time schedule and the topics for 2013 GAIN. You can see it is a total immersion program and quite comprehensive in it’s approach. Not a moment is wasted, every opportunity for learning is used. In another post I will talk about the faculty. Read more

Running Mechanics – Part Two

sprintingThe starting point for running mechanics is a basic technical model. That technical model is what man must do sprint at top speed. Therefore in teaching to improve running mechanics we must start with sound sprint mechanics and extend those concepts out to longer distances. Even in distance running, ultimately the person who runs the fastest is the person who can maintain the greatest percentage of their maximum speed the longest. Running skill is a motor task! Like any motor task it is teachable and trainable. As with any motor task a systematic approach toward improving running mechanics will yield optimum results. The system that I have evolved to improve running mechanics is call the PAL System™. PAL is an acronym that stands for Posture, Arm Action, and Leg Action. Those are the three areas of emphasis in running. The objectives of the system are fourfold. The first objective is to provide a context to analyze movement. Secondly the PAL System™ is a systematic step-by-step teaching progression. The third aspect is that it provides a context to direct training based on the needs established in the past two steps. Lastly it provides a rehab context by establishing a criterion based progressive approach toward getting someone back to normal gait pattern after an injury. Read more

Running Mechanics – Part One

Running is a fundamental locomotor skill. It is a very natural activity. Unfortunately because of our sedentary lifestyle and activity deprived society this natural skill rapidly erodes in accordance with the law of reversibility. As with any skill if is not used it is quickly lost. Generally, young children run naturally with fundamentally sound running mechanics. We need to insure that this natural activity is reinforced through activity and play during childhood, so that in adolescence and latter all that is necessary is to reawaken those childhood movement patterns. If the skill has been lost through disuse it is tough to reacquire. Read more

GAIN 2013 – The Experience

6a00e5521cccd0883401901d8f8573970b-320wiI am in the midst of GAIN withdrawal syndrome. What is that? Well it is actually pretty simple, after you spend five days with highly motivated coaches, therapists and teachers who are hungry to learn and willing to share and you leave there is a very empty feeling. It is so stimulating and uplifting to be in that environment that it is difficult to return to the daily routine. Only 12 more months until GAIN 2014! Read more

Developing Athletes

athletic_developmentI have signed a contract with Human Kinetics to write a new book tentatively titled “Developing Athletes.” In many ways it is a follow-up and update on Athletic Development – The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning. The goal is to take a long hard hard look at the theory and practice of long term athlete development. I intend to seperate fact from fiction and look closely at model programs that have successfully developed athletes with an emphasis on why. It is going to be a big job; I plan on starting writing in earnest as soon as I return from GAIN. It should be published in late 2014. Any ideas or input you might have would be appreciated. The following is the introduction book that I wrote in my book proposal. Read more

Functional Training – Method or Madness? Part Three

All movement is functional; it is just to what degree is it functional. Function is integrated multi-directional movement. Functional movement is meaningful movement that is part of a chain reaction, not an isolated event. Movement occurs on a continuum of function. Some movements are more functional than other based on the end object of the training. Read more

Functional Training – Method or Madness? Part Two

I have never been reluctant to challenge conventional wisdom and it was conventional wisdom that was causing us to stagnate in training. It just was not getting the job done. I felt there had to more than max V02 and other artificial measurements of performance, more than just mindlessly running straight ahead, more than excessive emphasis on heavy lifting, more than fancy machines that isolated body parts and more than static stretching. I leaned heavily on the work of Logan & McKinney and their classic text Kinesiology, Knott & Voss and their work on Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation and John Jesse and his approach to performance training and injury prevention. It was a move away from a linear reductionist and segmented view of the body to a holistic, synergistic quantum approach. In so many ways what evolved as functional training taps into old tried and true concepts and methods that were once the norm and then fell out of favor for various reasons. The saying that everything old is new again could not be truer. Read more

Functional Training – Method or Madness? Part One

As someone who is considered the father of functional sports training I think it is time to revisit the concept in order to better understand it – Where did it come from, how it evolved, where it is today and where it is going. Functional training is a label for a concept. As with any label it is subject to various interpretations. I originally conceived it as multi lateral training integrating various training modalities (medicine ball, stretch cord, weight training, dumbbells, body weight etc.) to produce significant adaptation in specific performance parameters. It trains all systems of the body while recognizing and respecting the wisdom of the body. The end result is a highly adaptable athlete who is able to perform without limitations in the competitive environment. Contrast this to biased one- sided training that results in adapted athletes who are inconsistent in performance and prone to injury. Read more

Age & Experiences

Hopefully with age comes wisdom. I don’t think I am any smarter today at age 66 that was at 26 or 36; I think I have learned from many experiences, some good, some bad, some successes and some failures. I certainly have many more questions than answers. I think the key is continually learning. It really is an attitude, a mindset, you can learn from anyone and any situation. I try to learn from everyone I meet and from every situation. Read more