Favorite Exercises

I always get a good chuckle when I am asked what are my favorite exercises and I answer I don’t have any. Why don’t I have any favorite exercises, really it is quite simple. I have a big toolbox of exercises accumulated over my years of coaching; I must know how to use each of those tools appropriately as demanded by the needs of the athlete and the sport and position. Read more

Culture – The Difference Maker

I have been fascinated all my life with why some teams win and some teams lose. As a young athlete and I coach I sensed it but I did not really know what it was. After about ten years of coaching it was quite apparent it was culture. Culture is in some ways abstract and somewhat intangible. You know good culture when you see it and conversely you know bad culture when you see it. In my experience great coaches create great cultures. It is a level of expectation, a feeling that what you are doing will produce positive results. Culture is more than the domain of the coaches though. Read more

Isolationism

It is easy to get caught in the isolationist trap. Trying to isolate an energy system or any system of the body may be mentally convenient and look good in theory but in practice it is like chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. All systems of the body work together all the time and they work together synergistically to maintain a state of homeostasis. Read more

Advice to Young Coaches & Old Coaches Also

Vern CauldronLast week I had the opportunity to spend two days with my friend, mentor and professional colleague Dr Joe Vigil at our USATF Coaching Education meeting at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista. Joe is 83 years old and just as passionate & enthusiastic as he was when I first met him over thirty years ago. He gets up at 4:00 Am every morning and does two hours of professional development reading. He is one of the most accomplished coaches in the world and is still hungry to learn! When I spend time with Joe I come away inspired and full of ideas. We both share a passion for coaching and teaching and a concern for some of the things we see happening in coaching today. The following is some advice gleaned from my conversations with Joe and from my experience. Hopefully it will be food thought as each of you moves forward in your careers. Read more

That Time of Year

Next week most collegiate and high school fall sports begin practice. Conventional wisdom dictates that these sports start with a “training Camp” usually eight to ten days of two or three times a day practices. Supposedly the purpose is to get ready for the upcoming season. Frankly this is a vestige of times past when there were no off-season programs and the players had to get in shape (Not that you can get in shape in two weeks anyway). In reality what happened then and still happens today is that over the course of this training camp fatigue accumulates and the risk of injury increases. In addition the fatigue from this period carries over into the first competitions thus compromising game performance. To compound the problem it is typical to start the training with testing to determine the player’s fitness for the game (I say that somewhat facetiously). If the player fails the test then they are made to do so-called remedial work (AKA punishment) until they pass the test. They are also expected to practice thus compounding the problem of fatigue. By the time they are “in shape” the season is one third over. Here is an example from a major DI school in Field Hockey (This is more the norm than the exception). Read more

Great Advice & Food for Thought

Some wise words of wisdom and some real food for thought from Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz: “Grow with discipline. Balance intuition with rigor. Innovate around the core. Don’t embrace status quo. Find new ways to see. Never expect a silver bullet. Get your hands dirty. Listen with empathy and overcommunicate with transparency. Read more

USA Track & Field Coaching Education – An Overview (Part Three)

This is Part Three of the original article that appeared in the IAAF Technical Journal that was published under the title “Coaches Education – a perspective,” New Studies In Athletics, Vol. 6 # 4,1991, pp. 7-11

Can you teach someone to coach? Coaching is definitely an art. It is a feel for saying and doing the right thing at the right time. I question if this can be taught. On the other hand the technical aspects can be taught and coaching skills can be improved in this manner. Communication skills, leadership skills, and psychological skills all can be enhanced through education. All of this is dependent on the desire of the coach to want to be better. Just because a coach attends a course and passes a test is no guarantee of that individual’s ability to coach. This is another reason that the focus should be on education rather certification. Read more

USA Track & Field Coaching Education – An Overview (Part Two)

Part Two of the article that appeared in the IAAF Technical Journal it was published under the title “Coaches Education – a perspective,” New Studies In Athletics, Vol. 6 # 4,1991, pp. 7-11
The curriculum is composed of two basic components: sport science and event specific. The goal in each area was to teach fundamental principles that the coaches could immediately apply. It was designed so that coach with little or no background in sport science or coaching could understand the material. Evaluation at level I consisted of a multiple choice, open book, take home exam. Read more

USA Track & Field Coaching Education – An Overview (Part One)

A couple of weeks ago when going through some old computer files I came across an article I wrote on the USA Track & Field (Then known as TAC) Coaching Education program. This weekend I will be going to the USOTC in Chula Vista for some planning meetings on the coaching education program. As I have gotten back involved over the last eighteen months I have become increasingly aware of how few people know the history and origins of the program. The programs started with a meeting at the 1981 TAC Convention in Reno. A group of us felt that we needed to start a coaching education program. Read more

Championship Season – Swimming

6a00e5521cccd0883401901e62f75d970b-320wiMy favorite time of the training years is the so-called championship season. I say so-called because champions shine all year by winning workouts and preparing for this special time. This is the time leading into and including all the big championship meets. This is the time where all the hard work pays off and the time to shine and compete. I am privileged to work with three swim clubs as a consultant on their dryland training – Carmel Swim Club, Carmel Indiana, Dynamo Swim Club, Atlanta and Sarasota YMCA Sharks. Read more