What are you missing?

As we often miss key elements of movement because we become very stereotyped and always see movement from the same perspective. It is so easy to have a confirmation bias and see what you are looking for and miss the real problem. It is so important to see movement with new eyes. Eliminate bias. Don’t focus on the site of pain or the perceived cause of the technical flaw. Look at how everything is connected and linked. If there is pain in the knee then look at the joints above and below. Read more

Every Bit Counts

Training is a process. It is a process of blending all components of training into a useable whole to allow adaption in pursuit of competition goals. Every bit of training big and small counts. The art is assembling those bits so that they fit together seamlessly. Read more

Figuring It Out

I don’t know about you but I don’t have it figured out. I think one of the biggest challenges in coaching and in life is the challenge of figuring it out. It makes coaching fun. I know there was a time 33 years ago when I thought I had it figured out and what followed was one of the worst years coaching I have ever had. Read more

Being Average

I find it very interesting to watch how hard people work at being average. It is easy to be average so I don’t really understand why people work at it but they do. Ever notice how those that choose to be average are always making excuses, it is too hot or it too cold. They overslept or didn’t get enough sleep. They forgot their water bottle. They forgot their spikes or their bathing suit and on and on. Read more

Functional Path Training – Eight Years Into it

Eight years ago this week I started writing this blog. I had no clue about blogging and even less about the connected world of cyberspace. I started writing the blog as a daily “warm-up” for my writing of my Athletic Development book. I had no idea that I would still be writing eight years latter and that it would be syndicated and have the followers that it does through various social media. As I have said before I do not write the blog for others, I selfishly write it for myself. I use it to organize my thoughts to direct my work at that time. If others get something out of it, that is a bonus. I have never shied away from expressing my opinions and will continue to do as long as I write the blog. If I am wrong I will apologize. Read more

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