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Book Review: Olympic Weightlifting for Sports

book-OlyForSportsBefore the Olympic weightlifting coaching roundtable finished up with the thoughts of some throwing coaches, I thought I would share my thoughts on a recent book on Olypmic weightlifting as it relates to the training for other sports.

Coach Greg Everett participated in both part 1 and part 2 of the coaching roundtable, providing input from the perspective of a weightlifting coach. Everett runs the Catalyst Athletics club and is also a prolific writer. He prodcues the Performance Menu online journal, hosts a number of quality blogs on his website, and has written two books. His most recent book, Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, is written for non-Weightlifters and seemed to fit in well with the theme of the last week on HMMR Media.
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The Science of Running by Steve Magness

6a00e5521cccd0883401a3fccf9317970b-320wiIf you coach any type of endurance athlete get this book. Even though it is about running it applies directly to swimming, biking, cross country skiing and triathlon. Read it, re-read it and apply the lessons and you will be a better coach and most importantly your athletes will be better for it. Even though it is titled “Science of Running” I think it is the art, the application of the science in very practical easy to understand and apply concepts in a language any coach can use that make this book stand out. Read more

What I’ve Been Reading

I have been reading a lot lately and not just about training. But as with anything, I can always bring the topic back to training. In January, I finished two good non-fiction books: Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To by psychology professor Sian Beilock. And David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell.
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Book Review: Periodization by Bondarchuk Volume 3

I mentioned on Monday, Bondarchuk is as active and busy now as he was decades ago. He recently released an English translation of Volume 3 of his series on Periodization of Training in Sports, available for purchase from his website. I am too biased to give a true book review, but his books are not cheap and I find it helpful to at least give you all an overview of each book here. I finally had a chance to give it a thorough read after the holidays and my impressions are below.
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2013 Books of the Year

So far in 2013 I have read 124 books (Still a week to go so I probably will end with 127). Needless to say I am a confirmed serial bibliophile. I did not include any novels in this list, no particular reason. I am a big Michael Connelly fan, saving his new book, The Gods of Guilt, for next week. Also have just started reading Lee Child, good escape reading. Next year my plan is to go back and read some Mark Twain, Hemingway and Steinbeck, get back to the American roots. These are the ten books I enjoyed the most in 2013. Read more

Coaching Classics

I know I have published this list of coaching classics before but there are many new readers to the blog and followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook and Google Plus who have not seen it. These are classic works that I think every coach should read. They span a range of areas from scientific and technical to sport sociology. Just as with any classic they are timeless. They are rich with knowledge. There are many works in this list that I go back and review each year, they never get old. Challenge yourself and see how many of these you can read in the year, if you do you be a more knowledgeable and well rounded coach for doing it. Read more

The Perfect Physique for Throwing

One chapter of the David Epstein’s The Sports Gene discusses the role of body type in sports and how this has evolved in almost a Darwinian fashion over the last century. At the beginning of the modern Olympic era elite athletes tended to have the same body type. As Epstein explained, in 1925 the average Olympic volleyball player looked similar in stature to an Olympic discus thrower, high jumper, or shot putter. American Robert Garrett was the first modern Olympic discus and shot put champion standing just 6-foot 2-inches and 180-pounds. There is a reason he could easily be mistaken for a high jumper: he also won silver medals in the high jump and long jump. The scientists of the day even had theories of why this was the ideal athlete for each sport. Epstein notes that:

Anthropometrists felt that human physique distributed along a bell curve, and the peak of the curve-the average- was the perfect form, with everything to the sides deviating by accident or fault.

While short players like Nate Robinson can still find success in the NBA, the trend is towards taller and bigger athletes in the league and in the throwing events.

While short players like Nate Robinson can still find success in the NBA, the trend is towards taller and bigger athletes in the league and in the throwing events.

Fast forward a hundred years and each of those sorts has developed a distinct type of athlete that works best for it. Read more

The Sports Gene

sportsgene

Nature versus nurture topic has been a hot topic lately, and was frequently discussed at the International Festival of Athletics Coaching. That is due to David Epstein’s new book The Sports Gene: What Makes The Perfect Athlete, which I just finished last week. Epstein, a former collegiate runner and writer for Sports Illustrated, has put together a must read book on the topic. Since the book’s release in August it has been covered by almost everyone who can write. Mass media outlets like the New York Times, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal have all covered it extensively. The book has also been written about by those within the track and field community since the book spends much of its time looking at track and field topics like Kenyan distance dominance, Jamaican sprint success, the high jump, and other events (I recommend Epstein’s extensive interview with the House of Run). Therefore, other than a whole-hearted recommendation to read the book immediately, there is not a whole lot I can do to add to the conversation. But that won’t stop me from trying.
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Getting Better at Making Your Athletes Better

6a00e5521cccd08834019b00cfbc5a970d-320wiThese are five books that every coach must read if you want to get better at making your athletes better. Ultimately how you you teach determines how effective you will be as a coach. Read more

The Sports Gene

sportsgeneREAD THIS BOOK! In the past three years I have read over 300 books, the Sports Gene is one of the best books I have read in that time. David Epstein not only nails the science but he tells compelling stores that bring the science to life. He takes the complexities of genetics and makes it comprehensible and applicable to the development of athletic performance. To me the clear message is that it is not about nature or nature but it is how we can best nurture nature. Read more