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Only the Paranoid Survive

Being that I am from San Jose, California I have always followed our Bay Area sports teams. One of those teams being the Stanford University football team. A number of years ago Stanford was considered one of the worst football teams in all of NCAA Division I football. Then came Coach Jim Harbaugh. There was an immediate effect as soon as Coach Harbaugh took over Stanford football. In the following years Stanford went from one of the worst football teams in Division I to one of the top programs. This obviously intrigued me and led me to read everything available regarding Coach Harbaugh’s coaching style. After I found that he endorsed a book called Only the Paranoid Survive, I immediately purchased it in hopes that it could be applied to my own coaching.

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Book Review: The Olympian Manual for Strength and Size

I’ve given a teaser and interviewed the translator, but I have yet to give my own thoughts on Dr. Bondarchuk’s new book The Olympian Manual for Strength and Size. As we are sending out the pre-orders I thought it was time for me to weigh in with my thoughts. As I normally do in my book reviews, I will give an overview of the book, discuss in detail it’s organization and content, and then summarize what I like and didn’t like. If you would like to order the book, you can do so in the HMMR Media Store. As discussed below, if you order the book from HMMR Media I can also help answer some questions you might have after reading it. Read more

Interview with Jake Jensen

The publisher is putting the finishing touches on Bondarchuk’s latest book (Olympian Manual for Strength & Sizepre-order here) and it should be shipped this month. An overview of the book and its table of contents are available here, but in the meantime I had a chance to talk with translator Jake Jensen about his own thoughts on the book. I assisted Jake in the editing of the book and got to know him throughout the process. As a competitive weightlifter and trainer, Jake is not just interested in translating the book, but also in what it contains.
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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