Posts

Training Essentials – The P’s

Progression – It is a building process where each step is dependent on the step before. Read more

Strength Training – A Definition

Strength is often trained is an independent motor quality, I certainly have made that mistake. Strength is a highly interdependent motor quality. Unfortunately it took me too many years to really understand and apply that. I think some of the problem and confusion lies in the definition of strength training. In order to clarify what strength training is it is important to have a good operational definition of strength training. When I was first exposed to the work of Frans Bosch ten years ago he defined strength training as: “Coordination training under increased resistance.” Just that concept got me thinking again about how much strength is enough and are you ever strong enough? I thought his definition was a step in the right direction to help me answer those two questions but it was not comprehensive enough. So over the past few years I have worked to come up with my own operational definition of strength training incorporating Bosch’s ideas. For the definition to be operational it needs to be applicable to all training environments. The definition I use for Strength Training is:

Coordination training with appropriate resistance to handle bodyweight, project an implement, move or resist movement of another body, resist gravity and optimize ground reaction forces.

Let’s parse this out and look at the elements of the definition in detail. Read more

Functional Path Training Rules

These are simple training rules that I use to guide me on the Functional Path to grow, develop and nurture adaptable athletes who understand the wisdom of their bodies and it’s ability to self organize and solve movement problems: 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

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

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

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

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