Posts

Contemporary coaching challenges

This is an excerpt from my book Athletic Development: The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning that I thought was particularly timely. Read more

GAINcast Episode 134: Sports science has lost its way (with Tony Strudwick)

Over the last decade the field of sports science has grown exponentially. At the same time it has started to lose its way. Rather than telling players what they can do, it often tells players what they can’t. Rather than focusing on adaptations, it focuses on measuring loads. And rather than being coach-driven, training has become driven more by the backroom staff. On this episode of the GAINcast, Tony Studwick shares his experience as a sports scientist. In more than a decade with Manchester United he saw first hand how the field has evolved and what the best teams do differently in this area. Read more

The importance of realistic training

In 1993, Ramzi Yousef, an Al-Qaeda terrorist, drove a van laden with explosives into the parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York. Twelve minutes later, the 600kg bomb detonated, opening a 30 meter wide hole in the concrete floor of the garage, and killing six bystanders. The bomb blast caused smoke to raise through the building, resulting in the complete evacuation of everyone inside. In all, 50,000 people left the towers following the bomb blast. Read more

Work capacity: the concept

Work capacity is the ability to tolerate a workload and recover from that workload. In order for an athlete to improve they must be able to do a certain threshold amount of work. They must be able to work at a level that will ensure enough stress to achieve an optimum adaptive response. If they cannot do the work, they will not improve. Therefore, the goal with this type of individual would be to build a work capacity base that fits the specific demands of the athlete’s sport. Read more

Fitter, stronger, faster: a needs-based approach to individualizing team sports training

Working in Olympic sports you are afforded an almost unlimited amount of time to work with your athletes in small groups allowing the delivery of all sorts of bespoke programs. In rugby, with 45-50 players and I have a staff of three coaches plus three student interns, individualization becomes a bit more difficult. Read more

So, you want a coaching job?

In the course of my fifty years of coaching I have been fortunate to have had great mentors, influences and role models. I learned very early that I was not entitled to anything I had to pay my dues and earn the right to move forward. I constantly had to prove my competence and continue to improve. Read more

GAINcast Episode 132: Learning to control (with John Kiely)

John Kiely has done some groundbreaking work on periodization, but that isn’t the only topic he is interested in. When it comes to his work with rugby, track and field, and soccer he focuses on making an impact through coordination. On this week’s podcast we take a look at the framework he uses to understand coordination, and how that translates into some surprising methods with athletes. Read more

The path to the premiership

On last week’s GAINcast, Lachlan Penfold took us on a journey through his career working. Penfold is a master of setting up a performance environment, and his results in a variety of different sports is proof of that. One stop on that journey was with the Sydney Roosters, a professional rugby league competing in Australia’s National Rugby League. He worked as head of performance and science for three seasons that culminated in the 2013 premiership title. Since then has worked for Australian 7s rugby, the Golden State Warriors, and currently with the Melbourne Storm, who he has also helped win a premiership title in the National Rugby League. Read more

What exercise classification can and can’t do for your training

You can classify exercises in a number of ways: on a scale of specificity, by the plane of movement, by degrees of freedom, by the speed of movement, or through various other methods. One approach is that of Anatoli Bondarchuk, who we have covered many times on our podcast and in our webinar on his training methods, which divides exercises into four categories based on his definition of specificity. In talking with coaches over the past few years, his method provides a simple tool that coaches in any spot can implement. But let’s be clear, it also has it’s limitations, like any method of exercise classification. Exercise classification is the start of a process, not the solution itself. There are certain things that exercise classification can and cannot do. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 169: Reflections

Off-season training is about to start up in many sports. Like other coaches, we are putting our plans together and using this time to reflect back on how things went last year. On this week’s podcast we discuss what we’ll do differently next year in a few key areas like in-season training, periodization, progressions, and more. Read more