Posts

The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Sport

Baseball is a simple game; you compete against another team to see who can get the most players around a diamond-shaped playing surface. This means that your team really has two objectives. The first is to get players around the diamond; this means not getting out, either through strikes or being caught. The second is to stop the other team from getting players round the diamond; this means pitching at them well enough so that they can’t hit the ball sufficiently to score a run. To aid these tasks, baseball has traditionally had a number of statistics it can call upon, including batting average (the number of hits you get for each “at-bats”, or hitting attempt), runs scored, and runs allowed. Within the later, you get some pitching statistics, including pitching speed. Common wisdom has it that the faster you pitch, the less time the batter has to figure out where the ball is going to go, and so the less chance he has of hitting it. Read more

Strength Coach & The Way of the Dinosaur

This piece is a must read for all those interested in coaching athletes. Recently CBS wrote an article on the unregulated world of collegiate strength and conditioning. Let me preface this post by stating that this is not an impulsive post in reaction to this article. (More extensive discussion of this will be on tomorrows GAINcast, to down load and listen go to http://www.thegaincast.com/.) The issues raised have been a concern of mine for close to thirty years. The article brought to the fore some huge issues facing us today at the high school and collegiate level regarding the lack of professional training and control over what has been traditionally called strength and conditioning. This article underscores and exposes glaring deficiencies in the system. Let me state my bias and point of view up front – I abhor the name/label of strength coach. It is a very limiting title and is a term and a concept from a bygone area when it was just about getting football players big and strong in the weight room but the name goes to the heart of the issue. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 94: Multi-Directional Speed (with Ken Clark)

Speed is key in every sport, but not all speed is created equal. In many sports, maximum speed is not the game changer. Instead, it is how fast you can respond to the opponent, change direction, and get moving again. In other words, multi-directional speed is often more important than linear speed. On this episode of the podcast professor Ken Clark explains the three elements of multi-directional speed, how it differs from other types of speed, and strategies to improve it. Read more

A Doping Primer

Anyone who knows me or has regularly read this blog or followed me on social media knows that I am vehemently anti-drug. So, it may seem strange to have a post on a primer for drug use and how to beat the system but I think this will give you context for looking at the issue. This is what I have seen up close and personal in my 48 years of coaching how athletes and coaches beat the system. Read more

Speed Over Tonnage: Is It Worth the Sacrifice?

If you watched Christian McCaffrey at the NFL combine, you couldn’t help but be impressed. He was fast, explosive and agile. But nevertheless he had some critics as his weightlifting numbers were not impressive. Interesting. I know for a fact that Stanford University has employed velocity-based training (VBT) methods with their football athletes in the past. To what extent McCaffrey used VBT I do not know, but whatever combination of methods he used it clearly got him results on the field. Maybe lifting all the weight possible like a weightlifter is not the end-all-be-all to being a top athlete. Read more

GAINcast 56: Peaking and Getting Ready

As coaches, the competition season is our test. Did we get our athletes ready for the big competition? On this episode Vern talks about strategies and best practices for helping your athletes peak and get ready when it counts. Read more

Using Olympic Style Weight Lifting – A perspective

Olympic lifting is a sport. That sport consists of lifting as much weight as possible in the clean and jerk and the snatch. Those lifts have a high technical demand, but the skill is a closed skill that occurs in one plane through a narrow range of movement. The Olympic lifting movements do produce tremendous power production because of the distance the weight must travel, the weight and the speed requirements. This power production is highly dependent on the technical proficiency of the individual lifter. Essentially, the training of the weight lifter consists of the actual Olympic lifts and some derivative and assistance exercises. There is no running, jumping or other demands on their system. The sole focus is on lifting as much weight as possible. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 93: Without Weights

Strength coaches often take the weight room for granted. But what would you do if you did not have access to a bar and weights? On this week’s podcast we look at strategies to get stronger without weights. In addition, we tackle the latest listener questions. Read more

Do Non-Responders To Exercise Exist?

When we exercise, we expect to see improvements in health, fitness, or both. However, substantial research over the past couple of decades has illustrated that the magnitude of training improvements is highly variable between individuals, and a small number of people show no, or perhaps even negative, improvements to an exercise training intervention. These individuals are typically referred to as “non-responders.” Whis phenomenon is not unique to exercise, but new research is finally starting to take a closer look at this topic. Read more

Track & Field Omnibook – A Great Resource

This book is truly a classic! It had and continues to have a huge influence on my coaching. Even though the Fourth edition was published in 1985, many of the concepts and principles are as relevant today as they were then. Even though this is a track & field oriented book it is a must read for all coaches who are interested in coaching the person in a systematic and holistic manner. It just underscores how Ken Doherty was an innovative thinker who was way ahead of his time. Read more