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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

My Parents

6a00e5521cccd088340192abe86df9970d-320wiOne of my cousins sent me this picture of my parents. They were special people. There is not a day a day that goes by that I do not think of them. My dad passed away 22 years this past week and my mom passed away 23 years ago. They made me who I am and for that I am so grateful. They were immigrants from the Italian Canton of Switzerland, Ticino. They came to this country not speaking a word of English and learned both English and Spanish. Neither had any significant education. Read more

Functional Training – Method or Madness? Part One

As someone who is considered the father of functional sports training I think it is time to revisit the concept in order to better understand it – Where did it come from, how it evolved, where it is today and where it is going. Functional training is a label for a concept. As with any label it is subject to various interpretations. I originally conceived it as multi lateral training integrating various training modalities (medicine ball, stretch cord, weight training, dumbbells, body weight etc.) to produce significant adaptation in specific performance parameters. It trains all systems of the body while recognizing and respecting the wisdom of the body. The end result is a highly adaptable athlete who is able to perform without limitations in the competitive environment. Contrast this to biased one- sided training that results in adapted athletes who are inconsistent in performance and prone to injury. Read more

Where Are The Teachers?

The missing link in today’s coaching is pedagogy. Webster’s defines Pedagogy as: the art, science, or profession of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction. My generation of coaches was trained as teachers. We learned teaching methodology and teaching methods as an integral part of our education. Read more

Evolution of Strength Training – A Personal Perspective Over Fifty Years (Part Three)

In 1973-74 while attending graduate school at Stanford University I also had the opportunity to coach the jumpers and decathletes. This gave the opportunity to apply what I had learned with more mature male athletes. It was also the opportunity to work with Payton Jordan, the track coach at Stanford who was a pioneer in weight training. He had worked with a man named John Jesse who authored many books on strength training for sport. Jesse was way ahead of his time in the application of strength training to prevention and rehabilitation of injuries. Doctor Wesley Ruff, my adviser, encouraged me to do research in the area of strength and power training, which I found very helpful. This helped me to better understand the scientific reasons for the things that I was observing as a coach and experiencing as an athlete. Read more

Evolution of Strength Training – A Personal Perspective Over Fifty Years (Part Two)

After graduating from Fresno State I went to University of California Santa Barbara for my teaching certification. While there I was fortunate to take a class from Sherman Button on Fundamental of Conditioning. He was way ahead of his time with the material and concepts that he presented.( I appreciate that even more as look back at what he taught us) It was a great class because of his comprehensive approach to conditioning built around weight training. The two textbooks for the class were especially helpful. Pat O’Shea’s book “Scientific Principles and Methods of Strength Training.” and “Foundations of Conditioning” by Falls, Walls and Logan. As a class assignment we had to design a yearlong comprehensive training program for our chosen sports. I put together a program for track and field that incorporated all components of training. It was an initial attempt at periodization, but most importantly it forced me to look at strength training in a new light. I was now a coach as well as an athlete. I was responsible for other people’s performance. I had to teach them skill and have them ready for competition, so I had to pay attention to the big picture. Strength was only one part of the equation, although a most important part. Read more

Evolution of Strength Training – A Personal Perspective Over Fifty Years (Part One)

I thought it would interesting to share with you a personal approach to the evolution of strength training as I have seen it using my experiences as an athlete and coach who has been involved in strength training for 50 years. When I began weight training in 1963, it was not commonly accepted as a method of training, in fact weight training was discouraged. There were concerns that you would become “muscle bound,” that it would slow you down, or it would interfere with you coordination. It was considered acceptable to do hard manual labor to develop muscle, but weight training was frowned upon. With all these thoughts in mind we had a guest speaker come to my high school to speak to all the athletes. The speaker was Lynn Hoyem, a backup center for the Dallas Cowboys, who spoke to us about the benefits of weight training. He had gained 50 pounds of lean mass through weight training. He gave us advice as to how to start a program, explained some of the basic physiology of muscle growth and strength gain. He offered tips on how to gain weight, as most of us were football players who were trying to gain weight. It was a very impressive presentation that was very different from we were being told at the time. I knew that if I were going to have any chance of playing college football, my sport of choice at the time, I would have to get stronger and bigger. Read more