Posts

LTAD is becoming cliché

Let’s look at where we have been over the past seventy years. What has changed? Society has changed immensely; youth sport has become commercialized. There is no longer mandatory physical education in the schools. Then and now child development does not follow a neat linear progression, so-called windows of opportunity for development of various physical is a myth, sport development is all over the place, youth phenoms rarely turn out to be senior champions. Read more

GAINcast Episode 163: GAIN roundtable on progressions

The annual GAIN conference brings together some of the best minds working in different fields, different sports, and different countries. This year’s theme was building on the basics, and we put together a panel discussion on progression the athlete with Jimmy Radcliffe, Greg Thompson, Angus Ross, Grace Golden, and Johnny Parkes. Read more

Kids and weightlifting

Weight lifting is quite simple. You pick something up and put it above your head. Every granny who unloads her shopping and puts her jar of Marmite in the larder does it. Children helping granny will do it too. Why then do some people get caught up in making weight lifting so complicated? I prefer to keep things simple. In this article I shall endeavor to share what we do when teaching children at Excelsior Athletic Development Club, where we are affiliated with British Weightlifting, British Athletics, and British Gymnastics. Read more

GAINcast Episode 161: Range (with David Epstein)

Look at the top athletes in the world and you’ll notice they come from a variety of backgrounds. Tiger Woods began specializing at a young age, while Roger Federer only specialized as he started to achieve success later. Why did Federer benefit from a generalist childhood vs. a specialization one? Author David Epstein has focused on the topic for his upcoming book Range. He joins the GAINcast this week to talk about what he has found in the research on early specialization in sports, and as well as in other aspects of life. Read more

The problem with pathways (aka how to put together a real Endgame)

The film Avengers: Endgame has smashed all box office records since its release. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which started with Iron Man in 2008, now encompasses 21 movies culminating in this three-hour epic. Multiple plot lines, dozens of characters, cameos and references to past movies were included. Nothing like this has ever been done before and eleven years ago no one would have predicted the path this franchise has taken. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 197: Physical education (with Greg Thompson)

For many kids, their introduction to sport and physical activity comes through the school. This can be either a good or a bad thing. A good experience can set them up for a lifetime of athletic achievement and physical activity. A bad experience can turn them away from sport. On this episode of the podcast award winning PE teach Greg Thompson joins us to talk about what makes for good PE, the art of progressing young athletes, using a games-based approach, and thoughts on constraints-led training.

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It’s always about difference

When I think about long-term athlete development, the first word that comes to my mind is difference. My first guiding rule as a coach came from my mentor Roger Eischens: “It’s aways about difference.” That couldn’t be more true when we start talking about long-term athlete development. Coaches need to account for different bodies, a different society, and different priorities while maintaining the same purpose. Read more

Why talented youngsters rarely make it to the top

Spotting the next major talent is big business in sports, particularly team sports, where youngsters are often scouted and signed to clubs at increasingly young ages. However, the effectiveness of these methods is generally considered to be very poor, with relatively few youngsters thought of as highly talented at a young age progressing through to play at a high level. How can it be that we invest so much into talent identification but have relatively little to show for it? Read more

GAINcast Episode 160: Beyond pathways (with James Marshall)

There are dozens of long-term athlete development models out there that try to explain the best way to turn youth athletes into champions. The problem is that they incorporate much more theory than practice. In reality, success cannot be broken down into one pathway or plan. On this episode of the podcast, leading youth coach James Marshall talks about how the systems fail us and what he’s doing to make youth athletics better in his community. Read more

Free the kids – let them play

I do not know Nick Willis, but he is a current athlete that I hold in high regard both for his accomplishments on the track, longevity and willingness to share his thoughts/lessons learned throughout his career. He posted this on Twitter yesterday, needless to say it really resonated with me: Read more