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Paths to Performance

There are many paths to performance. Note that it is plural, paths not path. There is no one way, in fact it is highly individual. This is perhaps the biggest conundrum in coaching: how to fit/tailor the training to the individual athlete to achieve each athlete’s optimum performance level. There are fast responders, slow responders and a few non-responders. Each athlete brings their individual qualities to their sport or event. We must recognize and account for this. You can have the wired explosive athletes and you can have a slower less explosive athlete – they can achieve very similar results in competition but must take different paths. Read more

GAINcast Episode 69: Long-Term Development (with Patrick McHugh)

At North Shore Country Day School students range from age 4 to 18. As athletic director, Patrick McHugh has had a chance to put in place a truly long-term athletic development process. The key word there is process: long-term development is not a model, but a process that is never linear. On this episode he talked about his philosophy and more. Read more

HMMR Media Visits the West of England

HMMR Media has been rolling out some new content at our recent seminars. Last weekend John Kiely and I presented an innovative seminar on periodization which is perhaps the first periodization seminar ever not to go into detailed discussion of periods. Instead we focused on how coaches can improve their process and approach to periodization in order to make it more effective. We had great feedback and I will have a more detailed report later in the week.

And next month Nick Garcia will be joining me in the West of England to put on a new workshop on athletic development. Read more

Leadership, Change, and Accountability

The concept of accountability should be right at home in sports. Accountability requires two things: knowing the results of a performance, and acting upon those results. We have no issue knowing an athlete’s results. Sport gives us those answers in black and white: an athlete wins or loses, they run faster or slower. And in sports there is no hesitation in acting upon the results. If you don’t perform, the next kid is waiting in line to take your place. Even if the underperformance is explainable, as in the case of an injury, you might still be kicked out on your butt. Read more

Specificity is not Specialization

If you have a good hour to burn, you need to head on over to Stuart McMillan’s blog to catch the latest edition in his coaches guide to strength development. For the last part of his series I contributed a case study in data collection. This time Stuart and his friend Matt Jordan sat down 17,000 word chat that dives into several topics that Stuart discussed with strength coach Matt Jordan and throws coach Derek Evely. They discuss training theory, periodization, parallel-complex programming, Bondarchuk, sample training programs, youth specialization, and many more topics. Below are some highlights. Read more

What about LTAD?

LTAD has almost become a cliché. Everyone has an LTAD program and they all look the same. How can that be? We need to seriously rethink the whole concept of LTAD. It is not a model, a framework or a pathway. Everyone is not the same as is implied by the Balyi model and all the derivatives of that model. Read more

Bondarchuk on Long-Term Development

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This month I will be posting about three new books from Bondarchuk. Even though he just turned 75, he has been as busy writing as ever. The first book I will cover is Champion School: A Year to Year Model for Developing Elite Athletes. With the help of Dr. Michael Yessis, who also translated Bondarchuk’s successful Transfer of Training series, he turns his attention to the big picture of long-term development. Read more

Episode 7: Bring Back Athleticism (with Vern Gambetta)

The one area of training that I write about most often is specific strength. Therefore it might seem odd to some people that I advocate a multisport approach to developing youth athletes. In elementary and middle school I played tennis, basketball, and baseball extensively. Only in high school did I begin throwing, but I also played on the tennis and football teams. Now I am focused on throwing but still enjoy the occasional pick-up basketball game. How do these two theories fit together? Read more

Progressing the Developing Athlete

While I coach the throwers at Notre Dame High school, my main role is actually as head strength coach for the school’s athletic teams. From baseball to water polo I get to work with hundreds of athletes each year at a critical time in their athletic development. For the vast majority athletes this is the first time they have seen the inside of the weight room or done any supplemental work. Therefore it is critical start out on the right foot. This is the topic I focused on for my presentation at GAIN 2015 last week. Read more