Posts

Nurturing the athlete – it takes time

My father was a gardener and I remember the first time he took me to work with him, I was probably ten or eleven years old. As any youngster, I was impatient and full of questions. I wanted to know why this patch of garden had no plants. Why we had to water this area and fertilize another section. Why we had to trim these plants and let others grow. I wanted to know why he didn’t plant all the seeds at the same time. He explained it to me, but I must admit that I did not fully understand it until years later after I had started coaching. The carrots had to be planted at a certain time. The winter and summer squash were different. Some vegetables thrived in the cold of winter and others need the heat of summer. Read more

GAINcast Episode 114: Building an academy (with Finn Gundersen)

The Burke Mountain Academy was America’s first ski academy. What is unique about it is not how progressive it was, but how that progressive mindset has stood the test of time. After nearly 50 years it continues to refine its ability to develop Olympic skiers an world-class individuals. On this week’s GAINcast co-founder Finn Gundersen joins us to discussion the beginnings and growth of the academy, as well as his current work in coaches education in soccer and other sports. Read more

The good old days – looking back to learn & move ahead

As I reflect over the past 49 years of coaches there were some things that were cornerstones of a productive system sport that do not exist today. I hope you all realize that I am not living in the past, but we MUST learn from the past, not repeat it.  Here are some areas that I think we could certainly look at and learn from: Read more

GAIN white papers

Go to the GAIN Network website, scroll down, and download the PDFs of these GAIN White papers. More will be coming over the next several months. I hope you enjoy and find them useful. Any feedback would be appreciated. Also if you are interested you can watch the opening talk of GAIN 2018. Read more

Athlete development process

This framework first articulated by Frank Dick many years ago is elegant in its simplicity. Follow this process and you will produce athletes who have a chance to be champions. Please note that the athlete MUST earn the right to progress to the next step. Each athlete progresses at different rates. I will be talking and writing more about this in 2018. Read more

GAINcast Episode 96: The Arsenal Arrow (with Des Ryan)

If you want pressure to perform, try working in professional soccer in England. To make matters more complicated, try working with young players and balancing the need for short-term results and setting up long-term potential. That is the challenge Des Ryan confronts every day as Head of Sports Medicine & Athletic Development at the Arsenal Academy. On this episode of the GAINcast he explains the Arsenal approach to athletic development and high performance. Read more

Finding the athlete-appropriate plan

I was musing recently on concepts like “long-term athletic development,” “periodization,” and “adaptation” and I had a thought which I hope carries the idea of “athlete-appropriate” a bit further into the light. Adaptation is the tool we use to get better, but we have to know where we are adapting from and where we are adapting to first. What is are generally missing in our hopeful attempts to accelerate athletic progress with young people is not about the methods or tools, but about the awareness and full appreciation of the deciding factors that permit a coach to know what kinds of training are appropriate with individual athletes and what kind are not. Read more

GAINcast Episode 79: Talent Development

On last week’s GAINcast we looked at best practices in talent identification. But as we said, talent identification means nothing without talent development. On this week’s episode we dive deeper into talent development and look at how to best put a system in place that gets the most out of the talent you have identified. After all, talent only equals potential, not success. Read more

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