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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 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

HMMR Podcast Episode 187: Train different

Throughout the year we’ve had the pleasure of hosting 34 guests on the HMMR Podcast, including coaches of Olympic champions and world record holders. On this week’s podcast we’ve pulled together some of our favorite moments with athletic development coaches that think different. We cover a wide range of topics such as the art of coaching, individualization, circuit training, transfer of training and more with guests Michael Lepp, Jerome Simian, Boo Schexnayder, Steve Myrland, Dan Noble, JB Morin, and James Marshall.
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HMMR Podcast Episode 175: Rediscovering play (with James Marshall)

Play is often disregarded as a form of training, but it is a lost art that can be a valuable tool in developing athletes. Over the past few decades, the rate of play has drastically declined among children worldwide. James Marshall has put this point front and center in his approach to long-term athlete development. On this episode of the podcast Marshall joins us to discuss play and how it can be incorporated into more formal training sessions. Read more

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