Posts

Balance and the Barbell Strategy

Earlier this week I wrote about the new book from Steve Magness and Brad Stulberg and focused on one topic: balance. As Stuart McMillan pointed out on twitter, the word balance can be misleading as it doesn’t always capture the undulating-dynamic nature of anything. It’s true. When you think of balance, you think of something that doesn’t move or you think of taking the middle of the road approach. But balance can come in many forms. Thinking of the middle of the road ignores the dynamic nature of balance; all we get from the middle of the road approach is often just an artificial sense of balance. Read more

Four Laws for Life and Training

On last week’s GAINcast Vern and I discussed the importance of connections in training. When it comes down to it, performance is about making connections. At one level it is about connecting muscles and joints to move together with optimal coordination. At another level it is about connecting ideas from different disciplines to find the best way to guide your athlete. At both levels we can learn a lot by looking at the field of ecology. Ecology, by its very nature, is a discipline devoted to connections: it is a branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. Barry Commoner was a leading ecologist and his 1971 book The Closing Circle was pivotal in helping bring about the modern environmental movement. Whether you are a tree hugger or not, in reading through his work you cannot help but see that much of it can be applied 1:1 in sport. Read more

Episode 48: Mental Biases (with John Kiely)

Developing high-level performance is not an easy thing. There’s a hugely complex mess of factors and science has taken a simplistic approach that, in the end, does not always provide us with the answers we need and we are left to fill in the gap ourselves. In light of our upcoming seminar with Irish coach and academic John Kiely, on this episode we sit down with Kiely to discuss one of the topics he will be presenting on: what are the mental biases we confront when trying to fill the gaps. Read more

Overcoming Overconfidence

Track and field is a beautifully simple sport. The standardization of implements, distances, equipment, and competition venues allow for a clear cut comparison of results. The height a high jumper cleared in New Hampshire can quickly be compared to another athlete’s jump in Qatar. It is truly is a universal game. With numerous athletics results available online we can compare marks in an instant. This cements track & field as a globalized industry. Read more

The Babe Ruth Effect

Recently, I came across this exquisite investment article which discusses a phenomena called the Babe Ruth Effect and its application to financial portfolio management. The central takeaway from the article — “that the frequency of correctness does not matter; it is the magnitude of correctness that matters” — hit me like a lightning bolt of truth. The statement awakened a clarity about a variety of elements related to track and field, including training, coaching, as well the industry of the sport itself. What follows is my attempt to inspect how and why we could apply the mental model of the Babe Ruth Effect to these areas. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 20: Admitting Mistakes

Take a look at politics, business, and sport and you will consistently see leaders unable to admit their mistakes. When the USATF was in the wrong in the whole Nick Symmonds affair they wouldn’t admit they made the slightest error even though they later reversed their position on their athlete’s agreement and athlete revenue sharing, Symmonds’ two main points of contention. Those in power often think that admitting a mistake shows weakness, but in reality not admitting mistakes puts you in the weakest position you could be in. Why is it then that it is so hard for us to admit mistakes? Read more

Episode 5: Antifragile (with Steve Magness)

Last month’s post on the book Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Taleb was a surprising hit considering the book is three years old. Taleb covers a range of topics in the book from finance to medicine and risk, but the concept of antifragile can be used my anyone, coach’s included. Read more