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November 2018 in review: book club

Some people say a picture is worth a thousand words, but for some concepts a good book can be worth a thousand pictures. There’s no doubt then why so many world-class coaches are avid readers not only about sports, but about all kinds of topics. As a great doctor once said: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” That doctor was Dr. Seuss, which goes to show you can learn from all types of books. Read more

GAINcast Episode 144: Pillars of coaching (with Frank Dick)

After a career of coaching Olympic champions, Frank Dick has turned his attention to coaching coaches. Coaching is the foundation of sport. Athletes make excellence happen, but it is the coaches that make excellence possible. On this episode of the GAINcast, Dick joins us to talk about the pillars of coaching and how we can create better coaches. Read more

Living and learning

Life is about learning, when you stop learning you stop living. My love of learning was instilled in me by my mother who had been denied an education but placed a high premium on it. It was exciting growing up discovering new worlds and expanding my horizon. There was always something new to learn and explore well beyond the confines of the classroom. Read more

Strategies for coaching success

You must know yourself and your strengths and weaknesses as a coach. Just as you expect your athletes to work on their weakness and maximize their strengths you should also. Know the sport that you are working with, become an expert; leave no stone unturned in your search for knowledge. Read more

GAINcast Episode 129: Lessons for young coaches

All young coaches make mistakes. That is part of the learning process and we sure made our fair share of them. But there is no need to make the same mistakes we made. On this episode of the GAINcsat we reflect on lessons we have learned and share some advice for young coaches. Read more

Current reading list

Since I last reported on my reading in April I have read fifty-one books. The topics represent a range of interests beyond sport. I find myself reading more history going back to my roots as a social science major. Here are some that stood out for me: Read more

Free Preview: Vern Gambetta’s Foreword from Training Talk

The following post is taken from the Foreword I contributed to Martin Bingisser’s new book Training Talk: Conversations with a Dozen Master Coaches.

Foreword

Back in 1987, I took a leap of faith. After 20 years of experience as a track and field coach, I moved to a new town for a new job in a new sport as director of conditioning for the Chicago White Sox. I was confident I could handle the challenge, but in the back of my mind there was still some doubt. I had never worked in baseball before, and the profession I had entered, athletic development, hadn’t even existed a few years prior.

After arriving, the doubt quickly faded as I took a look at baseball through the eyes of a track coach. Why didn’t my javelin throwers have the shoulder problems that pitchers did? It was simple: I started looking at the pitchers as javelin throwers in long pants. I took what I knew about preparing the whole kinetic chain to throw the javelin far and adapted that to the demands of pitching. To the surprise of many, we stopped having shoulder problems, and the pitchers became more durable. This was a lesson I was then able to apply many times over in other sports. Don’t look at the sport as a unique activity, instead look at the movements, and connect that to what is being done in other sports. This is a lesson you will learn from the coaches in this book. If they have one commonality, it is the ability to see movement with different eyes and make adjustments accordingly.

» Buy now: you pick up a copy of Training Talk in the HMMR Store.

No matter the sport, a good coaching philosophy must stay true to the same fundamental truths of coaching. In this book, Martin has sought to discover these truths through interviews with some of the best minds in coaching today. This book is a reflection of Martin’s intellectual curiosity and passion to learn. His probing questions allow you, the reader, to get to the essence of the concepts and training methods.

I am honored and humbled to write this Foreword and to be included as one of the coaches interviewed for this collection. These coaches are an eclectic mix of experts from athletics and field sports, but the one thing they have in common is that they are the best of the best. Together, the interviews provide a comprehensive overview of the process of developing the athlete from many points of view. Most importantly, as I did 30 years ago, each of these coaches has gone outside their specialty and, in many instances outside their sport, to learn and challenge themselves to improve. This sends a powerful message about what it takes to be on the cutting edge.

By selecting coaches that transcend sports and disciplines, Martin underscores the unity of training ideas and concepts. The need to communicate across sports to share knowledge and learn. This collection of interviews features coaches who are thought leaders that have produced results at the highest levels of sport using this approach. None of them is narrow in their areas of interest or specialization. They all go where they need to go to find answers. They all use lateral thinking to connect dots in seemingly unrelated manners. They did this, not by being followers, but by questioning and building connections outside their fields of expertise.

All of these coaches share:

  • deep knowledge;
  • passion that fuels their drive to learn;
  • coaching the athlete, not the sport or event;
  • achievement at the highest levels;
  • continued learning; and
  • strength in getting better at getting better.

Reflect on the ideas expressed here and each of these approaches. Think critically about the responses. Do not take any of the answers as gospel. Use the collective wisdom of these coaches to learn and grow. It may change your ideas, or it may confirm them. Regardless, the benefit will be improved coaching. Keep learning!

June 2018 in review: the art of coaching

Any coach with an ounce of experience knows that coaching isn’t just about the methods; it’s also about how you put them into practice. That’s the art of coaching, our June site theme. Throughout the month 10 contributors helped put together 2 new videos, 4 new podcasts, and 8 great articles. Below you’ll find links to all our new resources and some highlights from our archive on the topic. As always, become a Plus Member to make sure you get access to all of the vast resources on the site. But before we look at the resources, I wanted to share two key takeaways from this month. Read more

England Rugby and the art of coaching

It was just past noon and I was starving. After taking an early train from central London to Pennyhill Park and spending all morning on the rugby pitch, I was ready to eat. I loaded up a plate full of chicken teriyaki and noodles, but as I sat down Eddie Jones asked me a question before I could get a bite in: “So, Martin, what gives you an edge in the hammer throw?” Read more

4 simple strategies to enhance the athlete learning process

The other day, while catching up with a good friend over the phone, who has been a coach for nearly 30 years. He had reached out to give me some feedback on my recent online course which focuses on all things behavior and the “art of coaching,” and given his vast and varied experience, I was anxious to absorb any constructive criticism he could offer. Read more