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HMMR Podcast Episode 87: The Mentor (with Kelvin Giles)

After decades coaching elite track and field and rugby, Kelvin Giles has turned his attention more recently to youth development. Kids are no longer learning how to move, and we need to address it from the ground in both our approach to training and coaches education. On this episode Giles joins us to discuss foundational movements, coaches education, the pillars of performance, advice to beginning coaches, and how national governing bodies can support performance. Read more

The Diamond League Decathlon

Last month I brought to light a proposal for European Athletics to transform the decathlon and heptathlon into a new event: the octathlon. In criticising the plan I noted that it failed because European Athletics doesn’t have a clear idea of what they are trying to fix about the multi-events in the first place. Unlike European Athletics, decathlete Tom FitzSimons has a clear idea of the issues facing the multi-events and as a guest on his podcast this week we chatted about some ways to help the sport. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 80: Nick Rants Again

Every few months we need to let Nick blow off some steam or he will explode. On this week’s episode we share some rants based on the latest news and trends in sports. We look at offseason training, social media, the bench press, proposal by European Athletics to improve track and field, and the role of strength coaches in the NCAA. Read more

Get Rid of the Decathlon? If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Break It

Four years ago I left my hotel room to head for the London Olympic stadium. We got an early start to navigate the public transportation, security queues, and ticket lines. We still got to our seats an hour before the competition started, but I felt like we were late as the stadium was already packed. It was immediately clear they were not there to see the men’s hammer throw qualification like I was. Neither were they there to watch the steeplechase qualifying round. They were there to see one person: Jessica Ennis. The people in front of us brought their five-year-old daughter to witness the spectacle and her scream nearly blew out my eardrums once Ennis started the competition with a national record in the hurdles. The event’s power to draw in fans was on full display in London. The multi-events are a two-day test to crown the world’s greatest athletes and fans stand in awe of the diverse skill-set the top athletes possess. Therefore it was a bit odd when I learned that a new proposal from European Athletics would get rid of the heptathlon and decathlon forever in favor of newer formats. Read more

How the IAAF Missed the Target With Its Qualification System

When the IAAF changed its qualifying system a few years ago, one of the major goals was to provide a better method to estimate and cap athlete participation throughout all events. The prior qualification system used in London resulted in the IAAF being more than 10% over the athlete quota given to them by the International Olympic Committee. The new system tried to remedy this by making the standards much harder so that fewer athletes qualified, and then handing out special invitations if any surplus existed. With such a system the IAAF would be able to hold its quota, and perhaps prepare itself for potential future reductions to that quota as a result of new IOC President Thomas Bach’s Project 2020. Read more

What Can the IAAF Learn from Cycling

My father is an amateur cyclist and, as a result, I grew up spending every July watching the Tour de France. Each time a doping or corruption scandal rocked the sport, I was thankful I competed in a cleaner sport: athletics. We had dealt with our doping issues in the 1980s, I naively thought. Sure, there were still dopers in athletics, but we were ahead of the cyclists. I even wrote an anti-doping editorial for the Seattle Times as a young athlete in 2000, and was convinced by those in my sport that the doping problem was improving. Read more

Who Will Be On the Rio Podium in 10 Years?

Over the past week new Olympic medalists were crowned in track and field. We’ve seen dramatic performances, amazing back stories, and new stars emerge. But while the competition on the field has finished, unfortunately the results have not yet been finalized. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 61: Anti-Doping (with Pierre-Jean Vazel)

We are less than a week from the start of the Olympics. But rather than talking about the athletes, the main story continues to be doping. More specifically, the topic is the failure of the current anti-doping systems. On this week’s podcast we bring on guest Pierre-Jean Vazel. As both a journalist and elite sprinting coach, Vazel has a unique perspective on the topic. We discuss how we got into this current mess, issues with the current system, and what hope we have for moving past these mistakes. Read more

Episode 59: Subjective Feedback (with Dan Pfaff)

In an era when coaches are searching out more and more objective data to evaluate training, master coach Dan Pfaff has been using more and more subjective data to assist him. Subjectivity has been given a bad reputation lately, but it offers many advantages to coaches: it is cheap, it is easy to implement, it saves time, and can often times be more accurate. On this episode of the podcast Pfaff joins us to discuss the role subjective feedback plays in his training. Plus, for track fans, we discuss some of the failure of the Diamond League’s new rules for field event athletes. Read more

7 Facts About Doping And The Russian Situation

Earlier this morning Sergej Litvinov was informed by the IAAF that his application for exceptional eligibility to compete at the 2016 Olympics was declined along with 66 other athletes. (The rejection did not address all of the grounds for exception raised in Litvinov’s 13-page application, and we are in further communication with them to clarify these points.) In reading through the decision, some initial social media reactions, and media reports it is clear that the big picture is being overlooked. With that in mind, I’ve put together a primer on the topic that helps put the Russia doping issue in context. Read more