Posts

Bring back the personalities in athletics

One of the big questions people asked after this year’s world championships is how track and field would move on without Usain Bolt. The legendary sprinter, who has been the headline name in the sport for the last nine year, is now officially retired. It is not just his performances that the sport needs, but the void created by his entertainment skills will be even harder to fill. Directly after the World Championships IAAF President Sebastian Coe told the Daily Mail that personalities have slowly become a rarity in track and field and we need more characters in our sport. I couldn’t agree more. Read more

GAINcast Episode 84: Icarus

The recent documentary Icarus took an in-depth look at the recent Russian doping scandal through the lens of a relationship with the mastermind of the doping plan Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov. As controversy enveloped his Rodchenkov’s life, director Bryan Fogel was drawn to the center of the storm and we get an inside look at how far athletes go to beat the system. On this week’s episode we take a break from talking about training to discuss the film and the current state of doping and anti-doping. Read more

If Not Now, When?

If you see something that is wrong, you can do two things: act or wait. Acting is not easy; it may cost you your friends, your reputation, or your job. But in many cases it is what is needed. If you wait for someone else to change things then change will likely never come. The old saying goes “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” That was definitely true in the case of Harold Connolly, the man who taught me that you can’t compromise or back down on matters of principle. Read more

Gene Doping: A Primer

The standard story in life is that we have to play the hand we’re dealt. We can’t choose our genes, and so we have to make the most of what we have, optimizing our training techniques and lifestyle in order to reach our potential, whatever that might be. But this standard story is slowly changing and this might have a major impact on sport. Read more

Strength Coach & The Way of the Dinosaur

This piece is a must read for all those interested in coaching athletes. Recently CBS wrote an article on the unregulated world of collegiate strength and conditioning. Let me preface this post by stating that this is not an impulsive post in reaction to this article. (More extensive discussion of this will be on tomorrows GAINcast, to down load and listen go to http://www.thegaincast.com/.) The issues raised have been a concern of mine for close to thirty years. The article brought to the fore some huge issues facing us today at the high school and collegiate level regarding the lack of professional training and control over what has been traditionally called strength and conditioning. This article underscores and exposes glaring deficiencies in the system. Let me state my bias and point of view up front – I abhor the name/label of strength coach. It is a very limiting title and is a term and a concept from a bygone area when it was just about getting football players big and strong in the weight room but the name goes to the heart of the issue. Read more

A Doping Primer

Anyone who knows me or has regularly read this blog or followed me on social media knows that I am vehemently anti-drug. So, it may seem strange to have a post on a primer for drug use and how to beat the system but I think this will give you context for looking at the issue. This is what I have seen up close and personal in my 48 years of coaching how athletes and coaches beat the system. Read more

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