Coaches need a lot of tools in their toolbox. If all the strength coach knows is the barbell, then they are limiting their ability to solve more complex problems. Therefore for the site theme in April we chose going beyond the barbell, bringing together 3 new videos, 2 podcasts, and 5 articles to look at different ways coaches can solve problems with other training methods. All the links are below, but first I wanted to share a few ideas that crystallized in my mind this month. Read more
At the start of my training talk with strength coach John Pryor from the Japan Rugby squad, I mentioned his approach blew my mind. I’ve gotten to know a lot of strength coaches from a wide range of sports, but never before heard a field sport team use such a methodical approach to transfer of training, specific strength, and complex periodization as when he described the Japan squad’s buildup to this year’s World Cup. Read more
There has been lots of good material online over the last month about training. Below are some excepts from my notebook with some of the quotes and articles I found most insightful.
As I’ve talked about before, continuous learning is something I picked up from my two biggest mentors, Harold Connolly and Anatoliy Bondarchuk. I am reading and talking about training with others daily. And I keep a daily journal with notes on what I learned, what I’ve observed in my own training and coaching, and other commentary on life in general. Just a portion of what I note makes it online or inspires me to write a post.
As the internet track and field community has grown over the past few years, so has the amount of great training content available online. I tend to post links to the best articles I find on Twitter when I run across them, but I thought it would be good to regularly share some of the nuggets of wisdom here too. Below are some highlights from my June journal that I’ve grouped into some loose categories.
From June 17th to June 21st I was fortunate to present at and attend the GAIN Professional Development Yearly Conference at Rice University in Houston, Texas. First off, GAIN stands for Gambetta Athletic Improvement Network. Vern Gambetta is known as the father of functional sports training. (Martin has reviewed his most popular book here). The great thing about Coach Gambetta is that he does not limit himself to being involved with one sport. He is involved with and has had success coaching numerous sports to optimize their athletic development living by the philosophy that you must “Link, Sync, Connect, and Coordinate” the body in order to have optimum sports performance. He has worked with levels ranging from youth swimming clubs to the Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, and Chicago Bulls. He has also worked with elite track athletes, premier soccer teams, rugby teams, and beach volleyball players.
My training talk with sprint and hurdle coach Gary Winckler seems like it is going on forever. But, after nearly 7,000 words, it finally comes to a close with today’s final installment. After a wide-ranging conversation covering, reactivity training, periodization, planning, coaching, technique and more, this final part talks a little about Bondarchuk before looking at some of the issues facing coaching today.
I first met Coach Vern Gambetta in 2003 at a USATF Level III National Throws Summit in Las Vegas. I was only 23 but when Coach Gambetta spoke I immediately knew how passionate he was about coaching. Not just track and field, but every team, athlete, and sport he had the opportunity to work with. Coach Gambetta’s systematic approach to training is practical and produces great results regardless of the event or sport. He has taken my knowledge and skills to the next level. Whoever has the opportunity to work with him should consider it an extreme privilege.
Over the weekend I had the chance to both present at and attend the International Festival of Athletics Coaching in Glasgow. While it was a pleasure to teach other coaches, I always enjoy the student role the most.
The IFAC conference is unique since, unlike most other conferences or seminars I have attended, it brings together coaches from every event. Therefore I took advantage of this and actually skipped the other throws presentations by Vésteinn Hafsteinsson. Hafsteinsson is indeed one of the world’s best throwing coaches, but I can send him an email anytime and ask questions. This was a one time chance to learn from some of these other coaches. Below are two topics that I found very interesting over the weekend: long term athlete development and integrated training systems. Check back later this weekend when I move on to one final topic: the brain and learning technique.