Training Talk with Derek Evely (Part 1)

One of the most overlooked names in coaching circles is that of Derek Evely. His coaching career has been going strong for more than fifteen years. After successful stops in Kamloops and Edmonton, he is now the director of the Loughborough (UK) University High Performance Centre, one of the country’s two national training centers as the UK prepares to host the 2012 Olympics.

Evely has been in the U.K. since 2009. While his new role is as an administrator, he has also found time to start coaching the throws again and apply the concepts he learned from Bondarchuk and others. In his first season working with Sophie Hitchon, Evely guided her to a World Junior Championship. Now in their second season together, Hitchon has already broken the U.K. senior record with a throw of 69.43 meters and she is still a teenager.

Since my experience with Bondarchuk has been almost exclusively from an athlete’s point of view, it was great to talk with Derek on Sunday about how he applies the methods as a coach. Below is an abridged version of our conversation.


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19 replies
  1. Dan
    Dan says:

    Do you think that it is possible (or even likely) that the reason correlation between various exercises and distance thrown goes down as the athlete progresses is simply due to the fact that skill acquisition is almost completely eliminated at a certain point?
    For example, lets say a young hammer thrower does nothing but rope skipping as an exercise. He will see a correlation (and likely a high one) at first – or a reaction if you like. This correlation would indicate a great cycle as the young hammer thrower develops. But the exercise could be anything begun at the same time. Watercolors, for example would be highly correlative if introduced at the right time. This correlation is likely merely coincidental, but can we rule it out all together?

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      You make a good point Dan, but I think that type of problem would be more likely to show up in statistics for individuals, not correlations for large sample sizes like Bondarchuk has collected. The correlations look at the throwers’ results in each exercise versus (e.g. the number of jumps per minute) the hammer throw, not just the frequency they performed the exercise (e.g. jumping rope every day). So, if you measured the correlation between jumping rope and hammer throwing there is likely a very low correlation even for beginners since the best young thrower may be the strong slow kid that cannot jump rope very fast. The fact that they can jump fast probably is not determinative or an indicator of success. It is all about looking at a large sample and seeing what people at different levels have in common.

      With elite throwers, their lifting marks are all over the place, showing it plays a more minimal role in determining the distance thrown at that level. But the better novice throwers tend to fall in the stronger category. The jump rope or watercolors examples, by comparison, would likely have results all over the place at both elite and novice levels.

      On a side note, it is very important to remember that measuring daily results of an individual athlete to measure their reactions and gains will not give you as much data if the athlete’s technique is not fairly stable. Obviously in that case gains and losses in distance from day-to-day can be due to good and bad technical days.

  2. Dan
    Dan says:

    As a college coach, I mostly deal with “unstable” throwers for the first two years. This makes the scientific process of recognizing positive reactions to different exercise/implement cycles rather less scientific and much more artistic or “gut” oriented.

    If what affects a 55m thrower is different than what affects a 60m thrower, it seems to me that a coach can never feel confident in the cycles/exercises he selects because if they work, they won’t work again due to the athlete “jumping a class” and if they don’t work it was a waste of time.

    I’m sorry to use your blog comments as a place to wax frustrated, but this was a great interview and I’m very interested in hearing the rest.

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      I understand your concern but I don’t think it is as futile an effort as you may think. When I am talking about choosing exercises, I am mainly referring to choosing between front squat the 6kg hammer and the hammer or other slight variations. The numbers Dr. B has compiled show a general picture of what group of exercises help the most at each level. Many of these conclusions are obvious such as: the bench press will not help much. However, if you conclude that the snatch will help you, you still have several options: close grip snatch, normal snatch, hang snatch, snatch pulls, etc. Each individual might have a better reaction to a certain exercise or combination of exercise, but the overall difference will be minimal. At the beginning stage, noticing the differences is not as important since the reaction to all the exercises should be good. You should be able to feel comfortable with their program even if you don’t know that they slightly better to front squats and back squats. But, when you reach a higher level, it is nice to know what helps the best so that you can rotate in those exercises. Does that make more sense?

  3. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    This is the one the most interesting things I’ve read online in months. I’m dying to read the rest. I’m probably going to print this up and take notes to. If you can do more detailed stuff like this I’d love you.

  4. nick
    nick says:

    A question i have is that when you look through the transfer of training book, you see things like in women’s shot for example where snatch goes from a .556 correlation to -.387 and then back to a .394 as you go from 14-16 meters and so on. as a coach do you just leave snatches in the workouts as the athlete progresses just not emphasizing it as much while she is in that meter classification or do you take it out and work more on something else that is more highly correlated? is this train of thought too nit picky or is there merit in eliminating a lift completely while the athlete is progressing through a meter sport result?

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      I hadn’t noticed that before. I think the big thing to take away from that table is throwing, bench press, and squat have the highest transfer of training at that level. When the correlation gets down near .350 or below, then it isn’t as statistically significant. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but just that maybe it plays a more minor role and takes up less training time. Here, even when the snatch is positive, it isn’t much above that level. Nevertheless I would still keep the snatch it, but alternate it with cleans so that it is not the only Olympic lift or even a variation of snatch (like a snatch with a clean grip). I still do snatch even though I’m at a level where the correlation has dropped of. Remember, these statistics show general transfer among a large sample of athletes. Each individual may have a different reaction, so I would not just throw out a normally useful exercise like the snatch. Just move it to a more minor role. But if it gave a negative correlation to running, then I would be more ignore the exercise.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Derek Evely discussed a bit about how he implements the three planes of movement idea in our training talk from a few years ago. […]

  2. […] progress for throwers is to regularly measure and records the distances thrown in training. But as I discussed with Derek Evely a few years ago, there are shortcomings to this approach since distances can be affected by myriad […]

  3. […] → Related Content: See how Derek himself applies these concepts to throwers and adapts them to other e… […]

  4. […] → Related Content: Learn more about Derek’s own approach to training in the training talk he did… […]

  5. […] the coming weeks HMMR Media will welcome Derek Evely as a new author with a series on modern periodization methods. But before we look at the current […]

  6. […] In an interview you did with Derek Evely for the  the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre a few years ago you mentioned that you started […]

  7. […] isn’t my first training talk with Derek. We sat down two years ago for a discussion on Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk which I feel is one of the best examples available online of how to implement Bondarchuk’s […]

  8. […] Derek and I go back to when he was the head coach of the Kamloops Track and Field club when they hired Anatoliy Bondarchuk. Simply put, Derek knows high performance. He has been involved with three highly-successful training centers and has taken a lot away from that experience. His work in Kamloops set the foundation for what turned into the Canadian National Throws Centre. Next he helped run the Canadian Athletic Coaching Centre where he played an integral role in developing the world’s best online coaching resource at the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre. His latest role was leading the Loughborough High Performance Centre for UK Athletics leading up to the London Olympics. In addition to these management roles, Derek has always remained active in coaching, molding Olympians in the sprints and throws along the way. Derek has also been a great mentor of mine, and you can read more about his training philosophies in the extensive three-part interview I conducted …. […]

  9. […] Derek Evely served most recently as Director of the UK Athletics Loughborough National Performance Centre. In addition, he has guided several hammer throwers including Sophie Hitchon, who at age 21 set a national record to become the youngest Olympic finalist last summer. Evely is strongly influenced by Anatoliy Bondarchuk, who recruited to and worked alongside with in Kamloops, Canada. […]

  10. […] tuning his approach ever since. You can learn more about those through this link, or by reading Part I. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments […]

  11. […] Last week I posted a discussion I had with Derek Evely regarding training theory. Despite it’s length, that was just part one. Part two is below and part three is on the way soon. All of these touch on a common theme: discussing how to implement Bondarchuk’s methods. For those of you unfamiliar with Coach Evely’s background, he is currently the director of the Loughborough (UK) University High Performance Centre. He had the opportunity to learn from Bondarchuk first hand when they worked together in Kamloops, and has been fine tuning his approach ever since. You can learn more about those through this link, or by reading Part I. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below. […]

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