What’s new?

This past weekend my good friend and professional colleague, Jimmy Radcliffe, came to Sarasota for his annual day and a half visit after the NCAA regional track meet. We spend the time each year reflecting, analyzing what we did the previous year and planning. Jim was kind enough to have me assist with the Women’s Olympic gold medal ice hockey team so that was one topic of conversation. Neither of us had ever worked with ice hockey before, but we came to the conclusion that it really did not matter because it was all about reinforcing basics and improving movement efficiency.

We came to a profound realization, after looking at the landscape of Strength & Conditioning/Athletic Development through the lens of a combined ninety years of experiences, that there is very little that is new. People have put together “stuff” with sciency names that is great for marketing, but beneath the hype and catchy phrases you see that there is not much new there– essentially old ideas repackaged and sometimes bastardized. What is new is the technology, some of it good and some of it bad. What technology has given us is a better understanding of why and how methods work and don’t work. It is interesting to note that most of the methods were developed and perfected before sophisticated technology existed. Look at the 1940’s book by Logan & McKinney and you will see that the analysis that they were able to do without high speed computerized analysis techniques was spot on. Take a look back, know your history, know the principles behind training.

Here are some books (there are many more) and names from the 1970’s and before that are just as timely with their information today as when they were written.

  • Logan & McKinney – Kinesiology
  • Bob Nidefer – The Inner Athlete
  • Knot & Voss – Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation
  • Pat O’Shea – Scientific Principles and Methods of Strength Fitness
  • Jim Hay – The Biomechanics of Sports Techniques
  • Joseph R. Higgins – Human Movement, An Integrated Approach

If you take the time to read these books you will realize that everything old can be new again.

We are not two old guys longing for the good old days, rather we are asking the younger generation of coaches to take a longer view of the body of knowledge that has gone before us. We both realize that when we used “new” ideas that strayed from the basics, the results were not there. It does not have to be shiny and new to be good. Know the basics, repeat the basics, don’t deviate from the basics and above all know and respect where the basics came from.

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