GAINcast Episode 265: Creating better movers (with René Wormhoudt)

Being a better mover solves a lot of problems: it makes it easier to pick up skills and adapt to new situations, which also helps reduce the risk of injury and increase the level of performance. Rather than focusing on your next injury prevention exercise, most athletes would be better off just becoming better overall movers. Dutch national football team coach René Wormhoudt joins this week’s GAINcast to discuss his training approach which builds upon this philosophy for both youth athletes and the world’s top athletes.

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René Wormhoudt is the strength and conditioning coach for the Dutch Men’s National Soccer team and CEO/Co-founder of the Athletic Skills Model Company (ASM). ASM is built around the philosophy that all athletes benefit from multidisciplinary training, providing educational programs for coaches and instructors, developing training materials, and designing formats for fields and courts that allow for multidisciplinary practices and training.

Prior to working with the national team, Wormhoudt spent two decades with the FC Ajax Amsterdam club where he reformed the renowned soccer academy by developing new initiatives to transform Dutch thinking on sports education and coaching. René is co-author of four books including The Athletic Skills Model: Optimizing Talent Development Through Movement Education.

Related resources

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:

Key quotes and topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 1:45 – Genesis of the athletic skills model. “Are you better when you’re stronger? Of course it has connections. But the biggest connection for me was how to create a better mover. And that was very difficult to create.” “The five transfers of learning: movement, physical conditioning, perceptual, contextual, and competence.”
  • 7:00 – Becoming a better mover: “You’ll soon reach a limit because of your inability to move. You either get hurt or it limits your skill. A better mover is a better player.” “If you are a better mover, you’ll learn specific skills faster and better.”
  • 12:30 – The role of movement skills and injury prevention.
  • 15:00 – Adapting the model to elite performance
  • 17:00 – Thoughts on the role of load management: “If you only look at the tablet, you develop yourself very unilateral. You only look at the data. And the data says something, but it’s the two frames of the movie. So data is still complimentary as I see.” “There’s one school of thought that say AI’s gonna be the salvation for civilization. The other school of thought is it’s gonna destroy what we have, and there doesn’t seem to be much in between.”
  • 23:00 – Athletic skills model and the adaptaball: “Adaptation is the key to better movement. But you have to put the systems in overload for adaptation: physically, socially, mentally, technically, strategically, all different parts. If you don’t put any attention to that, it will adapt to the other side.”
  • 26:30 – Skills garden and rethinking the learning environment.

Complete transcript

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