GAINcast Episode 267: From east to west (with Bogdan Poprawski)

The 1980s were a time of global awakening in track and field. As coaches experimented with new training methods, ideas started spreading all over the blog. Coach Bogdan Poprawski was at the center of that process, moving as a young coach from Poland to Canada and helping Gerard Mach set up a new system. On this week’s GAINcast he joins us to share some stories about becoming a coach in a different era and culture, the transition to Canada, and much more.

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Bogdan Poprawski is a graduate of the Academy of Physical Education in Poznan, Poland. He moved to Canada in 1981 where he coached at the University of Toronto and for the Canadian national team until the late 1990s. He coached several Olympic athletes in the throwing events, and supported athletes in even more events.

Related resources

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

  • The GAINcast is sponsored by GAIN. GAIN 2023 will take place from June 13 to 17 and registration is open.
  • We are also sponsored by HMMR Media. Join HMMR Media to get access to a vast library of online training resources, video, articles, podcasts, and more.
  • You can read more about Poprawski’s journey in his recent series of Facebook posts on his page.
  • For more about Gerard Mach, his journey, and his famous sprint drills, read this article from Vern.

Key quotes and topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 2:00 – Starting in sport.
  • 07:30 – Starting in throwing and national pride: “So the thing is that the throwing techniques are not very difficult if you really want to understand that.”
  • 14:00 – Starting in coaching
  • 20:45 – Coaching the whole human and finding mastery: “When you coach, you have to understand a little bit more than just technique. You have to understand more than just throwing or strength or speed or something. You need to understand the human entity, everything.”
  • 26:15 – Lessons from Gerard Mach on building a system: “Gerard Mach was really demanding of coaches. There’s no room for error and you have to really be on point.”
  • 32:00 – Lessons from old timers: “I want my throwers to leave the weight room feeling like big butterflies.” instead of feeling like an elephant, you wanna feel like a butterfly.”

Complete transcript

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