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Jack Skille Show Episode 9: Steve Myrland on adaptable athletes

On Episode 9 of the Jack Skille Show we are joined by my former athletic development coach and mentor in all things physical Steve Myrland. After a long career with collegiate and NHL coaching experience, Steve Myrland always operates against the grain, and his approach provides a needed balance when discussing how to develop athletes. On this episode we talk about his background, training philosophy, and approach to developing athletes young and old. Read more

Minimum effective dose: buyer beware

I have been reading about and hearing more about determining the minimum effective dose in training. What concerns me is that the emphasis seems to be on minimum. Is this another step toward developing the adapted fragile athlete? Read more

Psychosocial factors impacting performance health

Whilst we may have previously considered the brain and body and separate entities, it is no longer viable to do so; the research is now clear that the brain plays an important role in moderating risk factors associated with injury and illness, and, from a performance standpoint, it is often psychological factors that most differentiate the performance of elite athletes on competition day. Read more

GAINcast Episode 190: The Master Class

Are you coaching your athletes to be adaptable or adapted? Resilient or fragile? The adaptable athlete is like the jungle tiger that is put in an environment that requires learning in order to grow. The adapted athlete is like the zoo tiger, living a comfortable life without challenge. The environment is key and Vern Gambetta breaks down how we can shape the training environment to develop adaptable athletes in his recent GAIN Master Class. This week’s GAINcast shares a panel discussion on the topic with Vern, me, Jimmy Radcliffe, and Chris Webb. Read more

Load management and walking on egg shells

The whole concept of load management as it is being interpreted and implemented is beyond me. Frankly, it makes no sense. Call me old school, but isn’t good planning and training design that prepares the athlete for the rigors of competition what we are supposed to be doing? We have reduced the quality and intensity of training to meet magic numbers developed by flawed measurement devises based on artificial algorithms. Read more

Step by step

Adaptation to various training stimuli take time. You can’t force adaptation to happen faster than the athlete’s current level of trainability and physical capacity. You must be willing to go step by step. Read more

Over recovery syndrome

I have identified a new syndrome – the over-recovered athlete. I look at the landscape and I see athletes and teams spending as much or more time doing ice baths, cryotherapy massage etc. as they do in actual training. Rest and recovery are fine and necessary but only of benefit if you first do the necessary work. Read more

Sleep, stress, and physical performance

Whilst athletes and coaches have long focused on the physical aspects of performance enhancement, such as training program design and exercise selection, it is only relatively recently that we have started to pay attention to how stress and sleep might also influence both the magnitude of adaptations seen following a training program, and competition performance. Based on this recent research, we have an increased understanding of the need to account for psychological stress, including, in the case of younger athletes, academic work load, when developing optimal training programs. Read more

Clearing the path or preparing the athlete for the path

A recent post reporting Tony Strudwick’s comments is what prompted me to write this post.

Let’s stop putting inordinate amount of time in clearing a smooth and direct path for the athlete. All it does is set up unrealistic expectations. No journey toward athletic excellence is straight and narrow toward the destination without any bumps in the road, detours or breakdowns. Instead let’s shift the emphasis back to where it should be: preparing a robust adaptable athlete to negotiate any path put in front of them. To quote my colleague Bill Knowles what we have today is a “Medicalization of sport (sports medicine/sports rehabilitation): the process by which sports specific conditions and problems come to be defined and treated as medical conditions, and thus become the subject of medical study, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment.” Read more

From simple to advanced individualization

A few years ago I had a long conversation with a old and successful coach who told me that his plan fits to every athlete. As he put it: “They will get used to it after a while and then they will improve a lot.” He couldn’t convince me with this. What I saw in his group at this time was frustration and injuries. This kept coming up again and again with his athletes, but he was not willing to think where this could came from. For me the answer was clear. Read more