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Resources to Learn How to Get Better at Getting Better

I am convinced that going forward in sport the biggest gains and the so called marginal gains too will come from how we get better at getting better. How we can improve our teaching, how we make practice and training more meaningful and effective will be the biggest difference makers. I am going to make this a major focus for the rest of my career. In that spirit, I am sharing with you this list of resources. This is by no means exhaustive, it is just the books I have in my library that I have read. I am now in the process of re-reading some of these books and going through them all and reviewing the annotations and underlinings to put together an action plan of principles we can all use as coaches. It’s going to take some time. I am interested in hearing from you about other resources and ideas in this area. We will all get better at getting better by sharing. Read more

3 Keys to Winning Forever

Pete Carroll is a divisive figure. He stands there on the sidelines with a cheek of chewing gum, dad shoes, and a big smile on his face. Fans find his happy-go-lucky persona either endearing or grating. But no matter what camp you are in, you cannot deny the sustained success he has had at both the collegiate and professional level. As head coach at the University of Southern California he rebuilt a winning tradition, leading the team to two national championships and a record seven straight BCS bowl games. Since 2010 he has been with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks where they have now won three NFC West Championships in four years, been to two Super Bowls, and won one. Read more

My Books of the Year – 2016

In 2016 I have read 148 books these are my choices for books of the year. I have no particular criteria. Generally if the book makes me think and stimulates good ideas or teaches me something I did not know before they make the list. The books reflect my eclectic interests. Often one book will stimulate my curiosity to look deeper into a topic like the Citizen Science book has done or it may stimulate me to read more of a particular author. I actually have a couple of more I will share before the new year. Read more

My Sports and Coaching Books of the Year

My Sports and Coaching Books of the Year. Notice the placing of the Wade Gilbert book – coaching is the foundation! Read more

Dealing With the Downsides of the Information Age

Over on the GAINcast we are in the middle of a three-part series of interviews that Vern did with staff members at the US Ski and Snowboard Association’s Center of Excellence. Throughout the course of the interviews one recurring theme has emerged: the use data in sport. We are in the information age, and many coaches spend as much time with information as they do with athletes. But despite being with different teams and working in different roles, the staff all saw this as one of the most important issues they confront daily. To put it simply, we are not always getting much in return for the time we spend with information. The final interview will be up in two weeks, but in it Troy Taylor summarized the issue well: Read more

4 Things I Learned From Frans Bosch

Dutch coach Frans Bosch started quite the conversation last year when he released the English edition of his book Strength Training and Coordination: An Integrative Approach. A look at how training methods have evolved over the last century shows a clear trend towards more specific training means. But so far there has yet to a clear look at comprehensive look at the topic in detail. Bondarchuk has written in detail about the connection between specificity and transfer, but does not spend much time answering why things work that way. Verkhoshansky wrote a book on the topic but the exercises he describes often do not fit into his own definition. Bosch’s book attempts to do just that by taking a 360-degree look at the topic. It puts specificity in context by looking at how we coordinate our bodies and how best to develop that coordination. Read more

The Pressure Principle

Many years ago, in 2003, I raced at the World Youth Championships in Canada. Just sixteen years old, and having only been doing athletics for two and a half years, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Going into those championships, I wasn’t really a medal hopeful; I had, at best, an outside chance. I had run 10.54 earlier that year, but then suffered a bad hamstring injury, and missed a number of races in the run up the championships. I can’t remember exactly where I was ranked going in, but on the end-of-year rankings I was equal 14th in the World (alongside Daniel Bailey), a good way back from the World Leader, Oluwole Ogunde from Nigeria, who had run 10.38 that season. As I didn’t know what to expect, I was quite nervous before my heat, which led to me running a personal best of 10.53, and feeling pretty comfortable. I was the fastest qualifier was the semi-final, which was to take place the next day. Read more

Some Pearls From Recent Reading

Some good quotes from books I have read recently. Read more

Back to Basics of Coaching

Each year I reread the following books to keep in touch with the basics. My roots are deep in Athletics (Track & Field) so you can see that reflected in these reading. I find that every time I go through these books that I find something new or at least different perspective. This is just one way that I work at getting better at getting better. In my opinion if you want to be a coach you need to have a “go to” list like this that will keep in touch with the foundations of coaching. Read more

Nature? Nurture? We Are Asking the Wrong Question

Are athletes born or are they made? This is the crux of the nature vs. nurture question that has been debated to death by the athletics community. The debate never moves forwards since, like so many things in life nowadays, everyone takes a position at the extreme when the best answer lies in the middle. Read more