As a young inexperienced coach it was my goal, like most all coaches, to be the best I possibly could be. The way I figured I was going to do this was by first distinguishing who had the best program and then seeking out the coach of this program. This quest actually began when I started my junior college throwing career. At this time there was no question that coach Art Venegas and the UCLA Bruins were at the top. I distinctly remember going to my first major track meet, the Pac 10 Conference Championships hosted by Stanford University, to watch the Bruins live in action. I could not wait to see them throw and oddly enough my seats were right in front of Coach Venegas. I listened to every word and every cue he gave his throwers. Although, I was relatively inexperienced, especially having zero knowledge about the rotation, I noticed right away that the Bruins had distinct characteristics in their technique. Little did I know that in the future I would be competing against the Bruins while attending college at Cal State Northridge. Read more
Tag Archive for: Drills
Tony Liebert, a youth hockey coach in Madison Wisconsin coined this phrase to describe fancy drills that look cool but have no carryover to what happens in the game. How much of your practice consists of “fake fundamentals”? Read more
The so-called Mach drills were part of a comprehensive system; frankly that is what I see missing today. Just because it looks like the sprint action does not mean there is much transfer. Similar is not the same. As I have seen the use of the Mach drills grow in popularity to the point now where they are universally used. I think the concepts behind the drills are quite simple but I am not sure that many people today understand them and the historical context of the system. My purpose in this article is to lend a historical perspective on the Mach drills. This perspective is intended to clarify the application of the drills. I must emphasize that this is my perspective and opinion based on discussion, observation as well as my coaching experience. Read more
When it comes to fixing technique, I am not a big fan of drills. Among throwers there are some parts of the throw that you can never replicate in a drill. The same is true in nearly every sport. And even those parts that can be replicated often remain far removed from the sport itself. How many times have you seen athletes able to perform a drill flawlessly and then proceed to make a myriad of mistakes during their actual throw? I’m not the only one to notice this phenomenon: Read more
Neat complex drills using a myriad of props have an innate allure. I must admit when I see a drill or an exercise I have not seen before I video it or write it down. But here is the problem and it is a big problem – the drills or exercises often have no connection with what actually happens in the sport. Read more
Perhaps the most common practice breaker I see is lines. I was watching a soccer practice recently where 18 players were doing a shooting drill; there were two lines of nine with two balls. Do the math how many times did each player get to practice a shot in a five-minute period? Answer: not enough to be meaningful, not to mention the lack of instruction. Lets be clear lines are important for organization and efficiency, but learn to use lines to be effective. Read more
Earlier in the week I began a discussion with coach Derek Evely on how training needs to be tailored to the event for which you are training. He provided two examples from the hammer throw by looking at two unique aspects of our event. First, the hammer throw is the only track and field event where the athlete keeps contact with the ground at all times and the goal is to lengthen the amount of ground contact. In part one, we discussed how this fact has an impact on selecting exercises for the event. Second, hammer throwers must work together with an external object. In this final part we move on to discuss how the hammer’s forces also impact training.
For the best opportunity to learn from Derek about this and other topics, check out the Canadian National Throws Conference in Ottawa from October 18-20. Derek will be presenting along with Vésteinn Hafsteinsson and Esa Utriainen on the theme of “Developing the Throws: European Perspectives.” Registration is now open. Another good read from Derek is the training talk we did two years ago.
Part 2: Recreating the Hammer’s Forces in Training
To correct running mechanics it is best to use Fault/Reason/Correction Paradigm. First identify the fault in the mechanics. Then find the reason for the flaw and then correct the flaw. Look at the big things first in the context of the PAL Paradigm. Get a sense of the flow of the action, before looking at specific considerations. Focus in on smaller pieces of the puzzle only after global considerations have been addressed. This is in concert with the whole/part/whole concept of motor learning, start with the whole action in this case running, then look at the parts. Decide what parts need attention. Design task oriented drills or movements that will reinforce the correction of those parts. Rather than focus on the fault you are trying to correct, give the athlete a task to achieve that will correct the fault. Above all coach the correction, don’t coach the flaw. Allow the runner to explore and solve the movement equation, then, as soon as possible relate the drill back to the whole action. Read more
Yesterday afternoon I was in Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain Trinidad watching over three hundred track & field athletes of all ages train but I could have just as well been in London, Brisbane or back home in Sarasota. What I saw was a bunch of drills and exercises; it was obvious in most cases the drills were just imitations of what someone had seen on YouTube or learned at a workshop. Read more