Tag Archive for: Featured

Measuring What Matters

In the Performance Podcast interview I did last week I talked a bit about how coaches often aren’t measuring what matters in training. This idea lies at the heart of the concept of transfer of training. Take a look at American football and you see how obsessed fans and coaches are with 40-yard dash times or weight room numbers. But what really matters is how well someone plays on the field and, in case you’re new to the blog, those measurements are not always related.
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Pursuing Marginal Gains

Pursing marginal seems to be the ongoing mantra in sport today. I can understand it when I see someone on the brink of a world record or a championship pursuing marginal gains in a legal and ethical manner. What I don’t understand is when I see teams and athletes pursuing marginal gains and ignoring the basics and fundamentals of sound training. There is no sense pursuing the last 2% until you have taken care of the first 98%. Read more

What matters most in coaching?

If I were writing this 30 or 40 years ago it would have been a very different blog post. I would have focused on technical knowledge, the importance of understanding training theory and the nuances of periodization. Don’t get me wrong all of that is important if you want to be a good coach, but if you want to be a great coach there is more to it than that. The technical part can be learned fairly easily through study, observation and practice. The difference makers are what some people would call the intangibles, the social and emotional intelligence that allows you to connect with you athletes, your colleagues, administrators and parents on another level. Simply put it is mastery of communication skills. Read more

More Reflections & Recollections

Communication is the key – Master all modes, don’t forget non-verbal (Body Language) it may be the most essential. Read more

Book Review: The Olympian Manual for Strength and Size

I’ve given a teaser and interviewed the translator, but I have yet to give my own thoughts on Dr. Bondarchuk’s new book The Olympian Manual for Strength and Size. As we are sending out the pre-orders I thought it was time for me to weigh in with my thoughts. As I normally do in my book reviews, I will give an overview of the book, discuss in detail it’s organization and content, and then summarize what I like and didn’t like. If you would like to order the book, you can do so in the HMMR Media Store. As discussed below, if you order the book from HMMR Media I can also help answer some questions you might have after reading it. Read more

Reflections & Recollections

As I get older and coach longer I see what has worked for me and what has not worked. There are commonalities in each. Hopefully these reflections and recollections will help you avoid some of the mistakes I have made and learn what has worked and adapt it to your situation. There have been incredible changes since 1969 when I started coaching. We can measure and monitor things when did not even know existed 44 years ago, but I am not sure that has always made us better coaches. It is too easy to get caught up in the technology and the science and forget we coach people who have feeling and emotions and have lives outside of sport. Read more

When Do Javelin Throwers Hit Their Peak?

Last year I looked at when hammer throwers reach their peak and last week I looked at shot putters. FiveThirtyEight even looked at this aspect of tennis. I decided to continue the project by looking at javelin throwers. I often train together with the Swiss national javelin coach Terry McHugh. McHugh sits just outside of the top 100, but when I complain about getting old he is the first to tell me otherwise. He knows from experience since he threw his personal best just days shy of his 37th birthday. On the other hand I know a few javelin throwers who careers have been ended quite young due to injuries. With this in mind I figured it would be an interesting event to look at.

The javelin throw offers a unique perspective compared to the other throwing events. Doping era marks prevail in most women’s throwing events and some of the men’s events and skew any historical analysis. The javelin, however, has had the advantage of starting over. In 1986 a new men’s javelin was introduced thereby resetting the records books. In 1999 the a women’s javelin was also introduced. As a result, some of the issues with questionable marks have been overcome and this also allows me to look at both genders for the first time. Here are three points I took away from the analysis.
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When Do Shot Putters Hit Their Peak?

I like numbers. In an interview in February I said the technology I use and profit from the most is Microsoft Excel. I guess this explains why I work in tax, but even in training I am constantly analyzing the data I get out of my own training and of my athletes. Numbers are the feedback that is easiest to work with.

Historical data is also quite rich. This week I decided to do an analysis of the top 100 male shot putters of all-time. That is every person to every break 21.12 meters or 69 feet 3.5 inches. What I was interested in was the age at which athletes reached their personal best. After looking at the data, I saw three clear points emerge.
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Interview with Jake Jensen

The publisher is putting the finishing touches on Bondarchuk’s latest book (Olympian Manual for Strength & Sizepre-order here) and it should be shipped this month. An overview of the book and its table of contents are available here, but in the meantime I had a chance to talk with translator Jake Jensen about his own thoughts on the book. I assisted Jake in the editing of the book and got to know him throughout the process. As a competitive weightlifter and trainer, Jake is not just interested in translating the book, but also in what it contains.
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Training Talk with Gary Winckler (Part 3)

winckler_uiI had the chance to pick the brain of sprint and hurdle coach Gary Winckler last month and the post below is the latest installment of our training talk. We began by talking about reactivity training and then moved on to discuss periodization. This part of the talk focuses on posture and coaching technique.

Before I let you start reading I do have to mention that this was one of the most interesting training talks I have done. Obviously it was fascinating to learn from a master coach and go into much more detail about a non-throwing event than any other training talk I have done. But I found it the most interesting that as we dove deeper into the intricacies of hurdling, the conversation became inexplicably more relvant to hammer throwing. The events have more in common that I realized and likely have just as much in common with other events too. Read through Part 3 and let me know your thoughts below.
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