Tag Archive for: Featured

Advice to Young Coaches & Old Coaches Also

Vern CauldronLast week I had the opportunity to spend two days with my friend, mentor and professional colleague Dr Joe Vigil at our USATF Coaching Education meeting at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista. Joe is 83 years old and just as passionate & enthusiastic as he was when I first met him over thirty years ago. He gets up at 4:00 Am every morning and does two hours of professional development reading. He is one of the most accomplished coaches in the world and is still hungry to learn! When I spend time with Joe I come away inspired and full of ideas. We both share a passion for coaching and teaching and a concern for some of the things we see happening in coaching today. The following is some advice gleaned from my conversations with Joe and from my experience. Hopefully it will be food thought as each of you moves forward in your careers. Read more

USA Track & Field Coaching Education – An Overview (Part Three)

This is Part Three of the original article that appeared in the IAAF Technical Journal that was published under the title “Coaches Education – a perspective,” New Studies In Athletics, Vol. 6 # 4,1991, pp. 7-11

Can you teach someone to coach? Coaching is definitely an art. It is a feel for saying and doing the right thing at the right time. I question if this can be taught. On the other hand the technical aspects can be taught and coaching skills can be improved in this manner. Communication skills, leadership skills, and psychological skills all can be enhanced through education. All of this is dependent on the desire of the coach to want to be better. Just because a coach attends a course and passes a test is no guarantee of that individual’s ability to coach. This is another reason that the focus should be on education rather certification. Read more

USA Track & Field Coaching Education – An Overview (Part Two)

Part Two of the article that appeared in the IAAF Technical Journal it was published under the title “Coaches Education – a perspective,” New Studies In Athletics, Vol. 6 # 4,1991, pp. 7-11
The curriculum is composed of two basic components: sport science and event specific. The goal in each area was to teach fundamental principles that the coaches could immediately apply. It was designed so that coach with little or no background in sport science or coaching could understand the material. Evaluation at level I consisted of a multiple choice, open book, take home exam. Read more

USA Track & Field Coaching Education – An Overview (Part One)

A couple of weeks ago when going through some old computer files I came across an article I wrote on the USA Track & Field (Then known as TAC) Coaching Education program. This weekend I will be going to the USOTC in Chula Vista for some planning meetings on the coaching education program. As I have gotten back involved over the last eighteen months I have become increasingly aware of how few people know the history and origins of the program. The programs started with a meeting at the 1981 TAC Convention in Reno. A group of us felt that we needed to start a coaching education program. Read more

Running Mechanics – Part Three

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

Running Mechanics – Part Two

sprintingThe starting point for running mechanics is a basic technical model. That technical model is what man must do sprint at top speed. Therefore in teaching to improve running mechanics we must start with sound sprint mechanics and extend those concepts out to longer distances. Even in distance running, ultimately the person who runs the fastest is the person who can maintain the greatest percentage of their maximum speed the longest. Running skill is a motor task! Like any motor task it is teachable and trainable. As with any motor task a systematic approach toward improving running mechanics will yield optimum results. The system that I have evolved to improve running mechanics is call the PAL System™. PAL is an acronym that stands for Posture, Arm Action, and Leg Action. Those are the three areas of emphasis in running. The objectives of the system are fourfold. The first objective is to provide a context to analyze movement. Secondly the PAL System™ is a systematic step-by-step teaching progression. The third aspect is that it provides a context to direct training based on the needs established in the past two steps. Lastly it provides a rehab context by establishing a criterion based progressive approach toward getting someone back to normal gait pattern after an injury. Read more

Running Mechanics – Part One

Running is a fundamental locomotor skill. It is a very natural activity. Unfortunately because of our sedentary lifestyle and activity deprived society this natural skill rapidly erodes in accordance with the law of reversibility. As with any skill if is not used it is quickly lost. Generally, young children run naturally with fundamentally sound running mechanics. We need to insure that this natural activity is reinforced through activity and play during childhood, so that in adolescence and latter all that is necessary is to reawaken those childhood movement patterns. If the skill has been lost through disuse it is tough to reacquire. Read more

Functional Training – Method or Madness? Part Three

All movement is functional; it is just to what degree is it functional. Function is integrated multi-directional movement. Functional movement is meaningful movement that is part of a chain reaction, not an isolated event. Movement occurs on a continuum of function. Some movements are more functional than other based on the end object of the training. Read more

Functional Training – Method or Madness? Part Two

I have never been reluctant to challenge conventional wisdom and it was conventional wisdom that was causing us to stagnate in training. It just was not getting the job done. I felt there had to more than max V02 and other artificial measurements of performance, more than just mindlessly running straight ahead, more than excessive emphasis on heavy lifting, more than fancy machines that isolated body parts and more than static stretching. I leaned heavily on the work of Logan & McKinney and their classic text Kinesiology, Knott & Voss and their work on Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation and John Jesse and his approach to performance training and injury prevention. It was a move away from a linear reductionist and segmented view of the body to a holistic, synergistic quantum approach. In so many ways what evolved as functional training taps into old tried and true concepts and methods that were once the norm and then fell out of favor for various reasons. The saying that everything old is new again could not be truer. Read more

Functional Training – Method or Madness? Part One

As someone who is considered the father of functional sports training I think it is time to revisit the concept in order to better understand it – Where did it come from, how it evolved, where it is today and where it is going. Functional training is a label for a concept. As with any label it is subject to various interpretations. I originally conceived it as multi lateral training integrating various training modalities (medicine ball, stretch cord, weight training, dumbbells, body weight etc.) to produce significant adaptation in specific performance parameters. It trains all systems of the body while recognizing and respecting the wisdom of the body. The end result is a highly adaptable athlete who is able to perform without limitations in the competitive environment. Contrast this to biased one- sided training that results in adapted athletes who are inconsistent in performance and prone to injury. Read more