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GAINcast Episode 161: Range (with David Epstein)

Look at the top athletes in the world and you’ll notice they come from a variety of backgrounds. Tiger Woods began specializing at a young age, while Roger Federer only specialized as he started to achieve success later. Why did Federer benefit from a generalist childhood vs. a specialization one? Author David Epstein has focused on the topic for his upcoming book Range. He joins the GAINcast this week to talk about what he has found in the research on early specialization in sports, and as well as in other aspects of life. Read more

Not my first rodeo

In the past fifty plus years I have had the opportunity to see a lot and experience a lot. I have seen great coaches and terrible coaches. I have observed great practices and training sessions. I have observed and been subjected to practices and training sessions that I would not subject my bitterest enemy to. Why am I writing this? I am writing this because I see the current generation of younger coaches acting like they invented the wheel. What I see today in training, there is very little that is new. It is fifty-year-old or older stuff repackaged and made glitzy posted on Instagram or YouTube. I have learned that ultimately what works are those methods that are grounded in fundamentals and do not stray from the basics. Read more

Team speed

When I the so-called experts talking about team speed and all they emphasize is acceleration, I just scratch my head. Are you watching the same game I am? Read more

The problem with pathways (aka how to put together a real Endgame)

The film Avengers: Endgame has smashed all box office records since its release. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which started with Iron Man in 2008, now encompasses 21 movies culminating in this three-hour epic. Multiple plot lines, dozens of characters, cameos and references to past movies were included. Nothing like this has ever been done before and eleven years ago no one would have predicted the path this franchise has taken. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – May 2019

Every month we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. Recently the countermovement jump has morphed from a test of explosiveness into a more general test of the athlete’s physical state.  In the May Sports Science Monthly we start off by looking at whether research backs this up. We then give you the latest updates on research about sleep, tapering, priming, transfer of training, and hamstring injuries. Read more

It’s always about difference

When I think about long-term athlete development, the first word that comes to my mind is difference. My first guiding rule as a coach came from my mentor Roger Eischens: “It’s aways about difference.” That couldn’t be more true when we start talking about long-term athlete development. Coaches need to account for different bodies, a different society, and different priorities while maintaining the same purpose. Read more

Why talented youngsters rarely make it to the top

Spotting the next major talent is big business in sports, particularly team sports, where youngsters are often scouted and signed to clubs at increasingly young ages. However, the effectiveness of these methods is generally considered to be very poor, with relatively few youngsters thought of as highly talented at a young age progressing through to play at a high level. How can it be that we invest so much into talent identification but have relatively little to show for it? Read more

Shaking my head

Stop and think for a minute: it takes approximately 0.8 of a second to express maximal strength. Most athletic movements take place in the range of 0.2 to 0.5 seconds. So why do we spend such an inordinate amount of time emphasizing maximal strength? Is it because it is measurable? Is it because it is convenient? Is it a misunderstanding of the principle of overload? Read more

GAINcast Episode 160: Beyond pathways (with James Marshall)

There are dozens of long-term athlete development models out there that try to explain the best way to turn youth athletes into champions. The problem is that they incorporate much more theory than practice. In reality, success cannot be broken down into one pathway or plan. On this episode of the podcast, leading youth coach James Marshall talks about how the systems fail us and what he’s doing to make youth athletics better in his community. Read more

Key questions in data science for sports

Over the last decade or so, there has been a Big Data revolution. This is true of our general lives; a good example is how Cambridge Analytica collected, both legally and potentially illegally, data of Facebook users for the targeting of campaign advertisements, but also within sport, where, in part thanks to the increase in technology, there is a vast amount of data available to sporting teams. Read more