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Tokyo Olympics in the rear view mirror

Well, the 2021 Olympics are in the books. It was an Olympics like no other. Great performances, disappointing performances, surprising performances, great upsets, in short just about everything you want to see in an athletic contest. But something was missing for me, and it wasn’t spectators.

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July 2021 in review: Individualization

The site theme in July was individualization. Throughout the month we shared a variety of new content looking at how, when, why to individualize training. Our archives have even more in depth content on the topic. Below we have links to all our new and archived content on the topic.

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HMMR Podcast Episode 254: Olympic insights (with John Godina)

Three-time Olympian John Godina knows a thing or two about competing at the highest level. From being the favorite, to only making the team as an alternate, his wide range of experiences can help share what Olympic athletes will encounter in Tokyo. On this week’s episode he joins us to discuss his own experience, his approach to technique, and how he assesses the current generation of throwers.

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Balance first, individualization second

As a high school athletic development coach one of the first questions I always get when talking to a parent is if I individualize the program or do sport specific programs. It is also one of the most irritating questions. Just like the terms “activation” or “posterior chain” the terms “sport specific” or “individualization” have become buzz words the last number of years. I am not sure of the reason why. Maybe because the person I am talking to wants to sound smart on the subject or maybe it’s just because they heard others refer to the style of training they are doing. Regardless, I do not think individualization should be the first thing on an athlete’s mind when it comes to start a new training plan or working with a new coach. 

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Individualize the delivery, not the program

Ask me 10 years ago about the key to successful coaching and it was all about individualization. Ask me now, and I think most coaches individualize too much. Maybe I’m just getting set in my ways, but the longer I coach the more I see individualization as simply the icing on the cake. It’s nice to have and can make all the difference, but the true substance is the program underneath it.

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HMMR Podcast Episode 253: Individualization (with Dan Noble and James Gardiner)

Coaching is about meeting the needs of your athletes, and micro adjustments to meet special needs of individual athletes can make all the difference. What is described as the art of coaching is often just how we make decisions to individualize or not individualize a program. On this week’s episode Dan Noble and James Gardiner from GRIT Athletics Toronto explain some of the factors that go into their decision making, along with examples of individualization in practice.

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Tips to individualize training in a team setting

The expression ‘there is no I in team’ is often used in team sports to suggest that no individual’s needs, abilities or ideas should take precedence over the combined skills and efforts of the entire group. From a team culture perspective, I would tend to agree with this saying. However, the core principle of individualization also suggests that coaching and training should be based on the athlete’s actual state of training, experience, athletic potential, and characteristics. Research has clearly shown standardized training program will produce a wide range of adaptive responses, with the same training producing large, small or negative responses among different athletes. How is a coach to deal with these seemingly contradictory points?

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A practical approach to individualization

To paraphrase Kelvin Giles, ‘If your coach: athlete ratio is 1:25 then you are managing a crowd, not coaching.’ Some coaches can only dream of that ratio because they regularly manage groups of 40 or 50 people in a session. Coaching large groups presents unique problems. For example, individualization may seem impossible and we have to hope that everyone gets some improvement.

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Rhythm and tempo

When working on writing projects I listen almost exclusively to two classic jazz albums: Time Out with the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Kind of Blue with Miles Davis. Over the years it is the rhythm, tempo, time, and phrasing that keep me coming back to these classics.

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Coming home to roost: injuries in sport

Injuries at all levels of sport are off the charts. Despite much hand wringing, bloviating, and elaborate injury prevention programs injures continue to rise. In the actual sport training, we are so concerned with “load management” that we not stressing the athletes enough to prepare them for the rigors of the competition. In short, we are reaping what we sow – we have a generation of fragile athletes unprepared for the demands of competition.

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