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HMMR Podcast Episode 250: The ultimate Olympic Trials throws preview

It seemed like the Olympics might never arrive, but all of a sudden the tryouts for the world’s best team are here. That’s right, the US Olympic Trials start this week and we’ve got an in depth preview of all the throwing events together with guest Kibwé Johnson. In addition to sharing our predictions, we also discuss format changes in the field events, what makes a championship environment different, the resurgence of American hammer throwing, and much more.

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Becoming a gardener coach

The pandemic has caused coaches to reevaluate how they think about training. We’ve heard story after story about how the pandemic helped athletes reach new levels of performance. But what about the coaches? For many coaches, the pandemic has had the same effect.

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The psychological attributes of elite coaches

When we think about sports psychology, we typically think about how we can best prepare athletes to perform at their best in competition, and to be in a state of mental wellbeing across their careers. However, in doing so, we miss out a crucial person in the athlete development process: the coach. Coaches spend a lot of time with their athletes, and so can be a massive influence; they are also, in their own right, “performers” who can (and do) strive to be elite, just like their athletes.

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Learning how to win ugly

By his own admission, Brad Gilbert was not the most talented tennis player. And yet, across the span of his sporting career, he accumulated $5.5 million in prize money, and achieved a career high world ranking of #4, along with twenty singles titles and an Olympic bronze medal. By almost anyone’s account, that is a successful career—so how did Gilbert, who on paper, should have been a middle of the pack player, achieve so much success? As he points out in his book, Winning Ugly, it’s because tennis matches aren’t played on paper, they’re played on a court, between real people—and people can be gamed. Read more

The role of stress in performance

Athletes are generally under large amounts of strain. This can be physical in nature, such as the strain produced both by a single training session, or the accumulated strain of a number of training sessions within a training block. More recently, we’ve started to understand that strain can also be non-physiological in nature, with a link between increased stress and under-performance becoming more established. New research helps us further understand the connection. Read more

Champion’s choice: know yourself

Know yourself, define yourself. Own the process. Do it for yourself, not for others. Read more

The role of adversity in development

We find ourselves in very strange times, with the COVID-19 causing shut down of all but essential services. As a result local and international competitions have been cancelled or postponed, including the Olympics, Paralympics, and World Under-20 Championships. Even finding a place to train is nearly impossible. Read more

Staying fit in a pandemic: Vol. 15

In 1985 I left college and became a teacher and a coach. My decision to do that was based a combination of factors. The biggest was I loved to learn, I loved athletics and I wanted to share those passions with young people who I enjoyed being around. However, there was one part of my decision at that time that was made on a very poor assumption. Read more

Think external, not internal

George M. Perry is a running and sports performance coach with emphases on movement training and post-injury return-to-play. Edited with minor contributions from Martin Bingisser.

Most coaches’ instruction approaches drills biomechanically: body positions, joint angles, activation patterns underlying movement sequences. These referents require an internal focus of attention. Athletes are directed and trained to think about how they are moving their body. What if we have been going about it all wrong? What if athletes instead focus on the intended effect on an implement, the environment, or something else external to the athlete’s body? Read more

Champion’s choice: resilience

Resilience is the quality both physical and psychological that enables you to bounce back from adversity or setbacks. Some people equate resilience with mental toughness, personally I reject the whole concept of mental toughness. Resilience is so much more. It is nerves of steel, not letting setbacks get in the way of progress. The resilient athlete looks at adversity as opportunity. A chance to test themselves in a new way, to strengthen their resolve in pursuit of their goals. Read more