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All Other Things Being Equal

“All other things being equal . . . “

How often have you heard that phrase? Perhaps you’ve used it yourself? (If so, please stop). The most common situation I’ve heard it used is in regards to weight training: “All other things being equal, the strongest athlete will win.” Read more

The Trouble with 40 Yard Dash Times

This article is way off base. It assumes that all 40-yard dash times are comparable. There is no set protocol for timing 40s from level to level. Running surfaces will vary; there is no control for wind if they run outdoors, if the track is level or downhill or if it is actually 40 yards! Read more

Training Talk with Gary Winckler (Part 1)

Gary Winckler is one of the top hurdles coaches in the world and also one of the most thoughtful and intelligent coaches out there. In 2008 Winckler retired after 23 years as a coach at the University of Illinois. During that time he coached over 300 All-Americans and more than a dozen Olympians. His two best known athletes were 2003 World Champion and Canadian 100-meter hurdles record holder Perdita Felicien, and 1996 Olympic 400-meter hurdles bronze medalist Tonja Buford-Bailey. Buford-Bailey’s best mark remains the fifth-fastest of all-time.

Photo from the Daily Illini.

Coach Gary Winckler (Photo from the Daily Illini)

Despite his retirement, Winckler keeps very busy making saddles in the Pacific Northwest. But he still continues to give seminars (he will be presenting at GAIN 2014 along with our Nick Garcia and other top coaches) and it was just announced he will write an occasional blog for the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre starting soon. He took some time to talk about training last month and give his input on reactivity training, periodization, training technique, and a variety of other topics. Part one of our discussion focuses on implementing principles of reactivity training talked about by Frans Bosch. The remaining parts of our discussion will be posted over the next week, so keeping checking back for further installments.
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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

Mach Sprint Drills – A Personal Perspective

I have had many questions lately regarding sprint drills. Whether or not I use them, how I use them etc? The following is an article I wrote several years ago for the the Australian publication Modern Athlete and Coach. I think it will shed light on the why and how of the Mach drill system. I have used this drills extensively over the years with great success, of late I have also incorporated some of the Bosch drill system. The combination of the two if used properly are of great benefit. Read more

Positive running

When I was in Holland Frans Bosch introduced the concept of Positive Running to me. I thought it was thought provoking and should be put on the table for discussion. Frans was kind enough to translate some of his remarks on his idea into English. Read more