Posts

When is the right time to do Conditioning?

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There seem to be a lot of questions about 'when to do conditioning'. Or maybe questions about training plans asking 'what do I do after I start with conditioning?' These questions have always puzzled me. Today was a great day though, because it occurred to me for the first time the reason this always puzzles me. Firstly, I'm a really big believer in running drills which involve everyone all the time. That is, no lines of athletes waiting to do things. This is because of, well, science, and anecdotal evidence. Secondly, I never (rarely) do dedicated conditioning sessions because I can never think of what skill practice I would want to skip to do it. Thirdly, my warmups always include strength and conditioning aspects. So, what occurred to me? It occurred to me that if you spend a percentage of your practice time with athletes waiting in lines, they are not doing any conditioning. But if your trainings have all athletes involved in drills at all times, then they are d

A Review of Olympic Sports

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Someone sent me this a long time ago and I thought now was a good time to publish it. I don't necessarily agree with it all but it is fun and interesting. If anyone knows where it came from please let me know, I'm very happy to attribute it. The original title was: Fool's Gold.

What Type of Coach are You?

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Merriam-Webster , describes a coach as, "one who instructs or trains an acting coach a birth coach; especially : one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy." There are two parts to this definition, one is a teacher, and one is a director. That is, one educates, and one commands. These different roles change depending on the environment, and are manifested mostly in competition. In fact, I think all coaches operate along a continuum with 'teacher' at one end and 'competitor' at the other. Some coaches clearly focus more on teaching, some more on competing. There is nothing wrong with a coach being at any point on this continuum. The problem exists when the coach is at a point that their athletes are not. The easiest example is where the result of a match in a junior competition is more important to the coach than the players. You can see this as it is happening. And you can imagine that coach berating the childr

How to Become a Professional Coach

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Sometimes people ask me how you can become a professional coach. Especially somewhere where there might be only 10 jobs nationwide. It is a tough question to answer. But then I find old documents like a movement analysis I did for the National Men's team back in 1991, and I remember how. I was in my last year of my human movement degree and had decided I wanted to be a coach. The national team was on a tour of the country, and I wanted to get in to the game for free. So I decided to volunteer to do a time and motion analysis for them, based on the game. I contacted the head coach with the idea and he agreed. So I borrowed a couple of video cameras, got access to the overhead area so I had a top view, and also a back view. No problem. And I got in for free! The analysis I did is below. Remember, this is all from VHS tapes and stopwatches. Cover Letter Summary Results Detailed Results Oh, and while I was there the CEO asked if I had any free time (I had plenty) and offered me a job t

Stages of Coaching Questions

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I've written a few times lately about coach development , and the idea that a critical part of coach development is what the coach actually wants to learn . The point is that as coaches develop, their coaching evolves. The consequence of which is that if we are supporting the development of coaches, we need to identify what coaches WANT to know as well as what they NEED to know. This is another 'model' explaining the same concept. That is not to say any of the models are right or wrong. Life is too complex to fit neatly into models. Except Planets. There are 8 planets in the solar system. Always were, always will be. WHAT? When coaches start they tend to point out 30 things that are wrong. They consider it useful that they can name 30 technical things that are essential for a skill. As they develop they realise that it is actually more important to simplify. HOW? Then they learn about training design. About drills and methods to train. WHEN? Over time coaches develop an

Momentum in Sport

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The most fascinating example of 'momentum' I have ever seen was in a couple of tennis matches between Agassi and Sampras. It seemed like the momentum was I the balance for about 99% of the match. Sampras would win serve, Agassi would struggle a bit but win serve. And then there was a moment. Maybe at 30:30 and Sampras served a double fault. You could see Agassi knew this might be the only chance he had this set and the momentum was with him momentarily. He looked different. I get goosebumps just writing about it now. Somehow Agassi gets the next serve back into play and wins the rally and the game. Then the momentum went back into the balance for another 40 minutes with neither having an advantage.  Until Sampras would seize his tiny moment. Momentum = Team State Momentum is defined as: "Impetus of a non-physical process, such as an idea or a course of events."  To describe an intangible concept such as momentum in sport is difficult, but basically: ‘advantage’ that e

Questioning is Important

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Questioning is important Developing a 'Beginner's Mind'  is important. Looking at problems without limiting possibilities is important. 'Self perceptions of expertise increase closed minded cognition.' Ok, makes sense. I've been fortunate to grow up in an environment where in my group of  critical friends  everything is always questioned, to the point where people have complained about the fact that we were always asking questions. On the other hand, if 'experts' have closed minds and they hear a theory for which they know reputable research refutes, the only possible solution for this is that they are closed minded, right? So, never trust an expert who disagrees with you, they have lost their beginner's mind? No, but having a questioning mind is important. Questioning is important Research is important. But if you question everything, when do you stop? You have to stop at some point. Don't you? A great (and very blunt) coach I used to work with