Correlations don’t prove causation, but we can still learn from them

If you ever take a statistics course, one of the first things you will learn is that correlation does not imply causation. It is one of the main tenants of science and if you wonder why that is the case, just think through some examples like the perfect correlation between ice cream sales and shark attacks per month, or other great examples from the Spurious Correlations website. Simply put, just because two things coincide, doesn’t mean that one caused the other and, even if there is a causal link, which direction it is heading. Read more

Does off-field speed transfer to on-field speed?

This month’s theme on HMMR Media is transfer of training, and to kick it off I thought I would take a timely example of just how complex transfer can be. What you think has carry over to your sport is not always as simple as it seems. Read more

Plan less, prepare more

One of the paradoxes of planning is that, on the one hand, we need to be flexible in our approach so that we can adapt to the complexity of reality. On the other hand, however, human nature makes us less flexible the more time we spend planning. If you follow this logic it means that we should spend less time planning if we want to be plan better. When I was talking about this topic with John Kiely at September’s Scottish Athletics Coaching Conference we agreed that this certainly isn’t the message we want to send to young coaches. But there is nevertheless something to that idea. And if you look at some of the research from behavioral economics there are a few strategies we can adopt that might help us solve this conundrum. Read more

Understanding stress and adaptation with John Kiely

I hate to break it to you, but the body is not a machine . You can give a machine an input and it produces an expected output. With the body you give it an input, and you can never precisely predict what will come out of it. Read more

Peaking and periodization: are we doing things wrong?

If you watched the recent World Championships it was hard not to notice the performance levels were down. The competition was exciting, but the winning marks were nothing to write home about. Take the shot put, for example. After a year of amazing performances and talk of the world record, only two of 32 athletes threw a season’s best. Read more

Time: the untapped training variable

Last month HMMR Media looked in-depth at the basics of training. This month we look in-depth at adaptation. Stay tuned for more on the topic.

Sports science has often been confounded by the non-responder. In study after study on training methods, there is always a group that shows no response to the intervention. This is not small either, often representing over 20% of participants. If our own training methods are just as ineffective, we are failing as coaches. Read more

Squats don’t cure cancer

Squatober is coming to an end and, depending on your social media circle, it is easy to get the impression that the squat is god’s gift to athletes. Furthermore, if you are looking for a test of manhood and mental toughness, just measure how deep one squats. Read more

Putting the art of coaching in practice

Earlier in the year Lee Eldridge asked me to write down four simple coaching points to help advise young coaches. Eldridge, a English performance coach based in Geneva, put my input together with coaches like Nick Winkelman, Dan Baker, and more into a piece on the art of coaching for UKSCA members. You can check out my responses below. Read more

Thoughts from Litvinov and McMahon on accelerating the hammer

Biomechanists can break down how the hammer is accelerated, but one thing they can’t do is determine what is going on in an athlete’s mind to perform the actions they see. What does the athlete think about? How do they try an initiate the movement? This is an area that intrigues me and I’ve been chatting with elite hammer throwers recently to find out their approach. There is no one right answer here, but hearing different viewpoints gives you more tools you can use as a coach. Read more

3 Reasons the Hammer Throw is Unique

We all know that hammer throwers are a bit different, but the event itself also stands out among track and field disciplines in several manners that you might not realize. First off it requires a unique combination of physical characteristics such as speed, strength, power, coordination, and agility. However more importantly the way the sport is set up makes it different. These differences can also have an large impact on how you approach training and technique. Below are three ways the hammer throw really stands out and some initial thoughts on how that could affect training. Read more