Posts

HMMR Podcast Episode 66: Down Under (with Dale Stevenson)

Former Australian international shot putter Dale Stevenson has switched sides to help the Kiwis as New Zealand’s High Performance Throws Co-ordinator. In this role he is also the coach of Tom Walsh, who won world indoor gold, the Diamond League title, and Olympic bronze this year. He sits down with us this week to share what he has learned in this new role, including his views on talent, technique, and training methods. Read more

pressure_principle

The Pressure Principle

Many years ago, in 2003, I raced at the World Youth Championships in Canada. Just sixteen years old, and having only been doing athletics for two and a half years, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Going into those championships, I wasn’t really a medal hopeful; I had, at best, an outside chance. I had run 10.54 earlier that year, but then suffered a bad hamstring injury, and missed a number of races in the run up the championships. I can’t remember exactly where I was ranked going in, but on the end-of-year rankings I was equal 14th in the World (alongside Daniel Bailey), a good way back from the World Leader, Oluwole Ogunde from Nigeria, who had run 10.38 that season. As I didn’t know what to expect, I was quite nervous before my heat, which led to me running a personal best of 10.53, and feeling pretty comfortable. I was the fastest qualifier was the semi-final, which was to take place the next day. Read more

confirmation_bias

Confirmation Bias in Coaching

You’re a rational human being aren’t you? You evaluate the evidence, and then make a decision based on the strength on that evidence. You have an open mind. Except you’re human, and that means that you’re perhaps not as rational as you might think. You see, there’s something called confirmation bias. This is where we tend to search for information that supports our preconceptions. If we come across new information, we tend to interpret it in such a way that it will confirm our previously held beliefs. This is one of many biases that together it impossible humans from being rational in our day to day lives. Read more

vern_youtube

Good/Better/Best – Your Choice

Over the years I am convinced that athletes make clear choices about their level of achievement, it has nothing to do talent or ability (Some of the most talented athletes I have been around have chosen not be the best). It clearly comes to attitude and desire to be the best. Here are the three levels of achievement from my experience: Read more

bounce

Nature? Nurture? We Are Asking the Wrong Question

Are athletes born or are they made? This is the crux of the nature vs. nurture question that has been debated to death by the athletics community. The debate never moves forwards since, like so many things in life nowadays, everyone takes a position at the extreme when the best answer lies in the middle. Read more

kiely_expertise

3 Things I Learned From John Kiely

I’ve given many seminars over the past few years, but last weekend’s event was perhaps the most unique event I have been involved in. It might have actually been the first periodization seminar ever that spent all of 10 minutes discussing the actual periods. Instead we took a step back to look at the complexity of the problems we are trying to address with periodization, strategies and processes to deal with the complexities, and then surveyed a variety strategies in action. My portions focused on some many of the best practices we can learn from some of the master coaches I have worked with and had the chance to interview for HMMR Media. My co-host John Kiely focused his time on the complexities and what we can learn from science about the problem and potential solutions. He covered many topics like mental biases and how to deal with them, gaining power through simplicity in training, and optimizing organizational processes. I could write several posts with what I learned on Saturday, but decided to focus on three big picture take-aways I learned from Kiely over the weekend. Read more

kiely_IRU

Episode 48: Mental Biases (with John Kiely)

Developing high-level performance is not an easy thing. There’s a hugely complex mess of factors and science has taken a simplistic approach that, in the end, does not always provide us with the answers we need and we are left to fill in the gap ourselves. In light of our upcoming seminar with Irish coach and academic John Kiely, on this episode we sit down with Kiely to discuss one of the topics he will be presenting on: what are the mental biases we confront when trying to fill the gaps. Read more

If adaptation were this simple, we would all continuously improve.

A New Model for Stress and Adaptation

This year marks the 80th anniversary of when Hans Selye started research stress and coined the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) in a letter to the editor of Nature. GAS, often called the stress response, was taken by coaches as the basis of adaptation in training and the foundation of early periodization models. As Buddy Morris put it on our podcast last year, coaches are primarily in the business of stress management. But as science learns more about the complexities of stress, training methodology has not kept. Recently John Kiely posed the question: is training philosophy built upon an incomplete understanding of the nature of stress? Read more

ATLANTA - JUNE 18:  John Godina competes in the shot put during the Titan Games June 18, 2004 at Centenial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Episode 46: Chasing Excellence (with John Godina)

When I was first starting out as a shot putter, John Godina was THE man in the sport. His technique was smooth as silk and he simply did not lose. After setting the still standing NCAA record, winning four world titles and two Olympic medals, Godina finally hung up his shoes in 2008, but that was not his end in the sport. He since founded Altis, which he now runs as CEO. Altis has grown as a training center with more than 100 elite track and field athletes and a coaching center featuring a growing education program. On this episode of the podcast he joins us to discuss some of the lessons he has learned from his career of chasing excellence in every pursuit. Read more

starting_line

Start with a Dream

It all starts with a dream. The dream can be big or small. The dream ignites the passion. Passion is the fuel for success. Read more