Posts

Father teaching daughter to ride bicycle in park

Learning to Ride a Bike

Early in the summer of 2015, my 4-year-old son decided that he was brave enough to take the training wheels off of his bike. I proceeded to do so immediately, before he changed his mind. At the start of our journey, I used to the same old techniques that we’ve all seen to get going. I started by pushing him down the sidewalk. Then I let him attempt to start the bike’s motion on his own. After too many attempts and being analytical (as normal), I noticed several things: Read more

coaching_evelyn

Training Talk with Pat Connolly (Part 2)

Pat Connolly has been at the top of the sport both as an athlete and as the coach of top sprinters like Evelyn Ashford and Allyson Felix. On Wednesday I posted the first part of my interview with her, where we discussed her general philosophy, the importance of repetition, and specific training methods. In this part she continues to discuss mental training, the differences in coaching men and women. We finished by getting her thoughts on doping. Having been involved in the sport since steroids were first introduced, Pat was one of the first vocal anti-doping advocates, having even testified in front of Congress to lobby for support. But the sport has evolved and so have her thoughts on the issue, which she describes below. Read more

BEIJING - AUGUST 15:  Craig Pickering of Great Britain competes in the Men's 100m Heats at the National Stadium on Day 7 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 15, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Black Box Thinking (Or Why We Shouldn’t Fear Mistakes)

For those of you who have followed my career, you might know that I am responsible for one very large mistake. I was responsible for my country, the reigning Olympic Champions, to be disqualified in the 4x100m relay at the 2008 Olympics. I, personally, made a mistake which most likely cost myself and my team mates an Olympic medal. I’ve written about this elsewhere, so I won’t belabour the point too much, but following this mistake I had two options: Read more

(From L) Barrister & Solicitor Richard McLaren, former World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President and chairman of the WADA independent commission Richard W Pound, and Head of Department Cybercrime with Bavarian Landeskriminalamt (LKA) Guenter Younger take part in the presentation before the press of a report on corruption and money-laundering within international athletics on November 9, 2015 in Geneva. Just 270 days out from the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics, an independent commission set up by the WADA released its findings into a scandal already viewed as more damaging than the corruption crisis engulfing world football governing body FIFA. WADA wants lifetime bans for 5 Russian athletes, including 800m Olympic champion. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI        (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Doping and the Police State

For the past few months, the IAAF has been embroiled in the latest of its many doping scandals. Last week, President Sebastian Coe unveiled a road map to restore credibility to the sport. If you were waiting for new ideas to attack a long festering problem, you will no doubt be disappointed. While Coe recommended doubling the doping budget, what they would do with that money is more of the same. The major issue in this most recent case is first and foremost that corruption made testing ineffective, not that there were too few tests or too little budget. Read more

3 Tips for Better Coaching

I’ve spent my career learning things from all sorts of athletes and coaches. Whether it be good or bad, there is always a lesson to be learned. I’ve been extremely observant of behaviors and trends of successful and unsuccessful pairings of athletes and coaches. Based on my experience, here are the top three suggestions I recommend for improving results in a coach athlete relationship. Read more

blake-oneill

Situational Practice

This weekend, I witnessed via my television screen one of the biggest blunders in college football. The situation of course was the fumbled snap, the re-fumbled recovery of that snap, and the subsequent recovery of that fumble for a last second touchdown. Michigan State wins and beats Michigan in their big in-state rivalry, and one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the football. The person who fumbled that snap has a name, and his name is Blake O’Neill. After October 17, 2015, every Michigan football fan will know his name. @blakewoneill on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets went crazy! The comparison of this young man’s blunder and Ray Finkle, the fictional character from the Ace Ventura: Pet Detective movie, are alive. I don’t know a lot about Blake O’Neill, but the little that I do know, and the bit of science has grown to help us understand performance, should tell us all he alone is not the only one to blame. Given his lack of situational experience any one of us could do the same thing, and the coaches had the primary responsibility to give him more situational practice. Read more

mistakes_churchill

Episode 20: Admitting Mistakes

Take a look at politics, business, and sport and you will consistently see leaders unable to admit their mistakes. When the USATF was in the wrong in the whole Nick Symmonds affair they wouldn’t admit they made the slightest error even though they later reversed their position on their athlete’s agreement and athlete revenue sharing, Symmonds’ two main points of contention. Those in power often think that admitting a mistake shows weakness, but in reality not admitting mistakes puts you in the weakest position you could be in. Why is it then that it is so hard for us to admit mistakes? Read more

Blackboard-Tactics

Ask Martin Vol. 30: Throwing Tactics

Do you have a question for me? “Ask Martin” questions are chosen from inquiries submitted by members. So join now and you’ll also get access to a wealth of other training information.

Question: I’m doing my PE A-level coursework at the moment and I have to come up with three good and bad tactical strategies. If you can help me it would be appreciated. -Jake Read more

munger

Words of Wisdom, Volume 7

Rather than talking about training methods or training plans, this roundup brings together some great articles and quotes on equally important topics that build the foundation of a coach’s approach: the importance of multidisciplinary learning and other soft skills that go into coaching. Take a read below. Read more