Posts

GAINcast Episode 39: Teaching Speed

Knowing about speed is one thing, but teaching it is something else. This is where the art of coaching comes into play. On this week’s episode Vern walks us through what he would do on the first day of speed training with a new group of athletes. It’s a great look into the mind of a coach to see how they put together their session and why. Read more

The Fallacy of the Strength Reserve

There is an ongoing debate about when maximum strength training reaches a point of diminishing returns. Increasing maximum strength has benefits for athletes in nearly every sport. If an athlete increases their bench press from 200 to 300 pounds their shot put results will undoubtedly improve as a result. But will the same thing happen for an athlete that improves their bench from 400 to 450 pounds? Ask a dozen coaches and you might get a dozen different answsers. Read more

GAINcast Episode 9: Performance Influences (with Gary Winckler)

Gary Winckler is one of the top sprint and hurdle 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. On this episode of the GAINcast Winckler explains the performance influences that led to his success as a coach. Read more

Episode 10: Implement It

You might have notice this episode arrived a week early. With some extra time over the summer Nick and I decided to try doing the podcasts on a weekly basis until we run out of time or ideas (whatever comes first). Read more

Creating Robots

karate_kidIn the name of teaching technique beware of the tendency to needlessly segment and break skill into disconnected parts. This takes away the flow of the movement and disconnects rather than connects. Read more

Training Talk with Gary Winckler (Part 3)

winckler_uiI had the chance to pick the brain of sprint and hurdle coach Gary Winckler last month and the post below is the latest installment of our training talk. We began by talking about reactivity training and then moved on to discuss periodization. This part of the talk focuses on posture and coaching technique.

Before I let you start reading I do have to mention that this was one of the most interesting training talks I have done. Obviously it was fascinating to learn from a master coach and go into much more detail about a non-throwing event than any other training talk I have done. But I found it the most interesting that as we dove deeper into the intricacies of hurdling, the conversation became inexplicably more relvant to hammer throwing. The events have more in common that I realized and likely have just as much in common with other events too. Read through Part 3 and let me know your thoughts below.
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Looking Back at 2013: Best Training Posts

A lot has changed on this site over the past year. Just before the year started I launched memberships to the site. At the start of 2013 I completely redesigned the site. In November I relaunched the site as HMMR Media and brought on board great content from Kibwé Johnson, Nick Garcia, and HSHammer.com. And to end the year we launched a store which includes custom hammer wires, premium memberships, books, and coaching. All the while our readership has grown, which makes all the work worthwhile. I started this site to help myself and others learn more. With more people joining in the conversation we all benefit.

Looking back at the year, I wrote about a lot of interesting topics. In years past my most popular posts tended to be about current events. But this year training was the popular topic:

But many more were my favorites. Below is a compilation of my favorite training posts from 2013. A HMMR Media membership is required to read many of the articles, so if you haven’t joined yet it is a perfect way to start the new year.
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Youth Athletics and Specialization

tiger_woodsOver the last decade, youth sports have undergone a drastic transformation: general athletic development is being replaced with specialized preparation at earlier ages. This transformation began a long time ago, but has been accelerated as people saw the success of Tiger Woods (shown to the right) and the Williams sisters. Now I see more kids choosing to focus on one sport year-round than the three-sport letterman of years past. This is the topic of my most recent article for Juggernaut Training Systems.

This trend is bad, but the common reaction against it is to focus again on only generalized training. As I argue in the article, there doesn’t need to be a choice between specialized and generalized. A combination can work even better and I bring in some examples from the throwing world.
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Practice Maker – Refinement

Refinement is fine tuning the practice after the basic technical model has been mastered. When that is robust then and only then should you think about attending to the finer points in a skill. Often we are in a hurry and try to do this too early in the process and the whole technical model erodes. Read more

Practice Maker – Repetition

Repetition is the mother of learning. We are what we repeatedly do. I doubt anyone would argue with those points. The task then becomes to carefully choose what we repeat. It is necessary to have a clear idea of the technical model you wish to achieve and a plan to achieve the desired technique. We know that practice makes permanent so repeating incorrect or flawed movements will ingrain the faults. Read more