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HMMR Podcast Episode 79: Deutschland (with René Sack)

Germany is the world’s dominant power in throwing. Despite having just 15% as many citizens as the US, they had twice as many finalists in the throws at this year’s Olympic Games. To get an idea of how the country ticks and trains we spoke with leading coach René Sack. Sack leads a group near Leipzig including two-time World Championship medalist Nadine Müller. On this episode he talks about the German system, programming, priorities in training, and more. Read more

An Alternative to Periodization

I’ve been coaching professionally for nine years and, like any young coach, I started out by reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, attending conferences and talking with other coaches. Scientists and coaches usually present research and theory behind training methodologies, combine them with practical experience and present positive results to support their work. Many of the basic principles of training I first learned about back then I still use today and have never let me down. Read more

Four Laws for Life and Training

On last week’s GAINcast Vern and I discussed the importance of connections in training. When it comes down to it, performance is about making connections. At one level it is about connecting muscles and joints to move together with optimal coordination. At another level it is about connecting ideas from different disciplines to find the best way to guide your athlete. At both levels we can learn a lot by looking at the field of ecology. Ecology, by its very nature, is a discipline devoted to connections: it is a branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. Barry Commoner was a leading ecologist and his 1971 book The Closing Circle was pivotal in helping bring about the modern environmental movement. Whether you are a tree hugger or not, in reading through his work you cannot help but see that much of it can be applied 1:1 in sport. Read more

Will Sedykh’s Mark Ever Fall?

Earlier this week we celebrated the 30th birthday of the men’s hammer throw world record. When a record lasts that long, the inevitable question is whether it will ever be broken. The chances do not look good in the near-term future. Pawel Fajdek’s throw of 83.93 meters last year is the only all-time top 10 mark in the last decade and the winning distance at this year’s Olympics was the lowest since 1984. In the long-term many top coaches think a bigger throw is possible, but it will not be easy. It will require the sport to progress in terms of training methods, culture, and more. Below two Olympic champions share their thought on the future of our event. Read more

Copycat Training

This is the time when coaches and athletes watch great athletes achieve astounding performances at the Olympic games. It is certainly inspiring and interesting to see what these athletes did in their journey to achieve that success. It is tempting to try to copy their training methods in an attempt to imitate their success. I know that because as a young coach and athlete I did that. Needless to say the results were less than spectacular and in a couple of cases disastrous. While what Phelps or Bolt do in training may be interesting, in 99.9% of the cases it is irrelevant with your athletes. Read more

GAINcast Episode 22: Simplicity

We often think that the more complex something is, the better it is. Fancy sports cars, new computers, and Swiss watches all revel in their complexity. But in coaching simple is often better. Unnecessarily added elements can distract us from our core focus. On this episode we talk about the value of simplicity and ask how simple is too simple. Read more

Episode 57: The Program (with Bill Pendleton)

Every coach wants to build a program. They want to not just produce a good athlete, but set up a factory that keeps pumping out champions. That is exactly what Bill Pendleton has done with the track and football programs at Esperanza High School in Anaheim. On this episode we take a look at the approach and philosophy that Pendleton credits with creating the program. Read more

Bondarchuk on Individualization, Transfer and Long-Term Development

Recently publisher Ultimate Athlete Concepts and Yosef Johnson put together a series of interviews with Dr. Anatoli Bondarchuk on a wide range of topics. UAC is the top publisher of Soviet training content. They have published four books by Bondarchuk, and have new titles coming out soon too including his next book which is now available for pre-order (all these books, as well as titles from other Soviet authors, are available for purchase in the HMMR Media Bookstore). I’ve put together some highlights of the recent interview below and categorized them into five topics: individualizing training, individualizing periodization, transfer of training, long-term development and implementing change in training. Please note that I have made some grammatical corrections in the quotes, but have kept the underlying message intact in all cases. You can also find the full video interviews at the end of the post. Enjoy! Read more

Iron Game Chalk Talk with Nick Garcia

On the most recent episode of Iron Game Chalk Talk, Nick Garcia sits down with host Ron McKeefery to discuss his background and approach to training. Nick is known for cutting through the bullshit and he packs an incredible amount of information into this half-hour episode. He gives the most concise (and accurate) definite of Bondarchuk’s periodization I’ve ever heard. And, even regular listeners of our podcast will learn something more about Nick’s background and how he got started and first inspired in coaching. Plus Nick touches on his favorite books, apps, influences and more. You can listen to the full episode below. Read more

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