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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Sports Science Monthly – April 2016

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Editor’s Note: We are testing out a new series called the Sports Science Monthly. The goal is to translate the latest sports science research into information that coaches can use. Do you like it? Is it helping your training? Please get in touch on Twitter or via email and let us know.

Welcome to a new monthly collection that I will be writing, looking at sports science for coaches. In today’s sporting climate, coaches aren’t just supposed to coach – they are expected to keep up-to-date with new trends within sports science, including (but not limited to) strength and conditioning, nutrition, biomechanics, and psychology. This creates a lot of problems; many coaches are too busy coaching to sit down and find the correct research. Often, research is presented without context, so the coach doesn’t quite know what the study means. Through these series of articles, I hope to create a resource for coaches to be able to find recent articles that are applicable to them, and be able to place them in context. I will also report on research that isn’t always specifically applicable to a coach, but is a great example of the scientific method in action – including the limitations of science. This isn’t meant to be an overview of the whole sports science field, as time constraints mean I only report on a small number of the research published each month. However, I aim to pick the ones that might be most relevant and applicable. As always, I would welcome your feedback going forward on how to improve the Sports Science Monthly. Read more

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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

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Beyond the Bullsh*t

One of the biggest influences on my approach to training over the past year has been John Kiely, the Irish strength and conditioning coach and university lecturer in elite performance. I had the chance to interview him last year and it was the most open and honset interview I have done. As an academic Kiely has written about the unique situation we find ourselves in as coaches: science tells us that the human body is an increasingly complex organism, yet science is unable to tell us much about what is the best method for planning and periodization. As a practioner, Kiely provides some simple solutions that can bring about big changes in training. The ability to both tell it like it is, and be helpful is unique in our sport and made me want to learn more from him. Read more

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Episode 43: Genesis (with Glenn McAtee)

In the beginning, there was Glenn McAtee. McAtee’s name is referenced on nearly every episode on the podcast for a good reason: he has been the major influence in Nick’s career and the force that connected Nick and me. The former Clemson and Cal State Northridge coach put together a great system to turn overlooked recruits into all-Americans. We ask him about how he set up that program, how he became on of the first coaches in the west to study Bondarchuk’s methods, and what he has learned working back at the youth level in recent years as head coach at JL Mann High School. Read more