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Vern- I certainly appreciate all you do to try and define the field of athletic development, and your efforts to inform coaches in all sports to think critically about how they train their athletes. Your efforts have inspired me to get going on creating my own blog.
Toggle Commented Aug 10, 2012 on My Blog at Functional Path Training
Vern- In the pic of the lunge and reach, it appears the gals are not extending their ankle. Should they be driving forward farther so that the ankle extends fully (finish on toe with shoelaces facing down)? It seems that this would be more functional and closer to what is desired in running isn't it?
Toggle Commented Jul 16, 2012 on One Leg At A Time at Functional Path Training
Vern- I think several factors have led to this besides those you have listed: 1) The "adultization" of youth sports, which you have mentioned before. Perhaps because of the SportsCenter culture, winning has replaced fun, and it is the adults' motivation, not the kids' that is driving this. Youth sports is all about playing on the "best" team and winning this week's tournament (which will be 5 or 6 games over 3 days). 2) The highjacking of athletic development by "strength" coaches - who also are using the "adolescent as miniature adult" and "what do we need to do to win championships" models. So many of the students in my university coaching class speak in wonderment when I introduce o them the concept of....movement! No one - coaches or strength coaches - is speaking that language. It is all about get bigger! The genie is out of the bottle, and I am not sure what will get him back in.
Toggle Commented May 27, 2012 on The Good Old Days at Functional Path Training
Vern- Thanks for recommending this. It was inspiring - I second your thoughts and highly suggest it; it is an hour well-spent.
Toggle Commented May 3, 2012 on Jesse owens at Functional Path Training
I like to define mental toughness as "the ability to concentrate (focus) on the right thing, at the right time, for the right amount of time".
Thanks Vern! I am printing and posting for my HS baseball players today.
Toggle Commented Mar 26, 2012 on Being an Athlete at Functional Path Training
Vern- I have used Strenghtsfinder to consult with teams from mental/emotional side, but you are correct in inferring approach can be used from physical standpoint as well. I will use baseball analogy: I see so many coaches who believe that a pitcher MUST develop a great curve/slider and throw breaking ball X% of time successful that they forget about developing the talent - fastball - into strength. Guys like Halladay, Lee, Kershaw, Verlander (if not most top MLB pitchers) have honed FB into a strength. It may be velocity, movement, or command, or combo, but they will use that pitch 75-90% of time. The point you make is valid - have one skill or talent you are exceptional at, a strength, and you can be elite performer. Have two mediocre talents and you will be mediocre.
Toggle Commented Jan 30, 2012 on Building on Strengths at Functional Path Training
Is it ever really appropriate to "heavily load" the spine?
I have a question for anyone willing to answer. If movement is key to athletic performance - speed and efficiency - and research has demonstrated that performance in many throwing/striking activities is enhanced via overload training of no more than 20% of the normal implement weight e.g. a baseball weighs 5 oz., so train with 6 oz.), then why must we insist on training athletes with progressively loaded resistance significantly beyond 20% of bodyweight? Why would we not want athletes to perform the movements associated with sport (basic human movements) at fast speeds (ballistic training) with up to 20% loads? Would this not stimulate the nervous system adequately and produce desired training effects? There is a large body of research suggesting heavy resistance training does not significantly improve specific athletic performance.
Vern- Thanks for this. Simple - but sweet! It brought back memories of things I did to make myself a DI pitcher, of things I have seen athletes I have coached do to get to be successful. I am going to share it with my athlete sons, and my students in my coaching class.
Conventional wisdom = opinion repeated often enough it is presumed to be fact naive question = if we weren't doing it this way already (conventional wisdom), we would still do it this way (or, why ARE we doing it this way?) As coaches we need to be asking more naive questions and relying less on conventional wisdom.
Toggle Commented Apr 11, 2011 on Sacred Cows at Functional Path Training
Vern- I don't think having a bias toward speed is a bad thing in any way - after all, speed wins in nearly (every?) sport. Speed is the epitome of athleticism (using your definition, which I really like and use) isn't it?
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2011 on Bias at Functional Path Training
Vern- How I would love to see coaches actually a)understand, and b) use this principle, but...there is so much noise polluting this message. Instead, we see people adhere to the "outwork 'em" (make 'em tired) or "no pain, no gain" (overtraining) or "bigger, stronger,faster" (one-size-fits-all sports) philosophies.
Vern- While I agree with you about the need to return to a performance model, I think we should ask why the medical model has taken hold. And to what degree is the medical model the norm at various levels of sport (clearly it seems to have a stranglehold on professional sport)? At the amateur level (HS and below) I think one reason for the prevalence of the medical model is the epidemic of overtraining, or perhaps to be more specific, overplaying. Too many HS and below athletes play waaayyy too many games, and do very little actual training. The result is a litany of injuries. I see waaayyy too many coaches at this level who have very little - if any - knowledge of training needs and methods. There are too many Phil Jackson, Bill Belichick, Tony LaRussa, Scotty Bowman's, etc. wannabee's who don't spend the time developing athletes but want to micromanage games (and young athletes) in order to get the next win.
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