Thinking Outside the Box in Coaching in High Performance Sport – Creativity is King!
Thinking Outside the Box in Coaching in High Performance Sport – Creativity is King!

There is a tribe in the highlands of Papua New Guinea who have never seen modern technology, who could not even imagine using the latest electronic tools, who can not comprehend western society concepts of computing, social media, high speed Internet links, laser technology or satellite navigation.

This tribe, believes that the best way – the only way – the way everyone must adopt  to cut down a tree is to make an axe by lashing a sharp rock to a piece of wood. This knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries….this tribe knows for certain that the only way to cut down a tree is to use a hand made stone ax.

And then, one day, through the forest, comes a man from the USA carrying a chain saw……. 

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Can you achieve the same or better performance results with reduced training volume? More on More with Less.
Can you achieve the same or better performance results with reduced training volume? More on More with Less.

One of the greatest challenges many traditional Olympic sports face is how to achieve the same or better results in less time. Kids and parents have very little spare time and for sports like swimming, track and field, rowing, diving, gymnastics, tennis and cycling, finding ways to optimise athletic development and enhance sports performance efficiently: i.e. achieving better performances in less time has become an increasingly important aspect of coaching around the world.

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Talent Identification in the Western World – Over funded and Over rated.
Talent Identification in the Western World – Over funded and Over rated.

 

The concept of Talent Identification – TID for short – makes sense.

Do some standardised testing and screening of lots of kids, find the ones who can run faster, run further, jump longer, stretch better than the rest and bingo- you found talent!

It all grew out of the now “mythical” talent identification systems of the old Eastern Block (and more recently China) – and the countless stories we have all heard for the past 30 years about how the centralised government systems put every child in the nation through a series of TID testing protocols and then funnelled them in to the specific sports where their talent was most likely to be developed to its full potential.

But in the western world, in spite of the hundreds of millions of dollars thrown at TID in Australia, the US, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and Western Europe, with the exception of a few minor and specialised sports – it has failed and failed badly.

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Sport Analysis and the Era of Negativity
Sport Analysis and the Era of Negativity

Seems like every coach has a video, a camera, a DVD player and some analysis software these days.

Coaches spend more time behind a desk, staring at replays and performance analysis data than they do actually working and communicating with athletes and staff!

Modern analysis techniques and equipment have given us the luxury of detail- the ability to evaluate, measure and analyse performance in far greater depth than ever before.

Most analysis techniques used in elite sport evolved from research methods used in the academic world, where a wide range of analysis tools are used to systematically investigate technique, movement, skills, decision making etc as part of a the study behind a journal article, research project or thesis.

The problem with all this analysis is that analysis, by its nature is destructive. Analysis breaks down performances, techniques, skills etc into component parts or measurable events. It looks to identify what went wrong with an athlete or team and what problems, faults and mistakes led to a poor performance.

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Coach education – Ten Dumb Things we do and call it Coach Education
Coach education – Ten Dumb Things we do and call it Coach Education

The world needs more coaches. Good coaches. Passionate coaches. Committed coaches. Innovative coaches.

Coaches.

Coaches are the driving force of change in sport and every sport needs more great coaches.

Many nations – including the UK, Canada, South Africa, France and Australia are investing in coach education, coach development, coach mentoring, coach accreditation and coaching the coaches programs.

And – as usual – instead of inventing new, exciting, innovative, creative and more importantly effective ways of educating and developing the next generation of coaches, everyone is following trends, fads and the old tried and trusted training techniques – many of which have failed over and over again all over the world.

Here are ten really dumb things we do and call it Coach Education.

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Strength Training for High Performance Sport – An Overview

It was not all that long ago when the words “strength training” and “gymnasium” conjured up images of muscle hulks and Arnold Schwarzenegger – that is before he become the Governator!

However, in recent years, strength and conditioning has gained acceptance as an applied sports science and is respected as a profession in its own right in many high performance sporting systems around the world. It has become a fundamental and integral aspect of the training and preparation of elite athletes in a wide range of sports.

This article will cover some of the contemporary issues in strength training for high performance sport and suggest some practical applications for the practicing coach.

The basic issues: Strength training or no strength training?

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