Thursday, August 7, 2008

Some good points raised

ian has left a new comment on your post "I once said something that upset someone":

I'm not qualified to comment - but that hasn't stopped me before.
It shouldn't stop anyone.

you need to start with the athlete first...not with the program or 'training system'

That pretty much sums it up.

It seems inevitable that coaches will favour certain methods and tools to enhance their athletes - no problem with that if they are getting results - but it seems reasonable to me that a good coach will use the right method or the right tool at certain times depending on the unique attributes of each athlete.
This is one of the reasons that I think it is so funny that people 1. Get programs off the interweb and 2. That they follow them. I've seen guys walking around the gym with copies of Arnold's Encyclopaedia of Training or whatever it is called. Arnold's routine work for Arnold....I hate to break this to everyone doing his routine but YOU ARE NOT Arnold.

If there was a single perfect program for sport all coaches would be using it.
Exactly.

Kira has left a new comment on your post "I once said something that upset someone":

Loved this post. I think I understood what you were saying. Is this right . . .

The individuality of athletes means coaches can't rely on any predetermined training style to get results.
Bingo.

The athlete's particular attributes, abilities, injuries, needs etc. determine the methods you use to train them.
Bingo.

Coaches that limit themselves to a specific training methodology and refuse to look at how other people do things are tools.
You should have a blog...because it would be a lot better than this one clearly.

One of the things I've been struggling with is sort of related to this proximity bias, but in relation to the way athletes 'break up' their various aspects of training into segments.

Say if your a strength and conditioning coach and you're given a boxer to train. And you give him some strength and cardio work and test him after eight weeks and he's improved on both accounts, at least ACCORDING TO THE EXERCISES YOU USED TO TEST HIM WITH. Does this mean you've succeeded as a strength and conditioning coach?
Yes and no...Yes, in that with some of the athletes I have I have absolutely no input of the technical and or tactical aspects of their training...now would I want to. No, in that naturally I want my athletes what ever the sport and whatever the input I have to perform better. The problem comes in regard to testing in not measuring what you think you are measuring. Just as an example...in rugby one of the commonly used tests for measuring the 'conditioning' or 'fitness' of players was and still is with some coaches...a 3km run. I don't think that test is measuring what these coaches and trainers 'think' it is measuring. Do you?

What if it doesn't make any difference to his achievements in the ring in general OR WORSE (?) the strength and conditioning improvements seen in the gym (and proven by the tests) aren't evident in the ring.
This will often happen...the best athletes don't necessarily make the best players. I can name a lot of world class players who are incredibly poor performers when it comes to testing. That doesn't mean that your training is wrong or worthless or looking to improve isn't worthwhile...it is just a fact of life.

There's one muay thai dude I trained under when I was recently in Thailand (he's ranked 8th in Thailand). He is incredibly 'strong' at grappling, and his kicks and punches are very powerful by anyone's standards. That being said, I very much doubt he does any 'strength and conditioning' training outside of pushups, pullups, crunches and long runs. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't bench, squat or deadlift very high numbers at all if put to a 'test'. Yet, as I said, he's feared for his strength in the grapple and the bone crunching power of his kicks. And he's managed to reach an elite level in his sport with this simple approach.
I can tell you from experience a lot of great 'players' have been excluded from teams even at international level due to the fact that they were considered poor 'athletes'. I've had and still have a lot of guys who are just naturally athletic and perform better in testing on the back of relatively little formal training than my most dedicated and hardest training athletes. Naturally I still take all the credit for the total freaks that I have...I mean I might be dumb but I'm not stupid.

You have to understand the context of training in sport. The bench press is not a predictor of sports performance. I am not testing it because it is. It is a way to develop physiological and neurological attributes that are beneficial and through the performance of the sport involved can have a certain amount of carry over to the sport you are performing. As usual my brain is aching from my complete inability to verbalise the concepts of training that swirl around in my pea sized brain.


Will said . . .

"In short my style is results based. I test all the time... every 6-8 weeks for the full tests and 3-4 weeks for mid cycle testing. Athletes and clients either get better or worse. I prefer better but don't mind worse because even if they do get worse I get something from it. I get to find out what doesn't work."

Can strength and conditioning coaches be said to suffer from proximity bias in that they often assume if an athlete improves his bench, deadlift, pushups, chinups, etc. (or whatever strength and conditioning tests they use) the athlete will automatically be better at his sport.
Yes...absolutely. Teams should obviously not be picked on the basis of testing results. I could take any team or any sport in which I work and find you two athletes that are similar in terms of testing performance yet miles apart in terms of the levels at which they compete.

I'm not sure about this. I'm starting to think this whole training thing is much more complicated and 'entangled' than what people think.
You think?

I read somewhere that Lance Armstrong entered the NY marathon and finished around 800th (?). He'd be close to one of the best 'endurance' athletes out there, but he couldn't 'transfer' his bike 'endurance' to running 'endurance''. Yet people still talk about 'endurance' as if it's some kind of generalized attribute.
Absolutely...but they are pretty much morons.

Is all 'strength and conditioning' like this?
A lot of it...yes.

I gotta stop there. I need to sleep. Sorry about the disjointed post. I'm still working through these issues in my head (which is slow at processing at the best of times).


Joel Hallstrom has left a new comment on your post "I once said something that upset someone":

Good post Kira. Im like ian, aint sure if im qualifed to comment but since will wanted a discussion i though id do it anyway...
Training adaptions are highly specific. The transfer of training gain is much lower in good athletes. Thats why the higher an athletes fitness is, the more specific adaption. For a beginner most exercises are useful and probably both strength and speed will improve with some simple strength training.
There's alot of factors that are important do determine the force generated by an athlete, resistance is one.
Lets take an example from "Science and practice of strength training by zatsiorsky".

- A young athlete begin to train with free weights and at first he can squat his BW. In vertical jump he does 40 cm. After 2 years he can squat 2xBW and his vertical jump increases to 60 cm. After two more years he can squat 3xBW. However, his jump performance is not improved because the short takeoff time (the rate of force development) rather than maximal absolute force that now is the limiting factor. Many good athletes need to develop rate of force but continue to train for maximal muscular strength.

I would guess thats why Will have some numbers (depending on what sport you do) that you need to get up to. And until you get to those number there's not that need for developing rate of force since the strength is your limiting factor.
My philosophy is basically this....strength is the vessel and power is what you put into it...if you have a small vessel or little strength it really doesn't matter how much power work you do it will only achieve so much...build a bigger vessel and you get a lot more out of the power work you do.

2 comments:

João Mimoso said...

Just as an example...in rugby one of the commonly used tests for measuring the 'conditioning' or 'fitness' of players was and still is with some coaches...a 3km run. I don't think that test is measuring what these coaches and trainers 'think' it is measuring. Do you?


Regarding this one, Charlie Francis said something like this, when visiting a club in Aussie land: If you want to do that kind of testing, do it like this: make them run the X miles and then, the last athletes to finish it will be the best suited for Rugby. Not the exact words, but it was something like this.
Last time i checked, Rugby( and most team sports) are decided through explosive bursts, not running or jogging around the field

Kira said...

Thanks for the post. It'll take me a while to think through everything you said.

But here's a few responses to your words of wisdom . . .

Will said,

"This is one of the reasons that I think it is so funny that people 1. Get programs off the interweb and 2. That they follow them."

Problem is, I'm not sure 'expert' help at a standard gym or through a Personal Trainer is any better than just grabbing a program off the net and having a go.

Personally, I think I'll stick to trying things out for myself and using the internet as a source for ideas :)

Will said,

"in rugby one of the commonly used tests for measuring the 'conditioning' or 'fitness' of players was and still is with some coaches...a 3km run. I don't think that test is measuring what these coaches and trainers 'think' it is measuring. Do you?"

I think it's measuring how fast their rugby players can run over 3km. What do they think it's measuring?

Will said,

"I can tell you from experience, a lot of great 'players' have been excluded from teams—even at international level—due to the fact that they were considered poor 'athletes'."

That's crazy! Who gets to make those kinds of decisions? What's the logic behind it? I would've thought performance is all that matters, particularly at an international level.

I'll leave it at that for now. Thanks again.

I'm learning a lot.

cheers.