Mexico Observations

The first lesson I have learned, actually had reinforced, is that great coaching transcends language and culture. The diving coach here at Chivas is also the national diving coach. He has produced numerous Olympic medalists. Observing the diving training sessions has been a joy. It is so much fun to watch good coaching. He is open to new ideas and willing to share. It also interesting to watch the little kids just starting in diving. They have so much fun during the work.

Important Words

I came across the following in something that was sent to me. It is thought provoking.

The six most important words in English language

I was wrong – please forgive me

The five most important words in English language

You did a good job

The four most important words in English language

What is your opinion?

The three most important words in English language

Can I help?

The two most important words in English language

Thank you

The least important word in English language



Future Blogs

Over the next few weeks I will not be posting blogs daily. I am going to Guadalajara, Mexico to work with Chivas Soccer team. It is an exciting opportunity to work with one the top clubs in the Mexican Premier League. I plan on periodically posting observations of my experience.

Dorsifelion of the foot in Sprinting

There was a bit of a misunderstanding in my post on details in yesterday’s blog. Dorsiflexion occurs after toe off. I strongly believe it NOT something you have to coach or make the athlete consciously aware of. Dorsiflexion will happen if the foot strike into the ground is correct. As far as I am concerned the attempt to cue and coach dorsiflexion is another case of over analysis. It has been my experience that cueing dorsiflexion, may result in more dorsiflexion, but result is less force application. I call it hot footing the athlete becomes so conscious of dorsiflexing the foot that they try to pull the foot off the ground prematurely. There are some many more important things that can be coached in the sprint. Remember sprinting is a natural activity. I strongly believe that we need to tap into the wisdom of the body and work to let things happen, rather than try to make things happen. It also goes back to something I learned over 35 years ago, coach causes not symptoms. I also learned that the great coaches I have been around keep it simple, they do not try to baffle with BS.



Good coaching demands attention to detail. But where does attention to detail end and minutia begin? I have always felt that is virtually impossible to be over prepared and I still feel that way, but the key to preparation is attention to details that matter. The way I have always expressed is the differentiation between the need to do and the nice to do. Focus on need to do activities produces results, nice to do produces confusion. I am interested in results that are long lasting and the athlete can relate to. It is helpful to keep the big picture in mind. I am reminded of the current incessant obsession with dorsiflexion of the foot in sprinting. Dorsiflexion of the foot is a result of force application against the ground. To achieve dorsiflexion the detail to work on is force application against the ground. In short the need to do activities will be driven by actions that cause other actions to occur.


The Forest for the Trees - A Dysfunctional Parable - Part Two

The Forest for the Trees - A Dysfunctional Parable - Part Two
By Iam Confused, PFPS*, AMMMIT**, and RMS***
Later the same day at my front row seat at the Olympic pool, I watched the swimmers walk out on the deck for the 100 meter swim final. They took off their sweats and much to my dismay, they all had upper crossed syndrome. Once again I tried to get someone’s attention. There was no way they could perform with such a limiting condition. Once again I was ignored. The results were the greatest swim final ever. All broke the previous Olympic record and one second separated the field. How could they do that with such a severe impairment as the upper crossed syndrome?
After a very restless night, filled with worry about those poor athletes who were obviously at great risk I arrived early at the start of the marathon to see the runners warming up. A few were trying to touch their toes to no avail. Once again I was amazed how they could possibly run 26 miles, they all have pronation distortion syndrome. This time instead of trying to stop the race I resigned myself to the fact that they could not possibly finish. I did not get to see the finish because I tripped on a step and sprained my ankle while drawing in to activate my transverse abdominis in order to activate the correct firing sequence so I would not collapse while stepping down.
What is the moral of this story? Don’t get drawn in. THINK!!!
The human body is terrifically adaptive machine designed to move and function in a variety of postures. The body solves movement problems, not by consciously trying to fire muscles, but by relying on input from the body, gravity, and the ground. Get them moving, keep them moving. Use common sense.

The Forest for the Tress - A Dysfunctional Parable Part One

The Forest for the Trees - A Dysfunctional Parable - Part One
By Iam Confused, PFPS*, AMMMIT**, and RMS***
*Perfect Functional Performance Specialist
**Athletic Manual Motor Manipulation Intervention Therapist
***Robotic Movement Specialist - Level III
Favorite Textbooks
Movement Made Complicated by Itsnot Rocketscience
The Pelican Principles by Charles Seagull Droppings
Professional Contributions
Subscriber and regular contributor to the
Journal of Virtual Function
The Journal of Bioanalytical Motor Movement Control
Charter member of the Association of American Associations
I got all the certifications I needed and learned all the ”functional” profiles I needed. I had all the theory. I was very confident that I could analyze and fix anyone. I had mastered the goniometers. I could move those athletes around on that treatment table with the best of them. I knew all about postural dysfunctions. I could teach people to fire their muscles in order like a well oiled machine. I could teach people to balance a ball on their nose with their eyes closed while standing on a physioball. (In fact I had to do that to get certified) I could teach movement from the outside in and inside out, from the top down or the bottom up. In short I could turn them every way but loose. After all I had all the certifications I could acquire and afford.
Now I was ready to go out into the world and produce results. But before I did I got a great opportunity, I got tickets to the Olympics. In fact I have front row tickets for the Men’s & Women’s 100 meter sprint in Athletics, the Men’s and Women’s final in the 100 meter swim and front row tickets for the start of the marathon. I could not wait because I would be able to observe all these great athletes in the context of my knowledge of movement.
As the athletes came out onto the track in the 100 meters and took their sweats off and prepared for their race, I was shocked. How possibly could they sprint, they all had lower crossed syndrome. I actually tried to stop the race and tell them not to run because with the tight psoas they all had, surely they would blow out their hamstrings. They would never be able to achieve the exact firing order. So how could they sprint? Despite my loud protests the athletes proceeded to their marks and started the race. All of them finished, which I found quite astounding. The winner broke the world record and the top five were under the old Olympic record, they should not have been able to do that

Whose Kidding Whom?

The new Basball drug policy was announced with much fanfare yesterday, but look at the details. They must think the public is stupid. Sure penalties are more severe, but there is a huge loophole. The players know they will be tested during spring training physicals, what a joke!! Then there is "random" testing, what about mandatory testing in the off season for all players on 40 man roster? Anyone who has been around baseball knows what a problem amphetamines are and now there is finally a policy. It is very weak. What about the trainers and Doctors who have condoned this for years. Wake up!!!


Drugs in Baseball

I continue to be amazed! There was an article about Rafael Palmeiro in the Sunday November 13, NY Times sports page that leads me to believe that people in baseball are either incredibly naive or very ignorant. The team doctors and the training staffs for the two teams that he spent the majority of his seventeen year major league career with “told the committee that Palmeiro did not have the body type of a steroids user.” That statement sums it up. What is the body type of a steroid user? That is one of the reasons that drug use was epidemic in baseball starting in the mid nineties and continuing to today. I am wondering if they really want to catch the users. You do not have to bulk up to gain the benefits of steroid or the various other anabolic agents. The other pervasive myth is that they do not help pitchers. They can help pitchers more than hitters. They aid recovery and enhance the ability to do work, what more could a pitcher want? Wake up. Why do you think there has been such a dramtic increase in elbow injuries? It is sad to see the public spectacle that has been made of this. If they are caught ban them for two years. Ban the doctors, personal trainers, strength coaches and trainers who aided and abetted this mess. If you are around steroid users you will know sooner if not later.


Enthusiast or Expert

Enthusiast is:
Knows all
Expert is:
Knows Nothing

A System

It’s the system stupid!! This is a reminder I need to give my self every once in awhile. It is more than an exercise. Ina system there is a predetermined relationship between all training components. Each component has in own individual function – but the key is that each component has a profound effect on ALL other components. So focus on these things: How does it fit? Where does it fit? Why does it fit? Always think globally and contextually with a clear vision of the end result. A thought to improve 100%:
“Improve 100 things 1% “ Clive Woodward – British Rugby coach


Training To Strengths

In order to consistently win workout is important to consider training to your strengths. Training to your strengths is certainly not a new idea but in many ways it runs contrary to the way most coaches think. There is something about coaches and coaching that lead us to do the opposite, train the weaknesses. It is so typical to hear a coach talk about what if. What if so and so had a better kick, was stronger or could just handle running heats? Before you focus on what the athlete cannot do find out everything they can do. What are their strengths? How do they use their strengths at the present time? How is training structured now? Is an inordinate amount of emphasis being given to training to improve weaknesses to the exclusion of the strengths? Mentally the athlete begins to focus on their weaknesses to the exclusion of their strengths.
With the young developing athlete, ask the obvious question: Are they in the correct event or even in the correct sport? Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time working on a perceived weakness see if the athlete is better suited for another event. Sometimes what is perceived as a weakness in one event will be strength in another sport. Find the talent that suits the event; do not try to make someone they are not.
Know yourself and know your athlete. Recognize the patterns that are strong and build on those. Just as you should not be defined by the competition, the athlete should not be defined by their weaknesses. Focus on weakness makes two fallacious assumptions: 1) that anyone can become competent in most anything. 2) The greatest room for growth and improvement comes in the person’s weak areas. Each athlete’s strengths are unique and personal. The more that we as coaches can help the athlete explore their strengths the more sold they will be on the training. They will see progress and then begin to factor in work on strengths that can be systematically addressed. Do not focus on strength to the exclusion of working on the weaknesses; rather learn to manage the weakness. To begin to deal with the weakness first identify it. Is it something that is holding you back from being significantly better? One approach is to let your strengths overwhelm your weakness. Ask yourself if it is really your weaknesses that are defeating or are you not completely exploiting your strengths.


Good Read

Just finished reading an excellent book called the EDUCATION OF A COACH by David Halberstam. It is about Bill Belichick and his father who was also a football coach. It offers some excellent insights into coaching. What impressed me the most was his laser like focus and his willingness to continually lean and get better.


Too Much Shoe

Too much shoe not enough skin.
Last night on ABC Evening news there was an interesting piece on barefoot running. It featured biomechanics expert Dr Irene Davis of the University of Delaware. The thesis of the program that as I interpreted it was that that running shoes have gotten too high tech. They have taken away form the feel for the ground. They have shut down the muscles of the foot by not allowing the foot to function naturally. The obvious remedy for this is barefoot running. The only problem is that I am not sure the human foot was designed to run barefoot on pavement. I think that is one reason why shoes have evolved to this and caused us to devolve ( sorry you intelligent designers). The reporter was shown running barefoot on a treadmill, this changed him from a heel strike to a mid foot strike. This is something track coached have done intuitively for years. If the runner was a “loud” runner, a very flat foot strike or a heel striker we made then do endless strides barefoot on the grass. No doubt that barefoot running, even just cooling down barefoot will help. Nike’s solution is the so called Free Shoe ( They are not free) to simulate the feel of barefoot running. They have a good feel and allow the foot normal motion, they area actually very much like the original Nike Shoes from 30 years ago. Not much shoe. I have actually had athletes (Jumper & Sprinters) who preferred to do their plyometric work, hops & bounds, barefoot because they felt the ground better. Sometimes we should listen to the athletes. MORE SKIN IS BETTER!


Looking for an Edge

This quote speaks volumes about the what it is to prepare to be the best. It is from a great book called "Winning Attitudes"
“For us, it was definitely quality. A simple scenario: we race over two kilometers and take about 220 to 240 strokes per race. Our aim in training was to work on various aspects of our preparation so that on race day, our boat would go half an inch faster per stroke that every stroke of our opposition. We knew that we weren’t the biggest or strongest guys in the competition, so we had to look at other ways of generating boat speed; this in a sport that is built on strength and endurance. So our focus was on our quality and efficiency of movement, particularly in our technique. If you look at the margin we won by in Atlanta, it equated to roughly two-thirds of a send per stroke quicker that the second boat.”
Nick Green rower, one of the famous Australian ‘Oarsome Foursome’ who won the Gold Medal in Atlanta

A Thought

Muscle physiology and the laws of physics are not suspended during training. Just remembering that thought will direct training toward a functional approach. The body must respond to stress that is applied. Gravity will always win!



As you design and implement training programs for the various sports, certain commonalities between sports will become quite apparent. In fact once you get away from the nuances of the sport and focus on the movements there will be more similarities than differences. Look carefully for commonalities between sports before looking for differences. Once you find commonalties find as many ways to link them. You will find more commonalities that you thought. Many times the only differences will be the uniforms. By looking for commonalities the differences will be very apparent. The system of sport classification into Sprint Sports, Intermittent Sprint Sports, Transition Sports and Endurance Sports will point you in the right direction. The system of sport classification is the first step to dictate the selection of the training methods. In selecting exercises for training there may actually be similar exercises or even the same exercises. Even though the exercise may be the same, it can be performed at a different tempo, with or without resistance to adapt the exercises to the respective sport. The message is that it is more than an exercise, it is the context that the exercise is applied that ultimately will matter the most.


Amazing - Where are we going?

This is the copy of the portiona of an email forwarded to me.
Do we really need this? Unfortunately this is where the field id going!
"We are doing a lot of adductor and abductor work herewhile squatting and leg pressing. Could you make a pillow like device witha bio feedback "tone" embedded to emit a certain tone at a certain level ofpressure in order to keep our people firing their adductors? Also, the samedevice embedded in a belt that would go around the thighs and or uppercalves in order to keep them firing their abductors. The pillow could evenbe hour glass shaped in order to stay between the legs. The belt could belike a seat belt or like a double velcro deal that is quick on and quick offwith a detachable strain gauge "toner" that could go from belt to belt."
I really hope this was a joke, but I don't think it was!

Certification or Education

It really should not be an either or proposition but that seems to be the way that it is. There is such a premium now put on certification that I think we are losing sight of the educational component. There is no substitute for in depth practical learning experiences. The plethora of online courses and so called ”distance learning “ programs make me very nervous. I am increasing running into people with more letters after their name that some Nobel laureates who no nothing more that a litany of facts taken out of context. I guess that is why I am partial to the USA Track & Field Coaching program. It is an education program that leads to certification. It requires attendance at courses and real work. I attended the Level II Jumps school this past summer and it was a tremendous learning experience. Oh by the way you get certified if you pass!



Every composer starts with the same notes. Every author starts with the same alphabet. All artists start with the same palette of basic colors. Why aren’t there more Beethoven’s, Hemingway’s and Rembrandts? The answer is genius and the creative process. Coaching is similar, it is a creative process. At the heart of coaching is the creative process. The coach is no different than the composer or the artist. The coach’s palette is the human body expressed through movement.


Real Coaching

Yesterday I wrote about pinball coaching, which really is not coaching. Real coaching is quite different. There is a well defined plan that everyone involved has participated in formulating. The plan is long term, that year and even a career. There is a detailed daily plan that is thoroughly executed and objectively evaluated in the context of the big picture. The daily plan includes contingency plans if for some reason the plan must be altered. Competitions are carefully selected a) to fit the level of athlete b) To simulate championship conditions. The daily workout considers the following: weather, proximity to competition, previous workouts and future workouts. Training incorporated schedules regeneration and physical therapies.
Real coaching considers the individual. Each individual is evaluated. Their strengths and weaknesses are carefully considered. Their training history and performance history is factored in. Their psychological makeup is considered. Their recoverability is taken into consideration.
All of this in many respects is common sense, but this is real coaching. This coaching produces consistent results. Everyone has a chance to get better and that is all we as coaches can guarantee.


Pinball Coaching

This is a coaching environment that I recently closely observed. It is really an example of how not to do it. Unfortunately this is more typical than we would want to admit. Here are the steps to be a Pinball Coach:
Make a plan – then immediately change it. Long term is a week!
Everyone is the same – F___K it! If you can’t handle it you just need to be tougher
Competitive schedule is whatever comes to mind. Don’t look ahead
Set a workout time – then change it back. Make sure everyone is confused. Then yell at the athletes for being late
Talk on the cell phone continually during workout so you can’t see what going on
Come late to workout
Overreact – If it is a great workout, get real excited. If it is a bad workout, then the athlete is worthless