Intellectual Inbreeding

When any species inbreeds the results are disastrous. For example look the European monarchies where there was continual marriage among first cousins, the result was insanity and eventual chaos in the world. I wonder if we are not doing the same thing today in strength and conditioning, athletic training and rehabilitation and even to a certain extent in sport science. If you always interact within the same group and never go outside for new ideas or are challenged with different thoughts aren’t you doing the same thing as the royal families of Europe? I see this in athletic departments, I see this in professional organizations, I have to guard against this. I always strive to go outside my field to learn, get outside my intellectual comfort zone and challenge myself with new ideas. That does not mean I have to adopt those ideas, but by being challenged, I find the challenge either makes me stronger in my beliefs or it forces me to modify or change beliefs if I find them lacking. I challenge you to do the same, get out of your comfort zone, and embrace change and new ideas. Have a context to evaluate them, if it is better than what you are doing then go with it, if not stay the course. To meet the challenges ahead we all need to look at some different paradigms. This is a different world than when I started coaching 38 years ago. I have been in denial, but kids are different, expectations are different, I know I have been rethinking how I do what I do in order to be more effective. Personally the solution for me has been to go outside my field, I encourage you to do the same.


At 11/5/07, 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to have you back Vern after a week off the blog.

I agree, it is important to be intellectually stimulated by a variety of sources to become well rounded. It seems as if the majority of our industry is being educated primarily by Human Kinetics publications, Perform Better seminars, and the NASM and NSCA.

Some of my "alternative" sources for quality information come from Rodale Press, of course your publications, anything from Gary Gray, USA Weightlifting, USA Track and Field, T-Nation, and yoga.

It is greatly appreciated when you recommend new publications (such as Radcliffe's book) but please also recommend any seminars, etc that could be of benefit.

I would be interested in any and all stimulatng sources from your readers too.

Thank you Vern for challenging us to be better trainers and coaches.

Phillip Bazzini

At 11/5/07, 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Working in General Fitness I believe will challenge any
athletic minded person. Working with a lovely 65 yr. old women who is losing her ability to balance and squat but she is most concerned with how her triceps and stomach look. Peers that are "killing time" until their acting careers take off. Environments that just want you to sell memberships and PT sessions with no system. Spend one day in your local fitness center is a challenge.

At 11/5/07, 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would encourage anyone to look at the work of Mike Hebron. Mike is a PGA Master Professional with a wonderful approach to coaching, learning and development. Some of his writings are posted at his website: mikehebron.com. He broke with the mainstream years ago when he found he was giving the same lessons over and over to the same people. Good resources for understanding how we learn anything and good connections to the latest research in brain science and learning. You can also see a 20 minute interview with him on the Charlie Rose website. Emphasizes creating learning environments over how to instruction. Its through the lens of golf but it is really all about learning and development of any kind. Its challenged my thinking and I use much of what I have learned every day working with athletes from different sports.

TIm Clark

At 11/5/07, 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the charlie rose website?

At 11/5/07, 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not until we are drowning do we then learn how to swim

At 11/6/07, 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mike Hebron Interbiew is at


Go the video archives
select sports
then select michael hebron

Just a short 20 minute interview but a good glimpse into the thinking of a very successful golf pro.

Tim Clark

At 11/6/07, 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When any species inbreeds the results are disastrous.

Being in the Angus business my whole life I find the above statement not always true until you go to the extreme. How do we know that we truly have goodness without linebreeding? Crossing homozygous good with homozygous good will always give us good and will intensify it (more consistent). Linebreeding is a great way to find out your weaknesses rather than covering them up by outcrossing and combining more unknowns that hopefully coverup your weaknesses. The greatest gains are ofcourse going hybrid but unfortunately you do not always know how you got it..so is not always as repeatable.

Mark Day


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