5/31/07

QAS Swim Squad









































What an impressive group. Libby Lenton headlines the squat, she was the winner of five Gold medals in the 2007 the World Swimming championship. She is also a multiple world record holder. The coach is Stephan Widmer, another friend from my previous visit. When I met Stephan in 1999 he was the assistant coach, but obviously a coach on the rise. We spent the afternoon talking about training and exchanging ideas. It was refreshing to talk to a coach of this caliber who was willing to openly share ideas. We talked extensively about the dryland program and compared notes about what they do and what I have done with the Michigan women. It a squad of men and women with nine swimmers, so it is not about crowd control, quality work with quality attention the athletes. Everything is done with a purpose. There is a huge emphasis on technique and learning how to swim fast. No garbage yardage here. There is a compete focus on excellence. The detailed preparation was impressive. He uses a timed swim at 15 meters as a benchmark to ascertain where they are in terms of speed at all times. Libby Lenton was coming off a three week break and being a bit sick, so she just worked on drills and getting the feel back for her stroke. Stephan works hard to build a sense of team within the squad. I also found it intersting that early in the week they swim long course and later in the week they swim short course.

Broncos Strength Training
























Dan Baker has the players do this interesting sequence. They do bench press first for multiple sets of low reps. Then they go to a couple of sets on bench throws on the plyo power machine, with power measured in watts with the Tendo. Then they go to chin-up with a load that is their body weight plus an additional load that equals what they bench.

Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS)

The Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) is one of the state institutes of sport. These institutes are key cogs in the Australian sport system. QAS is arguably the most successful of the institutes in terms of producing international athletes; if fact if they had competed as a nation in the last Olympics they would have been in the top ten in the medal count. Since I was last here in 1999, they have moved to an entirely new facility. The facilities are certainly impressive, but the personnel are more impressive. Building stadiums, fields, weight rooms and laboratories do not produce success, it is passionate, dedicated people, that is what continues to impress me here. They do a great job of with the marriage of applied sports science and coaching. The sports scientists job is to help the coach and athlete not to publish and do research. Suki Hobson, one of the strength & conditioning coaches, showed me a comprehensive ACL reconditioning program that she had put together based on Bill Knowles work, my ideas and those of Kelvin Giles. It was very impressive to say the least. I was also able to catch up with an old friend from my previous visits to Australia, Mark Andrews, who is the Coordinator of Scientific and Technical Support. The title does not do Mark justice. He is an amazing thinker, who really challenges my ideas every time I see him. To have resource like Mark available on a daily basis is amazing.

5/28/07

Brisbane Grammar School

Friday I spent an enjoyable day doing an in service with the staff at Brisbane Grammar School. It is a private boys school that serves students from the age of 11 to 18, very similar to prep schools in the US. It was a combination of question and answer and practical work related to long athlete development and addressing the specific problems at their school. I want to thank Peter Fernley for organizing the day.

The Broncos Game






















The Broncos won the game 71 to 6 over the Newcastle Knights. It was a record scoring performance for the Broncos. At the start of the game the Broncos were in the cellar at the bottom of the table, a position they had never occupied before.
As the old saying goes – don’t wake up the sleeping giant, they finally played up to their potential, it was neat to watch. This is a tough game, not for the faint of heart. Tremendous speed and jarring collisions. Trite to say multiple car crashes, but true. The players are athletic and fit, very much like American football players before unlimited substitution. Some observations: Warm-up was done inside, a tradition that was established years ago. I was a bit skeptical about how effective it would be, but quickly saw how effective it was. It builds to a crescendo just before the players went onto the field. No staring at the crowd here or showboating for the cameras. Very focused and business like. Players were weighed before the game at halftime and after the game to determine fluid loss. After the game the players rated their perceived exertion and then went into a very cold plunge bath for four immersions of thirty seconds each. The process of preparation for the next game began as soon as the game ended! No alcohol in the locker room.



Broncos Athletic Development Staff












Dean Benton – Performance Director (Left)

Jeremy Hickmans – Athletic Performance Coach (Center)

Dan Baker- Strength Coach (Right)

This is a dynamite group. If I were a GM in the NFL I would hire these guys as a team in a minute. In many ways they are the team behind the team. They are very focused dedicated and highly professional. They demand respect and receive accountability from the players. In turn they are accountable. Very knowledgeable and can apply their knowledge in a practical manner. When you have a guy like Dan Baker as the strength coach, with his knowledge and background you have a tremendous team. Dan just completed his PhD. Dan Gave me a great quote the other day: “Ask yourself if you are creating a habit or a stimulus.”

Saturday in Brisbane

What a day! Had lunch with Eddies Jones, former Wallabies coach and now in transition to a new job with Saracen in England. It was really fun tossing around ideas on Sport Development systems. He is a very progressive thinker so it was fun to share ideas. I spent the rest of the day with Kelvin Giles and his wife Michelle. I have not had that much fun in a long time. Even though he grew up in England and has spent his professional career in England and Australia we shared so many experiences it was almost uncanny. We both did decathlon (he was significantly better than me). We both started working in professional sport at the same time. We are both sixty years old and facing or should I say embracing different roles in our career path. Kelvin has mentored many of the top up and coming young Australian strength and conditioning coaches. The last two days of my trip will be with Kelvin and Australian Rugby Union Strength and Condition staff doing
professional development at the Australian Institute of Sport. It is so cool to be hanging with coaches, talking about ways to make the athlet
es better. This is very refreshing for me.











(Dean Benton on Left, Kelvin in the middle)

5/25/07

Long Term Athletic Development – Some Thoughts

The Long-term development of the athlete is a process not a model. The following model by Balyi has been repeated ad nauseum all over the world but I never see how it is practically implemented.

Initiation Stage

FUNdamental Stage

Training to Train

Training to Compete

Training to Win

Retire/Retraining

In my estimation it looks really neat and clean on paper, but how do implement it? This is a model not a process, it is not the answer, it raises many valid questions that serve to get us on a better path, but we must work out criteria for the various stages and specific plans for their implementation. I would propose the following as a process to consider:

Identify the athlete – This should be generic

Track – Observe & Guide

Develop – Give them the tools

Recognize & Account For:

Fast Adaptors

Slow Adaptors

Direct & Redirect – Must not lose talent

Training Mythology

Barry A. Stockbrugger, MSc., CSCS, CEP wrote the following: I have been working with a University women's volleyball team for some time now (approx. 5 yrs). I use a functional approach to their training and have had quite good success over the years. Recently, 4 of our players attended a National U21 camp where they stood out as being the most fit group there. As part of the camp they had sessions with the athletic therapy staff and strength and conditioning staff for more of an information session than actual training program administration. During the session with the strength and conditioning coaches, one of the coaches told them they should avoid at all cost overhead pressing. We do include both overhead pressing and pulling movements in our current program to allow for a good strength base when they are at the net blocking etc., but we do not do any overhead work that requires high velocity. None of it involves behind the head type work though. I would love to here your comments on your blog regarding overhead pressing and/or pulling for overhead athletes such as volleyball, baseball, tennis,etc.

This ranks right in there with the not letting the knee go beyond the toe and the toe up (dorsiflexion) in sprinting. I use overhead movements all the time in all the sports you mentioned. I have used those movements for years. It isn't that the overhead movement that is the problem, it is how you get overhead, remember that the shoulder is connected to the hip, the hip leads. In all those sports you mentioned the overhead movement is a direct performance factor, therefore it must be trained in a systematic manner. One key is that the overhead movements must correlate with what is happening in practice. I am careful not to add fatigue to fatigue. Remember it is our job to prepare the athlete athletically so that the sport coach can optimize technique and skill. Old myths die hard!

5/24/07

Great Opportunity - Don't Miss It!

This is open to all - you do not have to be USAT&F certified.
Frans Bosch, the author of Running : Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology in Practice
will be the featured speaker at the USATF Advanced Coaching Summit to be held July 1 – 3 at Loyola University in Chicago . Bosch will make presentations to both the Sprints group and the Jumps group. Additionally, Peter Pratt, the national jumps coach for the Bahamas and Dr. Richard Magill, author of Motor Learning and Control: Concepts and Applications and Calvin Robinson, the jumps coach at UTEP will be featured on the program. The Advanced Coaching Summits are being held in conjunction with the USATF Level 2 School. Go to http://www.usatf.org/groups/Coaches/education/schools/ for more information or Contact Mike Corn at: mcorn@cox.net or 504-734-7902

Broncos Training Pictures





Brisbane


The view from my apartment, they are spoiling me. When I get back to the states I will have to return to reality!

NCAA/NATA Injury Study

NCAA & Trainers' Group Release Injury Study

(NATA release)

THE NATIONAL ATHLETIC TRAINERS’ ASSOCIATION (NATA) AND NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (NCAA) RELEASE REPORT ON LARGEST ONGOING STUDY OF COLLEGIATE SPORTS INJURY TRENDS AND PREVENTION

Summary of the ongoing NCAA Injury Surveillance System (ISS) published in
the Journal of Athletic Training, Spring 2007 Special Issue

INDIANAPOLIS, IND., May 22, 2007 – Since 1982 the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have collaborated to create the largest ongoing collegiate sports injury database in the world. In a special spring issue of the Journal of Athletic Training, the quarterly scientific publication of NATA, the lead authors of “Collegiate Athletic Injuries – Trends and Prevention” present the latest findings from 16 years of NCAA Injury Surveillance System (ISS) information, collected by athletic trainers and covering 15 collegiate sports.
The report (http://www.nata.org/jat/readers/archives/42.2/i1062-6050-42-2-toc.pdf) comes at a time when participation in collegiate athletics is higher than ever. In fact, between 1988-1989 and 2003-2004, participation has increased 80 percent among women and 20 percent among men. Nationally, more than 380,000 student-athletes participate in NCAA sports that offer national championships.

“The comprehensive information in this ongoing report has and will continue to shape key decisions regarding health and sports safety issues across the U.S.,” said Randall (Randy) W. Dick, MS, FACSM, associate director of research for the NCAA’s Injury Surveillance System and a lead author of the report. “The findings can help improve athletic programs and the quality of care received by student athletes.”

“The research shows that collegiate sports are generally safe,” said Christopher D. Ingersoll, PhD, ATC, FACSM, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Athletic Training, and the Joe H. Gieck Professor of Sports Medicine, University of Virginia. “Injuries do occur, but our understanding of when, why and how these injuries happen will help certified athletic trainers and the NCAA make participation even safer for student-athletes in the future.”

The report’s authors noted several factors that if addressed through injury prevention initiatives may contribute to lower injury rates.

Among the key findings across all sports over 16 years (1988-1989 through 2003-2004) were the following:

· More than half of all collegiate athletic injuries were to the lower extremities.
· Preseason practice injury rates were two to three times higher than injury rates recorded during the regular seasons.
· Competition injury rates were higher than practice.
· Rates of concussions and ACL injuries increased significantly, likely due in part to improved reporting and identification of these injuries.

Additional general findings:
· Competition injury rates did not change substantially over time (though competition rates appear to be declining over the past few years).
· Several sports showed decreased competition injury rates, including women’s gymnastics, basketball and field hockey. Spring football and women’s basketball practice injury rates also decreased.
· Sports involving contact and collision, such as football and wrestling, had the highest injury rates in both games and practices; whereas men’s baseball had the lowest rate of injuries in practice and women’s softball the lowest rate in games.
· Sports that inherently limit or prohibit player contact, such as men’s and women’s soccer and basketball, and women’s ice hockey, still have a significant number of injuries caused by player contact.

“The report provides injury prevention suggestions for several general and sport-specific areas, which if broadly implemented can make collegiate sports even safer,” said Jennifer M. Hootman, PhD, ATC, FACSM, section editor of the Journal of Athletic Training, epidemiologist, Division of Adult and Community Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a lead author of the report. Recommendations include the following:
· Prophylactic ankle taping and bracing.
· Balance-training exercise programs.
· Neuromuscular conditioning.
· Data driven rule and policy changes and subsequent evaluation.

Robert L. Howard Jr., MA, ATC, head athletic trainer, University of Connecticut, and one of the hundreds of certified athletic trainers who collected the data, finds great value in having real-time information: “The research provided us with critical insights on how to treat and prevent injuries with our own teams. It helps that we are practicing the most up-to-date methods of care and prevention. Having access to a national network like this is vital to our profession and collegiate sports.”

Dennis (Denny) A. Miller, MS, ATC, director of sports medicine, Purdue University and a former NATA president, used the ISS information to spearhead the NATA’s “Appropriate Medical Coverage of Intercollegiate Athletics” recommendations originally published in 2000 and recently updated in 2007. “These data provided us with the base of information on which to shape our guidelines. It is essential to have this type of system in place to continue tracking trends and injury prevention measures.”

Several changes in collegiate sports policies and rules have been made over the years, based on the results of the ISS. For example, the NCAA has made modifications in preseason football, in order to reduce heat illness and general injury risk. Rules have been put in place to reduce incidence of concussions in ice hockey, and there has been an increased focus on noncontact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury prevention efforts, particularly for female athletes who appear at greater risk.

Results of the surveillance information were based on a sampling of NCAA Division I, II and III schools representing approximately 15 percent of schools sponsoring each of the following sports: fall and spring football, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s field hockey, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, women’s gymnastics, men’s wrestling, men’s baseball, women’s softball, and men’s and women’s lacrosse. Data collection for women’s ice hockey began in 2000-2001. In 2004 the ISS converted to a Web-based interface program, which reflects the continued commitment to this project by providing a real-time electronic athletic-training facility record for each institution that simultaneously contributes to the aggregate national database.

For more information, please visit www.nata.org/collegiateinjurystats07 and http://www2.ncaa.org/portal/media_and_events/press_room/.

Disclaimer: The recommendations associated with the report summaries are those of the invited authors and do no necessarily represent the views of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, National Collegiate Athletic Association or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



5/23/07

Brisbane - State of Origin Game































Attending this game was an experience. We were guests of Brisbane Bronco Booster, Tony Joseph, in a corporate skybox on what would be in American football the fifty-yard line. After a first half that was lethargic at best Queensland prevailed in a stirring second comeback. The collisions in this game were unreal. Once again a series of car crashes is the only way to describe this. It is really amazing to me that these players can recover sufficiently to play week after week. It is very inspirational to have 52,000 people proudly singing their national anthem!

5/22/07

Brisbane

I arrived in Brisbane yesterday. I am staying in a apartment htel overlooking the Brisbane River. Beautiful view. (Pictures later) Spending the next couple of days with the Brisbane Broncos Rugby league team, hosted by my friend Dean Benton, the performance director. This should be a great learning experience. I will be catching up with many old friends here. Tonight I will be going to the State of Origin game, between New South Wales and Queensland. This game is a scene, a happening, an intense rivalry. The players are all stars selected to play in the game.

5/20/07

Scenes from Sydney

Robert and Melissa Medlicott; Robert is the Coordinator of Coaching and Programs Services at New South Wales Academy of Sport. He is also a sprint coach. Melissa was a sprinter who represented Australia in two Olympic games.






The view of downtown Sydney and the harbor bridge from my hotel room.






This is of the NSWIS Diving coaches and I at lunch.








This is part of the field hockey squat
after workout.













The Olympic pool.











This is the NSWIS headquarters building which houses sports science, a weight room, recovery room, and administrative offices.






Today, Monday down under is my last day in Sydney; tomorrow I fly to Brisbane for next leg of my Australian odyssey. This evening I will get to do a session with the NSWIS Netball team should be fun.

Dani Samuels - World Junior Champion

Dani is the Current World Junior Champion in the Discus. I was so impressed with her coach, Denis Knowles and his approach to her development. He is really thinking long term. They are working to improve her over all athleticism to its highest levels. Her strength training is very multi dimensional. The thought process is that there is time to develop maximum strength but first groove sound technique and then build more strength. This is a young lady to watch. She is a very accomplished basketball player. I was very impressed with her maturity and work ethic.

5/19/07

Sustained Excellence Presentation

Thought you might be intersted in the outline of a talk on Sustained Excellence I gave to tthe NSWIS on Friday.

Sustained Excellence

Building a Championship Organization

Vern Gambetta

Gambetta Sports Training Systems

Excellence is admirable – Sustained Excellence is the Standard

A Champion is something you have been and can become – it is never something you are

Individuals

Bjorn Daehlie – Cross Country Skiing

Michael Jordan – Basketball

Edwin Moses – 400m Hurdles

Teams

New England Patriots

University of North Carolina Women’s Soccer

“I believe ability can get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” John Wooden

Tiger Woods – The Growth Mindset

Self Confidence – the courage to grow, welcome change and be open to new ideas

It’s the system stupid!

Is good enough, good enough?

Complacency

Trying to repeat what you did before

Must move on and find better ways

Managing & Handling Change – Change as a constant

Learn form the Past

Learn from mistakes

Build upon and use tradition – do not be bound by it

Concepts from Good to Great by Jim Collins

Disciplined People

Disciplined Thought

Disciplined Action

#1 – First who – then what

#2 – Confront the brutal facts and never lose faith`

#3 - A culture of discipline

#4 – Use technology as an accelerator not a centerpiece

#5 – Good to great does not happen overnight, it is a process

Strong leadership – The Total Team

Growth minded leadership – a guide not a judge

Management

Coaching

Players

Big Picture Thinkers

Focus on effort and preparation and the results will follow

Set standards high and give them tools to achieve the high standard

Talent – Without talent winning is almost impossible, that being said what “talent” is must be reframed

Constant self-evaluation – Finding a better ways

Clear vision of the finished product

Role of analytics

Is what you are doing measurable and repeatable?

“Walking the Stairway”

Success comes one step at a time

Australian Update

Have not posted the past couple of days because of problems with the Internet connect in the hotel. It has been a very busy; I would say a whirlwind schedule. Super experience. I will post details and a bunch of pictures this evening. Generation Y and how to deal their difference is a big topic. I have some thoughts I will share on that also.

5/16/07

Australia Day Six

Taught Speed to Max Seminar. The majority of coaches were from team sports so that determined the emphasis of the seminar. We were able to do a fair bit of practical work, which was good. It was interesting again to have the dorsi flexion “toe up” come up again and the pawing action. Those myths still get passed on without any basis in biomechanics regardless of the country. Had a small sidebar discussion on defining the field of “Strength & Conditioning.” Many feel that the term is confining and defining them to a rather small range of activities that is not indicative of what they actually do. Once again the issue is universal. Had dinner with the South Sydney performance team staff. Really good discussions on many practical issues that they face in training for Rugby League.

5/15/07

Australia Day Five

“ . . . a certified Muscle Activation Technique Specialist . . . ” Saw this on an announcement I received for a seminar under someone's qualifications. Does that mean we need a muscle deactivation specialist? This is precisely the type of ridiculous certifications and credentials that confuse everyone. It is about the body, gravity and the ground and getting them all working together.

I spent the afternoon with the diving coaches yesterday, it was very educational. Great coaching, focused on cues that could be communicated to the divers. Two coaches, two divers, very specific! Two very different divers, individuals styles carefully considered. Did a session with Field Hockey in the evening. Fun to work directly with the athletes. Today I teach the Speed to the Max workshop to the coaches. At the end of the day get to meet with Denis Knowles and Dani Samuels. Dani is the World Junior Champion in the Discus, also a very accomplished basketball player. Should be fun.
G Day Mates

5/14/07

Australia Day Four

I am like a kid in a toy store with my parents credit card! This atmosphere is so stimulating I wish I could share it with all of you. Yesterday did a web conference on Advances in Performance training the morning and then in the afternoon a workshop with NSWIS coaches on Planned Performance Training. Some real good discussion across sports, same problems worldwide when it comes to planning. Key I stressed was to be practical! Last night had dinner with Grant Duthie, assistant conditioning coach for South Sydney Ruby League team. He has a PhD in Sport Science. Sharp guy, picked his brain on Athletic Competency testing, starting to figure et out. Today I spend the morning with Kenneth Graham, senior sport scientist brainstorming. Afternoon with Diving and the evening I get to do a session with Field hockey. Below are pictures of presentations from the weekend.

5/12/07

South Sydney Game Pictures





Australia Day Three

Spent the day presenting “Child to Champion” seminar to a group of coaches. It was a great group of coaches. There were coaches in the audience who had produced Olympic Champions, World Senior and Junior Champions. The interaction was tremendous. I will present today to the same group plus additional coaches on coaching and in the afternoon on functional training.

In the evening I was able to attend the South Sydney Rugby League game against Canberra in Olympic Stadium. The seats were at field level, which really gives you an appreciation for the game. It really is a continual series of car crashes for eighty minutes. Grant Duthie, the assistant strength and conditioning was kind enough to arrange it for me. I was able to be in the locker room before the game, on the field for warm-up and see and listen to half time. During warm-up I got to meet Lloyd Carr, Head Football coach from University of Michigan who has been this week as a guest of South Sydney, most specifically as guest of Russell Crow who is one of the owners of the team. It was interesting talking to him and get his observations of the athletes, their fitness levels and the preparation. Needless to say he was impressed, especially with their fitness levels ands speed. Everything I saw and the people that I talked only convinced me more that rugby is way ahead of American football in terms of conditioning and recovery.

5/11/07

Australia Day Two

Busy day. Presented on Dryland Training to the NSWIS Swim Coaches in the morning and then to the NSWIS S&C Staff in the afternoon. I think a real key to their system is a true applied sports science approach. The sports scientist at the institute’s main job is to sever the coaches and athletes not produce research for publication. They solve problems and digest current research that can be applied. Very different from most situations in the American system where the sport scientists must publish or perish and chase grants to do it. Today I will be presenting the “Child to Champion seminar all day. Tonight will go to a Rugby League game in Olympic Stadium and catch up with Grant Duthie who has done some real neat stuff on match analysis.

Mike Marshall

Regarding Marshall, the answer is there is no answer. Lets move on from the Yankees, there is a bigger world out there. I repeat again professional sport is not about excellence and winning it is about entertainment. The Yankees will make tons of money win or lose.

5/10/07

Australia Day One



























It is Thursday here. Started out the day with a walk around Olympic Park. I am staying at the ibis hotel in Olympic Park.
Got to meet with Kenneth Graham who is head of Sports Science and Applied Research at NSWIS. He blew me away. I am going to really pick this guys brain. It is so great to get around applied sport scientist, who are willing to dialog with coaches. That is a real strength of their system over here. I am going to dinner with Kenneth tonight, really looking forward to getting more in depth on some of the things he spoke about today. The photos are of the Olympic Stadium from my hotel. The photo below is of the sole remaining track. Originally there were two practice tracks and the track in the stadium. The track has been removed from the stadium. Overall they have done a fine job of maintaining the facilities and continuing to use the facilities.

Really Good Stuff

Put these three together today while working on a presentation I will do on Monday to the New South Wales Institute of Sport Network coaches.

Steve Backley, British Javelin thrower

on lessons he has learned (From BBC Sports Website)





1: Know your weaknesses - and do something about them

“The best sportsmen I've met aren't necessarily fantastic at one particular part of the skill - they're just good at everything.

I went to train with Olympic javelin champion Jan Zelezny in 1997, in many ways in search of the Holy Grail. I thought there would be something he was doing that would just be 'it' - the ultimate answer.

But if I found out anything, it was that he was good at everything. He didn't have a weakness, because he'd worked on them all.

Most of us tend to do what we're good at, because that's what we enjoy doing. What's actually more important is to find out what we're not good at, and then redress the balance. “

2: Take your chances

“In any sport, or in life, you have moments when an opportunity opens up in front of you. You have to be ready, and you have to grasp those chances with both hands. At the 1994 European Championships in Helsinki, I wasn't expecting much - maybe just a medal if all went as well as possible. But then I looked around after a couple of rounds of competition, and I could see that everyone was struggling. A window was opening. And I thought, "Right - if you lot don't want it, then I'll have it - I'll drive harder than you, I'll give it a bigger shove." I ended up throwing about 85m, in quite tricky conditions - and winning it by three metres. I remembered that moment for the rest of my career. So if you're thinking, "Should I do the race, or the competition, or play the match?" - well, throw yourself in, because you never know which opportunities might arise, and what might happen.

3: Be prepared

“I used to write down a list of all the things that could go wrong.

People might think - hang on, that's too negative - you have to be positive. And you do. But by having that list, you find solutions to all your potential problems. What do you do if you're doing your shoes up in the Olympic stadium just before the final starts, and your lace breaks? Solution: carry spare laces in your kit-bag. You could cross that one off the list. I would spend two weeks coming up with a long list of everything that could possibly go wrong, work through them all and then end up with a long list of solutions. You would then sit back and think - whatever happens, I've got a plan. And that was a great, great feeling.”

4: Pressure can be your friend

“People tend to view pressure as a bad thing, but it doesn't have to be. For example, in a training session I'd be delighted to throw 80 or 82m. Three days later in a competition, I'd throw 90m. The pressure of competition was worth a good eight metres.

And if you want to escape from pressure, you can do - no matter how bad the situation might seem. At my first Olympics, I was genuinely very, very scared. You've got a billion people watching round the planet, 100,000 in the stadium, the best athletes in the world all in one place - of course you're going to be scared. It's the natural reaction. So what I did was to tell myself that I was simply doing an ordinary throwing session down my local track. That worked for me.”

5: Have a goal

“This sounds simple, but it's the first part of any journey - decide where you're going to. Only then do you think about how you're going to get there. The outcome I wanted was to win whatever the major championship was that year - Europeans, Worlds or Olympics. I'd then ask what performance would help me achieve that outcome - invariably a throw of 88 or 89 metres would be enough to win.

The next question would be: what's the process that'll bring about that performance? And that's where it starts to get really detailed - on your technique, the strength required, the power output you'll need, the nutritional plan. All the time, you have to make sure you concentrate on the process, not the outcome - although all anyone will want to talk to you about is the outcome. Your mates don't want to hear about how your point control is going - they want to know if you're going to win the Olympics, or throw a world record. What's important is to be able to discuss that outcome with your family, your mates and people who want to glamorise the sport, but be able to focus on the process with your coach and yourself. Because if you've done the planning right, the outcome should look after itself. “

6: One man's sacrifice is another man's dream

“The common perception of top sports people is that they have to make huge sacrifices to reach the top. But if you're in pursuit of your dreams, there aren't any sacrifices, because you're doing exactly what you want to do. If your mates are going down the pub on a Friday night but you have to have an early night because you've got to be down the track early on Saturday morning, that's not a sacrifice.

I certainly never felt I was making a sacrifice, because I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. And if there ever comes a point when you want to go down the pub, go down the pub - because if you resent what you're doing, then you're never going to have enough enthusiasm to do what you're meant to be doing anyway.”

7: Believe in yourself

“All great sportsmen have three things in common.

First, they all believe in themselves - neither a bad day nor a great day will affect their self-belief.

Second, they're highly motivated, always pushing hard for the next level.

Third, they're naturally talented.

You might think that last factor is the most important of the three, but I don't think it is. If you look across all sports and ask yourself what their most successful performers have in common, they're all different shapes, different sizes and different personalities, but they all believe in themselves and they're all highly motivated.”

8: Success and failure are not black and white concepts

“At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, it seemed all set up for me.

I'd gone bronze in Barcelona in 1992, silver in Atlanta in 1996, and I thought - Sydney, the new millennium - it's all there. It had been my dream to throw an Olympic record - and then in the final, I did.

But I still only came away with the silver, because Jan Zelezny went straight out and broke my new record by just 32 centimetres.

People say to me, "That must have been devastating." But sometimes you can't have any bearing on a result. For me it was all about whether you delivered or not - whether you did everything you planned to do and did as well as you could possibly do.

If you can say to yourself after a competition that you did - as I could after that final - then whether you came first or last doesn't really matter.”

9: Keep changing - whether you win or lose

“Successful sports people keep re-inventing themselves. Whether you win or lose, you always need to get up to a new level - and you can't do that if you're always doing the same old thing. At the end of every season, I would make an assessment of how the season went. You'd then draw up a new plan, and work out what changes you had to make based on what went right and what went wrong. For example, at the end of the 1997 season I decided to join the eastern European coaching system. By doing that, I learned a completely new way of doing things, and that gave me more armoury, more things to fall back on. Get advice from other people. And be creative, particularly if you've been doing one thing for a long time. By the time I finished athletics, we were doing all sort of weird and wonderful things in training, just to stay interested.”

10: Don’t get injured

“It sounds obvious, but it's true: if you're injured, you can't win anything. And injury isn't necessarily something that you have no control over - there are ways to make sure it doesn't happen to you. Go to see a physiotherapist. Get them to assess your physical strengths and weaknesses. Then do the exercises that will protect the areas you'll stress doing your sport. For me in the javelin, it was my shoulder, back and hips that I had to think about, so I had to made sure I did the 'prehab' to strengthen and protect those areas, and keep me healthy.”

Ten Things I Believe

Bob Sutton, Professor Stanford Business School

1.Sometimes the best management is no management at all -- first do no harm!

2.Indifference is as important as passion.

3. In organizational life, you can have influence over others or you can have freedom from others, but you can't have both at the same time.

4. Learning how to say smart things and give smart answers is important. Learning to listen to others and to ask smart questions is more important.

5. You get what you expect from people. This is especially true when it comes to selfish behavior; self-interest is a learned social norm, not an inherent feature of human behavior.

6. Getting a little power can turn you into an insensitive self-centered jerk.

7. Avoid pompous jerks whenever possible. They not only can make you feel bad about yourself, chances are that you will eventually start acting like them.

8. The best test of a person's character is how he or she treats those with less power.

9. Err on the side of optimism and positive energy in all things.

10. Work is an over-rated activity.

The Top 10 Things They Never Taught Me in Design School
by Michael McDonough

1.Talent is one-third of the success equation.
Talent is important in any profession, but it is no guarantee of success. Hard work and luck are equally important. Hard work means self-discipline and sacrifice. Luck means, among other things, access to power, whether it is social contacts or money or timing. In fact, if you are not very talented, you can still succeed by emphasizing the other two. If you think I am wrong, just look around.

2.95 percent of any creative profession is shit work.
Only 5 percent is actually, in some simplistic way, fun. In school that is what you focus on; it is 100 percent fun. Tick-tock. In real life, most of the time there is paper work, drafting boring stuff, fact-checking, negotiating, selling, collecting money, paying taxes, and so forth. If you don’t learn to love the boring, aggravating, and stupid parts of your profession and perform them with diligence and care, you will never succeed.

3.If everything is equally important, then nothing is very important.
You hear a lot about details, from “Don’t sweat the details” to “God is in the details.” Both are true, but with a very important explanation: hierarchy. You must decide what is important, and then attend to it first and foremost. Everything is important, yes. But not everything is equally important. A very successful real estate person taught me this. He told me, “Watch King Rat. You’ll get it.”

4.Don’t over-think a problem.
One time when I was in graduate school, the late, great Steven Izenour said to me, after only a week or so into a ten-week problem, “OK, you solved it. Now draw it up.” Every other critic I ever had always tried to complicate and prolong a problem when, in fact, it had already been solved. Designers are obsessive by nature. This was a revelation. Sometimes you just hit it. The thing is done. Move on.

5.Start with what you know; then remove the unknowns.
In design this means “draw what you know.” Start by putting down what you already know and already understand. If you are designing a chair, for example, you know that humans are of predictable height. The seat height, the angle of repose, and the loading requirements can at least be approximated. So draw them. Most students panic when faced with something they do not know and cannot control. Forget about it. Begin at the beginning. Then work on each unknown, solving and removing them one at a time. It is the most important rule of design. In Zen it is expressed as “Be where you are.” It works.

6.Don’t forget your goal.
Definition of a fanatic: Someone who redoubles his effort after forgetting his goal. Students and young designers often approach a problem with insight and brilliance, and subsequently let it slip away in confusion, fear and wasted effort. They forget their goals, and make up new ones as they go along. Original thought is a kind of gift from the gods. Artists know this. “Hold the moment,” they say. “Honor it.” Get your idea down on a slip of paper and tape it up in front of you.

7.When you throw your weight around, you usually fall off balance.
Overconfidence is as bad as no confidence. Be humble in approaching problems. Realize and accept your ignorance, then work diligently to educate yourself out of it. Ask questions. Power – the power to create things and impose them on the world – is a privilege. Do not abuse it, do not underestimate its difficulty, or it will come around and bite you on the ass. The great Karmic wheel, however slowly, turns.

8.The road to hell is paved with good intentions; or, no good deed goes unpunished.
The world is not set up to facilitate the best any more than it is set up to facilitate the worst. It doesn’t depend on brilliance or innovation because if it did, the system would be unpredictable. It requires averages and predictables. So, good deeds and brilliant ideas go against the grain of the social contract almost by definition. They will be challenged and will require enormous effort to succeed. Most fail. Expect to work hard, expect to fail a few times, and expect to be rejected. Our work is like martial arts or military strategy: Never underestimate your opponent. If you believe in excellence, your opponent will pretty much be everything.

9.It all comes down to output.
No matter how cool your computer rendering is, no matter how brilliant your essay is, no matter how fabulous your whatever is, if you can’t output it, distribute it, and make it known, it basically doesn’t exist. Orient yourself to output. Schedule output. Output, output, output. Show Me The Output.


10.The rest of the world counts.
If you hope to accomplish anything, you will inevitably need all of the people you hated in high school. I once attended a very prestigious design school where the idea was “If you are here, you are so important, the rest of the world doesn’t count.” Not a single person from that school that I know of has ever been really successful outside of school. In fact, most are the kind of mid-level management drones and hacks they so despised as students. A suit does not make you a genius. No matter how good your design is, somebody has to construct or manufacture it. Somebody has to insure it. Somebody has to buy it. Respect those people. You need them. Big time

5/9/07

Santa Barbara – Home for a day

Santa Barbara, California is my hometown. I had a great visit there yesterday on my to Australia. I had lunch with my brother, sister in law and with my niece and nephew. I drove by the school where I first taught and coached. I was pleased t see that they now had a new track to replace the grass track I had laid out in 1969. In the afternoon I visited one of my best fiends and a great coach, John Larralde. He is the assistant track coach at Westmont College. Talk about a beautiful place, nestled in the foothills. That brought back many fond memories of my days training for the decathlon, that is where I first trained. John made my day when he dug out some very old results from a Quadrathlon I had competed in at Westmont in 1971. I was surprised to see that I had actually beaten some one. How many 5884 point decathletes can say they beat an Olympic Champion and world record holder, I did that day. I beat Bill Toomey, 68 Olympic Champion, there is one catch, he only did three events, and nevertheless on the results I am listed ahead of him. Needless to say my hat size went up accordingly. I am writing this somewhere over the pacific, if the first day of the trip in California is indicative of the rest of the trip this will be a great trip. I am looking forward to catching up with old friends and meeting new ones and learning new ideas.

5/7/07

Random Thoughts on the Way to Australia

I am spending the day in California on my way to Australia. Going to Santa Barbara to see my brother and visit some friends. Every time I come out here I can’t believe how it has changed. This a beautiful time of year to be in California, warm, dry and clear.

French Elections – I know this is not a political blog, but they got over 80% of the electorate to turn out for yesterdays election. WE struggle to get 40% and wonder why we have problems. Voting is the cornerstone of the democratic process!!!

Good Mantra from Joe P – Go to the link that is out of sync. Simple, yes, but very true. Thanks Joe I am going to use. I need to translate it into Australian mate.

Service- How many businesses forget this? Went to Best Buy yesterday to by a power adaptor for the flight. The young man in the computer department was nothing short of awesome. He was one of the geek squad. This is the way service should be.

5/6/07

The Knee Past the Toe – Here We Go!

Just about the time I thought the issue of the knee going past the toe was a dead issue, it keeps rearing its ugly head. It is hard to believe this is still an issue with what we understand of knee function. Approach this with an analytical mind. Start by observing movement, observe the knee in work, play and games and ask yourself the following questions:

Where does the knee go?

How does it get there?

How does it get back to where it started?

Observe how the ankle, knee and hip link and synchronize. All of these movements occur in hundreds to tenths of a second. You cannot consciously think about where the knee should go, it all happens too fast. It is all sub cortical and reflexive, not planned and programmed. This demands that training progressively load the knee in all the positions that could occur in the demands of the sport. Artificially restricting knee motion will not prevent knee injuries, in fact, you may be setting up the knee for injury.

Here is a simple mantra to guide your training involving the knee:

Link & Sync – Don’t Think

5/5/07

Five Minds For The Future


Five Minds For The Future I thoroughly enjoyed this book. For those of you who are not familiar with him, Howard Garner is a cognitive psychologist from Harvard who is credited with originating the theory of multiple intelligences in his book Frames of Mind. In this new book he defines the five minds that will be necessary to thrive in our fast changing world:

The Disciplined Mind – Mastery of major schools of thought, the capability of applying oneself beyond formal education

The Synthesizing Mind – Selecting key information from copious amounts of information

The Creating Mind – Going beyond the boundaries of existing disciplines and asking new questions and offering new solutions.

The Respectful Mind – Recognizing differences in individuals and groups and learning to work with those differences.

The Ethical Mind – Striving toward good work and good citizenship

5/4/07

Stretching and Warm-up

Stretching is not warm-up. I repeat stretching is not warm-up. Several dynamic stretches should be part of warm-up. Those stretches should be placed in the later third of warm-up when the body is warm. Also group stretching is an almost complete waste of time. Stretching must fit each individual based on his or her needs. All of that being said go watch “warm-up” in MLB or the NBA and you will see millions of dollars of bodies wallowing around on the ground doing static stretching at the start of warm-up. Usually that takes half to two thirds of the whole warm-up. Stretching has a place, but it is not warm-up.