The Rio Games
2016 Has been an incredible year. At the close of the World Champs in Beijing I vowed that I and each athlete would make a vow to commit to the process and train with a sense of urgency and purpose. I would rededicate myself to the little things. So having 4 athletes on the Olympic team, 3 on the world indoor team and walking away with a World Champion and two silver medals seems like a mission accomplished. We still have 4 athletes competing in Rio for Paralympics so the mission is not quite complete.
But the lessons learned for this year is nothing is given. It is earned and must have a passion and commitment by the athlete and coach. Making teams is not easy and winning a medal is even harder. So never assume anything, just making a final is success in my eyes. The time and passion it took from both athlete and coach is something on the outside can ever see. So to all my coaches and athletes who made it, CONGRATULATIONS, because in our world they love to see you fail! Cheers
So as the summer European season is in full swing, we have decided to stay in Chula Vista and prepare for the World Champs. Unfortunately in our business medals carry the most weight. Meaning bigger contracts, inclusion into DL's and continued support. I've enjoyed my time home, but have done a terrible job keeping up with my blog and the going on of the athletes.
I love it we are training and nothing exciting is happening. We are just preparing ourselves for Beijing and Rio further down the road. So things are quietly good, we are working hard, and life is continuous preparation. It's allowed me to read more about training, see some good and bad videos, and enjoy living in the greatest city in the world.
So moving forward we are training well, be careful what you watch on the internet (a lot of gimmicks out there and nothing can ever replace hard smart work) and there sure are a lot of experts out there. I'm just going to continue to do what I love and be blessed doing it. See you in Beijing!
Today marks the end of the Diamond League for my athletes. As I write this and reflect, we had a fantastic year. Out of the 8 horizontal jump championships offered this year nationally, athletes I work with captured 5. We had PR's galore and championships won, but the most growth that has happened is the growth between the ears. It really has set them up well moving into the World and Olympic Championship years.
Also with the end of the season marks the end of my mentor and boss, Craig Poole's time at the OTC. During his time we have had amazing growth and he can be proud with how far the OTC and the athletes have come. The growth was not just with the athletes but also with me as a coach.
When I first arrived at the training center, I had just left a difficult situation. Through my life I've always been blessed with a person (mentor/coach) who has helped guide me; Mr. Grover my neighbor, Coach Woodward, Coach Eddy, Coach Reidmiller, Coach Napier, and most recently Coach Poole. He allowed me to continue to grow and really hone my skills as a coach and instructor. He always reminded me about the big picture and why we do what we do.
So from Zurich, Switzerland I wish him many blessings and continued health because he will not retire but just refocus his energy. And I pray for far jumps and God's blessing as I'm proud of each athlete no matter what the results. Cheers
This weekend was different than from most I've had in a long time. I usually am traveling somewhere or busy with coaching education. I had time to watch track and field and watch my twitter feed to see the accomplishments of athletes at their respective conferences or meets across the globe.
Two things really stood out,
1. Women coaches are killing it right now.
2. Track goes in cycles.
A great coach in a great location allows for great recruiting. Kids don't go to schools anymore based on what you've done in the past. They want to know what can you do for me and what have you done lately.
Events that were strong as little as three years ago have fallen off, while weak events are really strong right now (Men's HJ). As well as some powerhouse programs have fallen on hard times, while others are on a rise.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the year unfolds as internationally its about establishing yourself and getting world ranking points, while for college it becomes more and more a pressure house as salaries and expectations of ADs goes up.
See you at a meet near you. Cheers
I think it can never be understated the importance of the first competition of the season. After months of preparing for outdoors after concluding an indoor season, even the context of the meet environment is important.
Back when I was younger, the infamous Dick Booth would take all his jumpers to a meet in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The marks were amazing and performances at that meet might not be surpassed until the championship part of the season. It wasn't until much later why I realized such performances happened. It's what happens when you take great athletes and put them in a relaxed environment. Where the months of training mix with the adrenaline of a first competition and the athletes are relaxed and having fun.
Last week we witnessed four discus throwers over 64 meters, a female over 62 meters, a shot putter over 21.47 meters, three long jump women over 6.58 meters, and three guys over 8.29 meters in the long jump all at the OTC meet. It was quite the early season marks for a group of athletes and the finest to date of the early season, in regards to field events. So when you are looking to open up your season remember the big meets aren't always the best to open up at, because in a relaxed environment an athlete can focus on executing instead of trying to compete.
As we conclude the first meet of the outdoor season. I wanted to reflect on the good fortune from this past weekend, after a few heartaches and missed centimeters Chris Benard was able to get a wind legal 17.06 meter jump. The furthest by an American so far this outdoor season and 4th in the world.
As I have talked to a few coaches about training over the past few months, they've asked what is your training like? It's not as easy an answer and one that always leaves me to contemplate what is the easiest answer. So without too much contemplation or thought I'll answer simply by the next few statements:
1. Speed must always be practiced
2. Athletes need to be balanced (everything can't be done in a linear way)
3. Strength and stability should be the backbone of every training plan
4. Rest and sleep are the best recovery out there
5. Training needs to be grounded in a system, but the system needs to be adaptable to each and every athlete
6. Communication between the athlete and coach is important, it needs to be one of coach/teacher - padwoin/student; one of the biggest mistakes I see is athletes that become too dependent on their coach
7. The training plan needs to change from microcycle to microcycle, mesocycle to mesocycle and year to year
8. Don't over estimate your coaching, its a privilege to coach but no one coach makes any athlete, it takes a village, and no matter how hard you try you can't get a 11 second 100m runner to run 9.8
9. Track and field is is what we do, the weight room, training, and everything else need to be a supplement to dong what we do
10. Be careful what you read and what you watch, always keep learning, their are a lot of "expert coaches" out there with no resume and thus no trial and error (sometimes my greatest learning comes from the mistakes I make)
So for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is the most simple form of physics and at the basis of human form and movement. The thing that amazes me is how many "coaches" forget this important notion or may be they just don't understand the concept. There are so many "concepts" or "gimmicks" out there.
When looking at technique or a technical model remember the human body is not a machine, the technical model should be a base for what an athlete looks like, however athletes come in many different shapes and forms.
You can look at the three fastest men on the planet. They all look different, Usain Bolt is tall and thin, Yohan Blake is short and stalky, and Justin Gatlin is a hybrid of both the fore mentioned. To make generalizations that would be beneficial for all three could be done but each one still has to have their own distinct style and method.
The reason I bring up this topic is I've listened to coaches, read blogs, and hear coaches spewing information that is not based on any of Newton's principles. Maybe it's a lack of knowledge or maybe too much belief in their own knowledge. I'm fortunate because I am able to surround myself with some of the most brilliant minds in the world. If you haven't read Ralph Mann's book on the sprints and hurdles then you need to go out, buy it, read it, then read it again.
If you don't understand it then just live by these easy principles:
1. The fastest people create the greatest forces in the shortest amount of time
2. Strength to weight ratio is critical, so athletes need to be "fit" and strong
3. If you are looking at a technical sprint or jump issue that happens distally from the body you must first look at whats happening proximally (the feet only can do what is created at the hip)
4. The body cannot get into ideal positions if there is a lack of postural stability and postural integrity
5. It takes hours to become an expert, so quantity needs to be balanced with quality
6. Always learn, seek new knowledge, The first book every coach should read is: Neurophysiological Basis of Movement
7. Finally ask questions, we are afraid of sometimes seeming ignorant, ignorance is not a bad thing, it is simply a lack of knowledge
As we have gone back to a mini base and recovery phase after the indoor season it has reminded me of things that make "professional track" so different then college and high school.
1. The post collegiate season is completely different and has no definitive end, it differs athlete by athlete and event to event, being too influenced by the collegiate calendar can be very detrimental
2. The travel has a huge effect on performance and success is finding ways to train and compete at a high level while dealing with jet lag and over 20 hours of travel
3. During World championship and Olympic years the trials is just as important as the actual championship, so first you must achieve the standard and second you have to perform at the championship
4. Don't underestimate the importance of securing a big mark, to play with the big dogs you have to show you belong there
5. The Diamond League is a broken system but it's the only system we have, so meet directors and agents can determine world rankings more than the performance of an athlete, you can get more world ranking points for a 5th place finish and 7.90m jump then an 8.20 jump at Mt Sac
6. You need to find an environment that helps the athlete and is athlete centered, in the end all college coaches get paid for coaching the collegiate athlete so that will always be their priority
7. In the jumps and sprints, most Olympians and Medalist come from south of the 38th Northern parallel
8. Male Olympians in track are roughly 27.5 years of age and women are 28.5 years of age, so college should not be the end of the road
9. You have to be Eurocentric, meets will fly you while your in Europe but if your not a medalist they are not going to fly your from the states
Just some various thoughts and contemplations as we head into outdoors and establish our world and national rankings. Cheers
The hardest thing about an off year, is the off year. This year there is no major championship for American track athletes and really the next major for us is in Beijing in about a year and half time.
We still have important things to accomplish because we will try to win a diamond league title so we can get automatic entry into the world championship. There is still the ability to try and get into the diamond leagues as to increase world ranking, and we still have the US Championships in our home state of California.
The goal is to be Eurocentric this summer. Meaning to be based in Europe because we need the ability to get around and compete through out Europe and with our roster we have, we have a tough time supplanting each other in regards to meets.
Our roster includes three combined jumpers who have jumped 8.29 lj and 17.70 tj, 8.10 lj and 16.99 tj, and 8.15 lj and 16.97 tj, a 16.89 tj, a 8.19 lj, a 8.22 lj, 7.25 lj, a new addition of a 6.97 ljer, a 13.89 tj and 6.60 lj, a 14.02 tj, and 14.16 tj; that is an amazing group but one that needs a European hub for the summer.
It's a fantastic problem to have but we need to get over 8.30 in the lj, more 17.40 tj, more 14.20 tj, and more 7 lj. We will quietly keep progressing and creating medalist, Olympians, world finalist, and national champions.
Meantime at the training center we will have some amazing athletes as world record holders, world champions, and international athletes train and live a=in Chula Vista this spring. Go to www.runnercard.com and come check out some meets in the spring, you may see your favorite field event athlete.
This year has been like any track season, it's had it's ups and downs.
Lets start with the downs.
Will Claye strained his hammy at nationals (luckily nothing to serious), Chris Benard missed the world team by 6 cm in the long jump and 1 cm in the triple. Ronnie Taylor strained his hammy, after missing time due to his groin. And finally Tyron Stewart missed the final at world's because I was being cute and thought 8m would make the final and had him pass his 2nd jump in prelims. He missed finals by 1 cm.
Now the goods.
Will has won medals at every championship and needs a well deserved rest. So sometimes God has plans that are unseen to us initially. Chris PB'd in both the long jump and triple jump this year by 46 and 49 cm respectively in each event. Troy Doris PR'd and established himself in the top ten after having to take a year off for knee injury. Tyron won his first US Championship and had the third furthest jump in the world indoors.
So now that we head to outdoors I know what we must due and things we must do to recover and not repeat those mistakes. So I feel blessed and honored to work with and amazing group of athletes. And sometimes we are at our lowest when we claim to the highest and achieve the greatest.
Head Coach and founder of Maximum Velocity Athletics.