MY JOURNEY BACK TO SQUATS

MY JOURNEY BACK TO SQUATS

“We have met the enemy, and he is us!”                   [Walt Kelly – cartoonist]*

In my athletic/sporting history I’ve not been very fond of Squats as an exercise…with or without a bar on my shoulders. I did find a certain fondness for overloaded partial Squats that enabled me to avoid Full or Power Squats. My tactics for avoidance came about because I couldn’t do them. Others around me were racking up weights and getting into positions that made me quiver. For me, as soon as I approached 90deg I hit a balance point, my legs locked and any further attempt resulted in painful knee and ankle contortions. With Partial Squats (and what we termed ‘High Jump Squats’) I felt I could shoulder as much weight as was available in our gym.

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My Coaching Eye

My Coaching Eye

At a workshop one of the pre-scripted aims was to enhance the ‘coaching eye’ of the participants…a statement made without clarifying what the coaching eye was or did. There was a brief time where I had a chance to speak to a good sized group and I presented them with a challenge: using your coaching eye how might you help this athlete (demonstrator they had all watched) achieve the raw speed required for higher performance levels…what things might you focus on?

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THE SHAPE of THINGS, and GOODBYE to GERARD

THE SHAPE of THINGS, and GOODBYE to GERARD

Recently, the word ‘shape’ has crept into the everyday language of coach-coach and coach-athlete interactions. It has done so in such a way that people outside of sport might be confused as to the meaning.  Yet, on public television, a commentator was using the term ‘shape’ repeatedly in reference to athlete movements during a world championship event. Clearly, this was not ‘shape’ as it used to be used. Previously ‘shape’ was used in reference to fitness, as in ‘she appears to be in good shape’.

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I…AM…NOT…AN…INJURY!

I…AM…NOT…AN…INJURY!

As a young athlete, I started well enough and then began to suffer injuries. It seemed that I staggered from one lower leg mishap to the other over many years. Along the way I became known as the kid with the ‘bad ankles’. In hindsight I accept a good portion of that situation as my own doing, although I would not ever have admitted it at the time.

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The Joys of Distraction

The Joys of Distraction

Every year I am approached by parents (and team manager on a membership drive) shuttling a young teenager towards the jumps areas. Their mission is to give their son or daughter a few tips prior to the school competitive season. The usual banter recounts how they seemed to do well at the school event and are now heading for a regional meet; can I help? I ask when the big event is… ‘This Friday’ is a typical response.

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Scrambled Advantages

Scrambled Advantages

Within all sports that contain stop-start, quick direction changes and zero-to-max demands is the skill of being able to scramble. While the origins of the word scramble relate to jumbles and stumbles, the use of the word has also come to mean being able move with immediate action and avoiding trouble (as with jets and quarterbacks).

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Takeoff's 'Hopping Mad!' EXCLUSIVELY in Athletics Weekly

Takeoff's 'Hopping Mad!' EXCLUSIVELY in Athletics Weekly

Check out Takeoff's latest article published in last week Athletics Weekly - 'Hopping Mad!'

The hop is a critically important movement skill for any sport that requires ground speed. The word ‘hop’ is a tad mixed up because kangaroos, bunnies and even grasshoppers purportedly hop when in fact they actually leap.

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…OF WHIPS AND CHAINS (AND FEET)

…OF WHIPS AND CHAINS (AND FEET)

Observations from my youth… in our neighbourhood there was a public pool that was elbow to elbow on hot summer days. I don’t know where the skill originated but many of us learned to expertly fold long beach towels into tapered whips that could be used to snap at others’ exposed parts. Anyone caught making such a weapon was expelled from the pool as these were obviously dangerous and could be injurious (something our young minds didn’t consider)...

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Walk Before You Run

Walk Before You Run

Most of us take walking for granted and do not see it as much of an exercise compared to say a plyometric session with 150 intense landings. Almost all of us have forgotten that as toddlers we had to go through an impressive sequence of developmental learning to get from bumming around to crawling to walking (to bolting out the door)...

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