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.

Read More

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?

Read More

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’.

Read More

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.

Read More

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).

Read More

…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)...

Read More

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)...

Read More

When You Run Up a Hill

When You Run Up a Hill

Within the group of young middle distance/XC runners I trained with long ago there was a maxim we applied to hill training: ‘When you run up the hill the wind is in your face. And when you run down the hill the wind is in your face.’ It was a bit of group humour injected to assuage the shared discomfort, some say pain, even torture, of doing hill intervals....

Read More

A Running Attitude

A Running Attitude

A long time ago I had the great fortune to listen to Gerard Mach during his years in Canada. He was a sprint guru and sprint coach who had systematised leg dynamic drills into A’s, B’s and C’s that were done regularly as preparation drills. His main purpose in using such drills was to develop what he termed ‘sprint posture’. I must confess right now that I completely missed that point......

Read More

Finding the Medicine in Med-Balls

Finding the Medicine in Med-Balls

My first sighting of a medicine ball was in a school gym littered with different equipment: it was a 4kg leather stitched ball filled with t-shirt rag. Bigger than a basketball it sat in the corner inviting curious young boys (girls weren’t allowed into the gym in those days) to investigate. It was a ball, and so the first thing young boys typically do with a ball is throw it. Typically at one another....

Read More

What You See Is - Frog Leaps

What You See Is - Frog Leaps

I call them frog leaps because its seems better than referring to them as consecutive bilateral jumps… besides, athletes and coaches alike will remember catchy names more easily. In the illustration, adapted from a video, you can readily identify the movement: one used around the world in games, sports and conditioning. From a standing start the young athlete has to generate horizontal momentum and keep leaping for a pre-scripted distance. It is an extremely valuable movement skill that is adaptable and has dozens of variations.

Read More

Bounding is not Running

Bounding is not Running

If you take an online peek at what some people identify as ‘Bounding’ within sport and exercise training you will see many many variations of movements. Most are not bounds. They may fall into a ‘stride’ category in that there is an alternating right-left landing pattern, although curiously some pictured examples are not even in the stride category.

Read More

THAT KNEE VALGUS PROBLEM…

THAT KNEE VALGUS PROBLEM…

If you look at the drawing of the runner you can likely see that something is not quite right with the landing. The knee of the grounded leg appears to be heading inwards relative to the long bones of the upper and lower legs = knee valgus. That’s the easy part to see. If you know the pattern you may also see that the foot position is over-pronated, hip and body alignment is tilted and twisted, and the free leg will likely swing out and around for the next landing. Multiply that by 3500 landings per 5KM and over time you have a formula for injury to the foot, knee, hip and back.

Read More