Save Time to Practice Better

09Jan09

Here is what Pete Carroll, one of the most successfull college football coaches in the country, said on CBS News’ 60 Minutes:

“A great coach once said that the best players don’t always win, the players that play the best do. That’s why we work so hard. That’s why we train so hard. That’s why we focus so much on practicing better than anybody’s ever practiced before.”

To practice better than others, it helps to have more time and more energy than others. That extra time and extra energy come from not doing wasteful exercises in the whole training program (both conditioning and practice). They come from running a thoroughly rational, state-of-the-art training program—not a “run-of-the-mill” program where mental inertia rules and inefficient exercises are used because “others do them.”

The greatest reserves of time and energy usually are in the conditioning part of a training program. Why? Either because the least mentally agile are put in charge of the conditioning or coaches consider their players too dull to learn more than the most boneheaded approach to conditioning. Hard to believe? I would not believe it either, but once I taught a football player from a known California team. I asked him how much he lifts in a barbell squat, and he didn’t know what a squat was. It turned out that the strength part of his conditioning was done on exercise machines, so he didn’t know techniques of free-weight lifts. Coaches were not bothered by the loss of additional benefits to the player’s coordination, flexibility, and overall strength endurance that could be developed by working this same amount of time with both free weights and body-weight strength exercises.

Request for help:

One of our authors and my friend, Piotr Drabik, has disappeared in September of 2006 after he landed on the island of Kaua’i, Hawaii, where he was seen on airport security cameras. He arrived there from Edmonton, Alberta (Canada), through Salt Lake City, Utah, and Honolulu, Hawaii. We (his friends at Stadion Publishing) were assisting in the investigation of his disappearance. The investigation was ineffective and eventually the case was dropped by all involved authorities.

If you have seen him on or after September of 2006, or know anything about his whereabouts, please e-mail us at infoATstadionDOTcom.

More about Piotr Drabik and his disappearance is at http://www.stadion.com/author_drabikp.html

Unbreakable Umbrella vs. Watermelon

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3 Responses to “Save Time to Practice Better”

  1. 1 mtrowley

    I’m not all that surprised – I have recently joined a gym that is a chain (not naming names!) but I am used to what many of my friends call ‘Rusty weights’ gyms. I have enjoyed the new gym and can’t hold too much against it (there are a few things lacking such as a back extention bench and enough olympic bars to cover the squat rack, decline press and bench press). Anyway, what I did notice is that there was only one squat rack – I was warming up and saw it empty and I was concerned that someone would grab it before I could get there (the gym was pretty full).

    Not to worry, got on it no problem, but then I watched for the rest of my workout and didn’t see anyone use it… and I have yet to see anyone use it (for squats anyway). I was initially very impressed with the carved bodies around the gym, but only later noticed that most had stick thin legs, and that they actually weren’t that big (even though it appeared hypertrophy was what they were after).

    The distinct lack of squats and deadlifts in this gym are apparent, and I suppose they are not really after peak performance, but would they be interested in the fact that squats could make their chest bigger instead of using the smithy machine for bench press all day long?

  2. 2 jlove

    I’m not sure what progression into coaching in American Football is like, but I imagine it is similar to most major (popular) sports in Australia.

    If you were a good player, it seems to be assumed you will be a good coach. These kinds of coach then seem to perpetuate the approaches to training that they were taught without bothering to look into other methods.

    Many Rugby League and Australian Rules teams employ Strength and Conditioning coaches but from what I’ve heard (I’m an Exercise Physiologist myself) a lot of these guys are unwilling to listen to anyone elses opinions on training. They seem to think learning ends when you get your piece of paper that tells you that you are qualified.

    This seems to be borne out by the fact that towards the end of the season you will see large proportions of a team succumbing to injury. I understand contact sport is never going to be injury free, but these guys are getting injured at training sessions! To me, this suggests chronic injury due to poor training methodology and/or an accumulation of damage over the season due to poor injury and recovery management.

    From what I have read of the Eastern European approach to children’s training, I think the approach in countries such as the US, Australia, UK etc could be partly to blame as well. The philosophy seems to be that the earlier a child specialises in a sport, the greater their performance will be and to hell with developing general skills and attributes, injury prevention etc.


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