February 6th cont’d

Biggest training take-away today is to consider maintaining a higher density pattern with females during deload weeks. This continues the theme that because of their lower absolute outputs, they can usually handle more volume.

Best opening ACP poolside today! Only four attendees this time, but generally people that come with more experience. Less shyness, better questions. It also helps that Derek Evely can talk for days, with entertaining and educational stories. Maybe he’s read Made to Stick. More likely, he’s just really passionate.

  • Altis prides itself on enabling a certain level of autonomy in their athletes, as demonstrated in the self-directed nature of the warm-ups.
  • Previously, the sprinters were just one big mass. Now, they’ve been split into smaller groups. A big part of this was because athletes had a (natural) tendency to always default to the senior coaches. By creating smaller groups, cohesion enhanced, and also allowed the junior coaches to take on more leadership.
    • I think I already do this, but I probably need to do it more, and better.
  • High strung athletes, with frequent crying meltdowns, seem to respond well to walks. 15 minute walk, with the coach, prior to every workout. Don’t force the conversation. It starts off awkward with lots of silence, but over time all the athletes ended up more open, more relaxed, and performing better.
    • Similar story is Andreas learning much from the athletes he worked with from chatting with them while they were in the hot tub. The combo of informal, organic, still in the perimeter of training time, probably allowed for lowered guard. Conversation would just flow out.
    • Anti-thesis to this would be scheduled meeting to talk with coach. This often brings the defenses way up.
  • The idea of “master the basics” lives on a spectrum. Don’t start using drills meant for beginners with your advanced athletes.
    • e.g. gymnastics for pole vaulters. Great for beginners who need to learn proprioception through the air, while tumbling and inverted. No longer specific enough for somebody who is world class and has been doing it for years.
  • A reminder that the human adaptive system is a complex. The best way to advance is to probe with “safe-to-fail” experiments, sense the response, and act/adjust accordingly.
    • Derek’s thrower who got much transfer from a cycle of heavy squats.
    • “…but MxS doesn’t transfer!”
    • Maybe fault of new loading pattern?
    • Maybe psychological factor?
    • Who knows, but it worked.
  • One of the hardest things to figure out is accommodation, i.e. when do your drills/exercises/loading schemes stop invoking adaptation.
    • You don’t want to vary too often (though some react well to this!), because you might be cutting your adaptations short.
    • You definitely don’t want to vary too little, because accommodation is a real thing.
    • Hack : identify your tools with the highest transfer. After peaking with it, purposely stop using it to resensitize to its transfer, so that you may get some adaptations again for a later peak.
  • Stu has already alluded to the idea that there are more ways to progress than simply Volume and Intensity. He suggests playing with exercise selection, looking at maximizing skill transfer. Derek also suggests looking into density patterns.
  • Dan has a good way to gather hints that it’s time for a change : are your athletes no longer mindful of their training? Are they bored? Might be time.
  • There’s a special quality of learning that can only happen when you hit peak form. How else are you supposed to feel the specific coordination patterns of these new forces and velocities your body has previously never hit?
    • For this reason, consider peaking as often as you can manage. This varies much depending on the event you’re doing. The simpler it is, the more often you can do it (throws ~ sprints, and I’d argue middle distance is even tougher).

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