February 11th

Hero or Nero?

“Our soul is sometimes a king, and sometimes a tyrant. A king, by attending to what is honorable, protects the good health of the body in its care, and gives it no base or sordid command. But an uncontrolled, desire-fueled, over-indulged soul is turned from a king into that most feared and detested thing – a tyrant.” – Seneca, Moral Letters, 114.24

Whether we want it or not, sporting success comes with power. Power is the ability to influence – influence your training partners, the people who look up to you, even influence your own coach.

The Daily Stoic reminds us that the maxim “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” doesn’t necessarily hold true. Seneca’s own pupil was…less than stellar. Yet later on, we also had BHZ’s favorite, whose writings we’ve already been reflecting on for a while. What seems to mediate this effect is the quality of their character, or as Ryan Holiday puts it :

…what they value, what desires they keep in check, whether their understanding of fairness and justice can counteract the temptations of unlimited wealth and deference.

How do you want to be remembered?

You are who you choose to be.

On a similar note, something I saved from Brett Bartholomew‘s talk a month ago…

I’m sure there’s a Jedi/Force joke here, but I don’t quite have Zac‘s wit yet.

Notes from yesterday

  • Dan feels that DB could have been great for a very long time, but lifestyle ruined him. BS was too analytical, and always felt he needed to be doing more. Contrast those two with Bernard Hopkins, who competed in a sport with arguably even higher risks and bigger temptations. He competed into his fifties, and credits his focus on all the details outside of training.
  • The way you count down a start can affect the rhythm of the piece.
  • Somebody doesn’t want to buy into your culture? “We will miss you when you’re gone.”
  • When watching an uncoordinated athlete, take the time to distinguish whether they are globally uncoordinated, or simply unskilled for the specific task at hand.
  • To develop a technical model, best thing to do is watch the world’s best and find the commonalities.
    • Looking only at Canada (coached by the East), Canada (coached by the West), USA, and China, I can see how a DB coach can get confused. All these teams won gold medals at Worlds, yet the techniques look so different. That said, I do believe there are similarities, if you know where to look.
      • psst…they’re not secret details. In fact, I think they’re so blatant that people undervalue them.
  • Once you have your model, understand that though you are coaching everybody towards it, everybody will exist somewhere along a bandwidth, determined by a multitude of factors.
  • Dan is skeptical about timelines of detraining and residuals, but even if…What/where is the research on retraining?
  • We must remember that studies, by design, focus on only one variable at a time. When trying to apply new knowledge, consider how to modify that information to your context.

Then, some notes from Derek’s talk on all things planning, methodologies and periodization.

I can listen to this man the man behind MB’s head talk all day.
  • A good coach is like a good boat captain. You know where you’re going, you can read the waves and adjust your trajectory, you recognize that you can’t make sharp and sudden turns.
  • Supercompensation?
    • Science doesn’t back this idea up too well…
    • Likely too simplistic considering the complex nature of the human body.
    • For more, I like John Kiely’s thoughts.
  • 1-factor vs 2-factor (see Zatsiorsky’s book), according to Derek
    • 1-factor needs pushes of volume and intensity. Often times, when volume and intensity intersect, injuries occur.
    • 2-factor plans tend to require smaller, but more frequent pressures.
    • Derek has seen 1-factor plans work, but only when it followed the principles of Specificity, Individualization and Variation. That said, he also feels that when you are doing this demonstrably and completely, you aren’t really doing 1-factor periodization anymore…
  • The choosing of daily/weekly loads is arguably the single most important decision a coach makes.
  • In order to be very specific, you have to be general alot.
    • Referred to polarized training, and noticing how coaches from completely opposite worlds came to the same conclusion.
    • For more, see Seiler’s seminal paper.
  • For accomplished athletes with many training years, high and acute transfer may not always come from specific means. This can be very confusing to an inexperienced coach.
  • Don’t confuse specificity with transfer! Specificity leads to transfer, but it is very athlete specific.
  • Key take aways :
    • Figure out your key variables, and cut out the BS.
    • Have a variable to measure readiness.
    • Variation must be systematic, not chaotic.

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