I’ll answer your question like this:
The interesting point here is that, at this level, we all have a problem if we’re recruiting athletes who are not ‘talented’.
Now, this is not to state that all of our guys, and the athletes I’ve worked with during my tenure at the high school level, possess(ed) great genetics.
What’s important to note is that a strong work capacity, muscular development, and muscular strength are all quite easy to develop; albeit the athlete must be willing to work for it.
It is the development of speed, reactive/elastic ability, and explosive ability as they relate to SPP that are more genetically dependent.
So one argument is that it’s easy to work with ‘talented’ athletes and take credit for their development and, subsequently, it’s commendable to assist not so talented athletes in making significant physical improvements.
While I wouldn’t directly criticize that argument, I will add to it by stating that it’s much more challenging to increase a talented athletes performance once they’re already performing at a high level and, alternatively, it’s no big accomplishment, to use my friend Dave Tate’s analogy, to take a non talented athlete from shit to suck, or from suck to good.
When there’s so much room for improvement (regarding less talented individuals) it doesn’t take much to catalyze the improvement.
When there’s very little room for improvement (regarding the very talented athletes who are already operating at high levels) it takes a very well thought out and carefully implemented approach to catalyze further improvement.
this being said, it takes a very pure discipline, such as T&F, to create the context that is necessary to draw informed comparisons because physical preparation is so directly linked to the sport results.
In my current profession, physical preparation, while important, is only one piece of the puzzle due to the complexities of the technical-tactical and intellectual preparation that are so vital towards heightening player performance.
The reality is that at this level (D-1A) best case scenario is that all of us are getting athletes who are somewhere in the middle to upper ranges of talent. They all have room for improvement; yet they’re closer to the upper end of the spectrum so the light at the end of the tunnel is much more quickly attainable.
Thus, I don’t hang my hat on the guys who, for instance, I’ve taken from 4.9 to 4.5high as much as I feel good about the guys who I’ve taken from plus 4.4 to sub 4.4.
It’s very easy to look good in this profession because it’s so easy to assist in improving an athletes measurables. The measurables are a means to end, however, and as a result the team with the greatest measurables is not assured victory.
Alternatively, what I love so much about T&F is that the measurables ARE the end. Thus more time and energy is directed towards attaining the human performance limits. It’s a beautiful thing.