Some Kuntal with a doctorate tells us how it’s done. He’ll probably get the job as Canada’s next head coach!
The future lies in genetic engineering
DR KUNTAL ROY
The Times of India [ SUNDAY, JULY 20, 2003 08:30:45 AM ]
Till the 60s the techniques in athletics training were basic and simple. The reason was the equipment. The tracks were cinder and there were no pits for the jumps. The tracks have now gone synthetic.
From the 60s onwards, the socialist countries made tremendous advancement in training methods with the introduction of sports sciences. Till that time, the emphasis was on developing motor qualities like speed, endurance and flexibility. That switched to power-oriented training. From childhood itself, the emphasis was on this new method. The results came in the form of the Valerys — Brumel and Borzov. Through the 60s and early 70s there was an unprecedented dominance by Russian and East German throwers and jumpers.
Contrary to popular belief, the Fosbury Flop was not the invention of US high jumper Richard Fosbury. It only got attached to his name after he won gold using that technique in the 1968, Mexico City Olympics. As early as 1961, the East Germans were using the technique, called the back layout in their Nationals.
The Fosbury Flop was possible due to the introduction of the landing pit in high jumps. Through the 70s, the emphasis was on synthetic tracks, pits, carbon poles, modified javelins etc.
In the 80s there was further innovation. The most important was the change in ‘peaking’ or periodisations. Earlier, an athlete trained to peak only once a year. But in the 80s, an athlete graduated to peaking twice and then thrice in a year. Now athletes peak all the year around. This is a result of multiple periodistation.
This also brought in the principle of overload training. It was a model developed first by Russian coach Tabaschnik. For example, if an athlete’s capacity is 5 units, in training he/she is given a load of 5.5 units. Slowly, the load is increased and along with, the athlete’s capacity to withstand it goes up thus allowing for better performance. The performance of the East Germans in the 1988 Seoul Olympics was a case in point where they won 49 gold.
This method brought in the use of external agents such as minerals, vitamins and food supplements. It may be possible that the use of banned substances made their entry at the same time.
The 90s have seen a change in approach with focus on how to overcome resistance with the maximum possible speed and not maximum strength as before. Hence, a thrower or jumper is now trained to overcome his distance or mark, not with strength or power as before but speed. It may be a shift from the path-breaking change in the 1980s where power training was seen as important.
Still, the future is different. It lies in genetic engineering. The technique has not found its feet in India yet, but the Australians are pioneers in this field.
:eek: Talent hardly plays any role in athletics performance anymore. Of course the instinct for sport should be there. It is the basic factor, but athletes need to show an aptitude and intelligence to pick up new training methods. If you interact with a champion, you will find he possesses an intelligence that would automatically mark him out as sharp. They usually have high IQ levels. As a coach, I know of many athletes who were talented, but fell by the wayside since they failed to adapt to modern techniques of training.
Dr Kuntal Roy is a PhD. in ‘Sports Pedagogy: Athletes’ Bio-Mechanic Aspect of Long Jumping Runway.’ He is the coach of Asian Games silver medalist in heptathalon, Soma Biswas.
:eek: :o :mad: