Charlie Francis and his influence

I’ve listened to countless lectures from some of the top coaches in athletics. The traveling roadshow of clinicians, pro’s, gurus…etc. I firmly believe many of these people borrowed their key coaching strategies from Charlie. I say this because Charlie came around before the coaches I speak of… His athletes were already ranked high, and I’m sure these people wanted to know why, and studied the system of training.

When I say I believe they borrowed the jist of their coaching from Charlie, I mean its’ almost verbatim with some.

What irks me is these coaches credit their mentors and influencers and NEVER mention Charlie. It’s like a parade of ass kissing to their colleagues, but I just know most of the time they are standing in front of a symposium crowd, complimenting the work of their coaching friends, and how they affected their methodology, that most of them all took something from Charlie, and not in a minute amount either.

I’m not going to go as far as saying its plagiarizing intellectual property, but darn, you’d think some of these guys would at least give a shout out or some mention of Charlie Francis. Or put him in a bibliography of a coaching paper/journal work/lectures.

BB King died today. When I hear Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, I hear the styles and playing methods of BB King in there, or of Muddy Waters, or Little Walter. Those musicians will not hesitate to credit their major influences.

But Athletics is a funny business. There’s a lot of egos, and a lot of used car salesmanship. There’s a lot of, quite frankly, “catty” posturing and pretentiousness. People can’t “lower” themselves to give credit to a guy who was outcast, even though every day at the track, that guy’s coaching strategy is heavily affecting what goes on at practice.

I hope this changes. And unfortunately, stigmatizing people causes the younger generation to maybe avoid or not seek out literature or information from the person who was stigmatized. That’s also a shame, in that there’s much to learn.

I’d never say Charlie Francis was not a huge influence on the training of athletics industry/field. I don’t care who has a problem with it, after all theyre probably using the same ideas.

Don’t forget the Steve Francis lecture notes that started on this forum, where Steve Francis mentioned that the MVP program is long to short, “but it seems that Glenn Mills is doing short to long with Usain.”

Where do you think Glenn Mills got that?

The entire UK Athletics revamp that was done in the four year cycle leading into the 2012 Olympics- probably the best funded track and field program in history- was entirely Charlie Francis based philosophically. Period. End of story. Anyone who denies it is an idiot.

Funnily enough, while some coaches won’t mention it publicly, everyone does privately. Everyone!

I wish we had “Like” buttons like on Facebook.

Check this old pic of CF, BJ and Angella Marie Taylor out.
Mazda Optimist TC

The stache!!!

I can tell you what I know for sure, I don’t know about running entirely Charlies based philosophy, UK got very good success running long to short over few decades way before Charlie has published any of his work also don’t forget that UKA have employed Pfaff to run the show. Are you saying that Pfaff running CF Program? Having said that they do distribute samples of CF program (graphs with two and three HI workouts) during seminars for young coaches.
To me Charlies work has influenced many younger generation coaches. Talking here about UK based coaches

that’s why Bolt wanted to run 600m with MoFarrah (charity race, Mo wanted to go 800) because as Bolt said himself that 800 is bit too far more likely 600 as he’s been doing 600s during his training sessions.
So I am thinking that actually Glenn might be going from both ends of the speed development spectrum.

I don’t know where Mils got that from.
I am wondering if you know, BTW where SF got that from?

I, too, have long been annoyed at the avoidance of crediting a highly influential individual in a particular field and of course in this case, Charlie. Personally, I don’t miss any chances to acknowledge his impact on my coaching philosophy. There are some coaches who don’t mind using his concepts without any mention of how they acquired such knowledge-I guess we are to believe they came up with such original concepts on their own long after CF had written his books, recorded videos, given clinics. There are coaches who either manage to leave Charlie’s name out or just don’t reference anyone else’s work in their own writings. There have been some UK athletics graphs put out a few years ago that looked like straight copies to me yet Charlie’s name was conveniently not mentioned while others were mentioned in the same article. Some people in general seem to believe they will be better respected if they try to display “their work” as being truly original. Anyone reading Speed Trap will have no problem finding who influenced Charlie yet sadly that is not the approach that a number of other coaches take.

For those of us who attend a large number of clinics, read articles etc. and I’m sure that includes many here, you see Charlie’s influence in so many coach’s programs-it’s easy to spot even if, unfortunately, not sourced. To your guitarist point-agreed and Carlos Santana frequently mentioned BB King as being a major (if not the major) influence on his style as do many other musicians. In some fields acknowledgement is part of a sort of honor code but some coaches don’t want to admit that all of their concepts are not originally their own.

This will be old hat for long time members; that said, I do not grow tired in stating that as someone who dove as deep as one could possibly dive into Charlie’s work, primarily at a distance as I only met Charlie in person once and exchanged a handful of private emails with him, I truly believe he had all things sprint training/speed development figured out, no stone left unturned, in the 1980s.

I’ve gone on to extrapolate so much from Charlie’s detailed expounding on L-S and S-L that contributes to global training load management that has yet to exist in most other sport disciplines. My Applied Sprint Training book continues to sell to a global audience and be sure that I made it my number one point of order to credit Charlie in the initial pages.

Regarding UK Athletics leading up to the 2012 games- I spent two weeks with Dan Pfaff prior to the London Games. A truly great guy with access to a boat load of data, he has a really impressive eye for minute biomechanical variations occurring in real time, and he has an incredibly robust network of global specialists.

During that same period I was with Lloyd Cowan for a month assisting him and his crew with mechanical observation/coaching, trackside therapy, massage, weights and so on and it was really interesting to see the drastically different approaches of Cowan and Pfaff as well as to spend time and talk with the athletes from each crew and hear their thoughts on the coaching.

I spent quite a bit of time around athletes from each crew, prominent names (Christine Ohuruogru, Dina Asher Smith, Anyika Onuora, Greg Rutherford, Steve Lewis…) Not surprisingly, every athlete I spoke with from Pfaff’s crew was cerebral/analytical in their own right. Whereas, every athlete in Cowan’s crew that I spent time with, including many junior athletes, were clearly more drawn to an intuitive/emotional connection to Lloyd’s coaching style.

I can say from observation that none of Lloyd’s crew, and clearly Pfaff has his own system, were following a Charlie influenced program. That said, one of the female hurdlers in Lloyd’s crew, who I believe was a common wealth champ in years past, told me that her best season ever was one in which her coach at the time used a program heavily influenced by Charlie; however, she told me that her coach was one of those who tended to try new approaches every season so that period came and went.

That said, it seems that Kevin Tyler and co are very much influenced by Charlie.

No doubt, however, and as has already been stated by others here, is the fact that dozens of “accomplished” coaches were influenced by Charlie in one way or another and fail to provide credit where credit is due.

Steve Fudge, coach of James Dasaolu and Adam Gemili, was mentored by Kevin Tyler and uses a classical short to long approach. Many others, including the Jamaicans and many Americans seem to use a concurrent model now, where acceleration is trained all year round but speed endurance is trained long to short.

However everyone at some point in their life has been influenced by something or someone. Whether is CF, BB King, you or me. There is number of ways people did or do things with good success. CF was talking about how Germans, Italians etc… did their training, was he influenced by what they did and how they did it, sure. That didn’t stop him from his own development and from looking for what he needed to do at that particular time.
RE: Dina, As far as I am concern she has never been a part of the DP or LC group.
Lloyd is a very approachable coach, who will share his ideas with you.

Just a quick question, who’s Steve Fudge. I mean, seriously, who is he? Who did he coach from scratch or nearly from the scratch that was a success, there is no info about that guy. He’s gone through the interview, got the job and at the same time athletes Adam join him later. Whenever I hear what he’s saying about his philosophy is like watching Vancouver and reading one of CF books. There is only one thing missing from his seminars CF favourite Olympics stories, lol.

BTW how they are running?
I saw James running last weekend looks to me like he was going sideway,

As indicated in your quote, however, is the point of fact that Charlie wrote, spoke, and indicated time and time again here on the forum how he learned from Mach, Duncan, Jerome, and others.

While this is admittedly a subjective statement on my part, I’ll go on written record stating that I believe Charlie had forgotten more about his craft than many coaches who fail to credit him will ever know in their professional lives.

Asher Smith was under Lorna Boothe’s direct supervision when I was with those groups and Lorna was part of Lloyd’s crew. I distinctly remember performing trackside massage on Asher Smith one day.

I think we have to stay open-minded, deciding what’s good for us taking steps towards deeper understanding after outcomes from our own experimenting with the different programs, philosophys, approaches.
I didn’t know that Dina had a brief contact with Lorna, I know her about decade she never mentioned it, Lorna was there because Lloyd coaches her son. Dina is with John for very long time so I am surprised she went to train with totally different coach.

I will say that all I remember was that I was working on “Asher” and she looked a lot like the current photos of Dina so if, by chance, there was another “Asher” performing as a junior in the 60m in 2011/2012 and travelled with Lloyd’s crew to Southern Cal then maybe it was Dina’s doppelganger haha.

There were also a couple other coaches who travelled with Lloyd so it’s possible she was there with one of the others; however, I thought I remember Lorna asking me to help with her trackside so that’s why I’m thinking she was under Lorna at the time.

Steve Fudge took an injury plagued James Dasaolu and transformed him into a 6.47 and 9.91s sprinter, a world champs finalist and European champion. He took Adam Gemili to European gold (running 19.98 into a 1.6m/s headwind) and Commonwealth Games silver. Yes, he was lucky to be entrusted with such talented athletes, but in my opinion he proved that he is deserveing of the faith that had been shown I’m his capacity.

You are forgetting that James was running 10.0 six years ago, if Michael had a 24/7 therapy on James like Steve has the story might have been a little bit different, btw how James did in world’s indoor a year ago, he wasn’t there, how about this year europeans, oh he wasn’t there hamstrings again so much for all those money spent.
Have you seen James last race.
If they don’t change things soon he won’t be making final this year around.
What about Leon training, went so well he needed a knee op.
As to Adam, he was already going sub 20.

I am not convinced about Steve.

James ran 10.09 many years ago but was never healthy long enough to do anything significant at championships. Under Steve Fudge he ran his 12 fastest times ever, improved by 0.18s and did well in three major international competitions. Adam Gemili PBed in the 100m and equaled his 200m PB under significantly less favourable conditions in his first season with Steve Fudge. I don’t know Steve personally, but I think the stats speak in his favour. Yes, I did see James’ 10.14 season opener. It didn’t look great against a very strong field, but it’s wasn’t too shabby either. He drifted to his left at the start and almost collided with the guy next to him, slowed down and had to correct his direction and re-accelerate. Usain Bolt’s season opener was not much faster, btw. :slight_smile:

Yep he improved by 0.01 over 100sec its massive lol and no improvements over 200 I guess 0.4sec in previous year is crap, so 06 and 0.9sec in previous years also rubbish? As I said before the treatments and attentions James getting in Loughborough is much higher quality and quantity then ever before. So what are we talking about? It is funny enough during seminar 2014 (Feb) Steve was blaming other coach for all the injuries, literally the same week James blow his hamstring couple weeks before world indoors is that “speak in his favour” At least Bolt wasn’t running sideway.

I think one of the problems in evaluating coaches, and this is seemingly what is happening here, is that theres a phenomena of obscurity in the coaching ranks. Very few good coaches actually get the opportunity to coach big talent. Some of the best coaches in the world are unknown because they are coaching at high schools or in small clubs, where recruiting is limited. However, if you look at the increases in their athletes,its staggering. It’s just that those people go from being lets say a female who runs 12.5 seconds to 11.70 seconds in a four yr period which is absolutely incredible, yet no one will ever hear of them world wide… hence no one will hear of their coach. I know plenty of coaches every yr who absolutely get terrific results, among a poor talent pool. But you dont get well known doing that.

You will however have dozens of coaches who routinely get great talent and they dont get much faster, but they have such a plethora of talent that it gets noticed.

I think with Charlie you had a guy who was actually a good coach, who actually got to a place where he got ahold of talent. That’s probably more rare than you think. I think Tom Tellez, Bobby Kersee, DAn Pfaff, and John Smith are a few others who are really good, and got a chance to coach talent.

If John Smith had gotten bogged down into a high school program, they would be good, his results would have been great as far as development of kids from point A to B, but the point A would have been so low, that the realistic point B wouldn’t show up on the Radar worldwide.

We could talk about why great coaches dont get moved up to higher programs where talent abounds, but that type of conversation could go on for wks.

The fact is Charlie was a very excellent coach, and got to coach excellent talent, at the excellent levels of the sport. Then he got shunned as far as his place on the “mt rushmoore” of coaches. But not by me.