The former Sydney sprints coach Michael Khmel, who was one of 18 contracted coaches axed by the geniuses at Athletics Athletics after the 2004 Olympics, is now sprints coach for Chelsea FC (soccer team).
Khmel produced at least five guys on the Oz track team for those Athens Olympics, including a bunch of 400m boys who substantially contributed to the silver medal success in the 4x4 (he coached John Steffensen and Clinton Hill that year, as well as Daniel Batman). Khmel may be better known for coaching Matt Shirvington from a schoolboy who could not make the Oz team for the 1996 Sydney world junior championships (which was coached and selected by Khmel) to become Oz 100m record breaker, at 10.03sec age 18, and winner of 5 national 100m titles.
Khmel was Britain’s sprints coach for a few years but fell out with Von Comedy and quit (or was sacked, depending on who you listen to).
But Mike is a great guy, a disciple of Dan Pfaff (for better or worse) but a coach who Australia certainly coulod use today. Good luck to him, c’mon Chelsea!
I’d like to know what Shirvo’s program was in the few years before he ran that 10.03 at age 19 (not 18).
His performances gradually went down hill after Michael went to the US to learn from Pfaff. He changed his program to a lot of heavy lifting and less track work because that’s how Pfaff was training his athletes. I say if it aint broke, don’t fix it. Shirvo was going along so well in '98. I think if they continued to train the way they were during '97 & '98, Matt surely would have run well under 10.00.
Darren Campbell was hired by Andrei Shevchenko, as his personal speed coach, when Shevchenko was at Chelsea. Jose Mourinio was the manager of Chelsea at the time and he banned Campbell from the ground! Apparently they conducted the sessions on Shevchenko’s tennis court at his house after that.
Ade Mafe, ex british sprinter, was Chelsea fitness coach for a while, not sure if he still is.
As most of you know Charlie was not a fan of Mr. Dan Pfaff’s heavy emphasis on high volumes of weights and plyos.
Historically Charlie would routinely update me on the comings and goings of various plans and stragtegies from the key players and their coaches. In general terms the results usually speak for themselves don’t they?
Donavan pursued Charlie endlessly to which Charlie was more than happy to oblige. When their various and numerous conversations finally set in, Donavan went away and the rest is history. I knew Donavan well enough to be able to say Donavan did what Donavan wanted. He was this way from the first day I met him doing a Sony commercial in Montreal for the 1992 Olympics.
The lesson is plain and simple seems to me. Heavy weights are not needed to fun fast. Fast sprinting is required to run faster…
DEVASTATED when he lost his job as one of Athletics Australia’s 18 contracted coaches, Michael Khmel is now earning more working two days as the new sprint coach for Chelsea FC than he made as a full-time coach in a year here.
Excellent post, Angela! I think it’s really disappointing that after studying under Pfaff, Michael shifted the focus in Matt’s training to a high volume of heavy weights and a much lower volume of track work. It was primarily the track work they were doing during 97 & 98 that helped him to achieve 10.03.
With the change in program after the '98 Commonwealth Games, Matt had many injuries, was sick with the flu many times and even had to have surgery on an overuse injury. There is no question in my mind that he was overtrained! From what I’ve observed in a lot of athletes, a high volume of heavy weights combined with sprinting is just too much for a natural athlete and I’m confident that Matt was not using any PED’s. I think Matt was in a constant state of fatigue and didn’t even realize it. He would take time off but it was never long enough to fully recover. I believe he may well have run high 9.8 if they had continued doing what they were doing during '97 & '98. Improvement would have come from natural physical maturity without upping the training volume so much with all those heavy weights.
I was just thinking the other day of the best white sprinters of all time. Not one of them lifted heavy weights. (I’m not sure about Borzov. I think I remember reading he lifted light weights explosively and did lots of resisted sprints using a wind tunnel & lots of plyos).
Alan Wells, Pietro Mennea, Bobby Morrow, Dave Sime, Thane Baker, Hec Hogan, Paul Nash, Lindy Remigino, Armin Harry, Percy Williams, Charley Paddock, Harold Abrahams, Matt Shirvington (prior to '98 Commonwealth Games), Christophe Lamaitre (did not lift weights up until VERY recently and does not lift heavy). Actually, I cannot even think of a single white sprinter who has trained with heavy weights that has achieved performances in the ball park of the athletes mentioned above!
Add a couple of asian sprinters who didn’t lift weights i.e. Koji Ito, who ran 10.00 for 100m and 20.16 for 200m and Shingo Suetsugo who ran 10.03 for 100m & 20.03 for 200m. Both of these guys had upper bodies like marathon runners!