I just bought an HRV monitor and I am eager to experiment with it.
I have a few questions:
“I must look at the contribution of all stressors to determine if I am getting a positive adaptation with my athlete (or myself), as opposed to simply creating fatigue”.
Sure, no system is an island in an animal species and so stress responses are general (Salye etc.). Do you find periods of overreaching useful (accumulating fatigue)? For sure it depends on the discipline (I remember a study made on Navy Seals years ago, but for sure we are far from strength- and power-oriented sports).
“When in doubt, I will pick a (1) simple activity that will give me a general response, as opposed to a (2) specific activity that gives me no adaptive response (if that makes any sense)”.
Can you give an example of (1) and (2)? It would be clearer.
I think it’s important to consider adaptations as multi-dimensional.
"I no longer get into debates over “front-squats vs back squats” or “bench press vs push press” or “hill running vs sled dragging”.
Do you do that more for advanced athletes?
Are you not throwing away the baby? Given the general the response, there is also a local response which is probably underestimated in the approach above. If you keep it limited to the general strength tasks, I agree, but do you still enter in debates concerning 10m vs 30m or acceleration vs max V?
When I distinguish between organism and human I am referring to the difference between the biological systems and morpho-biomechanical structure that are, fundamentally (in terms of the common principles associated with how the systems and structures function) , shared between all athletes and the actual peculiarities which differentiates each individual.
Perhaps I should have used the terms organism and athlete X
So I plan training by considering the biodynamic/bioenergetic structure of sport- then weigh these variables against what I know about the organism and how it operates- THEN individualize the program for the needs of the actual individual athletes who, hopefully, have been properly selected.
Preface, knowing implies certainty while belief implies hope.
That said, I know that optimal training preparation requires that when we sit down to program and organize the training for our athletes we must begin by conceptualizing the biodynamic and bioenergetic structure of the sport/discipline in which they compete.
From this, we acknowledge the true taxonomy of the sport requirements and from this we are able to ascertain just how well selected the athletes are for these requirements.
As you pointed out Svincenz, I am speaking from a higher performance level as I am a staunch advocate of competitive sport being comprised only of athletes who are predisposed to accel at them.
One of the many principles I adopted from the Soviets is that competition shouldn’t even take place until the participants are able to truly compete at a level high enough to challenge other individuals and teams of a national/international, collegiate, professional, Olympic, level. Granted, this is my opinion only; and my opinion renders me in an extreme minority in my country.
Having said that, it is easy to surmise that my feelings on physical preparation for youths MUST be void of concern for various sport demands until it is clear from a morpho-biomechanical standpoint that the young athlete is predisposed for high results in certain sports only. Meaning, the field must be narrowed before specialized training occurs.
As we know, due to the biodynamic and bioenergetic requirements of various sports, the age of specialization varies.
In the US, I see the gross mistakes that are made in the technical-tactical sport training.
Thus, it is necessary that I assume some of this vital responsibility as a physical preparation coach and has thus required that I broaden my skill set beyond the mundane tasks of the bigger, stronger, faster status quo in my industry.
To do this, my efforts must extend beyond general preparation only, and include specialized training.
It then follows that this is only possible if I am qualified to dissect the biodynamic and bioenergetic structure of the sport- something which, surprisingly, many western technical-tactical and S&C coaches are unable to accomplish with high accuracy; rendering a certain percentage of both sport practice and physical preparation unwisely used.
James, thanks for the thoughtful reply.
I understand now what you mean when you talk of organism and human and I agree with you.
I have different ideas and views on talent selection and identification, which I will briefly discuss as I think that the other part of the thread (minimun common denominator) is less to opinions and more to “facts”.
First, you say “I am speaking from a higher performance level as I am a staunch advocate of competitive sport being comprised only of athletes who are predisposed to accel at them”. Isn’t it what happens normally without forcing the issues? I mean, at higher performance level, only the best (predisposed) athletes are performing. But let’s say, for the 100m, you fix 10 seconds at maximum limit for whatever reason (huge gap from the WR, 0.42 secs). But how many people in this category? 5-10? So, at the world level, we will have from 5 to 10 people competing and that’s it? I think it is a logical consequence of your view. If you, on the other hand, are referring to (state) sponsorship (as in Italy still happens for the best athletes), your view could be supported by the need of best investing limited resources.
“One of the many principles I adopted from the Soviets is that competition shouldn’t even take place until the participants are able to truly compete at a level high enough to challenge other individuals and teams of a national/international, collegiate, professional, Olympic, level. Granted, this is my opinion only; and my opinion renders me in an extreme minority in my country”.
This is what happens in the Spartak tennis club in Moscow (NYT article and book “the talent code”). Doing the same gesture over and over again. Building myelin and reinforcing neural patterns. There is a little problem. In a non-totalitarian society (or moderately wealthy) you would keep repeating the same gesture over and over again not the truly blessed, but the truly bored. What for? For a long and distant and very unlikely medal?
I was bitten by the competitive bug when I was a little child, give me years of only “training” and I will run away as fast as possible and dedicate myself to chess. So, theoretically I agree with what you say, but pratically in a non-totalitarian or moderately wealthy society it wouldn’t work and I cannot say I am disappointed by that.
Finally, I’d like to stress that in a team sport talent identification is very difficult and if I had a cent for every wrong (early) pick of so-called experts I would be a millionaire. There are problems with maturation, acquisition of skills and integration of them in a team setting which make (strong, of course some very non-talented people are easy to identify) talent identification very difficult and maybe not worth pursuing. In particular in team sports, I want to be clear.
I’ll be the first to admit that my theoretical sport training mind exists in, not even a totalitarian but more of a, despotism in which I am the despot.
Truth in jest
Regarding your statement regarding the difficulty in talent identification/selection for team sports, I respectfully disagree.
As I enter my 8th year working with American football, I can state with complete certainty that the requisite tools for precise talent identification and selection are in fact in existence and usable in the practical setting.
The most valuable markers are constituted by neurophysiological, psychological-emotional, and morpho-biomechanical evaluations.
I am fortunate to have a close associate in Bulgaria (a soon to be professor at the NSA in Sofia) who has, over the years, shared with me various research only being pursued in Russia; specifically pertaining to morpho-biomechanics.
In addition, I was privileged to have been put in contact with a graphologist living in the US who demonstrated to me the nearly incomprehensible accuracy in psychological-technical-behavioral profiling that may be attained via hand writing analysis. I speak from experience as she evaluated both me and my wife, not knowing either one of us, based solely upon our handwriting and provided us with profiles more detailed then we could have possibly described each other after having been married, at that time, for 7 years.
It is my knowing that the tools are, in fact, available and that all relevant talent identification variables are measurable/quantifiable.
It’s a matter of asking the proper questions and possessing the requisite diagnostic resources.
The key, as you well noted, is not to make premature diagnostic rulings such that the ‘baby is not thrown out with the bath water’ so to speak.
Probably upon the commonalities of the multiple numerators (training methods) that have brought success on the single denominator (humans), for this would give useful hints sooner. Not a direct way perhaps, but it seems only natural to study this area and see how success can be brought about.
James, what happens if in training we consider and target humans before markers,will those markers maybe change?
Why then to call upon profiling to make up for lack of knowledge and perception of the whole?
I am glad you refer then to diagnostics,as this is exactly the structure medical sciences have been built upon ,either in the easter,and western world as we know it.
Question remains though:isn’t there any better option really?
From my experience, the more advanced athletes require a general stimulus while the less advanced athletes and beginners require more specific stimuli.
In the cases of accel vs. max velocity, I’m looking at the general stimulus of one versus the other in many cases. If you are doing a session where you are trying to run at max velocity (i.e. flying start 30-40m build up into 20m max velocity effort vs. running a straight 60m run at max effort) one is more stressful than the other - and this can be influenced by whether or not you are starting from a stand or out of blocks. For the developmental athlete, I’m looking for very specific adaptations, many of which are related to technique and biomechanical efficiency. There may also be specific strength and power adaptations related to various stages of the acceleration phase. If the athlete is not “strong” enough to hold acceleration posture, this capacity must be developed more specifically.
For an advanced athlete, many of these specific issues should already be in place. Thus, I’m looking for general stresses from the various runs (different distances) to create a positive adaptation. This may take place within a context of training over many weeks and phases.
Thus, if someone approached me with two different 100m runners - one elite and one non-elite - I would be much more interested in the general trends of training and application of stresses for the elite runner (loading and unloading periods over time, distances run and progressions over those distances, times for each distance over the span of the training program). While I would be more concerned with the specific training and biomechanical elements of the non-elite (running technique, posture, exercise selection, lifting technique, field test results, etc).
These assumptions are all based on:
What I have seen across the sample of athletes I have worked with (beginners to world record holders/olympic medallists)
Discussions with Charlie in the midst of working with these various athletes
Of course, some may have a different definition of general vs specific than I do. And, I am only speaking of an “emphasis” in training, as there will always be general and specific adaptations at every level.
I liken advanced coaching to staring at one of those paintings that have the hidden image in them. The more you stare intensely at those images, the harder it is to see the hidden image. The more you step back, take your time and let your eyes relax, the clearer things become. I believe too many people are staring and glaring too intently (looking for quick and easy results), rather than taking in the entire context of what is in front of them, gathering knowledge over time and waiting patiently for the results.
For how our paths may have distantiated over time,we got to the very same conclusion above,which I deeply agree with.
Are you familiar with the Bates Method? Exercises like what Bates calls “Palming” and “Sunning” can be extremely helpful to enhance general brain functions which allow such hidden image/bigger picture experiences,hence maybe better advanced coaching.
“Bates suggested closing the eyes for minutes at a time to help bring about relaxation. He asserted that the relaxation could be deepened in most cases by “palming”, or covering the closed eyes with the palms of the hands, without putting pressure on the eyeballs. If the covered eyes did not strain, he said, they would see “a field so black that it is impossible to remember, imagine, or see anything blacker”, since light was excluded by the palms. However, he reported that some of his patients experienced “illusions of lights and colors” sometimes amounting to “kaleidoscopic appearances” as they “palmed”, occurrences which he attributed to his ubiquitous “strain” and which he claimed disappeared when one truly relaxed. This phenomenon, however, was almost certainly caused by Eigengrau or “dark light”. In fact, even in conditions of perfect darkness, as inside a cave, neurons at every level of the visual system produce random background activity that is interpreted by the brain as patterns of light and color.”
Underlined are those concepts which may go a long way (epistemologically speaking) explaining many phenomena of today’s sport science and training.
I am always closing my eyes periodically when performing massage or static stretching with an athlete. It is not a conscious effort - it just happens. It does help with sensing tension and changes in muscle tension.
IT deff helps.
I have seen ppl talk and talk when performing this work - to me, they are just going through the motion.
Also - I once had this lady massaging my legs = great
She became Pregnant and her massages became useless. Instantly you could feel the difference.
Isn’t the human the PRIMARY context and direction to be addressed?
How can the human ever be defined the cart in your allegory?
How can the human as a whole (even to extent of considering it - as a whole - purely a machine) can be considered SECONDARY to whatever expression of its own,even when defined by the most accurate markers available (on the market)?
Wouldn’t this putting opinions (and I am not referring here to one or the other James’ opinion) before facts?
Which brings about the next legitimate question: what do we build our judgements upon really?
I would only use that logic for the developmental training of young children because they do not yet have the sufficient biological maturity to specialize their efforts towards a defined sport structure.
Pakewi, I’m like my man svincenz, Where the heck do you come up with this stuff? What Im trying to say is, speak clearly, your speaking in riddles. Obviuosly your a philosophical type of guy, fine but keep it simple. James, Number 2, and Svincenz did. I understand what your saying (after reading it like 12 times). Granted this is a good discussion but again for simplistic sake please just keep it simple.