Apr 16

National Coaching Conference 2016

If you are a coach at any level and looking for an opportunity to learn about innovative and cutting edge coaching methods, I highly recommend you consider attending the 2016 National Coaching Conference.

Organized by the US Coaching Coalition, which is comprised of USOC, NCAA, NFHS, NSCA and Shape America, the conference will be held on the west coast for the first time in 16 years.

Check out the conference online here.

Mar 05

Sports Technology–Wearable Technology

As many readers of this blog know, I have an affection for technology! Over the past few years, more and more technology is seeping into sports especially technology being integrated into clothing. Imbedded technology provides the opportunity to gather feedback on performance such as ground contact time, gait measurement, power exerted, and lactic threshold. A few examples of the latest wearable sports technology have come to my attention:


This technology is a wearable compression sleeve for your calf. BSXinsight measures the lactic or lactate threshold based upon the color of red blood cells by shining infrared light through the skin embedded in the sleeve. The data gathered is used to determine the muscle tissue’s oxygen saturation.

What’s lactate threshold? Lactate threshold is defined as the intensity of exercise at which lactate begins to accumulate in the blood at a faster rate than it can be removed. This is problematic because as a result, unbuffered acid is added to the blood, a condition that makes you feel like you have to vomit and stop right away. See Active.com for more info on lactate threshold.

Before this type of technology was devised, blood testing during a controlled test was the means to gather this data on an athlete. Now for under $500, athletes can receive this feedback automatically. See BSX Athletics Website for more information. Velo Press also did a review of this technology. Check that out here.

Thanks to the Feb 29th edition of Sports Illustrated for bringing this technology to my attention.


If you are looking for ways to improve your running technique, Sensoria has developed a smart sock with embedded sensors (located on the forefoot and heel) measuring how much pressure is applied while running. That data, via Bluetooth link, provides info on cadence, time between strides, and footfall location.

Thanks to Competitor magazine for bringing this technology to my attention.





Feb 13

McFarlane’s Plan for Psychological Skills Training

Brent McFarlane, noted Canadian hurdle and sprint coach, wrote one of the best books on hurdling, The Science of Hurdling, which unfortunately is out of print.  The last time I read it I had to use the interlibrary loan system to find a copy.

But fortunately for us, Brent made a brief pitch in it for visualization, a mental skill easily used in sport, and other psychological skills needed by athletes on page 239 of his book.

Brent’s recommendation for a 12 week psychological skills training (PST) program is as follows:

  • Weeks 1-2:   Muscular relaxation
  • Weeks 3-4:   Mental relaxation
  • Week 5:        Supplementary training
  • Week 6:        Disssocciation & detachment training
  • Week 7:       Goal programming training
  • Week 8:       Ideo-motor training
  • Weeks 9-10: Problem solving
  • Week 11:     Assertive Training
  • Week 12:    Concentration Training

If developing a PST plan for your athletes is of interest to you, check out an earlier blog I wrote how pyschological skills training (PST) can be integrated into a planned performance plan.

Feb 02

Goal Setting Part Two

I previously looked at some new ideas about goal setting a few months ago and found some new thinking to add to it. If you are curious the previous blog on goal setting can be found here.

We are all familiar with SMART goal planning:

  • Specific–Is the goal defined and obvious enough?
  • Measurable–Is there a means of determining progress towards attaining the goal?
  • Action–What effort is required?
  • Realistic–Can the athlete achieve the goal? A future blog will look at stretch goals.
  • Time Based–Is there a specific date for the athlete to aim for regarding achieving this goal?

But what I have discovered is a nice addition to SMART–the three Ps!

  • Positive–Does the goal layout the desired positive behavior?
  • Process–Does the goal relate to performance, technique or behavior that is under the athlete’s control rather than an outcome goal?
  • Personal–Does the athlete own this goal and not one imposed on them?

Thanks to Stephanie Hanrahan and Daniel Gucciardi for this–I found it in their Sharpening Mental Skills chapter in Coaching Excellence, edited by Frank Pyke.

Jan 26

How to Develop and Use Networks

Throughout my career I have been told about the importance of networking. Meet strangers, hand out your card, tell them what you do in 30 seconds or less. We’ve all been victims of networking events, planned and unplanned. But I finally found some guidance on how to truly approach networking and what to seek from it.

The Harvard Business Review has a wonderful article titled “How Leaders Create & Use Networks.” It’s an old article from 2007 but I found its suggestions on how to network and what to get out of networking a bit more detailed than I have ever encountered before.

The articles does a nice job of dividing networking into three types:

  • Operational: “getting things done” within your current job
  • Personal: Personal & Professional Development
  • Strategic: Finding out about the future and finding supporters

Take a look and maybe it will help you structure how you approach your networking.

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