Friday, March 9, 2012

Is a coach a scientist??

From The Indroduction
The Science of Swimming - James Counsilman, 1974
The following quotation is taken from the inscription in the foyer of the Science Building of the Seattle World's Fair of 1962:

To learn about the world around him, a scientist must ask, observe, suppose, experiment and analyze:

In asking - the right question must be posed
In observing - the significant must be distinguished from the unimportant
In supposing - a workable answer (or hypothesis) may be predicted, but a scientist must be ready to abondon it
In experimenting - the right instrument must be chosen or borrowed from the tool kit of some other branch of science.
In analyzing - the scientist must, with his mind, and his imagination, draw conclusions from the data his research has revealed.

The coach must ask himself: "Am I a scientist?"
"Am I asking questions of other coaches, the athletes, and other experts?"
"Am I constantly observing objectively, evaluating, and reevaluating or have I reached the point where I look, but am not aware of what I see."
"Am I supposing or trying to find a workable answer for the problems which confront me. Once I arrive at a conclusion, am I then inflexible or do I always keep an open mind?"
"Am I experimenting? If possible, do I use tools from other areas of science such as motion pictures, physiological tests, and psychological tests. Do I also use tests within my areas; tests of strength, flexibility, agility? In experimenting, do I, within reasonable limits, try new ideas, that is, isometrci contractions, and so on."
"In analyzing, am I arriving at logical conclusions, or are my conclusions colored by prejudice, inadequate thinking, poor background, and lack of imagination?"

The average coach does not have the tools to do research, or the time to investigate thouroughly all the related areas that interest him. He is too often busy teaching, coaching, and taking care of the details involved inhis job to devote much time to the available literature. There are, however, questions that arise in the course of his experience that stimulate his curiosity. Since curiosity is the beginning of all true learning, the coach can use his curiosity as a means of self motivation in his search for knowledge. The human pursuit of knowledge seems to follow a three-phase pattern: the first phase is curiosity which comes when the persons interest is aroused and he begins to look at things, it is to be hoped, with some degree of objectivity; the second phase is that of confusion which comes about when a person is unable to analyse the situation immediately and sees no possible answers to the question or sees the possibility of several answers; the third phase is that of the search for the answer or the quest for knowledge. This is the never-ending phase, the one that will always keep man busy."

The true scientist is curious. He is able to recognise the problem he is confused about, and often his confusion is what keeps him in search of the truth. In athletics, the intelligent coach and athlete are constantly searching for new approaches and improves methods. These are the people who advance our sport. Other people, less inspired and creative, adopt their techniques....

...I have been criticized for the Hurt-Pain-Agony concept of training for swimmers. I feel, however, that no success should come easily. If it did, it would not be highly valued. The harder we strive for a goal, the more significant a goal becomes when it is finally achieved. This is not to say that the concept has evolved mearly to provide a difficult goal; it remains the most effective stress/adaptation method we know about in this time.

Not every swimmer or coach can be a winner. With intelligent, hard work, each can achioeve the best that is within him or within his team, and this is the standard he will be measured by, both by other people and himself.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Goal vs Process Oriented Training

Goal vs Process Oriented Training
By Lyle McDonald
An excellent website that I highly recommend that interested coaches spend some time reading.

Goal vs. Process Oriented Training: Part 1

Although I’m known more for nutrition and training, the psychology of good training is also a huge part of the picture and, thus, of interest to me.

Today, I want to talk about one of the major distinctions that is often made in the psychological approach that athletes take (usually to competition); that distinction is between being goal oriented and process oriented.

Goal oriented athletes

Simplistically, goal oriented athletes see their results in competition as the be-all, end-all of their training endeavors. This is also true of training. If they don’t win, or set a PR, or perform exceptionally all the time, they will see themselves as a failure. So on competition day, they have to win, or set a personal best, or set a record, or all of those. In the gym, if they aren’t beating their previous bests every damn time they train, they feel like a total failure.