An exotic supplement.

I very well realize that this advice is against the current tide of sports organizations as far as nutritional supplements is concerned. But here is the thing….. I could not care less!

In my opinion an athlete has the right to support and maintain his/her body in the way he/she chooses, as long as they are not breaking any rules, like taking substances that are on the ever expanding banned list of the doping-testing industry.

But most sports federations advise against the use of supplements, which is utterly stupid for two simple reasons.

First of all in a highly competitive environment some athletes are taking ergogenic substances that are on the banned list, gaining an advantage over athletes who don’t. So when you line up at the 100 meter starting line the athletes who do so pout their starting block at the starting line, but you, who doesn’t take anything might put your staring block 2 meters behind them. In other words, no chance even if you have more talent and a better coach.

Now you decided to take legal supplements to narrow that 2 meter margin and based on your talent and coaching might give you a better chance at least to keep up. Let’s say a 1 meter gap only. Now, your sports federation will warn you not to take legal supplements? Then basically the message is: no chance, better go home and spend your time, effort and money in a better way

Second: the main reason for the advice not to take supplements is the risk of contamination. So strange enough, the athlete is not considered to be a normal citizen with the right to be protected against such contaminations of his/her food and supplements. While at the other end, the government spends millions of Euro’s or dollars for organizations to control the quality and purity of our food supply, but athletes seem to have lost their right for this valuable public protection.

If I go to a store, look at the label and find myself in the hospital because what is bought is contaminated, I am the victim and the producer is the perpetrator. If an athlete unintentionally buys a contaminated supplement and he or she ends up with a positive test, the athlete has become the perpetrator and gets punished. Athletes do not dare to speak out against this because of the risk of repercussions and seldom have the financial resource to hire lawyers to defend themselves in case like this.

Explain this to me, because I still don’t really get it, but maybe I am not smart enough to understand this.

Now here is a supplement that you might know or not, that we have been using for at least 35 years. I have been writing about it for the longest time. (1,2,3)

And it is an exotic one: mummyo (or shilajit)

This substance is a rather mysterious one, we are still not sure if the origin is of vegetable or animal origin. Mummyo from different places might have a different composition. It cannot be grown, only be harvested in mountainous areas, especially in Central-Asia. It might be one of the oldest healing substances known to man, described in various sources.

Mummyo
Mummyo harvest

It is known under different names in different countries, north of the Himalaya, in countries like Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, or Kazakhstan, it is known as Mummyo, mumie or mumio while south of the Himalaya, India and Nepal and in Ayurveda, it is better known as Shilajit.

It’s a black, puttylike substance, with a distinct fragrance.

Raw mummyo

The pure and undiluted form of high quality is however hard to find. The limited supply, the difficult harvesting and the relatively high price makes it attractive to diluted it.

Mummyo has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years. Even Aristoteles and Alexander the Great knew and wrote about this mysterious substance.

It has been used from Persia to Kazakhstan, but for a tremendous wide range of indication and diseases.

No wonder people called it a panaceum or “cure-all” and in the Ayurveda it has been called a Rasayana, we would call it an anti-aging agent. It is use for prevention and general health maintenance as well as for specific indications.

Mummyo

Now why would athletes take mummyo?

For several reasons: first of all, mummyo is considered to be an adaptogen, assisting the body to adapt to mental and physical stressors, pulling the athletes body and mind back into the homeostatic range. This will reduce the risk overtraining and overload-problems and helps the athlete to better cope with the stresses of training.

Mummyo tablets

Second: I have very good results in case of bone fractures and tendon problems, not as much with my athletes, but mainly with family, friends and clients of mine. Bone fractures will recover at a much faster rate, which allows  a return to training and competitions at an earlier stage. Of course this can always be checked by e.g. making X-rays, (which I did).

Third: mummyo also acts as a mild nootropic, increasing neurotransmitter level in the brain and improved learning and memory processes.

Fourth: mummyo improves the immune-system, which might be useful in case of hard-training athletes who are always at risk for infections.

Mummyo

There is more, much more, but let’s leave it to these reasons above.

Mummyo can be use continuously or intermittent, of course with different dosages.

Average dosage somewhere between 200 mg and 500 mg per day. We always use the raw mummyo and dissolve it in hot water like a tea. It’s a bit of an acquired taste (I still remember the facial expression of Charlie Francis when he visited me in 1994, after a congress in Holland, tasting mummyo-tea for the first time)

Mummyo

Lots of research has been done on the safety and toxicity of taking mummyo. Mummyo is considered to be very safe and non-toxic (one of the conditions for being an adaptogen).

Bibliography

1. Kraaijenhof, H: Kracht uit Kruiden; Ortho, No,5, 1998, pg.232.(Dutch)

2. Kraaijenhof, H: Adaptogenen: exotisch, anabool en toegestaan; Runner’s World, Juni 195, pg. 40-41.(Dutch)

3. Kraaijenhof, H: Adaptogenen; Richting-Sportgericht, Vol.46, No.6, 1992, pg.307-310. (Dutch)

4. Ghosal, S: Shilajit: Its origin and vital significance; in: Mukherjee, B.(Ed.): Traditional medicine; Science Publ. Lebanon, NH, USA, 1993, pg. 308-319.

5. Silber, M: Mumie: the ancient remedy meets modern science; unpublished manuscript.

6. Tkachenko, S.S; Rutzky, V.V; Grachev, I.R : Reparative regeneration of bone tissue under effect of Mumie-asyl; Ortop.Travmat Protez No.11, Nov.1979, pg. 49-52.(Russ.-Eng. summary)

7. Ghosal, S: Shilajit in perspective; Alpha Science, Oxford, GBR, 2006.

Shilajit book

8. Ghosal, S: Chemistry of Shilajit; an immunomodulatory Ayurvedic Rasayan; Pure. Appl.Chem.Vol.62, No.7, 1990, pg.1285-1288.

9. Windmann, W: Mumijo. Das schwarze Gold des Himalaya; Windpferd, BRD. 2005.(German)

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Welcome to the surrealistic world of high-performance….

I started a small company called “Performax” in 1989 and I invented my own job title: performance consultant. Mainly because that was the world I lived in: creating champions or at least assisting athletes to become champions at the highest level.  It was rare profession at that time, there were only coaches and support staff in sports, not too many people tried to cover the broad scope of performance, but I thought my task was broader than coaching.

But look around now, less than 30 years down the road, there is hardly a coach, or fitness instructor, who isn’t a “high-performance expert”. Everybody has become an “expert”, a “master” or a “specialist’.  So where are all those low-performance specialists, since low performers are the majority of athletes, like the basis of a pyramid, high-performers are only a handful.

We see a strong dilution of the expression “high-performance”. Talking to these guys, they are the “speed specialist”, while their fastest guy barely breaks the 11 seconds barrier… high performance….. where? They work with elite-teams, even if these are only competing in the 8th division. Many “strength and conditioning specialists” are just average fitness-instructors who have never coached a high-performance athlete or contributed significantly to high-performances or experienced the world of high-performance hands-on for a longer period of time.

Now I don’t blame them, the world of social media, self-branding, self-marketing, and inflated ego’s  demands people selling themselves as being much bigger than they really are, to stand out, and to be unique in a competitive field. Unfortunately this bears no resemblance to their really qualities. They try to impress me with their limitless knowledge (reading the Strength and Conditioning Journal being their main source of information) and dropping the names of the elite-athletes they worked with, even if they only have met them for 10 minutes in their lives.

You can believe whatever you want but I always tend to look at the performances of the athletes a person coached instead of falling for sharp-sounding job titles or exaggerated curriculums.

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Finally….

I almost started to feel guilty, having neglected my blog for such a long time, but there is time to collect and the time to share. In this very moment I entered a new phase in my “career” if you want to call it that way. As you might have read I started coaching again after a 14 year break, and spend much more time on the track than I intended, since I almost forgot how time-consuming coaching really is, but that’s fine.

Here are some things I would like to share with you: my new book: “Methodology of Training for the 22nd Century” just came out at UAC. 

My three co-authors, good friends of mine, sport scientists, but also coaching athletes. The title is coming from my observation that although many coaches see themselves as innovators or open-minded, reality tells me that this is far from the truth. Most coaches are conservative and far behind in their education. The concepts on which they base their ideas and concepts find their origins in the 60’s and 70’s of the last century. While information from the biomedical sciences and sport sciences is exploding. And the best way to predict the future is to create it. All of this does not mean that everything is upside down or has become redundant. It just means that we could do so much better by staying on top of the information in our field of high-performance. It means that just buying the latest gadget or app ensures state-of-the-art training.

The biggest change is that I am now working for the Kazakhstan Athletics Federation for assisting their coaches and athletes on the road to the Tokyo Olympics.

Working with some athletes and coaches from Kazakhstan

Interesting because I collected a lot of interesting information and developed new ideas hat I did not have the opportunity before to share .

Kazakhstan, I guess that you might be thinking… mmmm. Well, Kazakhstan is a huge country in Central Asia with the number or people like the Netherland, around 17 million. It used to be apart of  the former Soviet Union and is in a phase of rapid progress in many aspects. Their history in sports is largely hidden in the history of sports of the Soviet Union for which the athletes form Kazakhstan competed back then.  

But they have Olympic champions in track and field, to mention a few: Olga Shishigina, Olympic champion 100 meter hurdles in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 or Dmitri Karpov, bronze medalist in decathlon at the Olympics in Athens in 2004, and most recently Olga Rypakova, in triple jump, second at the Olympics in Beijing (2008), Olympic champion in London (2012) and a bronze medal in Rio in 2016. And now heading for another Olympic medal in Tokyo. The important thing is that there are quite a few young and gifted athletes coming up.

For some Dutch people Kazakhstan might ring a bell, related to speed skating, our national sport.  In Alma-Ata as it was called at that time (now Almaty) there is a famous outdoor speed-skating stadium at altitude called Medeo where many records were broken in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Kazakhstan is rapidly changing into a very modern country, where young people are taking a leading role in developing Kazakhstan, also in sports.

In short, an interesting challenge.

The website of my company,  www.vortx.nl (in Dutch) had an update as well.

So the majority of changes have been adapted and from now on I have more time to write more posts for my blog.  It is about time isn’t it?

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Turn, turn, turn…..

The title of a great song by the Byrds, and the reason why I did not publish a post recently.There is a time to teach and a time to learn, a time to write and a time to read, a time to observe and a time to coach. Currently I am again, after a break of 14 years, spending a lot of time on coaching and everything that comes with it. Basically I forgot how time-consuming coaching can be, but my coaching projects are going very well, which is a comfort. My athletes are making great progress in all aspects

So how did the last couple of weeks look like? I have been lecturing in Chantilly in the USA at the Sports And Speed Institute of my good friend Justin Kavanagh and met with an old idol of mine: Ian King from Australia, master coach and educator,  builder of the foundation of strength and conditioning internationally. 

On a regular basis I go to Switzerland to support some of my colleague coaches and to help an athlete to make a come-back after three years of injury.  

Then, last week I spent in Germany with one of my athletes, a small training camp for focus and to recover a bit from a stressful period of studying and exams. This athlete is also my favorite “guinea pig” for my hypotheses about training and sprinting. A few weeks ago we appeared in a TV program called Sportlab in which former 110 meter hurdler and now TV-presenter Gregory Sedoc questioned us about the role of genetics in elite sports. Amazing how far the sports community is running behind scientific and technological progress that can make a real difference, No, I am not referring to the latest cool app on your phone. The idea that we developed as being normal in the 1980’s and 1990’s are unknown and/or nor properly understood or integrated 30 years later……

TV recording, Gregory Sedoc on the right

While in Germany I also visited a friend of mine, Gerrit Keferstein, a very bright young guy whom I love to cooperate with.

Gerrit Keferstein on the right

In the last few months I wrote a series of three articles for the Dutch journal Sportgericht, and received some great books from my colleagues, Erik Hein’s “Boksfit” should not be missed by anyone who is involved in boxing or martial arts (and reads Dutch). Erik pumps out one good book after another. He is one of those broadly oriented guys, not a specialist in a narrow field.

Boksfit by Erik Hein

I also had the honor to have two small chapters in the Weight Room Wisdom by Ron McKeefery, being the only non-USA contributor. Not as much a textbook, since there are already (too) many of them, but a great read for every coach, since it is filled with wisdom, the condensed experiences of decades of time spent with athletes inside and outside the weight room with great examples and useful metaphors.  A must-read!

Weight Room Wisdom by Ron McKeeferey

Still, my “normal work” continues like always, consults with elite coaches and athletes, celebrities, TV personalities, trying to solve a wide range of problems. So I hope you understand that my motivation to post is still very high, and that just lack of time prevents me from writing more, but I keep notes about almost everything I do, collect new ideas and try them out, thus accumulating a lot of things to post about in the future. Stay tuned!

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Generations

One aspects of starting coaching again is that you realize how very time-consuming coaching really is: not only the travel to the track and the workout itself, but also writing training programs, go to competitions and training camps, communicate by app, etc. But let’s face it, nobody told me it was an easy or rewarding job, and after 30 years on the track you kind of should know how it is.

But in 14 years of absence from coaching athletes on an almost daily basis, you notice changes. Fourteen years is almost a generation and with an ever increasing pace of change, those changes also seem to be amplified.

Since I have been coaching elite athletes for a long time, the accumulated experience during that time makes it interesting to compare these athletes from the 1980’s and 90’s with the current generation of athletes that I coach.

Here are some differences that I observed:

1. this might be a coincidence but my current group of athletes makes me feel really dumb at times,    all of them are extremely smart, thank God I still know a bit more than them about training and coaching. They are all very rational athletes and cognitively well equipped. Also they learn very fast, not only in cognitive sense, but also in the sense of motor leaning.

2. none of them are full professionals yet, they all have a fulltime study or work sometimes with adapted working hours.

3. their motivation and dedication are unbelievable, since I always thought that my former athletes were already very motivated and I found it hard to believe one could be more motivated than that. Wrong! They are extremely ambitious and have no problems raising the bar for themselves.

4. an obvious one: the use of modern technology is fully integrated in the lives of the athlete, not only the obvious use of their phones to communicate or to find information, but also the use of their phones for photos or video recordings . So I have much more visual data from training and competition than before, certainly since I came from the age of the Super 8 film camera. The limitation here is the overkill of data. I hardly have the time to watch all the movies and take splits or count strides. We predominantly use it for visual feedback for the athlete.

5. the new group is more independent and yes, like I wrote above, very smart, but like many of their generation, they sometimes tend to suffer from cognitive overload, also because the extremely high demands of their study and their work. However, there is an increased incidence of emotional turmoil. Their brains seems to be overstimulated and at times their hard disks are becoming full. Thus is however a normal social phenomenon. More than before, the guidance of the coach or better said: the psychological/emotional mentorship is much more important than before. The numbers show that many young people of this generation already suffer from burnout, which is a tell-tale sign about the unseen load like the iceberg hidden under the surface.

Now all of this has no scientific value, but I don’t really care about that, my questions is if coaches who care coaching over a longer period as well share the same experiences that I observe , or maybe, like often, I am in an exceptional position.

Information:

I am happy and proud to be lecturing on March 30 at the “Transfer to Sports” Seminar, together with my dear colleagues Justin Kavanagh, Jeff Moyer and Ian King, at The Sport & Speed Institute, Chantilly, VA.

I will be speaking about advanced sprint training, and also about some new developments en experiences of the last year.

For more information: https://app.clickfunnels.com/for_domain/sportandspeedteam.clickfunnels.com/professional-power-summit26463320?updated_at=c39aacc89204eec27fba86faeaa3c97fv2&track=0&preview=true&fbclid=IwAR0yj42OPZ482wl78L7dvw5rdkoKS9kfh5XNP_sBFiR3gr4z7jb8VBKE5b0

For interested readers: here are some of the podcasts I presented in the past months:

http://uaconcepts.com/podcasts/  Off the track, Part, 1,2,3,4    hhttps://www.strongerexperts.com/registration-page-9fd8463e-cd75-47e6-b7a5-fc025b772a0c

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Sprinting mechanics ….. old school, new school, or no school?

The old school/new school idea as far as I can trace back, arose some 10-12 years ago in  the US, when the concept of front-side mechanics came up (1)

Front-side back mechanics – Ralph Mann

Front- side mechanics is the in itself plausible idea that the front-side of the running stride is important too, but in my opinion it is exaggerated in the sense that it is considered to be more important than back-side mechanics. The application of this concept can be seen in the development of exercises that focus on the front- side phase of sprinting.

Of course this does not make sense at all. Simply because front-side and back-side mechanics are inseparable parts of the running stride, where a proper back-side mechanics prepares for a proper front- side mechanics and a proper front-side mechanics sets up for a proper back-side mechanics!
Also, the relative proportion and importance of mechanics depend of the phase in the 100 meters, we can see different proportion in the start and acceleration phase and in the maximum speed phase.

As a matter of fact, the discussion about a more active front-side mechanics is almost 50 years old. In the groundbreaking book of Toni Nett: “Der Sprint”, these topics were already raised and discussed, like the extension of the rear leg in the take-off (back-side) and the active clawing action in the frontside-phase.(2)

Often young coaches talk about “old school” training concepts, which is strange to me, not in the least because nobody is able to define old school nor new school. Is it the age of the coach? Nor does the word “old” or “new” say anything about the effectiveness of the concept. How would you rate the training of Usain Bolt? What would be the criteria to see a sprint training concept as being “old school” or “new school”. Is it divided purely along the lines of front-side vs. backside mechanics, like front-side = new school, back- side = old school? Is it based on the choice of exercise and drills? Is something new school because you use instability exercise, TRX and speed ladders, or do a lot of cross-fit with your athletes?

Recently a pretty good research article appeared about the phenomenon of front-side mechanics, you’d better read it yourself, but let me surprise you with the summary of the result of this biomechanical research: “Overall, the present findings did not support that front-side mechanics were crucial for sprint performance among the investigated sprinters”.
Their overall conclusion was: “Front-side mechanics did not predict maximal linear sprinting performance in the present group of sprinters. Even though several front- and back-side variables were largely associated with accelerated running performance, their relationship directions were opposite compared to how the theoretical concept has been described. Instead, the current results emphasize the importance of optimal knee- and hip extension at the point of lift-off. And: “The present results do not support the importance of the concept of front-side mechanics for sprint running performance. Thus, this concept should not be regarded as generally applicable”. (3)

My observations are that we see a lot of young sprinters trying to apply front-side mechanics by trying to make holes in the track. Talking to coaches and athletes the two wide-spread assumptions here are:

1. the sprinter should apply more force on the ground…. so basically, the harder you pound the track, the faster you go? A higher vertical force is the result of sprinting faster, not the cause!

2. the shorter the contact-time, the faster you run…. in my opinion, the best way to create a shorter contact-time is to run faster, not the other way around!
The contact-time is determined by how fast you run, or else how fast you are able to move your center of mass (e.g your hips) during the contact-time. Suppose your legs are 1.00 meter long and you move your center of mass more or less horizontally 1.00 meter while sprinting 10 meters per second. So you cover that 1 meter in a contact-time of 100 msecs, or 0.10 seconds, but when you run 11 meters per second, your contact-time will be 1.00 meter/11.0 = 91 msecs or 0.091 secs.

Sprinting velocity and contact time

In short: personally, I am a fan of the no-school approach, a mixture of old ideas that stood the test of time, and new concepts that are the result of increased knowledge, experience and technology. “Old” and “new” inadequate concepts to describe a sprint training concept.

1. Mann, R.V: The mechanics of sprinting and hurdling, 2011 Edition
2. Nett, T: Der Sprint, Bartels & Wernitz, 1974, pg.215-220.
3. Haugen, T; Danielsen, J; Alnes, L.O; McGhie, D; Sandbakk, O, Ettena, G: On the importance of “front-side mechanics” in athletics sprinting; Int. J. Sports Physiol Perform. Vol.13, No.4, April 1, 2018, pg. 420-427.

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Recent random observations and musings

Is there an “I” in team?

An often heard commonplace in the Netherlands, repeated like a thoughtless mantra, when talking to team coaches about the relationship between the role of the individual and the team:  “there is no ”I” in team”…….

If there wouldn’t be an “I” in team than there wouldn’t be a team in the first place or like Fergus Connolly said brilliantly when confronted with this popular statement: “No, but there is an “I” in winning……”. 

Warming-up

I have been writing about warming up a few times. I consider its purpose to be increasing body temperature and enzymatic activity, preparing the relevant physiological systems such as the autonomic nervous system for action.  Most of the time, when preparing for explosive activities, one starts with slow jogging, followed by static stretching. Both are not adequate to prepare for explosive actions.

So, for a change, preparing for a sharp relay training session, I decided to do something else as a warming up.

Working with young women, and seeing them move, performing the dance-moves they see on the social media, they now had to perform their favorite moves for two minutes and the others were to follow. Then, after 2 minutes another athlete would take over. Result: warmed-up athletes after a 10 minutes of fun warming-up!!!

 

Dancing as a warming-up

 

Dancing as a warming-up

 

Note: no, I did not participate, my dancing looks like a combination of John Cleese and Mr. Bean….

 

The black hole of information

I have been writing about this phenomenon before. And the more I think about it, the more I see my statement is justified. Just one recent example –  I can easily bore you to death with many more.

This week in the magazine Runners: a new, useful supplement for sports: L-Carnitine, it is found in lamb meat and it helps the mitochondria to burn fats. Wow! ……only too bad that even as long ago as being an athlete myself, in the first half of the 1980’s, spending time in the national training camp for sprint in Formia, Italy, carnitine was already well-known and common supplement for athletes, produced by Sigma-Tau. In 1982 carnitine even made the headlines, since the Italian national soccer team became world champion “thanks to the use of carnitine”.

So, what is now promoted as being “new”, “state-of-the-art” or “innovative” is basically knowledge or information that has been forgotten, overlooked, neglected, banned or ignored.

 

What to do? A basic question

Here we are, on the track, coaching an event e.g. 100 meter sprint, an athlete who wants to train, a date to perform e.g. the national championships…… now what? Which exercises is the athlete going to perform in order to run faster in competition in a month from now?

This looks like an easy question, but the answer is much more complex. Some basic thoughts might help to sharpen our minds.

What are the basic considerations here?

  1. we do this exercise because I have done this exercise myself (many coaches (often) have been average athletes themselves). I know this exercise, I know how it works and I know that it works (for me, at least). So basically this is the heritage of my own coach when I was his athlete. (“heritage approach”).
  1. we do this exercise because I have seen Usain Bolt and other elite sprinters doing this drill, so it must be good. In other words, if this exercise would not be good or harm, they would not perform this exercise or else they would not be running that fast. ( “copy-the elite approach”).
  1. we do this exercise because every sprinter in the world is doing this exercise. Go to watch any sprinter of any level train at any place in the world and you will see this exercise, so this exercise is an indispensable part of sprint training. Basically: everybody is doing it, so it must be good. (“indispensable approach” or “common sense approach“).
  1. we do this exercise because it was researched in a sport science article or review and it worked better than other exercise to improve speed. A scientific approach to training? A research project with mediocre sprinters over 2 months is something else than our workouts over 10 years, being a national champion or an international elite athlete (“scientific approach”) .
  1. we do this exercise, because on the internet there was an article by a fitness guru who stated that this was the “king of sprint exercises”. He should know, shouldn’t he? After all he “worked with” hundreds of “elite sprinters” and he wouldn’t be the guru if he hadn’t done this (“follow-the-guru approach”).

I bet that your approach is a combination of all approaches above, an eclectic cocktail of all these so called common sense approaches. But think about it: all of these approaches in the core neglect the unique demands of running 100 meter at top speed AND the unique qualities, strengths and weaknesses of your athlete. These exercises were often used other purposes and  for other athletes. And sometimes in other events, e.g. bench press.

My aim is to make us think about better ways to establish our choice of exercises and to create a more optimal training program for each and every individual athlete.

No, it isn’t an easy task, but if someone ever told you this was an easy job, he/she has been lying to you.

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The Third Helping The Best To Get Better Seminar.

Our third seminar was a great success. Interesting topics, great international speakers, a smart audience, and lots of networking during and after the seminar. What more can you ask for?

On Friday evening Dec.7 we organized a special Masterclass with Fergus “Gamechanger” Connolly in Eindhoven.

Masterclass with Fergus Connolly

And on Dec.8 the seminar where Fergus spoke again about a different topic, we could have continued for some time since his book is full of topics, but one of his best qualities is his holistic view and the ability to oversee all of the performance-related factors. His new book, “59 Lessons” should be out by now, I can’t wait to read it.

Fergus Connolly lecturing at our seminar

Performance Doc Gerrit Kieferstein spoke about Vitamine Sleep, and although I have been working on this topic since 1987 ( e.g.how to deal with jet-lag, in travelling to international competitions), also Gerrit placed sleep and sleep problems in to a wider context and gave us useful tips how to deal with it, beyond the usual sleep tips by so-called “sleep experts” in sports. Beautiful presentation that kept the audience focused until the last word.

Gerrit Kieferstein

For the afternoon we invited Julius Luamajoki from Myontec to talk about the history of EMG-testing, the physiological background of measuring muscle activity  and the Myontec products

After that, my friend Kornelius Kraus demonstrated the practical applications of the EMG-short in real time. A week later he came to our training camp to test my athletes with his protocol as well.

Kornelius Kraus (2nd from left) and Juliue Luomajoki (2nd from right)

Bill Laich, like always a very solid lecturer,  gave an great overview of the role of the visual system in sports and he complexity of this topic.

Bill Laich

Myself, I gave a small overview of the use of EMG measurements in sports which e.g. helps us to analyze the muscular demands of movement-patterns in competitions  and develop exercise that are relevant and adequate to fulfill those demands. I showed the research that we have done this summer, to analyze the use of different muscle groups in sprinting, strength exercises, plyometrics, etc.

The Masterclass as well as the seminar ran very smooth thanks to the invaluable work of Verena.

We are already planning the fourth seminar in April of next year.

 

 

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Finally …. found the time for a new post.

Absolutely right…….I have been slacking on my posts.

The reason is, as you maybe guessed:  lack of time. Since a few months I started coaching a young athlete again, so I spent time out on the track after 14 years, but, as things go sometimes, another athlete joined me and so I spent even more time on the track again.

Also my (our) new book just finally found its way to the editor/publisher and while organizing our regular seminars, I decided to combine it with a Masterclass as well and then go to training camp abroad with my new athletes.  More about this in the next posts.

All of this besides my “normal” work at Vortx, and the normal share of interviews, lectures and podcasts (e.g. World Speed Seminar)

Being back on the track more frequently is time consuming, but great. It also pushes you back into the harsh reality of sport. Concepts, ideas, protocols are going to be tested in real life. Ideas that might sound promising, tools that seem to work miracles (at least on paper) or concepts that seem to make sense now face the hour of truth. Patience is a great asset, if you have it. If you don’t have it, find it or learn to get it, from somewhere.

In Holland we don’t have accessible (and affordable) indoor facilities for training, I am not willing to pay $35 an hour. And just like when I was an athlete myself, 40 years ago, until recently, I had to climb fences and gates again in order to train on a track, the difference is that I now have to use a ladder.

For my two new athletes I think in terms of 5-6 years, not about the competition next week or month. I am not in a hurry and time is on my side. We are not blinded by the fact that the next championship is in 10 weeks, I know I only have 8 or 9 weeks to do my job. It also helps to leave a lot of anxiety-driven-load out of my program, saving time, physical and mental resources, recovery time and reduces the risk of injuries.

These athletes are also kind of “guinea-pigs” for my concepts of training. The goal is to make their training more efficient and effective, while reducing the risk of overload and injuries. Yes, indeed, you guessed it…….. train as much as necessary (to improve), not as much as possible.

In the next posts in the coming days, I will share some of my experiences of the last two months.

 

 

 

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The 3rd “Helping The Best To Get Better” – Seminar – December 8, 2018

Yes, it’s here again, another seminar for the open-minded, quality-oriented coach or therapist. I am proud to be able put together such a great line-up with a simple organisation, but who am I to say that, convince yourself…..

Speakers:
Fergus Connolly: author of one of the best books ever written about sports science: ‘Game Changer’. In this book he not only displays a tremendous width of knowledge, but also a great depth in each topic. He was been working as a sport scientist for e.g. the Welsh Rugby Union, the San Francisco 49-ers, and several other teams.

Note: Friday December 7, 2018 Fergus will conduct a Masterclass for team sport coaches in Eindhoven.

Bill Laich: Bill hardly needs an introduction: everybody who ever heard him speaking has sensed the limitless knowledge and experience in the world of elite sports and sports performance. This time he will be speaking about the important role of the visual system in elite sports.

Gerrit Keferstein: “the performance doc”, a combination of medical doctor and performance coach, combining scientific information, a clinical eye and practical experience in his work with professional teams in e.g. ice hockey, basketball, volleyball, author of the book: “Eishockey Performance”.
He is specialised in functional medicine, and will share his view on working in a high-performance environment

Julius Luomajoki: data scientist, working with the Myontec Company, will explain the practical use of EMG measurements with user friendly equipment. This to monitor the recruitment of the most important muscle groups during training and/or rehabilitation or for research purposes.

Kornelius Kraus and Henk Kraaijenhof will give an update of new developments in speed training and support this with research data of a research they did this summer with e.g. the EMG data of the hamstring function.

Details: Saturday December 8, 2018 from 08.30 – 17.30 hrs.
· Location: Hotel de Witte Bergen Hilversum, Netherlands
· Language: English
· Attendance by invitation only
· Price: € 195.00 (lunch included)

If you would like to accept the invitation please send mail to: info@vortx.nl

More information about Fergus Conolly: https://fergusconnolly.com/

Or take a look at ‘Game Changer’ https://www.bol.com/nl/p/game-changer/9200000082262451/

More information about Gerrit Keferstein: https://gerritkeferstein.com/

Or take a look at “Eishockey Performance” https://www.amazon.de/dp/3981983203.

More information about Kornelius Kraus: http://www.proathlete.de/

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