Gill ACP – May Highlights

Developing athletes is about more than the right program or exercises
Ellie Kormis

Ellie Kormis

ALTIS Director of Education

With the last Gill ACP of the 2014-2015 season less than a week away, we took a look back through the highlights of May’s Gill Apprentice Coach Program. Once again the week long session delivered on the promise of being a fully interactive, world-leading coach education experience; with presentations from Dr Jeremy Koenig, Brett Bartholomew, Nick Winkelman and Coach Dan Pfaff – visiting coaches were exposed to some of the foremost minds in coaching.

“I won’t make a better decision this year” said visiting ACP coach – Chris Gallagher: “All the coaches, support staff and athletes at the WAC are incredibly open … I’m already planning my next visit to the WAC!”

Now with just one final chance remaining this summer to be part of this world-leading coach education experience, all the details of final few places remaining for the June edition of the Gill ACP can be found by clicking here. Can you afford to miss out?

Until then … May’s Gill ACP highlights – enjoy!

Any health related field is influenced by genetics – same goes for performance. @KoeniGator

Ever wonder how well you metabolize vitamins? Caffeine sensitivity? Both have roots in genetic profile. @KoeniGator

Genetic data can be used as a tool to steer athletes to success – however must avoid early specialization. @KoeniGator

Making informed decisions on genetic data starts with educated coaches. @KoeniGator

I started coaching in a small village school in Ohio – I coached every sport where they needed one. @PfaffSC

Our screening process is simply to observe athletes in training. @StuartMcMillan1

The reason why athletes in many sports “peak” is simply because they stop overtraining. @PfaffSC

“There is no substitute for hands on experience in developing expertise in coaching, therapy, etc”

Dan Pfaff

Generally gut health is under researched and undervalued, as are amino acid profiles. @PfaffSC

Foot strike is velocity dependent. 2m/s = heel first, 9m/s = forefoot. @StuartMcMillan1

We always want movements to be smooth and effortless. @PfaffSC

Training is over-rated. The longer I am in the game, the more I reduce training. @PfaffSC

Athletes often don’t know how much is enough because they have always done too much. @KyleHierholzer

Build a program and a culture that is built on positive expectation and accountability. @Chidi1Enyia

What behaviours do the top 5 athletes in your sport or event share? Educate athletes on the commonalities. @PfaffSC

In the hurdles we use drills MINIMALLY – we hurdle over various heights and distances to teach. @_trackside_

Stuart McMillan
“Coaches and athletes have a similar journey – learn basics, build knowledge, reduce unnecessary items”

Stuart McMillan

“Coach Like a Caveman” by Nick Winkelman

How does development emerge? Many believe in the traditional nature + nurture.

Those born in rural areas learn to walk and talk earlier than those in developed areas.

All human movement is a direct result of environmental influences on the body.

We cannot think about motion or coordination without its relation to the environment.

Sensory information from the environment gives the body purpose.

We are attracted to certain movement patterns based on environment, task, and biology.

Dynamic systems and self-organization attempt to diagnose the genesis of movement dysfunction.

Understand the difference between implicit and explicit learning – how to use each and when.

I think about using drills in the same way that I use verbal communication – to limit error.

Movement emerges with the interaction of body, environment, and task.

“The use of variability is critical to make movement more functional and stable”

Nick Winkelman

Body constraints include position or mobility, pattern, and power.

Limit information, provide 1-2 focus cues, start and finish instruction with desired outcomes.

Research shows that internal focus constrains the motor system and inhibits performance.

Analogy is the holy grail of communication.

Analogies protect against performance breakdown during times of increased stress.

Our concern with “magic bullet” training tools is that it may skew the coaches larger perspective. @PfaffSC

How much variance do we need to introduce on top of the variety of states athletes present daily? @PfaffSC

I try to read 4-5 articles a day of various subjects – psychology, motor learning, mechanics, biology, etc. @PfaffSC

I know a little about many subjects – and have in depth knowledge of a few subjects of importance. @StuartMcMillan1

A master coach has produced results consistently over time at various locations @PfaffSC

Athletes have limited attentional capacity. Avoid redundancy in communication. @NickWinkelman

"Athletes don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care" Brett Bartholomew
“Athletes don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care”

Brett Bartholomew

Some athletes feel through ground contact – some athletes feel flight – cue accordingly. @StuartMcMillan1

Learn from the source – athletes know things coaches might not. @NicTaylorUSA

“The Impact of Influence” @Coach_BrettB

This presentation is not about sets and reps – it’s about why what we say matters.

People are the ultimate performance variable.

The Greeks viewed empathy as one of the greatest qualities to have – not a weakness.

Our job as coaches is to connect people with purpose.

As coaches – the words we use are like sets and reps – we must be purposeful with their use.

Do you know why your athletes compete in their sport? This influences performance more than sets/reps.

Understand what drives and motivates your athletes.

Communicate in a way that makes sense to your athletes – not what makes sense to you.

How we describe exercises should be age and skill appropriate “frog jump” v “counter movement jump.”

Providing opportunities to overcome obstacles is the best thing we can do for athletes.

Nice amenities do not cultivate talent … hardship does.

We are here to build athletes and people – set a good example and practice what you preach.

Communicate your expectations – what is your mantra?

When the odds are against you- how do you react?

Who learns more from success instead of failure? Not many.

Be comfortable being uncomfortable … “deal with it.”

Keep strengths really strong and gradually fill in weaknesses @PfaffSC

"Therapy is like forensic science. You have to figure out what they are going to get to where they are" Dan Pfaff
“Therapy is like forensic science”

Dan Pfaff

A lot of our individual programming is done on the day in the middle of the workout. @PfaffSC

We want our athletes to have a PhD in their discipline before they finish. @PfaffSC

The first step towards changing a culture is pick your battles and chip away. @PfaffSC

People use facilities as an excuse when in reality it is a failure of creativity. @PfaffSC

Rhythm is an under taught skill. @PfaffSC

42 years in the trenches: My best practices for developing speed / power athletes @PfaffSC

Many coaches have a very large toolbox but cannot decide what to do because they don’t have a philosophy.

My father taught that you are never going to have enough time to know everything, surround yourself with smart people.

Reductionism is dangerous and equations are seldom linear.

My programming is constantly evolving and morphing with each additional athlete I coach.

Evaluation and peer-reviews are constant and never-ending. Listening is a process.

Periodization is a lesson plan, a hypothesis, an educated guess. It manipulates exercise prescription.

Minimal effective dose does not have to be a volume thing. It is an interplay of volume, intensity, and density.

World-class athletes have asymmetries…find the tipping point between performance and injury.

Movement aberrations may aid health and performance.

“Progression schemes and landmarks are much more influential than timelines”

Dan Pfaff

Sports medicine practitioners need to understand training gaps. Plan B programs need to be as close to Plan A as possible.

It is important to identify both edges of the sword and understand that they are evolutionary.

Mental resilience can be the difference maker in podium finishes on big stages.

Ownership, accountability, and transparency are fostered through debriefs and interventions.

The best form of training is doing event specific work. The best form of event specific work is competing.

Competitions train many systems and menu items at a high level.

Some training menu items are teaching progressions to higher degrees of specificity.

Landmark sessions are repeated throughout the year so we can gauge where we are at and to limit fear of the unknown.

Biochemistry changes off of a rest week … Testing then may not yield optimal results.

Further psychological stressors occur due to audience … Some people are money when the lights are on.

Variable distance workouts provide a unique psychological stimulus.

Mental resilience factors are put on full display during big competitions.

Knowing when to debrief and how to approach each athlete is critical

"As a coach, can you truly teach? Master coaches can work with a wide bandwidth of athletes" Dan Pfaff
“As a coach, can you truly teach? Master coaches can work with a wide bandwidth of athletes”

Dan Pfaff


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