Category Archives: Development

Articles written for personal, professional & philosophical development.

Getting The Best Out of People

I believe my skills lie in getting the best out of people on a daily basis. To me, that’s what performance coaching is all about and these are 6 key principles I try to stick by.

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Filed under Development, Lift The Soul, Motivation

How to Gain Time: The most valuable experiment you’ll ever do.

Time is infinite, yet OUR time is limited.  What’s worse is, we never really know when our time might run out.  For this reason, I believe Time is the most valuable commodity in existence.  So it would be great if we had more of it right?

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I’ll always be a failure and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is a short article as much about my experience as it is mindset. I am extremely proud of how far the Andorran Alpine Ski Team has progressed over the last 2 and a half years. Leaps and bounds in all areas including ski performance, physical capacity, training mentality, nutrition, discipline and more, but I’ll openly admit that I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way and we still have a long way to go. After all, they aren’t world champions YET.

Enabling athletes to be better at doing what they do best is why I’m in this and learning from failures, however big or small is a huge part of that process.

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Agility training for Alpine Skiers (and all sports!) involves “Reactive Work”

If you’re not familiar with the sport of Alpine Skiing, it is essentially a race down a snowy mountain with continuous changes of direction around poles and on skis of course.  From technical to speed disciplines (SL, GS, SG & DH), gates get further apart, skis get longer and speeds get much faster.  In my opinion, this makes it an agility-based sport.  As recent definitions of agility seem to include the “response to an external stimulus” aspect alongside the “whole body change of direction” I’d understand if you were to argue against me.  (Again if you’re not familiar with the sport, athletes do inspect the course before the race so they have the opportunity to memorise and visualize each turn, thus you’d think most movements are preplanned.)  However as athletes speed toward each gate, I’d argue they are still adjusting to what’s in front of them, it’s unlikely that every turn will be perfect, snow moves, you can lose balance for a split second or make a mistake and thus reaction speed is also a huge key to their change of direction ability when competing or even training for that matter.

marc oliveras slalom

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Filed under Development, Performance, Strength & Conditioning, The Internship

What some Universities don’t tell you: An open letter to all Sports Science/S&C students, especially those considering it

Working in elite sport or any sport for that matter is an extremely rewarding career.  I consider myself very fortunate to have the position and experience I hold and consciously appreciate it every single day.  I’m all about pursuing your passion and doing what you love in life.  I understand why it appears so attractive to young individuals/aspiring coaches.  I would like to offer some simple advice and an honest perspective.

caution-sign

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Adaptability part 2: The Athlete (and a few coaching principles to live by)

In the last post (part 1), I tried to highlight the importance of being adaptable as an S&C coach by illustrating some examples and exercises based on my experiences.  Mostly this was focussed around adapting to technical coaches.  In this post I’m going to focus on the athlete and try to illustrate that whilst theoretical case studies are great at university, in the real world nothing ever goes perfectly to plan and physical development is a messy non linear process.

nothing goes to plan

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Adaptability part 1: The Coach

One of the greatest things I think I’ve learnt from working in Alpine skiing is the importance of adaptability.  Or even what it really means to be adaptable.  I can’t say that this has been the easiest of lessons for someone who likes structure, processes and effective organisation; for most of my experiences have been gained from sports with regular schedules that rarely change and work towards fixed events that aren’t likely to change (Rugby and Diving).  So what does it really mean to be adaptable and why is it so important?  Well hopefully I can illustrate that through a few short stories of my own experiences.  For the sake of making this easier to read (and write!), I’m going to break this down and publish it in two parts.

Part 1: Adapting to the coach

adjust sails

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The Hardest Part of My Job…. is Me!! (part 2)

I’ve been writing this post on and off for ages now and I’ve decided to scrap everything I’d written (I’ll post it in a 3rd additional part) and be honest.  Or at least tell you my latest revelation!  This wasn’t intentional but I’ve recently come to the realisation that the hardest part of my job is me.  There are several sub components but it all boils down to who I am.
BMX session

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The hardest part of the job! Part 1

Forget getting your athletes fit, strong and robust; that’s the easy part!!

Being an S&C coach in high performance sport is more complicated than just coaching movement and getting guys strong.  In fact it’s a tactical operation whereby you have to manage a number of difficult situations, influence strong-minded coaches and continually educate & inspire those around you.  That’s why I write this blog, to give aspiring coaches a real insight into what the job involves to support the foundational knowledge you learn in University.

Vince-Lombardi.jpg

So what’s the hardest part of the job?  Well in my opinion it’s working effectively with your technical coaches to implement a successful performance programme and create the optimal environment.  Ok so that’s the long-winded way to say it’s the technical coaches!  Throughout this article I’ll discuss some of the challenging situations you’ll inevitably face and some principals that I try to stick to whilst working as part of an interdisciplinary team.  By the way, this is the first part of 2 articles.  Some time ago towards the end of an interview it was my turn to ask the questions.  The first question I asked to the previous coach was “what’s the hardest part of this role?”  When his eyes shot across the table towards the head coach, he didn’t need to say much more!  Knowing that this is a shared feeling amongst many S&C coaches, this post is in fact a general answer.  We all have our own challenges and I will specifically address the hardest part of my job in the next post.

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Coaching Cues – A deeper look at communication skills.

This post has taken me long enough to write so I hope you find it interesting. The inspiration came from some feedback I recently received from some experienced coaches whom I really respect and work for a certain organisation in the UK.  I’m happy to say that my coaching was very well received.  One of the subjects that arose from it was how I used different cues with different athletes and the way this changed throughout the session as I “sussed out” what each athlete responded best to.

coach cue blog

Coaching is an art, but as Daniel Coyle refers to talent “Greatness isn’t born. It’s Grown”.  Communication in all forms is an area that I’ve focused on a great deal within my own learning and I believe some things now come quite naturally to me through the number of hours I’ve clocked up coaching various populations.  As you get to know you’re athletes better, you should be able to figure out what works with each one and the more time you spend coaching different athletes will improve the speed at which you can do this.  Thus this ties in closely with a couple of previous posts I’ve written on the importance of experience and even the benefits of personal training for aspiring S&C coaches.  Those 10,000 hours apply to coaching as well as sports mastery you know.  That being said, it helps to have an informed thought process in all areas of coaching, so I hope this article will at least get you thinking about the way you cue various exercises.  I aim to especially highlight the importance of knowing your athletes and understanding how we process information.

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