T Nation

Geniuses at work

Came across a couple of rocket scientists at work yesterday. Example 1, in the paper was a pic of the NZ’s best sprinter of the past 6 or so years (Chris Donaldson) giving sprinting tips to the local rugby team. Genius A who is 50lbs+ overweight and smokes 20+ cigs per day, says “Don’t know what f’n good it’ll do having Donaldson teach them how to sprint”, I asked why, and his theories inluded
a) “they aren’t holding a ball” - I pointed out that they don’t carry a ball for their 40’s etc during training or ‘beep’ test, and that in rugby there is only 1 ball and 29 players who run without it at any one time.
b) “On the field they are swerving all the time and not running in a straight line”, usually only the ball carrier swerves and even then it is really not that often.
At this point someone else suggested that genius ring the coach Laurie Mains (recognised as one of the best coaches in the world) and tell him he has it all wrong.
Genius 2, who had been to the gym and was eating fries as his post workout nutrition, he looked at me and said, “they didn’t have nuch food left”, it was 12.10 at the time.

I have to agree with you, person A is a genius. His thoughts concur almost exactly with that of t-mag contributer John Davies.

here are some cut and pastes

T: We write a lot about functional strength, but you talk about functional speed. What is that exactly?

JD: Functional speed is the ability to utilize your speed in a game environment. If you can?t bring “the heat” when it?s on the line, why bother? Unfortunately, there are many track coaches out there teaching athletes how to run better 40 times but never give concern that they?re not actually improving the athlete?s speed. In actual fact, most coaches unknowingly teach a manner that will reduce a player?s ability to cut and be more agile. Football is an explosive sport in motion that occurs in a random, typically reactionary fashion. It is not a 100-meter sprint!

If you think you develop your speed by working on your 40 time, guess again. Sure, I?m proud that my athletes blow others away on timing days, but what I?m really proud of is that every element of training manifests itself first in game conditions, not in pristine day conditions. We produce in the game first.

T: Absolute speed.

JD: In the past, traditionalists mistakenly believed that speed was solely an inherited genetic trait that couldn?t be altered. Throughout our coaching experience we?ve routinely proven that this statement is false! While it?s true that these genetic traits can?t be altered, through proper training and preparation, the development and maximization of speed can be extraordinary. Simply, speed is power.

This area is horribly misunderstood by the strength coaching profession as well as misrepresented by track coaches. Unfortunately, far too much time has been spent on trying to develop the athlete?s running style such that he emulates a track sprinter. While many young players need to develop basic running form, to achieve the desired results they need to possess the skills (i.e. flexibility, functional strength) first. In many situations, athletes are being taught how to improve their 40 times that can?t be utilized in a game condition and is actually detrimental to agility. Many athletes have developed a sprinter?s lean such that they can?t “break down” and cut quick enough.

Thus the term “game speed” has become the most important scouting term in evaluation. I?ve been able to improve my athletes? speed through a weekly training regime that?s divided into 100% top speed work, tempo runs (which is performed at no greater than 75% maximum output) and acceleration work (which focuses upon manipulation of acceleration/deceleration curve). The development of work volumes is extremely precise using a geometric wave pattern of progression through training periods.

This is from another site

JD:Unfortunately, in much of the strength and conditioning world and in printed media, they’ve tried to make it seem like football players are nothing but their 40-yard dash times and their bench-press numbers. This obsession with 40 times is a damn joke! There are so many damn track coaches out there who spend their time preaching to players about how they’ll drop their times by improving the mechanics of the start.

The young men who come to these coaches (who charge exorbitant rates) are taught effective ways to improve their 40-yard dash but will manifest zero on the field of competition. Hey, I’m proud my athletes have consistently outperformed their wildest expectations when it comes to numbers, but I’m most proud that it’s directly manifested itself on the playing field. Training a ballplayer like a track athlete has to stop. These track coaches need to keep their heads out of football.

And although rugby players dont run with a ball durring a beep test, I dont see how talking to a sprinter will help, it is an endurance test, have you notice how differently sprinters and 800+ m runners run?

I dont however see why person B is a genius though, maybe you could expand on that!

Point taken, however as noted in the quotes “While many young players need to develop basic running form, to achieve the desired results they need to possess the skills (i.e. flexibility, functional strength) first.”
Perhaps I assumed too much, with the pic taken 2 days from game day and the caption saying that he was passing on tips, there may be too little info to pass judgement. In fact I will even go as far to say, I was wr…, I was wro…, well I tried to say it :slight_smile:
The title Geniuses at work was one of my attempts at sarcasm.