Sports Conditioning

The Feed the Cats approach to sports conditioning, by sprint coach Tony Holler certainly has a HIT feel to it.
Holler certainly has a short to long approach to sprint training, similar to legendary sprint coach Charlie Francis, that emphasises quality over quantity. He is also big on rest and recovery, emphasising health and enjoyment over hard work and “grind”.
He has branched his approach out into other sports, speaking about developing the “athlete” and then letting that athleticism trickle down into other aspects of performance, via “speed reserve”.
It certainly seems to marry up with a HIT approach, and makes a fair amount of sense to me.

This week I watched a football game where at the end of the game a fast tempo pace was used. After a few plays of this fast tempo pace, the result was that the defense was in a state of cardiovascular deficit. I am somewhat disinterested with football in today’s game, with the emphasis on passing and money and various other vices. But if anyone is ever intelligent enough to apply strength/ speed protocol, motor learning, teaching techniques, the results might be amazing.

Ellington Darden once wrote:

“Tackling skills are best learned from tackling a ball carrier. For optimal learning, tackling practice should be brief, efficient, and performed under expert guidance.”
That is proper coaching, and would eliminate most coaches from being considered expert guidance.

Communication skills could also be vastly improved in sports. A picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures have been experimented with in the past during football games. Coaches were once educated, as Knute Rockne wa educated with a pharmacy degree. Smart people used to coach, now money rules.

Rant over

If I understand you correctly, from what I glean from your rant…:joy:…there is a call there for more specificity in coaching / sports training, and less getting distracted by “frills and fads” that have little to no impact on the playing quality. If that is so, then I am in agreement with you. There are many coaching ideas, tools, implements etc that make me shake my head and ask, “Why?” SAQ speed ladders are one good example, as are agility drills. Close enough to look like they would be beneficial, but nowhere near close enough to actually have any positive benefit.
Heck the study linked below actually shows the lack of superiority of Olympic lifting (a style that invites injury) over traditional lifting for assisting with speed development. Something that has been questioned in HIT circles for years. I always wondered why O lifting would be superior. This meta analysis proves the HITers right.
It seems as though the maxims, get strong in the weight room, then go and practice the sport, AND play your way into fitness, the fitness comes through the game, seem to be finally coming down on what HIT coaches were saying all these years. Everything else is someone selling something at best, or injury creating BS at worst.
Holler in the article above says more or less the same thing…practice speed ( as speed IS a skill and necessary in all field / court sports) and let your conditioning develop via focused practice in the game itself. In his view over conditioning in order to breed “toughness” does nothing but create fatigued players on the verge of injury and too tired to play effectively when it counts.


Excellent comments

I spoke with Mr. Holler years ago on the Barry Ross board. He was into football sprinting speed. I informed him of JohnT Reed’s stealth conditioning with warp speed football. No huddle football has still not been perfected. The old grey headed men in the NCAA and the NFL don’t want no huddle football as this interrupted a constant stream of commercials. The NCAA has destroyed by means of decrees (rules) the football running game. It’s all about passing offense and the Qb. Football is now boring and more dangerous. There are few fixes for this danger, not to mention common drug usage and the absurd behaviors demonstrated by players on a consistent basis. It’s hard to enjoy sports nowadays.

But as regards speed on the field, here is a hint!
A straight line is the fastest way from point A and point B. Used to be, in the days of the dive play, a running back taking a quick handoff STRAIGHT down the field for a TD was common. A RB was through the line in an instant. Today, linemen standup to rush the Qb and rarely get into a stance. A well oiled split veer offense with 1950 rules would destroy standing linemen. Too bad!

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I certainly agree with you that pro sports aren’t as interesting ( to me at least) as they used to be.
I feel the same way about soccer in my country as you do about football in yours.
I can’t decide whether it is down to me getting older, sports changing ( and not for the better) or a combination of the two…