Strength Performance Network

All Blog Posts (2,589)

Strength Coach & The Way of the Dinosaur

This piece is a must read for all those interested in coaching athletes. t Let me preface this post by stating that this is not an impulsive post in reaction to this article. (More extensive discussion of this will be on tomorrows GAINcast, to down load and listen go…


Added by Vern Gambetta on March 22, 2017 at 8:00am — No Comments

A Doping Primer

Anyone who knows me or has regularly read this blog or followed me on social media knows that I am vehemently anti-drug. So, it may seem strange to have a post on a primer for drug use and how to beat the system but I think this will give you context for looking at the issue. This is what I have seen up close and personal in my 48 years of coaching how athletes and coaches beat the system.…


Added by Vern Gambetta on March 19, 2017 at 11:12am — No Comments

Make Meaning

Helping to prepare athletes for competition is really about making meaning rather than making athletes. Wait a minute, what do you mean by that, you might be asking? Making meaning is all about foster change, growth, development, and refinement.

So, how do I try and make meaning in those I work with? I think a lot of this starts with a good coaching mindset. What's my purpose? To help foster athletic development. How can I go about doing this? Try and employ a set of best practices for… Continue

Added by John Mikula on March 17, 2017 at 9:17am — No Comments

Training Structure

Hey, I've been accused of being an egg-head on many occasions and I'm ok with it. To me training is like one big research project that will never be finished. I train, myself, at least 5 days a week at about 0500. I really love the early morning hours. Another exercise physiologist trains with me a few days a week, another day I'm by myself in my lab training, and then a couple of days a week I employ tactical swimming. For me it works and gives me an opportunity to see training through a… Continue

Added by John Mikula on March 16, 2017 at 8:32am — No Comments


The mindset of an athlete may be his/her most valuable commodity. Strength and conditioning coaches play a valuable role in helping to shape young athletes and in more experienced athletes coaches can help athletes to train smarter and refine strength and conditioning on a more functional pathway.

It's important how we carry ourselves as coaches, as professionals, as helping agents. It's also very critical how we frame training in the context of trying to foster better… Continue

Added by John Mikula on March 15, 2017 at 8:17am — No Comments

Using Olympic Style Weight Lifting – A perspective

Olympic lifting is a sport. That sport consists of lifting as much weight as possible in the clean and jerk and the snatch. Those lifts have a high technical demand, but the skill is a closed skill that occurs in one plane through a narrow range of movement. The Olympic lifting movements do produce tremendous power production because of the distance the weight must travel, the weight and the speed requirements. This…


Added by Vern Gambetta on March 15, 2017 at 7:42am — No Comments

Coaching Notebook: Progressions

Here's a template out of my strength and conditioning coaching notebook.  I use variations of this "Progressions" concept extensively with good results.  The athletes at each station complete the 2 exercises and then rotate.  I could have up to 8 athletes doing the progressions and up to another 8 running simultaneously.  Pretty simple, but dynamic concept, that works indoor/outdoor, various size groups, and various skill groups.  …


Added by John Mikula on March 11, 2017 at 9:00am — No Comments

Track & Field Omnibook - A Great Resource

This book is truly a classic! It had and continues to have a huge influence on my coaching. Even though the Fourth edition was published in 1985, many of the concepts and principles are as relevant today as they were then. Even though this is a track & field oriented book it is a must read for all coaches who are interested in coaching the person in a systematic and…


Added by Vern Gambetta on March 9, 2017 at 2:05pm — No Comments

Sports Science Fiction?

Added by Vern Gambetta on March 9, 2017 at 8:02am — No Comments

The Eyes of a Stranger

Hey, I make no bones about it, I was raised on 80s metal music and still love it.  One of my favorite bands is Queensryche.  They made popular a song called The Eyes of a Stranger, here's a few lines:…


Added by John Mikula on March 8, 2017 at 7:25pm — No Comments

Running Motion

Below are a couple of interesting studies on running and ground reaction forces. The SMU study presents some interesting thinking on a "Two-Mass System" of examining vertical ground reaction forces involved in running. The French study looks at a contrasting idea, that of horizontal impulse forces during acceleration.

Ground reaction force is somewhat minimally mentioned when talking about the average, mass-produced speed program other than pushing a sled or towing a parachute.…


Added by John Mikula on March 8, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Resources to Learn How to Get Better at Getting Better

I am convinced that going forward in sport the biggest gains and the so called marginal gains too will come from how we get better at getting better. How we can improve our teaching, how we make practice and training more meaningful and effective will be the biggest difference makers. I am going to make this a major focus for the rest of my career. In that spirit, I am sharing with you this list of resources. This…


Added by Vern Gambetta on March 6, 2017 at 7:41am — No Comments

GAIN 2017 Theme

Each year for have a theme that serves as a focal point for our presentations and discussions for that year. This year our theme is:

Making Connections to Foster Meaningful Change & Innovation…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 27, 2017 at 7:30am — No Comments

Reconcile These

Regardless of what training method you subscribe to, at some point in time truths about human function have to be reconciled with in order to get sustained positive outcomes.  Now, we could try and circumvent the truth with all sorts of invented logic, but in the end the truth does rise to the top.  Here's the challenge, I either know and understand these truths or I don't.

Cell Theory: All structure…


Added by John Mikula on February 22, 2017 at 7:14pm — No Comments

Perfect Programming?

I often get asked, "what's the BEST strength & conditioning program for a (insert sport) player to follow?" My answer remains the same: It is nearly impossible to create ANY program of quality let alone a “perfect” program for someone (especially someone you've never met).  In order to do such a thing you need to know that person’s individual history: What are the athlete’s physical limitations?  Is he/she hyper-mobile and lacking stability or overly stiff and lacking mobility? (I'm…


Added by Glenn Cain on February 21, 2017 at 12:06pm — No Comments


A number of years ago, I read an article about Vince Lombardi and his use of notepads.  According to the article, Coach Lombardi kept extensive notes on his thoughts, strategies, and offensive schemes.

Since then, I began work on creating my…


Added by John Mikula on February 18, 2017 at 11:14am — No Comments

An Art and A Science

I've been really fortunate in my career to have been around some very successful coaches and other professionals in my field and in life, too.  But, I've been around some not so good coaches, too.  Helping developing athletes is both a science and an art.  There's a tremendous amount of information that has to be considered I think to try and develop a successful "process."  

For me, I can't define one area of my experience…


Added by John Mikula on February 17, 2017 at 3:17pm — No Comments

Training Report Card

Here's a copy of a tool I am currently using to monitor training over the course of the year.  Now, there are some supplements to this tool, but it gives me at least a clear view of direction.  I want to be able to see…


Added by John Mikula on February 17, 2017 at 11:36am — No Comments

Unforgiving, Relentless and Undefeated

I am not talking about UCONN women’s basketball that just won their hundredth straight game or the New England Patriots. I am talking about two of the greatest athletes ever! Who are they? You do know them because you compete with them all day everyday. One is invisible but beats you every time the other is always underfoot, but because it is so familiar we fail to recognize it. I am talking about gravity and the…


Added by Vern Gambetta on February 17, 2017 at 8:24am — No Comments

The Performance Path To Olympic Gold with Coach Rett Larson

If you have never heard Rett speak you are in for a delightful suprise. DO NOT listen to this episode in…

Added by Jeremy Boone on February 16, 2017 at 2:49pm — No Comments

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