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John Mikula's Blog (170)

Athletes and Injury Counseling

Well, last week marked another week with a trend that I'd care not to see.  Another week talking with athletes, former athletes, and others who are getting injured while training.  It really perplexes me to the point that I just don't get it.  I mean if an athlete is getting hurt while training, then why shift the blame to the athlete?  At some point, a prudent coach has to take a look at her or himself and query maybe its something I'm doing?…

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Added by John Mikula on April 23, 2017 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Working Backwards

Steve Jobs had a saying something to the effect that before you develop the technology, you need to understand the customer experience and work backward from there.



https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/start-customer-experience-work-backwards-steve-jobs-gary-stockton



Strength and conditioning coaches could learn from this. Instead of just developing pathways to develop… Continue

Added by John Mikula on April 17, 2017 at 7:48am — No Comments

Physiology and American Football

I love to ponder stuff.  I love to read research.  And, I love to read differing opinions of strength and conditioning.  I really look forward to having my thinking challenged.  I wasn't always this way, though.  There was a time that any challenge to my thinking made me bristle with antagonism, but over the years this has changed.  I think for the better.  I don't have all of the answers, actually probably very few, but I'm willing to keep trying to ask better…

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Added by John Mikula on March 31, 2017 at 7:00pm — No Comments

The Nordic Hamstring Curl

One exercise that I'm going to go on record at this point as saying has potential to be more harmful…

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Added by John Mikula on March 27, 2017 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Training Session Analysis

I feel that it is absolutely vital to ponder, quantify, qualify, and examine strength and conditioning training as it is being facilitated.  This means more than just writing on a dry erase board, Power Cleans, 3 x 6 at 85% 1 RM.  Training has to be more than just lifting a weight. …

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Added by John Mikula on March 26, 2017 at 7:02am — No Comments

A Matter of Competency

One of the current problems facing the strength and conditioning profession (if we can term it that), is competency.  One definition that Webster uses to define competent is "having the ability to be legally qualified."  Right here, we should stop and ponder…

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Added by John Mikula on March 25, 2017 at 10:30am — 2 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

Mindset

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

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.  …

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Added by John Mikula on March 11, 2017 at 9:00am — 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:…

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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.…

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Added by John Mikula on March 8, 2017 at 1:00pm — 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…

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

Notepads

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…

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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…

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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…

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

Training Environment Execute a task or skill (learning) Execute a task or skill correctly (practice) Execute a task or skill correctly over and over again (experience/conditioning) Performance Envir…

Training Environment

Execute a task or skill (learning)

Execute a task or skill correctly (practice)

Execute a task or skill correctly over and over again (experience/conditioning)



Performance Environment

Execute a task or skill (learning)

Execute a task or skill correctly (practice)

Execute a task or skill correctly over and over again (experience/conditioning)



What's the difference between the two environments? The context in which how the… Continue

Added by John Mikula on February 10, 2017 at 7:45am — No Comments

A Few Thoughts On Training

For team sport athletes, how do I integrate team-training into the curriculum?



The health status of an athlete may be his/her most valuable commodity.



When was the last time my thought process was challenged?



Sports psychologist Dr. Ken Ravizza says, The ultimate goals is to teach athletes to “Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”



Computer Innovator Guy Kawasaki says, “Don’t worry, be crappy.” Innovation involves growing and improving… Continue

Added by John Mikula on February 9, 2017 at 8:20am — No Comments

Integrating and Coaching Human Systems

We could learn a lot from our friends in the military and those with NASA in regards to how we develop and monitor human systems within the athletic population.  Personally, I would do away with sports strength and conditioning departments, that's a dated system with roots in 1950s Russian training.  One that was founded on a system based in the sport of weightlifting and that was deceptively full of scientific cheating methods.…

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Added by John Mikula on February 5, 2017 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Thoughts on Testing

Testing elements of physical fitness for athletes is very important. Most of us would agree on that. Why test? To gain baseline information on aspects of fitness functioning. However, prior to testing, it's important for the clinician to try and define what is "sports-fitness" for the athlete(s) one is testing. This is vital and often a point of misdirection. Without understanding the dynamics of "performance fitness" for an athlete, just randomly testing weight-lifting abilities or 40-yard… Continue

Added by John Mikula on January 30, 2017 at 8:42am — No Comments

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