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Strength Performance Network

John Mikula's Blog (164)

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

Exertional rhabdomyolysis (exRML)

Exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis mechanisms and prevention: A literature review

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254615000605



It seems I can't go any great length of time without writing an article or blog about (exRML). In the wake of recent events, let me write another. Please, take a moment and review this newer study, it is very thorough. I've been on the front-lines of… Continue

Added by John Mikula on January 18, 2017 at 8:52am — No Comments

Sports Science-Skill and Critical Instants

I try to make use of filming training sessions and exercises, at least some aspect, on a regular basis.  During team training, I'm looking to dissect and analyze many variables. At other times, I'm looking at "correctness" of exercise skill.  Learning how to execute correctness has direct transfer outside of the training environment.  On the other hand, reinforce in-correctness of skill in the training…

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Added by John Mikula on January 16, 2017 at 7:00am — No Comments

Injuries

San Diego, New Orleans, Chicago, Baltimore, Buffalo, Houston, NY Jets, Minnesota, and Arizona. What do all of these NFL teams have in common? They were the most injured teams in the NFL by metrics looking at volume and magnitude in 2016. What else do we know from the outside about these teams? Well, only one made the play-offs and the injuries definitely impacted the teams' season in a negative manner. In fact, how many coaches lost jobs within these organizations based on the teams… Continue

Added by John Mikula on January 9, 2017 at 2:46pm — No Comments

New Learning

I try and attack new learning like a hungry lion roaming the Serengeti for his next meal.  Here are some of my favorite sources of new learning from 2016. 

Favorite  Journal Article

Blood Lactate Measurements and Analysis during Exercise: A Guide for Clinicians…

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Added by John Mikula on December 30, 2016 at 1:57pm — No Comments

Too Easy

It has become way too easy in the profession to accept the notion that a one size fits all training construct meets the needs for all athletes.  It has become way too easy to extend the myth that a certain group of lifts will morph athletes into powerful and explosive machines.  It has become way too easy to edge real conditioning out of team-sport training except for hyper-choreographed sprints. It has become way too easy to de-emphasize experienced coaching for…

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Added by John Mikula on December 29, 2016 at 12:08pm — No Comments

Three Questions

Here are three questions to consider:

1.  What's the training environment like? 

     - Do coaches and athletes clearly know what is expected of them? 

     - Are the goals of training realistic? 

     - How does the training environment reach the broad spectrum of…

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Added by John Mikula on December 26, 2016 at 7:07pm — No Comments

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Meal prep and planning should be considered an important aspect of an athlete’s training program. Carving out as little as 1-2 hours per week to carry out nutrition planning and execution can give athletes a competitive advantage. Learn how…

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