Greetings To The Readers of Elite Track


Hello, my name is James Smith and I have developed a degree of on-line name recognition for myself over the years under the screen name The Thinker in reference to my work at

I just recently began contributing to the site here and Mike Young was generous enough to present me with the opportunity to have my own log.

For those readers who may not be familiar with my on-line work, I’ve had my own website Power Development Inc since 2004 and I’ve been part of the Sports Training Q&A Staff at Elite Fitness Systems since 2005.

I thought I’d take some time to formally introduce myself and provide a brief list of my professional endeavors.

I am, what I refer to as, a Physical Preparation Coach. I utilize this term to describe my work in the field due to what I’ve determined to be an extremely misinformed and misdirected industry that is most widely recognized as Strength and Conditioning.

While this may appear as semantics to some, it is a topic which I am deeply passionate about; in regards to my work in the business and my objective to make a strong contribution at both the national and international levels.

I am currently employed by the University of Pittsburgh as the Assistant Coach of Physical Preparation along with Head Coach of Physical Preparation Buddy Morris. Together, with 2nd Assistant Coach Chad Lee, we work exclusively with the American Football team at PITT; and since my arrival here in March of 2007 I have been granted, by Buddy, absolute autonomy with respect to programming and instructing the training for the majority of quarter backs, punters, kickers, running backs, receivers, linebackers, and defensive backs. This is a degree of freedom and responsibility that is not often shared by many ‘assistants’ at the D-1 or NFL levels in this sport.

Prior to my arrival at PITT I worked as the Head, and only, Coach of Physical Preparation (American Football) at West Valley High School in Cottonwood CA for the Varsity, JV, and Freshmen teams for the 2004, 2005, and 2006 seasons. Additionally, I was employed by the school district as a Physical Education Adviser. Working at this capacity I completely re-wrote the PE Curriculum for West Valley High School and instituted a system of classification/selection and corresponding piece meal physical training regimen.

During the 2005 season I served as an Assistant T&F coach working almost exclusively with sprinters, jumpers, and throwers.

Outside of my work coaching at the high school I, along with the assistance of my wife Amber, opened up the Power Development Training Hall which started in my garage in 2004 and transitioned to two different warehouses prior to our relocation to Pittsburgh in early 2007.

My first ‘paying’ job as a physical preparation coach/trainer began in 2002/2003 and since then I have worked with numerous athletes and military special operations commandos at the capacity of a consultant.

I’ve been lecturing in the business since 2005 and been fortunate enough to share the stage with honored coaches such as Anatoly Bondarchuk and Vladimir Issurin. My next speaking engagement is here: May 16 Conference

From an early age my father, a true sports historian, inspired an interest and curiosity, within me, with respect toe the training of T&F athletes from the former USSR and GDR. This continued off an on over the years until I discovered that a great deal of translated sport training literature was available from these former regimes.

My discovery of this literature dates back to 2000. Since then I have constructed a curriculum for myself that is almost entirely a function of translated literature. The efficiency and familiarity I’ve developed with the methodological approaches of these former regimes, specifically the Soviets, has earned me what started out as a professional relationship and is now a close personal relationship with the family of Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky to include Yuri, his daughter Natalia Ph.D and her husband Massimo. For the past 2 years I have been enlisted by the Verkhoshansky’s as the primary editor for the recently translated work of Dr. Verkhoshansky.

In addition to the correspondence friendship I’ve developed with the Verkhoshansky family, I also enjoy a correspondence, although not quite as frequent, with Dr. Issurin as well as with some great friends that I’ve built relationships with from all over Europe to include my good friend Svetoslav Andonov who holds a MS from The National Sports Academy in Sofia Bulgaria where he specialized in ‘high performance in track and field sprint events’ and Carlo Buzzichelli of The Tudor Bompa Institute in Italy

Aside from my strong interest interest in the work of overseas sport scientists and coach practitioners, I also hold deep respect for the work of Canadian Sprint Coach Charlie Francis and I am just recently beginning to explore the work of Dan Pfaff.

For any readers who may be interested in products of my own, I do have a few available, in the form of training manuals and DVDs, and they may be found here: The Thinker’s Product Page

My most recent work, outside of my duties at PITT, is centered around my completion of my work in editing Dr. Verkhoshansky’s latest Coaching Manual and completing my work on a book that I’m writing for UFC legend Randy Couture. The book targets the physical preparation for MMA and is expected to hit a very large audience upon its completion due to the popularity of Randy’s name amidst the national and international sport community as well as due to internationally recognized integrity of the Victory Belt Publishing House: Victory BeltThis brings us up to the present.

For those who enjoy training videos, I do post a certain amount of my own training videos here: Trener Po Fizicheskoi Podgotovke in order that I may demonstrate how I aim to improve certain components of my own physical condition.

I’d like to once again thank Mike Young for the opportunity to log my thoughts here at Elite Track and to urge all readers to reach for the best that is in you.
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James Smith

James Smith

Physical Preparation Coach & Consultant
The Thinker is a student of Soviet and Eastern Bloc training methodologies and is engaged in the constant pursuit to further his own physical conditioning and coaching abilities. The Thinker’s aggregate of professional experiences include the disciplines of American Football, Athletics, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Military Special Operations, and many other Olympic sports. The Thinker is a Physical Preparation Coach (football) at a major D-1 University, the founder of, and Sports Training Q&A Staff Member at
James Smith

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