Sacred cows are ideas and concepts passed from generation to generation of coaches that no one questions or challenges. They may have made sense at some time in the past, but are now more likely to get in the way, still they persist. Some sacred cows are so entrenched that they are actually taught in coaching education/certification programs.
Here are some common sacred cows:
- Need to build an aerobic base for sprint and intermittent sprint sports
- Sprinters paw the ground
- Sprinters actively dorsiflex the foot just before ground contact
- The arms in sprinting stay at a forty-five degree angle
- Lactic acid causes fatigue
- Lactic acid causes soreness
- Recovery work after competition “flushes’ the lactic acid from the system
- Don’t look at the board in the long jump
- Hamstrings flex the knee
- Quads extend the knee
- Abdominals flex the trunk
- Training in-season must be a maintenance program
They may have made sense at one time, before we knew any better, but they did not evolve and change as our knowledge of sport science and performance expanded. Some of them sound quite convincing. They come with elaborate pseudo scientific explanations. Don’t be fooled and blindly follow. Do your homework, read the research. Study your sport. Slay the sacred cows, challenge yourself to stay current and question.