Dancing with the Devil- Developing Speed and Jumping Power


Often many coaches reading research papers do not delineate properly between opinion based comment in the “introduction” and “discussion” sections (which could perhaps be more accurately titled “agenda” and “speculation” in many cases) and the meat of the study in the methods/results. It can be difficult to effectively analyse the quality and meaning of the methods/results without adequate background knowledge of general sport sciences and the specific topic (including related papers), and many do not even think to question and simply take the “expert opinion” of the authors in the intro/discussion/conclusion as the objective reality.


What methods produce the results? I find it interesting hearing about cutting edge programs when the only thing cutting edge is the scalpel from various surgeries. Super Steel Spine? Oblique strain. To get to the reality of training, the impact of what we do is very little as coaches. It hurts the ego to realize that athletes are born and not made. We all want to believe that talent is overrated. Until I see Brian Scalabrine and a few of his friends with heart embarrass Lebron or Duncan I well believe. When MIT dominates the NFL because each player understands the mental side of the game I will eat crow. The same goes to specific training methodology. Remember the stride frequency ladders or the strength shoes that would add inches to your stride? Where are they now?

Someone asked me about hyper hips or force vectors and I ask the question, have you seen the training? Training is very clear, sprinting, jumps, weights, and general exercises. What has changed the most? Talent. We are more talented. While specific exercises or drills may provide more propulsive and stiffness now, the truth is that training is 95% the same as it was 50 years ago. This hurts to see so little progress in training but the constraints of gravity, distance, the human body, and creativity have limits.

Several pundits have agendas to show superior methods via specific exercises and the interpretation of research.TCSM has helped us see the light that perhaps one may want to address the meat before we have dessert. Is the method working? What measurable impact are we seeing? Four years after that August night in Beijing where are the freaks? The legions of monsters? What is the take home message?

I don’t have the recipe, but I do know the ingredient list. What you need are the basic five. They are.

Talent- Sorry for people that hope that they will be world class because they eat organic and train hard. Life isn’t fair. Blame your parents for bad DNA.

Environment- Great weather, good culture, supportive family, good coaches.

Luck- Sometimes things will break your way, sometimes bad luck will break you.

Time- No matter that you do it will take a few years. Even the people that come out of the woods were still spotted!

Passion- Talent without interest doesn’t train enough. A lot of talent is out there even at the 1%. All being equal…….

I wish I could say that eating right, special periodization schemes, technique training, and special equipment will do wonders. It will not get everyone on the podium. Still, time will tell if one has what it takes to be the best, and don’t worry about special exercises, vectors, and research claims.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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