The Cathedral and the Bazaar


Performance and Sports Medicine information is the currency, and information now is faster and more demanding than ever. What is the best information? Who has it? How do we validate it? What is private and what should be public? Who do we learn from? What are primary and secondary resources? I recently read Shawn Windle’s article on the 40 yard dash and was concerned about the response and what was going on with information coming from second or third parties. Fact checker in performance or medical sport worlds isn’t happening yet, and I think his article opens up to a lot of question on validity of information.

Education is a bit of a mystery. I am a classic USATF educated coach and I have attended conferences, read research, and talked to other coaches. No matter what source I get, I always make sure some primary evidence is validating the information I am getting. The last few years I have decided to reboot what I think is truth, and focused on observation and data. Sharing information is strange now as I see some irony and paradoxical findings with what is happening to the information age. With open information (forums) and closed markets (private consultants), the impact has been mixed to say the least.

Medical Privacy- Vendors in Electronic Health Records are suppose to be HIPAA compliant and boast encryption methods that are CIA worthy. Minutes later Kobe Tweets photos of his ankle to millions.

Super Methods- One NBA team is very secretive and private about their training and medical approaches. Stack Magazine online shows videos of training that make Zumba classes look like CrossFit Games.

Youtube Montage- Showing your program to the world on video has an inverse relationship with sharing actual workouts when requested.

At the end of the day I am concerned how much resources are spent on information that isn’t validated. When DB Hammer came out everyone was going nuts and wanted to believe in building freaks was about doing special workouts. I can recall I was in Germany and asked people to confirm my suspicion of the article, especially baseball references in titles of articles, and the last 40 years of sport had a specific history of no such character. With more elite coaches than elite athletes, it seems that the problem is growing.

Shawn’s article does a nice job of trying to defend strength coaches but I am a little uneasy about how two college teams may be unfairly recognized for producing or fail to produce sprinters, just as strength coaches are often limited to what they are doing because of internal challenges. I say with with caution as I worry about validity of timing at combines in general. We have Eric Mangini sharing his request of what scout timed him, it should be what equipment and method was used and who set it up! First HS sports is not faster than NFL prospects. I realize that athletes may get slower if they pack on weight and become lineman, but most college coaches are getting guys better, regardless of injuries and weight changes. Otherwise we would see more interviews of players saying thank god for high school, the NFL game is like underwater now! and other nonsense. The NFL game is faster. Also I don’t speak hand time and surface conditions as well as measurements is key. I have been to a few football fields that were off, and one field a long time ago was a half a foot every 5 yards! When athletes were running slow I asked did they measure the field and the organizers were upset that I was not confident in the set-up. The field was painted by a someone from another country and they were not familiar with the sport the poor guy hand measured every five yards not including the line! We laugh at this but look at the lack of electronic timing in elite levels and the use of a vertec! Many kids run hand times in high school, and I remember one time a kid ran a blazing 10.7 and I was not a believer. The wind was like UTEP and hand times, especially home cooked at hosted meets, spell unrepeatable performances. He never broke 11 electronically and couldn’t run rounds.

Detailed testing can provide you with the direction that is needed for that individual to continue to improve but is being done?

Shawn’s statement about testing is something we talk about and the first response some angry coaches were to see NBA combine times and what improvement curve was Shawn experiencing with his program. Instead of attacking I wanted to mediate the firestorm as he was being candid. I feel that we should redirect any criticisms of strength coaches and see if they are valid. I am not believing that we are making athletes slower coming out of HS, it’s just some information must be taken with a grain of salt.

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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