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Goal Setting For Athletes: Make The Process The Goal

The process might not always be pretty, but man it sure is necessary.   Friday afternoon December 2016. I had just finished up at the gym and thought I would head down to Coogee for a quick swim before pizza night with my then girlfriend (now wife), Angie. I had been swimming for about 2 hours when I thought I’d head out for one last dip.   So began the longest process of my life.   As my head hit the sandbank I heard this huge crack, kind of like a crack of lightning, it was just this intensely crisp sound that echoed through the water....

Why You Need To Stop Focusing On The 1%

Almost every athlete is obsessed with the 1%.   It's no surprise -- you’ve heard time and time again that you need to work on your weaknesses in order to be the best you can be. So you can't help but let them become your focus.   You believe that you need to be stronger and faster, and you promised yourself on several occasions that you’re going to stretch more. All of this may be true, but I have a confession to make...

The Female Squat Series: The Set Up

If you want to tilt the odds in your favour and dominate your next heavy squat, the set-up might be your missing piece. Learn the step-by-step strategy to guarantee your set up doesn't let you down.  It’s likely that without a good set up, your squat will feel heavy, unstable or rushed. The biggest issues I want to address with a poor set up is the lack of upper back tightness and the importance of a consistent approach to the bar. The very first time I competed, I convinced myself that I needed to listen to heavy metal music with the...

The 6 Things You Need Before You Can Have Self-Belief

By Coach Scott Hoare   Self-belief doesn't come easily.    In the age of the social “highlight reel” fuelled by filtered Instagram photos and 15-second stories of athletic mastery (that took 115 takes to get right) it’s easy to feel like you suck. In fact, even though social media has provided a platform for people to celebrate their bodies, develop self-confidence and share their message, the data is unequivocal: major depressive episodes for adolescents and young adults has increased significantly since 2005. So it is easy to feel like everyone is doing a better job than you and it’s easy to get stuck in the...

Understanding The Nervous System: Your Greatest Asset In Your Pursuit of Strength

Why The Nervous System Matters When most athletes train, their focus is on improving or altering the physiological capacity of the muscle – whether that be through increasing density, volume, or altering the length. Similarly, most of the research around adaptations to training usually focus on the physiological changes that occur – changes to the mitochondria; storage of glycogen, presence of enzymes, cross-section of the tissue and the like… The nervous system gets much less attention. With that said, most experts agree that the initial improvements that ‘newbs’ see from strength training are primarily due to neurological factors (brain-spinal cord-motor neuron), especially the...

Hamstring Damage Resistance: The Distal & Proximal Continuum

Are You Attacking Both Ends? Power, strength, speed, all of these are sort after abilities in a majority of sports around the world, but are we chasing the golden egg before looking after the chicken? Within team sports, one of the most common thread among successful teams is the relatively low changes made to the starting line-up from week to week. This makes sense as it means the coach has his/her best squad available for selection, could this mean availability is perhaps the best ability for an athlete? Soft tissue injuries and in particular hamstring strain injury (HSI) is a leading cause...

Principles Over Methods: The Role and Importance of Contrast Training

Contrast Training One of the most effective training methods for developing the whole range of the force velocity curve is contrast training. The principle of this method revolves around its capacity to provide a more complete development of the motor capacities and strength qualities by varying the external load during the workout, exercise or (with considerably more difficulty), the repetition. This type of training has a substantial effect on the nervous system as well as the peripheral muscular structures. This was first brought to my attention through coaching legend Cal Dietz, who, at the time, wrote one of the legacy strength and...

Principles Over Methods: The Role and Importance of Accommodating Resistance and Overspeed Eccentrics

Accommodating Resistance Have you ever thought that if you can just get through that sticky point, you can always get the rep? That is because the amount of force you can produce is position specific. What that means is that at certain points in the range of motion, you could be mechanically weaker or stronger in relation to a different point along the way. In the vast majority of barbell lifts, you are normally stronger as you near the end of the lift. We’ve all seen ‘that guy’ who quarter squats a tonne of weight. He can only squat that amount of...

Principles Over Methods: The Role and Importance of Plyometric Training

Plyometrics Almost every athlete wants to be more explosive. They see themselves running faster, cutting with more intent, jumping higher, or in collision sports, being the dominant contact. Plyometrics is a special form of strength training because it involves exercises where there is an important build up of kinetic energy as the body absorbs the contact which is then used to potentiate the concentric portion of the exercise. Does that sound complex? If it does, I don’t blame you – Lachy and I did over four years of university to get our head around the concepts of joint stiffness and plyometrics. In layman terms,...