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I have always believed that... "the best weapons in a coach's armoury are their eyes and their stomach!" To clarify, I'm referring to one's powers of observation and gut feel when assessing their athletes ability and deciding on what direction to take with their training. In saying that, I have always been pro-active in furthering my education in the pursuit of finding better ways to condition my athletes both mentally and physically. The old saying of... "there is more than one way to skin a cat!" , really does ring true in our sport. This, along with the fact that... "no two athletes are the same", should motivate coaches never to stop asking questions in an attempt to increase their coaching armoury.
Training Program Analysis:
I have been lucky to have worked with many top coaches from several different countries around the world. I have always found it a good practice to share ideas and insights into my program with other coaches. This usually entices them to share some of their ideologies with me, and in doing so, exposing me to new ideas and sometimes highlights certain things that I might be neglecting in my program. The old saying of "two heads are better than one", really rings true in this situation, but it is also a well known fact that it can be easier for someone that is not wrapped up in the day to day application of the program, to identify problems whilst "looking from the outside in".
High Altitude Consulting:
After experiencing the benefits of high altitude training as a competitor, I totally dedicated myself to learning as much as I could about this form of conditioning. I took teams away almost every year from 1986 until my retirement in 2004, often going more than once in a season. During this time, I experimented with every possible combination of utilising the adaptations made at altitude. From different levels of altitude, to racing off it, to training off it during different phases of the season, to even trying different combinations of all of the above in the same season.
Energy Systems Optimising Program (ESOP):
I was also fortunate to take several National Teams away to High Altitude Camps with great success. Having to train and assess athletes that I did not know (physiologically), forced me to develop a computerised monitoring system to help both athletes and coaches obtain an accurate guide on how they were adapting to the altitude. Several other countries have used ESOP successfully both at altitude and in their home programs. This system can be setup for any team or squad wanting to include a High Altitude Program into their seasonal plan.
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