Mike, that is interesting that you mention the lack of sports science in place as much as we see it here.
As you and I have discussed I know someone trained by a former Chinese National team weightlifter. I do not know his background in science but I would say that while it may be limited in technical terms he understands the “science” of the human body. I liken it to how Dan Pfaff probably knows and can discuss the science behind training better than John Smith and other “former athlete” type coaches but they both get very good results because they just know what is needed.
My friends particular coach tracks lifts at 85% and above, more specifically percentage of success at 85% and above because he feels too many missed lifts teaches the body how to – miss lifts. I do know that his decisions are based on how he feels for the day so to speak with a percentage guideline that is not set in stone as opposed to a rigid Russian style plan of xyz exercise on xyz day at xyz percent, nothing more, nothing less. I am sure all the Russians did not coach that way though.