Quoting Jeremy Richmond, “…particular skill which can be attributed purely to skill alone” has me thinking about time management.
As coaches a skill is something we can actively do something about, or at least try to do something about so while I find all of the investigations and discussions about those investigations into things like “super fast twitch muscle” very interesting, it does present those of us who work with everyone but the most elite athletes a bit of a dilemma related to V.Gambetta’s blog article about how much he reads etc.
What also concerns me, as Mr. Gambetta mentions, is separating the wheat from the chaff. While knowing about Usain Bolt in great detail is interesting how much has value for me, unless research into an individual refutes what has been taken as gospel.
I guess what I am asking is, ‘Is it possible that those who are at the highest level of sprinting, currently say Bolt and Powell (if for no other reason than some easily accessible information on him, the NHK “special”, exists) have just developed a teachable skill or intuitively know the same skill, to a higher degree than anyone else?’
Since if that is the case, as a coach I need to spend time improving my teaching skills more than I need to spend time gaining intimate physiological knowledge of a World Record holder.
As an aside, I have become more and more impressed with Walter Dix both as the Olympics went on and in subsequent races elsewhere.
As a coach you should improve your teaching/coaching skills and learn more about the events you teach/coach. The two go hand in hand. What’s at issue here is the fallacy of turnover (stride rate) as being the major limiting factor in sprinting ability. News article’s such as this one reach more coaches than current research does and for a coach without much a background in reading research they can only take into account what they understand to apply it successfully. I could sit around and put together a computer model of what I presented about Bolt’s data with other sprinters where I have tape of 100m dash and have the output of such a model show stride length/leg stiffness/gct/flight time are the major limiting factors of sprinting ability over a certain distance. However, most sprint coaches or track coaches wouldn’t be able to make head nor tails of it and some would even call it voodoo (“since when does a computer run a race.”).
A coach should be able to take some volume of research, reviews, and applied science articles, interpret it, condense it, and apply it by creating training plans and to identify strengths and weaknesses of individual athletes and helping them overcome deficiencies and highlighting strengths which greats a better environment for skill acquisition.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a ton of data on the progression and development of skills for age-group athletes in track and field. Therefore we must take the “Model” (best performances) and build our athletes towards these models.