Thursday, June 29, 2017

Why are you ignoring the message from Tom Brady, Kevin Durant, and Novak Djokovic?

There is a better way – Part 1
More athletes are having their athleticism destroyed, their careers shortened, and their long term quality of life threatened because of they way they are being trained than ever before in my lifetime.  The athlete training world has lost the plot.  Not concerned or don’t buy into this statement?  Then you don’t read any further.  There’s heaps of more valuable articles on the internet for you to read, such as how to create hypertrophy in the absence of skills, or the exact liquid temperature to consume your glutamine in the absence of any focus on foundational nutrition…For those that resonate with my concerns, I invite you to stay with me.
Is that my opinion or is it a scientific fact? It’s my opinion. Now those who don’t know or don’t appreciate (or don’t want to do either for various reasons) the depth of experience training athletes or track record in identifying limiting factors in sports training and performance and innovating solutions that have led to this opinion – you may be forgiven for discarding my opinion.
However before you disregard my conclusions on the state of athletic preparation, I want you know you are also disregarding the opinion of a couple of athletes that have also to train differently to what most are doing - Tom Brady, Kevin Durant and Novak Djokovic.
The way we train athletes does more harm than good. That’s the message I have been sharing since the 1990s. And it is not just getting worse. It is reaching diabolical standards.
In fact I believe that most injuries are actually caused by the way athletes train.  The only injury acceptable is an unavoidable impact injury.   Virtually all soft tissue injuries are avoidable.  But imagine that - training, during which focus is geared towards performance enhancement, may induce most injuries.  Isn’t this ridiculous! [1]

In fact from my experiences and observation, the greatest effect that I have seen from most physical preparation is to detract from these five factors, not enhance it.  Imagine that - training and being worse off for it.  Well how do you think the athlete would feel if he/she found out!  Yeah, they’re real fit - to sit in the stands in their team uniform and watch![2]

…from my observations, most physical preparation programs do more harm than good. They may give short term results or confidence to the athlete, but result in significant performance restrictions and or injuries long term…. Quite simply, the majority of training programs are flawed from a physical preparation perspective and are causing the increased injuries. [3]
For those not familiar with these three athletes who share my opinion, allow me to provide a quick bio. Tom Brady is the most successful quarter back in American Football history with five Super Bowl Championship rings.  Kevin Durant just won his first championship ring with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA.  And Novak Djokovic has been dominating men’s tennis internationally during the ten years, frequently occupying the coveted No 1 world ranking. He is considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, with a 80+% match winning rate (the second highest in the Open Era).
So what does Tom Brady have to say?
“I have been blessed to learn the right methods, through my nutrition, hydration, pliability and proper rest. It's really not that hard if you do the right thing."[4]

No mention of maximal loading or hypertrophy training.  In fact he apparently stays away from lifting heavy weights, and focuses on flexibility.[5]
What does Kevin Durant have to say?
"All the strength coaches were laughing at me and s---. They were giggling with each other that I couldn't lift 185 pounds and I was like, 'All right, keep laughing. Keep laughing.' It was a funny thing because I was the only one that couldn't lift it and I was struggling to lift it. I was embarrassed at that point, but I'm like, 'Give me a basketball, please. Give me a ball.'….I was ranked the last person in camp, drills-wise. I was the worst player, and the first player didn't get drafted. That tells you a lot about the significance of that s---."[6]

What does Novak Djokovic have to say? 
           ….And I know if I need to spend two hours a day stretching, I’ll spend that time, because I know that’s going to make me feel good.”
The following statement comes from his first coach, Jelana Gencic, who guided him between about the ages of 6 years through to his early teens.
“You know Novak was not too strong a boy,” Gencic said. “You know how he is now elastic and flexible. Do you know why? It’s because I didn’t want to work too hard with him.”…Gencic held up her racket. “This,” she said, “is the heaviest thing he had to handle. We only worked on his legs, his quickness, only fitness on the court, not in the weight room. We stretched and did special movements for tennis, to be flexible, to be agile and to be fast and with the legs. And now he’s excellent, excellent, excellent.”

Djokovic said Gencic’s approach was always long-term.

“Jelena was one of the people that had a huge impact and huge influence on that part of let’s say my profession, being flexible and taking care of my elasticity of the muscles,” he said Saturday. “Because she taught me and convinced me that if I stayed flexible, not only will I be able to move well around the court and be able to recover well after the matches, but also I’ll be able to have a long career……[7]

If you look at how the world is training athletes, its obvious that the majority are disregarding the messages from this dominant sporting icons.  Allow me acknowledge one of the most likely criticisms. That the opinions of these three athletes does not override the fact that thousands of other athletes have trained more trend like – heavy load, excessive volume, to high levels of fatigue.  I acknowledge this counter argument.  You are right. You can always provide evidence to support both the for and against of any argument.
However allow me to share what I believe is one indisputable fact – that the evidence provided in the case studies of these three athletes confirms that you can become the best in the world without the training proposed by most coaches and engaged in by most athletes. The way most train is not a common denominator with success.  It’s not necessary,  its not optimal, and I suggest in most cases does more damage than good.
I suggest that conforming to the dominant trends will is a common denominator with injuries, reduced athleticism, shortened careers and a lower quality of later life.
The great thing about human life is we get to choose what we believe in. If you as an athlete choose to embrace the mainstream approach, fantastic and good luck.  If you are a coach and also choose to believe in and embrace the current dominant training methods, I trust in the future you take time to reflect upon the outcomes, and be accountable.   Visit with your athletes 20-40 years after they have retired, and see how they are going. And take responsibility.
For those athletes and coaches who are concerned about the direction of training and want to believe there is a better way – congratulations. There is a better way.  I have spend the last four decades discovering better ways to train, and we teach  these better ways when we work with athletes or coaches.   For example, the KSI Coaching Program aims to provide you with the tools to train athletes and others in their highest and best interests, with no interest in what the dominant trend is or will be in the future.
The training world is now one where you will get a job whether you are great or incompetent – there is simply demand for services. However if you want to go beyond simply ‘getting a job’, if you want to do the best by the athlete, to fulfill your potential – you are not going to achieve these goals training the way everyone else is training.
What is happening is not good enough, and the athlete is paying the price. The good news is there is a better way. The question remains – will you go there?
In July 2017 we are offering selected physical preparation coaches the opportunity to spend 21 days with my top coaches and myself; through webinar and forum interaction.  It’s not for everyone. Here are some of our pre-qualifications criteria:
1.     You need to have been coaching for at least 5 years.
2.     You need to have come to the conclusion that there is a better way (for both you and your clients).
3.     You need to have taken some action to date to study KSI material (not including free online articles).
21 days with us during which you will get an inside look at who we are, what we do, and why we are totally confident we lead the world in athlete preparation.  Free.  Email immediately if you want to be part of this program and qualify.

[1] King, I., 1997, Winning & Losing, Ch 5, p. 25
[2] King, I., 1999, So you want to become a physical preparation coach, p. 30-31
[3] King, I., 2005, The way of the physical preparation coach, p. 66-67

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