Saturday, February 28, 2009

A coaching eye

I realized a long time ago I see everything from a coaching perspective. Everything! Including my life and myself. Probably the source of a lot of problems, thinking things through instead of moving. Anyway, it is what I am and what i am is me.
Some people like to say you are not what you do. That doesn't apply to me. I am a coach because it is a natural fit for me. Even when I ran I thought I would be a good coach. I guess I manifested my destiny without knowing it. I should have thought I would be a good gold medalist! LOL
I would like to publicly welcome Candice Davis. We spent a year and a half playing ring around the rosey but now she is in the fold and I am pleased about this development. Now common practice says I should keep it all a secret and let folks find out later but that has never made sense to me and has been a symptom of what is wrong with the sport. We always think we have to have some doggone secret. Negative. I coach Candice and I am proud of it.
Quick rundown of the DSports roster; Ryan Wilson, Bryan Scott, Tasha Danvers, Jonathan Williams, Kai Kelley, and Candice Davis. Oh and Martial MBandjock, threw in a sprinter for commercial purposes LOL.
Back to the blog. Couple of updates. I have been co hosting Tasha's radio blog shows. She has 2 of them, one is on Wednesdays and the other on Sundays. The Sunday show is every 2 weeks. Wednesday show is Tasha and the Ladies of Speed chatting it up on various subjects weekly. Show time is 1pm PST/4PM EST/ 9pm GMT. Sunday's show is geared towards the younger crowd, Tasha and varied guest will discuss life topics and track, Building on Bronze. Show time is 12pm PST/3pm EST/ 8PM GMT. All of you pass the word and tune in AND more importantly call in. The more the better. even if you do not do anything more than tune in and listen do that. It is great fun. Tomorrow will have Adrian Peck from the UK as a co host talking about the importance of communication.
I advise you to call in from your cell phones for clarity, but there is a call in button and number on the web page. Skype works too. Hope you all tune in and call in.
That was a word from our sponsor.
Lord of the Rings is great! Pick any one of the three movies.
Out of brain power, this cold is trying to run me down, literally, so let me go rest. Until the next thought hits me...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Just News

I come and talk so now I will just blog.

Tasha and her mum have established separate online radio shows. and Check them out. Tasha's show is every Wednesday 9pm GMT/1pm PST. They also archive shows so if you miss it you can listen later. If you catch the shows you can call in also.

Congrats to Jet on her recent success on the track. She has taken very well to the training and has folks eyes wide open. LOL

I am still disconnected from indoors. I just can't get into it. Just straight money runs. I like seeing my people win and run well but it carries little weight when considering the big picture and winning medals.

Tasha ran indoors this year. She ran an 800. We planned for it but did not target it or train for it. Figured it was a good spot to show her face to the fans, and let the Brits know she is still a Brit and some personal promotion. All that was fine. We did not expect the expectations. Coach will take the blame for that and it will never happen again. I now know better, and I will use the information to all my athletes advantage in the future.

Tyrone Edgar took second at their European trials but has some niggles and is done for the indoor season.

To all my track people, let's all give a collective laugh to the other sports whining about the WADA whereabouts. See it is new to them, not to us. And boy you would swear someone stole their bike or something. The code is not perfect, the bugs in the system need fixing, and it will only get done if people contact the people in charge and let them know their problems. I do it religiously. And they always answer. Might not be the answer I want but I do know they are aware of my concerns and it is all documented.

Most days I feel like I am walking manifestation of Pinky and the Brain LOL. Yup, everyday I make up a plan to take over the world! And like the brain I never remember what yesterdays plan was hahahahaha. Here I come...AGAIN! :)

First time ever I will do some thing and probably the last. Here is a brief update on who I coach and how they are doing.
Ryan Wilson - training well, looking to return to form after a season of pain, literal pain.
Tasha Danvers - the bronze medalist. Adjusting to the demands, and it is an adjustment, but ran 2:12 indoors, so all is well. Now to get her back home and training
Jonathan Williams - He will set a new national record soon.
Bryan Scott - has a little rookie-itis, but some rehab and well deserved rest should solve it. Healthy he will run well
Kai Kelly - training really well. I am learning his strengths as we go since he came as a dual hurdler I have spent the time determining where I can run him. Maybe he will be the first doubler LOL
There are a few satellite athletes out here too but I will tell you about them another day. You will know their names soon enough.
What? You thought I was going to give you details or something? If you want details please come to West LA college at 10am, bring your spikes, and a commitment. ;)

Until another random thought hits me...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

A few points on my mind...

Athletes pay your coaches. These men and women spend everyday with you, rain or shine, helping you reach your potential and achieve your dreams. Pay them. I say this as much as a coach as I am a person that wants to push us into the realm of professionalism. I am tired of hearing the horror stories from fellow coaches. And I am not talking about one year coaches or neo coaches, this tale goes all the way to the best coaches on earth.
Does it makes sense to pay your coach 1% of your earnings? Or less than that? Most of you think it is criminal for a coach to even venture the thought of getting paid off your hard work. Some times you have to sit back and look at the big picture. See, when you are paying out lump sums it is overwhelming. Any time you have to pay anyone $10,000 in a lump sum it hurts. You do not want to do it. I wouldn't. But you have to step back and analyze. You made $200,000 in the year and you have paid your agent $30,000 - $40,000. Your coach has asked you for something, per your verbal agreement (most of us coaches are still working on the honor system), you come up with $5,000. That's a big check, right? You damn right it is a big check. Problem is you haven't paid your coach a dime all year and now you are offering him/her pennies on the hour. Pay your coach.
We love you more than you love yourself most days. We spend countless moments working through the plan so when you step out there to compete you are at your best. I will suggest to all of you, work out a monthly plan and put it in writing, it is professional, it keeps business off the track, and your coach will appreciate the gesture. We are track junkies. There is no denying that we love the sport, but we have to make a living.
For the record, I am not writing this out of anger or any personal situation I am going through. I actually have a contract and removed everything I listed above from the track (mostly LOL). I am writing this because you are a professional athlete, in a professional sport. It is time we all started acting like it, from top to bottom.

Coaches get a contract and help the athletes out. All of the above is not their fault. We have tried to conduct our business on a handshake and trust. It is a recipe for disaster. It does not make you money hungry to establish a professional, business relationship in conjunction with our personal coaching relationship.
Sit down and figure out what you want, put it in writing, and get to negotiating with your athletes. I have done it. It took me a lot of trial and error but I worked it out. Now all I have to do is coach. Ideally, I would like to have an agent, but one step at a time.
Do not sit there thinking when they make it they will take care of you. They are human. They have their own world to manage. And your idea of "take care" is not always the same as their idea of "take care of". So put it in writing.
Don't be an asshole about it either. But handle business as business. This thing we do is too personal to treat it like we are 24 Hour Fitness or something. Just keep the business separate for yourself.

I have more points but it is time for practice.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dynamic v Static

Ok I normally pace my entries but I have had stuff to say. Tonight's topic is one that irritates me to no end. There is a raging debate among biomechanists, coaches, physios, and athletes about which stretching or warm up routine is best, static v dynamic.
I have seen both. I have seen a couple of videos. Heard more than few opinions, professional and personal. And here is the answer. Yes I said the answer. It is both. You need to have both in your program, not either or. Here is another revelation, dynamic programs contain both. No one pays attention to this small fact. Every single dynamic program I have seen contains static stretching.
That aside, let me elaborate. Static stretching can hurt you. It creates micro tears, and if you push your self beyond your limits you will irritate something. Dynamic stretching is limited by the body and its various systems that protect itself. However, it fails to "stretch" when you are "tight". The theory of dynamic proponents revolves around the notion that blood flow and "warming up" will lubricate the body enough. We have all trained to the point of being "tight", and I do not care how many A skips you do, until you sit down and touch your toes that tightness remains.
Everything is in moderation. Example, I know of a hyper flexible sprinter who developed an insertion issue where his hamstrings meet his glutes. Nothing helped, he stretched and stretched, and yet it remained. He had to stop stretching. His hyper flexibility was irritating the spot. This is why we were told growing up to not bounce but hold stretches. Even in the new dynamic regime they stress not bouncing but controlled movements with a minimal hold.
My warm up is dynamic by definition. It takes 45 minutes. It includes, jogging and/or striding, static stretching, and dynamic drills that focus on the specific movements of running. Admittedly there are other drills or dynamic stretches that can be included, but what I use is effective and ensures a proper warm up when done correctly.
Done correctly. Here is another key aspect. It is hard enough getting athletes to do static stretching for the appropriate time, short cuts are worked into all warm up routines. I did it as an athlete, and when I was in college we had the "modifications" down to a science. Dynamic routines become just that, routines. I watch the athletes do the fancy stuff without a thought of why they are doing it nor with the intensity needed to achieve the prescribed goal. This is to be guarded against if you are using a dynamic routine void of static stretching.
All of my opinion aside, my point is both types of stretching are needed. No one should ever do static stretching for 30-45 minutes, that's called socializing. LOL

Women here's some advice

Since I have read numerous post about what men need to do I figured hey why not return the kind favor. The hard part is women will write back with all kinds of rebuttals which is a HUGE problem, can't tell y'all nothin'! LOL
1 - Listen before you respond. I mean really listen. Don't hear what was said before or what you thought we meant, listen to what we are saying right now.
2 - Stay on point. An anecdote is just that, a story to illustrate the actual topic, not a new topic to argue about. This is where most arguments end in Chris Brown episodes.
3 - Be a woman. Not meek or weak, but soft, feminine, thoughtful, emotional and caring. We spend our entire existence fighting men on various levels, comparing egos, bashing our heads together like rams on the plains, the last thing we want to do is bang heads with our women as if they are men. You will kill us easier with kindness, I promise.
4 - Know the difference between a man and a pretender. Just because he has a penis does not make him a man. Just because he does not fight does not mean he is not strong or tough. Just because he fights does not mean he is strong or tough.
5 - Something the fellas were discussing today, stop running up on us like you can physically beat us down. You get one of these pretenders and it is all bad for you. You get a man and you will lose him. Women were "blessed" with a mouthpiece no man can match. Your weapon is far more powerful than our fist, trust me, I am a man, I know from experience. We hear you and we remember. Which brings me to...
6 - Be careful what you use as a verbal weapon with your man. Pushing his buttons may make you feel better in a fight but it will cause irreparable damage to your relationship no matter the outcome of the argument. In relationships, us cretins trust our women with information we would never tell anyone else. TRUST. We trust you to protect our soft spots as you expect us to trust yours. When you strike at those trusted issues, we rarely forget it and for the rest of our relationship it shapes how we respond to you. Most of us want comfort, and your man is most comfortable when he can trust you with his ego, his house ( not the physical house), and his secrets. Break that trust and you will spend your days being asked stupid questions like "Where are you going?" when all you did was switch positions on the couch. :)
7 - Make sure you and he are partners. A two way street. This is huge in this day and age. We have been taught to be independent entities that only co exist. This is why the divorce rate is so high. Men and women have ceased being partners in crime. He should be the Clyde to your Bonnie and you the Bonnie to his Clyde. Partners through thick and thin. but see this only works when the thick and thin our shared, when thick and thin are only shared after they become a thick and thin it is a recipe for mass destruction.
8 - Be you. Man I am telling you, us men love a woman that is unafraid to be herself. When we are the only ones allowed to get beyond the wall, you have us hooked for life! There's nothing worse than a woman that tries to change for the man she is with. Another recipe for disaster.
9 - Love yourself.
10 - Take all of this with a grain of salt. I could be 100% wrong. Seriously. I doubt I am but I am not foolish enough to think otherwise. :)

Expectations - A Cautionary Tale

I woke up and this one just will not settle down. I pride myself on staying on the high ground as best I can, and that means knowing when to say something and when not to. Today I will split the difference with a disclaimer, no names will be used to protect the guilty.

A person spends their entire career, whether that is track or otherwise, striving to reach the level of expectations that define success. It is hard work and in some cases, a labor of love with the belief that when you get there it will all pay off, figuratively and literally. This is what gets us all up in the morning, and drives us through the trials of training and grunt work. The thought that when you put it all together you will reap the benefits. Not in track.
In track you work for the pennies that are out there and believe when you get that medal or run that time or win those races that the business will turn in your favor and pay you. When you win that medal you expect to be the star and garner the support of sport. Not in track.
The cruelest aspect is the dishonest business of cutting people who have won medals that year. Dishonest is the exact word that fits here. We are all told and accept that this is the business we work in, however that does not make it honest. Many athletes run around for year wearing the free uniform a company once offered them, with the implied and sometimes explicit promise that dollars will follow their charity tot he company. It is really sticky when you find athletes that stray and wear generic gear only to be told later that they did not support the mainstream company and have no brand recognition so they will not be signed. That's called blackmail and collusion. When you win an Olympic medal you are a recognized face that is to cash in on that ultimate of successes. Not in track.
Win an Olympic medal, get a shoe contract. This is the baseline sell of track and field. Again, not in track.

I have been on the track in some form for all 38 years of my life. I have been coaching for the last 17 years. It is safe to say I am committed to this and love this. Today I am pissed off and disappointed. More disappointed. I wrote this to share some thoughts and to point out to all of you, be about your business with a long term outlook that includes more than running and the shoe companies. I will attack it with energy and not be swayed by the disappointments, but neither will I stay silent on these important issues any longer. You have to make it happen because no one out there is trying to bring it to you, even when you have done all the things that were asked of you. All the things that have been outlined in the blueprint of success in track. I will see you all in the sun. Do your due diligence

Monday, February 16, 2009

This week in track and world

Wow. That's all that comes to mind. It is my usual lead in to what I want to say while I think about what I want to say. Wow.

NBA All star events were terrific. I listen to talk radio and I think people take themselves way too seriously sometimes. It was fun, it had entertainment, and the stars did their thing. My lasting memory is Dwight Howard hopping up to the 12 foot rim as if it was at 8 feet. I listen to the maysayers, "Oh he is 7 feet tall!" as if that makes 12 feet any closer to the ground. Let me tell you something, dunking at 12 feet is a beast. It has been the test height in the NBA for decades and very few have been able to jump that high, let alone dunk a basketball that high. He touched the rim so easily. Then dunked it off a backboard pass. And then there was the side of the backboard dunk. If you do not know please youtube it.
Meanwhile I am disgusted that Nate won. He used boosters on his last 2 dunks. Whack! his best dunk was his first one, and it was all of that! One bounce, catch, to the shoe tops, reverse flush from an 5'8" man. That was sweet.

If you are a Lakers hater or blind Lakers fan you will not feel me on this next point. Jerry Buss punked out and cost me at least 2 more ring runs. He let it get personal and traded Shaq. I am still mad about it. If you watched them play last night you see why the Big Aristotle calls them the best big man/small man duo ever. Kobe 27, Shaq 22 (in 11 minutes). I had that every week, now I am hoping the Lakers stay healthy so Kobe can lead them to the top. Pissed off about it.

On the track, Isinbayeva OPENED her season with a wr. That would be a five meter opening competition. Whatever, they have figured out, I want to know. Can you imagine opening your campaign with a wr???
Hooker goes 6 meters again.
Lolo is still dominating the spot.
Vlasic goes over 2 meters for the hundredthousandmillionth time in a row, and LOSES! The women's high jump is a very good event.
Tasha is not running Birmingham now. I am disappointed, but as I said it is indoors. No skin lost.

It rained today. It was 50 degrees. It was windy. Check out my FB page to see how we handled that. I am telling you guys it is cold out here.
See you guys out doors. I am sure there was something else I wanted to say, wait, oh I got it.

Barack is killing me right now. He made me a promise and I expect him to keep it. Partisan politics are what he sore to avoid, yet he gave one of the most partisan speeches I have ever heard. And his whack stimulus package is just that, whack. Not enough things to STIMULATE the economy, but a whole load of social programs to improve the quality of life. Just not the time for it, we are in need of specific things right now, and $75 million for anti smoking is not it.

Yup that's all for now

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Last year I quoted a classic "He who run fast in April get ass kicked in August!" It was our running joke back in the day as we watched folks run fast early and disappear during money time or fold up. This weekend brings me full circle, AGAIN!
I sent my girl Tasha over the lake to run indoors. She ran the 800 at her national meet. For those that do not know she is a 400 hurdler. And for those who have forgotten, she is a 400 hurdler. We chose the 800 because it fits what we are doing right now and allows her the chance to run indoors and show her face to her fans.
The result was a good 2:12 for her. Not impressive when compared to the half milers mind you but I am pleased. See competitive fire aside, this is her first indoor race since 1995, her first indoor 800 ever, and we did not break training for this. She is not trying to make the indoor team, so in my eyes all is going to plan. Outdoors that's worth about 2:10, so for her fourth 800 in her life I have very little to complain about.
Tasha and I seem to be the only ones with reality in mind. Articles are written and people are talking as if she is a half miler that struggled out there. No it was not the quality run we wanted but it carries no weight as far as long term goals go. She is healthy, she is fit as she is going to be right now, and we got a great gauge on where she is. We did not plan to go out and beat the big girls, if that were case we would be looking at an event change, as some tried to intimate.
For clarity to all, there's no event change. She enjoys running the event, it relates well to her pet event, and she wanted to run an indoor race. She got the chance to see her fans and not fall into the marketing black hole of track stars.
Too often medalists disappear from the track landscape and become irrelevant, never getting the chance to take advantage of the opportunities presented by that success. This is the message I want to get out. We have to work at pushing the product and not wait for the machine to work for you. There is no machine, therefore you have to go get it. You have to make sure the fans see you, the papers interview you, and your brand is visible. All while doing what got you that chance, run.
Make a plan, set it in motion and remember what it is while never forgetting we run to win medals and earn a living. Let everyone play their roles, maintain the brain trust, they will love you when you win in August. My mantra right now, "It is FEBRUARY!" Keep it in pocket.
Oh so none of you feel slighted, good work to everyone doing their thing indoors, more than one way to success.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Yesterday the Project 30 report came out and the track world is abuzz with talk about USATF reform.
I will read the report today but my insatiable need to summarize has me speaking on it now. And later.
I read an article from the Register Guard in Oregon and the author summed up a feeling I had, the teleconference, and the various articles I have read tell me that the same opinion held before the report was confirmed by the report. Not to say this is impossible, but it comes off as more of an affirmation of preconceived notions rather than a genuine conclusion of the findings.

The relay program is recommended to be scraped and replaced with the same program that preceded it, which is what led to the call for a new program. Come on!

More after I

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Kid

He is 4 now. And he is a spark plug. He goes and goes and goes. His mum is wishing for an on/off switch after 730PM, and that is the exact time he gets going. Now our place is not huge but it is not small either, I know because he runs and hops all over it. LMAO He is a ball to watch, he enjoys life, not like a kid but like a free spirit. He is an only child and needs no one to entertain himself (like his mum and grandma). He does the things I used to think about when I was his age, to embarrassed or reserved to let people see me "act a fool". Hahahahaha. That's my son Jaden, and I never want him to change he is too much fun. He can sing/rap/dance in just one show.

We finally got some rain, I am not amused, entertained or happy. 2 things I do not like, rain and cold, and it has been both. However, it has provided a natural break in training. Just in time for a transition in cycles. ;)

While the Cardinals could not pull off my predicted upset (so close), my Lakers have run through the NBA this week. We are the team to beat. Just like the good old days (that would be the 80s for you youngsters). I could not resist texting Paul Doyle bright and early Friday morning. Shout out to Shawn Crawford for having court side seats right behind the Celtics bench, and Steve Hooker.
Now I wait for the playoffs because that's all that matters to me.

Good luck to all you indoor runners, stay healthy.