SPS PCC Episode 003:  James Smith - The Governing Dynamics of Coaching - Part 2

SPS PCC Episode 003: James Smith – The Governing Dynamics of Coaching – Part 2



hello this is Derek Hansen for strength power speed calm and welcome to our third episode of our performance concepts chat in this episode we continue our discussion with James Smith on his new book the governing dynamics of coaching and we get into some controversial discussion about James's idea that the current strength and conditioning field should not really exist and he talks about how the sport coaches should have the knowledge to implement all aspects of athlete development team development including physical preparation and he brings up some examples in other fields other industries where this is already done where a head chef or somebody in charge of an orchestra has knowledge of all of the individual components and how to implement things on a very small scale but also has a broader more global view of everything so very interesting that we talk about a generalist approach as opposed to what's been turning into more and more specializations and James points out the the pitfalls of over specializing we talk about how to bring about this change and I think that's going to be the toughest part is changing people's ideas and perceptions of how things should be done and creating this paradigm shift will be a huge challenge if James wants to see this idea move forward and then we transition into a discussion of topical area right now this idea of mental toughness created through physical punishment grueling workouts and James brings up some very pertinent points about why he doesn't feel that this is a valid way of pursuing this end so I hope you enjoy our discussion and I think we'd like some more feedback on what James is brought to the table here but please enjoy your discussion with James Smith so James why should we end the role of physical preparation or strength and conditioning coach yes so we ask ourselves what is the most holistic representation of the relationship that could exist between coach and athlete through the mode of preparation and the answer must equivocally be the the type of relationship that is built upon the same premise as nearly any other successful relationship which is one that is not factionalized in its administration and so we conceptualize this coach who from beginning to end maintains contact with that athlete so as you go through a day of preparation regardless of what the domain is what the sport is if there's a field if there's a track if there's an ice rink if there's a ring that there's an octagon if there's a pitch or whatever you go let's say from the competitive arena to some supportive arena is it a room with weight training equipment is it a room with physiotherapy t'k equipment it doesn't matter what what the resources are it's you in that individual why because that individual is competent to coach you not partially globally in the same way that the competent chef could cook any part of the meal any set of ingredients that the competent builder goes through any facet of the building process unassisted and the only instance in which we have to enter complexity to this situation is if there's the logistical need so if we have if it's not a single sport athlete so it's not just the one athlete what if it's a team athletes is it logistically feasible to have one coach for you know 53 American football national football league players well that's not very logistic ly feasible it's certainly not optimal so what does that mean well we need to have more coaches but the same rules apply there's more coaches yet each one of those coaches is responsible from beginning to end of being with that athlete no matter what the preparation consists of and thereby amending in one example only the dysfunction of the strength coach community by virtue of its existence it it represents a divergence and an interruption of that relationship the the athletes for writer for wrong for better or for worse they have a sense that the coaches who govern the most specific aspects of their preparation demand their greatest attention you know right or wrong but there's an innate sense that if I'm an ice hockey player and I have a coach on the ice with me and he has knowledge of the kinematics and the kinetics of my stick handling and my skating etcetera if that individual immediately is gonna have some place higher in the hierarchy to most of those players then this other person who talks about what to eat or this other person who who tells them how to squat or this other person who does this other thing it's not that they dismiss this other person it's that their profession is stick handling shots on goal defense etc and you know you fill in the blank with whatever sport so if the individual is high character high discipline high work ethic they're gonna be a pleasure to work with for any specialist coach it doesn't matter we're not talking about them we're talking about what usually stereotypically is the most talented the most naturally skilled athletes they tend not to fit that profile they tend to be the ones who practice consistently hard they compete very well yet when it comes to for example lifting weights they're not necessarily the the champions of that they're looking to get out of some of it to do something differently why do I have to do this I'm already great at my sport that that is a stereotype amongst many of the most skilled athletes not although I'm speaking in generalities here now there is actually there is there's something correct about that inclination for the most skilled – to get what they want because there should be highly individualized approach taken and more importantly the the fact that they shifted hands that they're now longer in they're no longer in this exclusive relationship with the one coach now it's this polygamous entity in which case they get passed from one set of hands to the next and irretrievably separated in terms of specificity now from a philosophical standpoint I'm not making any argument for or against the concept that clearly there are valid reasons to to devote your attention to modes of preparation other than the most specific modes undoubtedly so however from the athletes standpoint it is it is true that there can be no greater effect on the improvement of skill advancement then measures that serve to advance skill specifically by way of sensory motor aptitudes and then neuro physiological processes associated and the psychological linkage etc so if we eliminate the strength in favor of an actual competent sport coach we preserve the relationship we preserve a greater degree of the relationship and the the that alone improves the culture and the thinking of those athletes of that population that tends to be the most high-performing ones that are not crazy about as soon as they get into the weight room now all of a sudden they're with that individual who they've gotten a strong relationship with based upon that person's most direct influence on sport results and it's preserved all the way through so now it's that same individual that then gets into these specialized modes of preparation that are not necessarily the most specific ones including some that are general and then in addition to the physiotherapy utak modalities so it's the same individual simply utilizing different resources so immediately there's a higher level of cultural galvanization that is achieved due to the preservation of that relationship and again we see an example of why this works in the most successful relationships for instance in a romantic realm you know Derek has been public with his interest in shifting to consulting part of which those interest is to spend more time with the family well what does that mean how do we define that what is happening with the relationship what were one facet of it is time exposure being in contact with another so this is an incredibly valuable commodity in order to enhance and enhance and amplify what is possible in any given relationship time time of influence and so one way of increasing the robustness of that relationship of the sports culture is to ensure that we define coaching competency one example of defining coaching competency is if you are to coach this athlete you you must thereby be in all modes of preparation but no we don't we kind of glorify like tapes from societal point of view don't we kind of glorify the specialist in the person who has expertise in this area and we probably don't give as much credit to people who are generalists like even in my example right like I want to spend more time with my kids I want to do more stuff with my family I want to do more stuff for my home and like you know somebody might say like well why don't you just hire somebody to do that who specializes in it where I'm I'm a little different I want to you know I want to learn more about other things I want to be more competent in different areas and I think that even has created problems within my involvement in sport because as a track coach I learned how to do all the therapeutic and Rehab modalities and all those things because out of necessity but also I wanted a hand in it because I was you know kind of what we're seeing everything and how am I supposed to make decisions on something if I don't have a knowledge the knowledge to make an educated decision on how that should move forward so that's right but it that's right I think like it's it's also been it's also hurting me because people are like hey you shouldn't have an opinion on rehabilitation or you know those types of medical issues because that's not your area like that's this guy's area yeah but that guy's not he doesn't have the same relationship that I have with the athlete and he doesn't know the history and so you're starting from the bottom again and that's right that's that's what was been frustrating for me is that I I like to think of myself as a generalist but that's not that hasn't gotten me you know any sort of accolades of being a generalist like and I think that's a societal thing or a cultural thing that maybe maybe we're moving away from that too much what are your thoughts on that well I agree with you and if we exclude the dysfunctional thinking of those who have been educationally misled then then all we can do is celebrate the fact that you have amassed a more global level of now in all realms pertinent to the endeavor of your athletes there there is no way to rationally criticise that the very introduction of a criticism specifically against the fact that you have knowledge in all relevant subject matter domains is intrinsically a problem of that person's flawed education I agree with you that it's prevalent in in in nearly all modes of hierarchy sport or otherwise that however does not give a single ounce of credence to its efficacy so in simple terms I agree with you that that mode of argument is common yet it's also completely wrong let me give you some examples of the time that it can take for for wrong ideas and bad explanations to actually be amended and in a wholesale corrected such that everyone is the wiser so I gave examples in in in one of my book promotional videos of Aristarchus who made the first heliocentric observations something on the order of three was 327 300 something years BC the first heliocentric observations which is to state the first observations that the earth different from what the church was proclaiming is not the center of our galaxy about which all other planets orbit rather the Sun is the center this was in 300-something BC fast forward almost 2,000 years to the late 1600s when Galileo due to his advancement of lenses for the telescope was able to to simply present the evidence that this is in this is in fact true what my friend Johannes Keplar and going back to Aristarchus have been saying just take a look through the telescope and you'll see that the Sun is the center and all other planets are orbiting around it well that this was in the the the mid late 1600s that got Galileo house arrest in fact he had to renounce his own views just to save his own life that it was only because he had such respect already from the community in the church that he was given how the rest as opposed to some form of execution it's insane but that's the truth of it that's what happened so that's nearly a two thousand year gap between initial observations of the immutable truth and what still had yet to to instantiate as the truth yet a moral more and more we're becoming aware and ultimately leading to the knowledge and we could go through so many other examples of that over time where you had the initial set of conditions in which the problem was identified and solutions were offered and then hundreds if not thousands of again the example I'm giving here is almost two thousand years so so here you have myself and anyone else in this year stating this is the dysfunction most coaches are not globally competent this is flawed there should be a single architectural blueprint amongst which all no muscular structural loading is based upon etc etc etc will it be two thousand years before you know probably not because the rate of information sharing in technology and so far and if for no other reason then I'm I'm not suggesting something that is previously not existed I'm simply saying look to your left into your right into the most successful restaurants and the most successful builders and small business owners and orchestral conductors all these examples that I give in the book with quotes from these people and so on it already exists it's existed for thousands of years in these other professions which predate the sport profession by thousands of years so this this is key to understand and it is it is only from this more global perspective can we possibly begin to engage in such a conversation because the myopic lanes of specialization detract away so again Derek that the problem is with the dysfunction of the industry here you are doing only what any competent chef general contractor or casual conductor scientists any competent individual simply must do intrinsically to demonstrate competence and only because there is so much misinformation floating amid sport education could could could not only that not be something that's honored but just the opposite in fact encouraging specialization creating more and more divergence and ultimately slowing the growth of knowledge yeah and I mean it definitely opens up a whole can of worms about you know how do again going back to the question of how do we convince people that this is the right way and that it is a noble cause and it was interesting I was watching I don't know if you saw that movie Snowden I thought it was really interesting I did but but going from there like and I wanted to discuss this idea of going back to your military training and your experience and some of the consulting you've been doing I mean there's an area where I would think it's difficult to change opinions I would think there's a thought process that is specialization and not necessarily looking at people who are generalists but I mean even call people specialists so what are your opinions on on what we can learn from that environment what your experience is what are the good takeaways what are some things we have to be wary of when we look at the military or tactical preparation so the first is is to understand the underlying dynamics that that umbrella the whole the whole operation so it's it's not that there's sport coaching and tactical leadership on either side of the fence if it's all the same thing I'm on the basis of those underlying dynamics or the governing dynamics in which case we we discuss universal principles so when the the main sections of the book which are culture psychology technique tactics sensorimotor biodynamic bioenergetic biomotor physiotherapy utak intervention so I've gone through big subject matter domain title headings there and said nothing that would lead anyone to think I'm talking about sport military or otherwise all I'm mentioning is the the collective aggregate of human intellectual experience the science of the brain the science of sensory recognition and motor operations the biomechanics phonetics kinematics dynamics mechanics medical all of which are pertinent to all things motion and the conscious entity that is governing the motion which one some of the manifestations of this are this sport that's for this military job that military job all governed by the same set of dynamics without exception so that's the first point of contention for example the so the consulting that I do with who are ultimately you some some of my best friends that are still in Special Operations in in speaking with with one individual in the training department there I was given the question what what sports would you most associate these these operators to and and how would you suggest that influences how they are prepared I said well I said first thing you're wrong to ask me that question because it's wrong to make an analogy to some other sports their specific objectives must be honored and installed as they stand alone and it's only a divergence that's that's created by it attempting to approximate their motion dynamics to some other athlete and I would give the same response to anyone in sports who if I was consulting with a mixed martial arts coach and they said to me well what other sport do you think is most closely relates that we could get ideas from I'd say well that's where you're wrong the problem we have to solve is the only limitations presented by any sport or any tactical direct objective the limitations are only presented by what is allowed and what is not so the rules the rules of engagement whether it's tactical or the rules of competition or the or in rugby the laws of competition those same as the laws of physics dictate what is achievable so it's another it's another exam both from physics and something that David Deutsch has talked about if if something has not been achieved yet yet it does not some some physical transformation is not has not been achieved yet yet it does not violate a known law of physics then the only reason it hasn't happened is either there's not enough knowledge or it violates some yet unforeseen so some some yet to be known law of physics that hasn't been discovered so knowledge is always the limiting factor once you understand the rules so the rules give us all the information we need to solve the sports problem so what are the rules and an example of how the strength coaching profession is absolutely backwards is because it's founded upon a set of conditions entirely independent of sports structure which is to state this science of this barbell exercise the science of this cardiovascular response to some breathing pattern the science of this motion with the body here that we do with this specialty device as opposed to what should have been the the collective aggregate education of sport coaching there never should have been strength coaching the sports coaching education should have been the problem of sport so what are the rules what's allowed that then dictates tactical possibilities what are tactics tactics are the physical instantiation of the operating mechanisms in the decision-making in real time of what's been studied analytically what's been developed psychologically what is achievable technically so how do we advance the technical execution of this well what sort of physical work is required so we work backwards and backwards and backwards from the problem I have a quote in the book from Jeff Bezos the CEO of Amazon who he talks about this exact same principle that they have this this system of working backwards from for product solutions and it's simply intuitive yet somehow it is it you know it escaped the the this this aspect of the sport profession that chose to take it to the direction from the APIs of the opposite direction it's it's it's confounding actually when one thinks of it that way so these governing dynamics apply the same it doesn't matter what the physical manifestation of is of it is a and the same dysfunctions that we've discussed so far in the sport industry exist in the military community the difference is that in my judgment there is much grander advancements culturally specific to certain special operations domains in which case the nonstop evolution of thinking is intrinsic for not only operational success but the preservation of lice and life and the the minimization of damage sustained that this cultural aspect I reference in the book and it's a based upon an article that I wrote a few years ago called the after-action review now now nearly any military unit is familiar with what an after-action review is however the way that it is executed in specific special operations one in particular unit that I have I'm most familiar with due to my the consulting I do and my friends in that unit is unique in out in in and of itself and it's a communication vehicle that is void of hierarchy so there is no hierarchy amongst all constituents of this meeting and it's a vehicle for criticism so it speaks entirely to what I referenced earlier regarding what Neil Turok has established at the African Institute of mathematical sciences and what David Deutsch has spoken about being the bedrock of new knowledge creation this this this vehicle of that criticism represents the after-action review is an example culturally of an opportunity to promote evolution and thinking due to the stage that it sets for criticism and no one's rank has any significance in this meeting now if we extend that more broadly it can thereby have an even larger impact on an operating unifier with an organization and and the more them the more broad version that I'm postulating here is something that I'm unaware of existing in any particular military or sport unit and as we go on down the line of what there is to criticize there's just as much to criticize in the military as there is in sport and for the same reasons in terms of that ironically with you know you could have units that that with great effect institute the after-action review yet outside of that still have a host of problems culturally despite the fact that they honor the concept of an after-action review so excuse me that that's an example of balkanization and it exists everywhere and the most that a governing minded globally minded individual could who is is monitoring all things in terms of physical motion and objectives that have some technical component tactical component whatever would be to gain a deeper understanding of the governing dynamics to therefore realize that it's it's simply analogous to first developing the knowledge then expanding the toolkit such that all you're simply doing is redirecting what problem you're going to solve solve with it yet these this governing knowledge remains the same James I'm gonna jump back away from the the military realm and kind of come back into the sports now you you touched on the the problem-solving process kind of working backwards in terms of what the constraints are of the the sports of the or the domain and trying to find a way that you can continue to advanced taking those into account now my experience with sportswear may be creativity is more encouraged or the expression of creativity is is fostered by the the nature of sport itself mainly slopestyle snowboard you find that the problem-solving process is more innate to the athlete or the coaches and a lot less formal and in my experience the advancement of those sports occurs at a much faster rate than it does with maybe more structured sports or sports that you're more calm that we're all more commonly aware of or exposed to like team sports now do you think you that that's maybe just due to the infancy of those sports where the growth happens a little bit more exponential and it levels off as it goes on or is there something that you've managed to see where the creativity does allow for that problem-solving to always be taking place so you said it and that as the tendency is that as infrastructure grows so do the the balkanized dysfunctions and so if the same economic backing was to go into snowboard preparation and institutes were developed all around and teams and organizations you'd see likely the same problems emerge due to the flaw of hierarchy it so Lawrence Peter the Peter Principle defines this in an in an amusing way actually because of the way that everyone sees how they're part of it who's part of a hierarchy so to summarize the Peter Principle defines Western hierarchy and the short of it is that people tend to work till they reach their own individual level of incompetence the the result being in in most Western hierarchical organizations that the highest level positions are occupied by people and capable of doing their work now this this feeds straight into the concern you have of freestyle or what not snowboarding potentially becoming the same juggernaut that for instance baseball is and and what might it look like at that point now there's no reason why the loss of that effective mode of problem-solving and that cultural the what makes that culture special by not fragmenting it in isolating aspects of communication at a necessary to solve problems there's no reason why that cannot be preserved preserved regardless of the economics the amount of people the infrastructure there's no reason why it cannot be cannot remain involved and while I do not have any direct knowledge my sense is that companies like Apple and Google are an example of this that have many employees in that foster a much more holistic open information sharing culture at least in comparison to so much of the flawed hierarchies that exist in education and support and business and so on so there's no reason why it cannot be sustained and as I indicated earlier the importance of the top-down you know the the tutoring that I supply to prospective head sport coaches the meetings that I have with owner as an example I I did some work privately with who at the time was the outgoing owner of one of the Premiership Rugby clubs and so this is the owner and and after after ya even know if it what it might not even have been a week of just us having conversations he said to me you know James head I only met you when I first bought the team that's an example of the fastest mode of of error correction is if it's being instilled from the top down what happens is that you have individuals that say that I consult with an assistant sport coach or a physical preparatory coach or a physiotherapist or a track coach or whoever and they're not yet they're lower in the knee in the operational hierarchy okay so now there's an event individual who's part of the organization who has the knowledge but they're they have the least advantageous position to affect the creation of new knowledge on levels above them due to the dysfunction of the hierarchy that's set in place in the first place alternatively if it's the owner or the executive or the director or the stake shareholders that people at the top who are then improved who then improve their knowledge in acceptance of this type of evolutionary it will be it's only evolutionary because it doesn't exist in sport as I said we can just point to our left our right you know the irony is that you know I could go into most fast-food restaurants and point to the supervisor as a person that this professional sports coach could learn from simply because of what that individual must have knowledge of in order to supervise the kitchen even though it's a fast-food restaurant that let alone some three-star Michelin rated restaurant so this is important to know and there's there's just no reason why would the way you characterized the culture of slope style snowboarders there's no reason why that cannot be preserved regardless of how big the sport gets outside of bad judgment and a lack of knowledge so in just to kind of stay on on the subject here one of the things that has driven the advancement of that sport has been the athletes themselves and in the way the day they perform new tricks and they problem solve in terms of how to improve their routines how can we kind of lay the ground what can we do to maintain that open information-sharing line bottom up and empower athletes to be part of the process so I would argue against the bottom up because that's a bit like saying I want to get from Miami to Vancouver as fast as possible and despite the fact that there's airplanes I'm gonna walk so that's it tell me how fast I can walk so that so that's why I would that's why I would argue against the bottom up simply because it's it's basically a request to make the best of a worst-case scenario so instead I'll give you the best of a best-case scenario which is that simply everyone is is given the opportunity to develop the the right knowledge as it relates to preserving what is already an excellent working model that is the unequivocal right solution that the athletes themselves first and foremost are are guided in towards towards those informational resources which are not encapsulated by specific sport specialties the you know the in the in the emailed art that you sent me earlier regarding you know some of the things we would discuss here yeah I actually I can't have it and I cannot have an intelligent conversation this is sort of an example I'm making to answer your question John I couldn't even have an intelligent conversation about the state of physical preparation or strategies used because I don't know the answer to that I I have enough to do with that profession ironically even though I worked in the profession for a period of years I never looked to that profession to advance my knowledge I what I looked to was what what are one or two of these track coaches or physicists or Executive Chefs or orchestral conductors I quite literally gained probably upwards of 95% of my knowledge of what to do in terms of coaching tactics from non sport related sets of influences and the reason why in my view that same opportunity must be preserved for all these snowboarders and everybody else is because the knowledge that exists that is pertinent to understand must not be riddled with bias by way of being interpreted by a medium which is to say a coach so all any coach can do is interpret as much as what is possibly knowable and more particularly if it relates to more fundamental knowledge all they can do is interpret that into their tradecraft combined with creativity etcetera they are an interpreter whether or not it's knowledge that they gained or if it's just received wisdom and they're copying somebody else they're an interpreter of orchestrating workload now the fundamental are the more fundamental areas of knowledge then go in to what is contained under the headings that I list in the book culture psychology technique tactics sensory motor baut dynamics bioenergetics biomotor constituents medical and physiotherapy utak interventions analytical and intellectual modes of discourse these are the governing dynamics under which the rabbit holes go very very deep the more you want to go down any particular lane of some subfield of psychology or some subfield of biochemistry or mechanical systems or Medical Sciences and no single individual can possibly be as knowledgeable in all fields relative to what is knowable today there's simply too much information today too much accessibility to it for any one individual to be the foremost expert on all of them the the best that can happen is that this leader who the competent head coach the best of it can have is a working understanding such that they are the ones most qualified to actually be the head coach so as it regards to the the snowboarders again simply ensure that from get-go the athletes are that the athletes are engaged in this type of conversation the the most that any of us could possibly ask for professionally is that athletes included is that the only limiting factor between us and us achieving what the cards have in store for us the only limiting factor is ourselves that's the most that any of us could answer that were not being hindered by a closed-minded supervisor or an authoritative coach or you name it but rather to be able to say to ourselves I am the only thing standing in my way no one is restricting me every opportunity is available to me every resource is open to me that's the most any of us could possibly ask for such that our own intellect and ultimately knowledge could be the only limiting factor so right down to the athlete that that's the possible situation and in a sports organization whether it's a it's a single sport Olympic cyclical athletes or team sport combat whatever that the leadership of that organization embodies these cultural attributes that instill ownership that it's still creativity that instill a culture of criticism in which everyone is subject to being criticized in the spirit of advancing new knowledge that's the most anyone could ask for in any professional environment sport being one of them now John and I are on the same page with you with a lot of this and have you encountered like when you described this sort of comprehensive approach or do people look eating you say like that's so pie in the sky that's so idealistic how could you even think that we could move to that like do you encounter that kind of resistance so not entirely because you know as you just said that there's any rational thinker could not possibly formulate an argument against a lack of intelligence being associated with what I just explained it it cannot be done all that can be done as prisons I was speaking with a head NFL and NFL coach a year ago having a similar conversation and similarly you know he was agreeing with the logic behind it but his question was okay James how do we do this so naturally and fair question indeed and that's what I'm you know that's what I'm supposed to have the answer to because I'm being paid as the consultant install so that's more of it it's the as I said earlier in our discussion it's there's the truth of it and people cannot argue that it's it's the it's the way that they're confronted with the fact that the truth is turning so much utterly upside-down relative to everything they've ever been told and everything they've been exposed to that's it's like converting from fossil fuels to more sustainable forms of energy right like there is a huge investment there's an infrastructure component behind it there's a cultural you know whatever there's there's financial barriers that's kind of the same hurdle right the same huge hurdle that's right and every paradigm shift and everyone who's been around at the time of a paradigm shift will would be able to speak to this same set of circumstances and this goes back to the beginning of human history so it's nothing new the you know this conversation it's it's it's nothing new yet the the means to the the speed in which 'evil evolution can occur we have a unique one could argue that we have a unique set of circumstances amidst this technical technological revolution due to the rate of information acquisition that can ultimately facilitate ideas and conjectures that can lead to new knowledge etc so this is a time like no other and as soon as quantum computers and the rest come into play that's just going to be another world changing event universe actually changing event and who knows what's gonna happen at that point but even now just simply the fact that we have the Internet is is hugely advantageous with respect to mitigating the differential this is the endeavour mitigating the differential between all that is knowable in all that one actually knows and by the way this is also the recipe for mitigating if not eliminating the possibility for regret so here's another universal principle I have not you know what I just said has nothing to do with sport or military or anything else yet it has everything to do with those endeavors and every other human endeavor in which case regret is a possibility so regret is only possible only possible in one set of conditions in which case objective thinking failed to be actualized at the point of decision-making if in any decision objective thinking is maximized which is to say that some reasonable level of attention was spent towards exhausting all that is knowable as it could possibly pertain to the outcome of that decision say if a reasonable effort is exhausted in order to gain that knowledge regardless of what the decision is in regardless of what the outcome is there's little to no regret possible resultant of that individual knowing that they exhausted this reasonable level of effort in making the most objective decision the the decisions and at we all have them that we regret in life without exception are utterly and absolutely related to a lack of optimized objectivity imparted in that decision-making process without exception now I mean you touched on this idea that the Internet it gives us this ability to connect and and spread the spread knowledge yeah you know John had got me a book what was it the signal annoys book was that the one when he talked about the printing press yeah the problem with the printing press was that it also allowed people to disseminate mass volumes of incorrect information as well do you see that I mean you see some momentum here like we talked about the physical preparation field and although you know you haven't spent a lot of time within that field you understand the challenges that that are being faced by that field and some of the momentum is is heading further away from what you're espousing here what are your thoughts on that indeed and and clearly one reason for that is the fact that the field shouldn't exist in the first place so yeah you have something that should not exist in the first place and now we're talking about the problems that it's experiencing so it's it's is that an infinite regress maybe that's a no that's if you kick it up a level and it still doesn't solve the problem so it's a conundrum inside uh what do they call it a paradox inside a conundrum inside us something else so the again so knowledge is always the limiting factor and as it regards physical preparation find me a motion problem that does not in and of itself consists of underlying physical mechanisms so the answer is you cannot so a torque force quite literally no human motion I mean no motion whatsoever eyelids blinking Digital flexion whatever no human motion is achievable void of some one or more muscles applying a torque force to some other bony or soft tissue segment so no motion is possible without some torque force being generated to mobilize our skeleton so then how can a technical preparatory measure that requires some facet of physical motion not be physical preparation likewise how can any mode of physical preparation not have a technical component in order to ensure its mechanical efficiency so everything is physical and everything is technical yet somewhere along the lines the the individual act the proper knowledge devised these balkanized analogies but that's the only explanation duh you know just to paste upon the example that I just gave you no find me any sport practice gross movement form or otherwise if that is geared towards skill focus technique focused in attempt to divorce what is happening from underlying physical components from the motor cortex affecting the peripheral segments of the body that are manifesting motion it's all physical it's all physical preparation but wait a minute it's all technical preparation because we cannot justify on mechanical flaw on motion so now where are we now what are we gonna call it so I just come back to sport coaching you coach this for it you coach that sport and that's the end of it and and I would challenge anyone to form an intelligent argument against the efficacy of which you know part of part of the argument cannot possibly be steeped in all but that's never gonna happen or what a chance does that happen that's a bad effort that's not a sufficient explanation the fact remains is anyone would be hard-pressed to offer a rationale counter argument against what I'm staying stating for a host of reasons only some of which you know we've discussed thus far okay so we're gonna finish big here and I just you know I want to get into this topic of mental toughness and I know you've talked about it in terms of you know specificity of mental toughness and all that and obviously the physical preparation side has kind of brought this into the fold that we're gonna physically punish people in order to make them mentally tough and we encounter that with sport coaches being that being their primary motive behind physical preparation is to make people mentally tough what are your thoughts on that again how do we shift the emphasis away from that to the appropriate area that you're talking about in your book and you know I mean that's that's has that's an entirely different area on its own that I think has taken over the field and there's people there's be other people within the field who know that that's an expectation of their job regardless of whether or not they want to engage in it or they think it's valid well look lo and behold another reason for the abomination of the existence of the field because mental toughness is science fiction so mental toughness is the Easter Bunny it it's spoken about and all sorts of different households of people in and out of sport say the word and no different from the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy let alone I start naming out monotheistic deities science fiction here here's why so again another another example of the abomination of the field as you said by its very determination being endeavored to solve this problem of it what's in fact science fiction here's the truth of it the there are an aggregate of psycho behavioral attributes that get in accurately glossed over with the term mental toughness in accurately so not only is mental toughness not real it's not an acronym nor is it an accurate word to consolidate a larger group of words whose specific understanding is utterly intrinsic in order to affect sport outcomes rooted in any deficiency they're in for example it if I let look well let's do it out in real time here if I say you know what you cannot use that word anymore because it's science fiction and we're grownups now and we're not gonna say that the Easter Bunny has anything to do with sport outcomes so use specific language Intel me what what psycho behavioral attributes are you referring to that some athlete would do well to enhance upon what would you say then it's a good question yeah I'm still thinking it easy yes so let's say confidence or assertiveness yeah well done though confidence is one of them so we have I'll just rattle off a handful you have confidence self-regulation focus under pressure emotional management tenacity aggression etc grit souls yes right so and an example that I've used is two divergent qualities resolve and aggression two that are highly intrinsic to any form of particularly combative sport whether or not one has pads on or gloves on or kicks or punches or tackles or whatever skates aggression and resolve so aggression is much more of an overcoming Act it's more of an it's more of an offensive act resolve which is defined by one being undeterred by setbacks has has much more to do with how one responds to error so but both highly relevant to a variety of sport and life applications and the the physical so we if we have our analytical intellectual discussion of defined aggression and define resolve okay then everyone develops some level of an understanding of it we talk about it more deeply to deepen our understanding and etc now it's they okay now let's put it into practice let us Institute physical motion in which the adaptation to dissin is increased aggression or increased resolve what will happen is those modes of physical instantiation will be very different very different in order to amplify the aggressive component or to amplify the resolve an individual possesses same as if we go down the line of ways of physically instantiating modes of irritants that will yield adaptive responses in tenacity in management of the motions in self-confidence self-control and so on and so forth so we by virtue of this what I'm saying clearly one must have a deep enough understanding of what they're actually talking about by by using the science-fiction word mental toughness thinking more specifically what am I actually referring to understanding that the definition of that cycle behavioral attribute and how to develop it mental toughness is not real and so the examples I again will do of will do a group think here so give me one sport and one profession that's not the military and not sports so one sport and one non sport non military profession both of which in your minds necessitates that an individual to be very successful either in that sport or in that profession in your mind they must will continue to use the Easter Bunny they must be mentally tough to excel in their respective professions so give me one sport and one non sport my dear my initial example of non sport it would be somebody whose like a soldier but look let's not make it that easy okay well how about say that say like nursing profession so you're like around people who are you know sick or emergency situations they have to they have to handle the stress of that situation they have to be mentally tough if they see somebody pass away and they have to come go back to work so that would be one that's right sporting the one that I you know and John and I had some experience with was was tennis we found that the tennis players that we had worked with were rather I'm not gonna say mentally fragile but like because every point you know you're there's so many points in a game and if you miss one point you could you know collapse and lose the whole set and you know I mean that was one of them there wasn't a physical combative sport there so the only other example that can maybe sort of think about is and in terms of defining that broader topic of mental toughness and breaking it down into more specific components would maybe be biathlon where you maybe have to you know manage your emotions and in terms of having any sort of negative association to the the effort that you're having to expend during the cross-country skiing part but then also how to be able to to settle yourself for the shooting components that would be my sport example so great and in fact we could pick any and sport and any endeavor but let's go with nursing and tennis or biathlon fine now we we have how do we be objective in the discussion of psychological preparation well we want to be able to work with quantities quantitative evaluation so lo and behold what type of quantities do we evaluate in order to determine someone's level of focus of emotional control well we we look at what a physiological stress reaction and how it is measured so we look at the quantities of heart rate blood pressure galvanic skin response perspiration respiratory rate so these are all objective quantities then we can measure very accurately so now if I present no controversy by stating no one would argue that the most astute trauma room nurse similarly to the highest performing on the world stage tennis player or by athlete each individual in their own domain if we're monitoring their physiology so the nurse in the trauma room in the in the arena the tennis player on the court in the Wimbledon the by athlete in the Olympics so each one of them and the grandest stage of volatility as it regards their discipline its uncontroversial to state that the highest performers are going to show the closest the the smallest deviations in a flat line if we think of the needle on a polygraph run an EKG we're expecting to see see the least amount of fluctuations in terms of changes in blood pressure heart rate galvanic skin response perspiration etc why because the individual is focused their undeterred they're ready to go so whether it's the nurse the tennis player the by athlete it doesn't matter its uncontroversial to state that their level of focus will be heightened and they will be impervious to all things happening around them outside of their control no no controversy there correct nope right now what happens if we switch their roles what happens if we take the tennis player in the biathlete and we throw them in the trauma room to assist this is the vascular surgeon and what happens if we throw that nurse who's never played Test tennis or the by athlete we throw them out on the core at Wimbledon and and out either on the the range or with them with the skis and the biathlon now what happens to those quantities that were measuring now all of a sudden we're monitoring a stress response because that by athlete doesn't know what to do with this ruptured femoral artery and this person is bleeding to death and that nurse has never played tennis before and they're about to be humiliated in front of you know a UT a viewing audience at 50 million people around the world now all of a sudden we're seeing these objective quantities being affected well what happened I thought they were mentally tough doesn't mentally tough mean focused doesn't mentally tough mean not having a panic attack when you're doing your thing so what happened is you're trained or you're untrained there's no such thing as tough and that's actually a quote from the movie man on fire with Denzel Washington in which he gives that lesson to the young girl in the swimming pool it that's the truth of it that a stress reaction particularly the greater the magnitude of these different quantities being disrupted from a focused state is the antithesis of what is inaccurately termed mentally tough there's no controversy in that so therefore mental toughness our toughness or whatever cannot exist you're simply prepared or you're not and that's the end of it we can plug and play with any profession we can go to the mixed martial artist or the wrestler and the Navy SEAL and the Marine Force Recon none of them are mentally tough they're simply trained for their discipline and it's for the same reason why that maybe SEAL who's never played tennis is going to show it stress reaction when they're out there just immediately thrust under the court at Wimbledon without any advance notice just the way that tennis player is gonna have a stress reaction when they're thrown in with a group of Navy SEALs getting ready to jump out of an airplane at 33,000 feet in the middle of the night with night vision so no one is mentally tough it's simply that the best of the best are well trained and then we associate the psycho behavioral attributes that are specific to that set of circumstances and so where we do have the commonalities shared between is the self-control the emotional management the resolve the focus under pressure now we apply that to all athletes all professions all military great we're using specific language none of which consists of the science-fiction term of mental toughness which is neither true nor accurate nor real yeah it was interesting watching that movie with Tom Hanks the one about the guy who landed the plane in the Hudson Sully cell yes yeah and that's a perfect example there I mean it was his knowledge and preparation it wasn't his skill it wasn't that he was mentally tough and quite honestly he had the skill to do it and I think he still suffered from some sort of PTSD after that you know but that and then the air traffic controller that was involved too you know that's it that's right that's right it's a hundred percent so it's again just another example of the misinformation because as you stated you as you stated this realm of physical preparation is consumed with this subject chasing the solution to this subject matter turns out what what they're the they're chasing the shadow there they're chasing the Easter Bunny what what do what the solution is is not for one particular factionalized element of the dysfunction dysfunctional coaching architecture to understand the head coach him or herself the fact that there are a specific set and proportion of psycho behavioral attributes that are most relevant to that sport or athletes are disciplined in question and those must be fully understood on the analytical intellectual level first in order to ensure that the instantiation of motion preparation that is intended to improve these attributes is in fact going to give you what you expect to see yeah and you're not chasing the Easter Bunny off a cliff which is it seems like what's happening to the detriment of the athletes that's that's correct well I think that's a lot of information James that I'm excited to get out to people and I you know once we post this I would hope there was some discussion that came from it you know we're gonna post it on a different a couple of different mediums here and just and see if we can get people to talk more about it because as you as you said you know we have to start advancing knowledge and we have to start changing the way we look at these things and it's gotta start somewhere and hopefully it doesn't take 2,000 years but you know this is a good start and I hope you get some more interest in your book and maybe you can even engage some of the people that kind of comment on this we'll figure out a way to do it well we'll do a follow up with you as well anything else to add John I I just then you know I'm I'm still thinking like and that's how I know that I've enjoyed this conversation is just I'm still thinking about how I could go about applying it and and how this conversation kind of affects my own thought process so thanks for all the information but one thing that I do want to make sure is that we get the information out there in terms of how people can get their hands on your book so can you give us some details on how they would go about that yeah thank you thank you very much the the title is the governing dynamics of coaching and it is available on Amazon awesome awesome so we'll we'll put that link up as well and if there's anything else we can do for you let us know and we'll definitely be in touch thank you very much for the opportunity to have this discussion Derek and John and it is discussion such as this one that if multiplied and and as rapidly as possible throughout not only the sports world but all professional cultures out there that that will serve to achieve the evolution that is so needed yes ma'am absolutely yeah we're gonna we're gonna keep in touch and let's I'm interested again just to see how everything is received so thank you very much yeah thank you so we hope you've enjoyed our discussion with James Smith on his ideas for the sport preparation field while you may or may not agree we'd still like to hear your feedback and you can get us at strength power speed.com you can also get us and twitter at strength power speed where there's no vowels and strength power speed and same on facebook strength power speed we'll also be posting this on youtube where you can provide some comments but most of all we'd just like to hear from you and i guarantee you we'll be talking with james very soon to review some of the feedback and see if he has any new ideas on how he thinks this can move forward so thank you very much for joining us on strength power speed calm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *