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How to Lose an Argument, but Think you’ve Won

A few months ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine that began in lighthearted fashion. We exchanged pleasantries, as you do, asked about each other’s family, as you do, and then began the slow transition into a more esoteric conversation about our common interest – football. What transpired next was one of the more interesting conversations I have had in the last year. However, it wasn’t interesting for the reason’s you might think. We didn’t learn anything new, we didn’t make each other laugh, and for all intents and purposes – at a certain point we probably didn’t even know why we were still on the phone. The reason why it was the most interesting conversation I have had in 12 months was because my friend totally, utterly, and stubbornly disagreed with me on a topic and I totally, utterly, and stubbornly disagreed with him. The topic doesn’t really matter for the sake of this article, what matters is that the conversation quickly transitioned from one of pleasantries and “how do you do’s?” into one of curse-words and “Nope, you’re wrong’s”. As I reflected on the conversation, as I often do, I came across an idea, and a concept, that is much more interesting than the one we got up in arms about.

“Why is it so hard to have a difficult conversation? And, it’s not even the fact that it’s hard, it may just be impossible.”

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Objectivity, Subjectivity, and the Philosophy of Defending

I think, I feel, I believe… A pronoun and a verb that can only mean one thing: the person speaking is about to give you their opinion. I wish I had better news for all of us, but a belief is just something we wish to be true. We hope that it is true. But, the truth is that it is based on our experiences and our opinions that are filled with brain biases and inaccuracies. Unfortunately, the football world is full of opinions, but scarce on facts. When someone issues a statement that is based on their judgment, their point of view, or their opinion, that is called being subjective. When someone says something that is based on facts; that is called being objective.

In my opinion…”

“From my perspective…”

“It has been my experience that…”

Subjective. Subjective. Subjective. Subjectivity means that someone is just giving you their outlook, or their expression of opinion. But, these statements are incredibly biased, based on assumptions, beliefs, and are completely non-verified. In football, people develop concepts based on subjectivity, assumptions, experiences, and opinions. Coaches that develop concepts, or ideas, based on subjectivity are creating nothing more than the flavor of the month.

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Warm Up Manual: 10 Soccer Warm Up’s

This month one of our sponsors, SoccerSpecific, is giving away a FREE Warm Up Manual with 10 warm ups to get your players ready physically, technically, and mentally for your sessions. This manual was created by the US U17 National Team during their preparation for the 2015 World Cup. Get the full manual by clicking here and upgrading to a Premium Membership. This link will also give you a discount on the membership as a Just Kickin’ It Podcast Listener.

Soccer Specific Warm Up Manual 2

To get full access to the manual, follow this link and upgrade to a Premium SoccerSpecific membership.

DC Freedman: Campaign For Literacy

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In a recent podcast episode, we interviewed Dan “DC” Freedman. DC spent years working for the FA where he got to spend personal time getting to know the in’s and out’s of top level football. He traveled to the 2002 World Cup Finals and was able to gather insights from players like David Beckham, Michael Owen, and Rio Ferdinand. He spent time interviewing Cristiano Ronaldo, Sir Alex Ferguson, and Roy Keane. DC Freedman had access to football like no one else ever had before.

Fortunately, DC was able to share a lot of his insights with us on the podcast episode, but also fortunately, he was able to transform these experiences into a soccer novel series that has taken England by storm. Clubs, players, and organizations are using his soccer novel series to help fight literacy, one of DC’s biggest reasons for writing the book. It may be tough to get your child to read a typical novel, but now imagine asking your son or daughter, who is obsessed with the beautiful game, to read a book about a kid their age, working his way up the latter of youth to professional football. The series is an incredible read and can be consumed by parents just as much as by kids or young adults.

For more on the series, visit http://www.jamiejohnson.org

Or check out these links:

Jamie Johnson Website

Sports Illustrated Feature 

About the Jamie Johnson Series

The Campaign For Literacy

If you would like to get involved with the series, as detailed towards the end of the episode, please contact
DC Freedman – Dan@DanFreedman.co.uk or Jason Sisneros – jmsisneros@gmail.com

Climactic Ending to a Revolutionary Beginning

The title of this article comes from my interactions with Raymond Verheijen and the World Football Academy. I wrote about Raymond before and how he has influenced me as a coach but after the World Football Academy expert meeting, which took place from June 6-12th, 2016 I felt compelled to start over in my coaching. Like other football/soccer coaches, I embrace learning new exercises, terms, and ideas to improve my abilities to increase the performance of players and teams I train. As we age, experience seems to be the main criteria of why coaches feel as if they know how to accomplish this task. However, Raymond has proven this theory incorrect and has shown me that this becomes the starting point for coaches when teaching the game, subjective opinion. I initially set out to understand Raymond’s work in fitness periodization and how to implement these concepts within training sessions and the annual team schedule. This journey began when I first heard of Raymond’s work in 2007. Since that time, with persistence and the expansion of the Internet I was given the opportunity to attend one of the most influential coaching education meetings of my life.

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Your best player isn’t your most important

Ask any coach about his team and before long he will be talking about their best player. They will tell you about their ability to change the game, the level of their game insight, and how their ability to beat players off the dribble is second to none. 

All of these things are great, but they didn’t tell you a thing about their most important player. That is because the most important player on any team has nothing to do with skill, accomplishments, or potential. And the most important player on your team isn’t the one that carries the piano and doesn’t get much credit. No. The most important player on your team is the LEAST talented. That’s right. The LEAST talented.

You see, if your least talented player isn’t pushing himself to get better or doesn’t have aspirations of getting on the field and playing for you, the rest of your team will sink to his level. They will adopt his recreational mindset of “why bother”.

If your least talented player is staying after training, asking you about what they can improve on, and constantly kicking and crawling to get into the travel squad. Then that player is going to push the rest of your squad up. He is going to force the rest of your team to constantly look to improve their own game.

Who is your most important player?

And is he pushing your team up or pulling them down?

NASE 2016 Conference

Co-Host of the Just Kickin’t It Podcast, Brian Shrum, has been asked to speak at the 2016 National Academy of Speed and Explosion (NASE) National Conference this May 13th and 14th, 2016. Brian will share the stage with the likes of Mike Young, Tudor Bompa, Carl Valle, and other huge names in the field of athletic development. For more information, go to http://www.naseinc.com and check out the links below.

NASE ’16 Conf Itinerary

NASE ’16 Conf Profiles

NASE Conf Flyer ’16

Are hormonal responses necessary when programming resistance training?

Resistance training is used each day for various reasons: aesthetic appearance, improved performance, sports competitions, rehabilitation, and a plethora of others.  In the following reviews, Schroeder et al., (2013), Crewther et al., (2006), and Kraemer WJ & Ratamess N, (2005), resistance training was analyzed for it’s acute responses and possible chronic adaptations to the endocrine system.  The hormones, testosterone (T), growth hormone (GH), insulin-growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and cortisol (COR) seem to elevate from hypertrophic resistance type training (e.g. 4 sets, 10-12 repetitions, moderate to high-intensity, and short rest intervals). (Crewther, Keogh, Cronin, & Cook, 2006; Kraemer & Ratamess, 2005; Schroeder, Villanueva, West, & Phillips, 2013)

The first review, by Schroeder et al., (2013) discuss contrasting viewpoints.  The authors’ of prevailing perspectives state, “hormones may not be “necessary” to stimulate …hypertrophy; however, as we will support…hormones are “optimal” for maximizing skeletal muscle anabolism and hypertrophy.”  The contrasting authors contend that hormonal responses, T, GH, IGF-1, are not necessary to stimulate skeletal muscle hypertrophy and yield little in the way of long-term adaptations. (Schroeder et al., 2013)  These contrasting viewpoints, supported by research, can provide more ammunition to bias that hormonal responses are or are not needed to improve skeletal muscle adaptations.

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Concurrent Training

Doctors, trainers, and coaches prescribe exercise protocols to increase performance within many disciplines (i.e. diabetes control, post-operative exercise).  Exercise protocols can be a litany of modalities stemming from endurance, strength, hypertrophy, or power.  The outcome goal for individuals or team elucidates the specific programming of modality needed.  Concurrent training is one such modality that incorporates endurance and strength training.

Concurrent training brings controversy as to whether both modalities can coexist and do not interfere with each training adaptation.  Fyfe, Bishop, and Stepto (2014) reviewed the current literature which suggests that combining both training methods will attenuate gains in muscle mass, strength, and power compared to undertaking resistance training alone.  In a meta-analysis by Wilson et al. (2012), effect sizes were compared for strength, hypertrophy, endurance, power, and concurrent training modalities. Interference effects of aerobic training are primarily body part specific because decrements were found in lower, but not upper body exercises (Wilson et al., 2012).  There are a plethora of variables that should be considered if concurrent training prescription is to be utilized.

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