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Alan as Example

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  • Alan as Example

    Alan Thrall's progress and development, in a range of outcomes, since hiring Austin as a coach is instructive. Austin hasn't done this through force of personality or a dogmatic adherence to a particular canonical belief - it is a commitment to believing in the evidence and what is shown to work best.

    It is a good example of problem solving - simplifcation (stop trying to do 100 different things in the gym), focus (SBDP + variations) and quick error correction (RPE).

    It is also in sharp contrast to an over-reliance on things like eminence, charisma and personal experience. The opportunity to make informed decisions about what works best, using good quality evidence, represents a truer form of professional independence than an authority figure barking out their opinions. This isn't to say that being a good coach is just about unthinkingly following the numbers, but nor is it about following hunches or loudly and assertively repeating that your method 'works every single time'.

    Qualitative research, such as asking people about their experiences, can help give a better understanding of HOW and WHY things worked or failed, and it's also useful for generating new questions about what works best. But qualitative research is very bad for finding out WHETHER an intervention HAS actually worked.

    Alan also talks about how he's learnt the basics of 'how we know' what works from BBM. The Starting Strength assessment, while appearing at least to encourage some problem solving and long-form writing, is fatally undermined by presenting a completed canon of answers immune to skepticism or refute. Hopefully a BBM qualification will include participants being taught the basics of how different types of research are done, and the strengths and weaknesses of each approach on different types of question. Learning the basics of how research works is important, not because every coach should be a researcher, but because it allows coaches to be critical consumers of new research findings, which Jordan and Austin demonstrably are.

    Gathering good evidence, but being open and clear about the need for research when there is no good evidence to help us choose between interventions, leads to better outcomes and some SICK GAINZZZ.

  • #2
    Nice post, something different than the usual "what do?"