• Coach Sooty

#EveryDayIsLegDay ... ???

The world is becoming full of memes, hashtags and 'one-liners', and unfortunately less about understanding, critical thinking and compromise. So today we examine some of the more famous, the most popular and most frequently used sayings:

"Second place is the first loser" ... is one of the oldest phrases around. it was popularised in speedskating by "Hyper Wheels" who were the "Matter Wheels of the '90's". I used to live and die by this phrase in my 20's, I had it on my wall at home and truly deeply believed in it (before I knew any better). And while technically this statement is true, it's not something you want to base your training philosophy, racing philosophy, coaching style or race evaluations on. In fact, from a sports psychology perspective it's crap. (Demanding perfection is detrimental to most athletes' performance arousal curves). And from a "sports development" perspective it's also crap. (If a race/sport/club/team/group has 100 people in it, and if second place is the first loser, then this means that in this race/sport/club/team/group you have 99 losers and one winner, so you sport is not going to grow as many people will be leaving if you focus on THIS truth.)

"Go hard or go home" ... Well, I've actually heard a club coach say this to a young skater (who qui the sport a fe months later - sport growth?). Of course, some training sessions do have to be hard, but to issue an ultimatum of "Go hard or go home" is at best 'a little harsh' and at worst 'a complete lack of understanding, empathy and communication skills' by the coach. I actually heard this once said to a new adult skater (only been on skates 2 years) as a justification for the new skater to be 'running stairs' for 45 mins, doing an hour of 'plyo' and 'making it burn', BEFORE they went to skate practice... by the self-appointed un-educated but ""experienced coach"" . Hm..... WHAT!

"No pain, no gain", is probably the phrase that I hate the most. Why? Because it just plainly not true. It's wrong. It's bullshit. And here's how.... If, as a part of my training program, I do a 3 hour ride on my bike in Aerobic zone 1 + 2, knowing that this is building my aerobic capacity, and it is activating and stressing the fat burning energy system in my body, then I know this is making me fitter, however, there is no pain involved, in fact, it's quite pleasant, a nice bike ride with friends out in the sunshine. So in other words, there is gain without pain (if you train smart, and you understand the science behind training, and you're not just slamming your body every day in the hope that you survive). Another example is if you enjoy doing core training and working on balance skills, and co-ordination skills, then there is definitely A LOT of gain without any pain at all. And all technique work is without pain, and this definitely make you faster. In fact, most of our training, practice, and development in such a skill based sport is without pain. Yeah for sure, two to three times a week, it's gonna be pretty damn hard intervals, and toward the end there is going to be some pretty hard moments, painful even. But there is a big difference between training 'pain' (normally called discomfort), and actual PAIN like injury pain.

Last but not least, #EveryDayIsLegDay. The great Joey Mantia picked up on this bodybuilding phrase a couple of years back and popularised it on social media, Mantia T'shirts and merchandise. It's a really catchy phrase that epitomises how hard our sport is and what you have to do to get to the top. The spirit of this phrase is so cool. And in a way I love it. But I also wonder how many people are actually taking this literally, and are getting in to at least 'over-reaching', or maybe even 'over-training'. In my humble opinion, if literally every day IS leg day, then sooner or later you are gonna be in to over training, or injured. Now, before Joey, and other world class athletes, start writing me an angry email, I think I should explain; There are exceptions: If you are extremely genetically gifted (lucky you), and have trained progressively over the past 15 years and your legs are extremely well developed and completely used to the increased volume, AND you have a very well designed training program that periodises the different types of training load and alternates training types, and maybe if you count a recovery bike ride as "leg day" even though it's not that hard because it's recovery intensity. .... then yes, maybe for you as an individual every day can be leg day. But for 99% of skaters, it's probably not advisable, and let's not base our coaching and sports development on this sentiment.

Anyway, enough of the science and logic, that's boring! 😜 This hashtag is cool as hell. Use the hell out of it! 😄

"Let's go faster"

Coach Sooty

p.s. I did write to Joey to ask permission to use his picture, and get approval for the article, this was his awesome reply; "Haha love it. I really like that you pay attention to the sports science side of our sport and take the time to explain things in detail. Feel free to use any of my stuff for your articles."

What great guy. :)


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