In this edition of the Central Virginia Sport Performance Podcast 2015 Presenter and Baylor University’s Director of Applied Performance Andrew Althoff discusses his role as Applied Performance Director.  His unique perspective based on his background and the culture of the department bring to light some key points that anyone look at different measureables can take and apply today.  How he sees the different values in the data, how he interprets it and communicates it to sport coaches is gold in and of it’s self.  He ends with what we can expect at The 2015 Seminar, and it is sure not to disappoint.  I hope you enjoy the discussion as much as we did.  Andrew is one of the best guys in the game.  He’s truthful, open, upfront and honest.  I can’t wait for him to be here in July.


Today I take great pride in introducing our final presenter for The 2015 Seminar, University of Houston’s Cross Country Coach Steve Magness.  Coach Magness is the author of THE book on running, operates an amazing internet educational source (, and is a PhD candidate.  His extensive background in coaching and research, combined with his desire and fantastic ability to share complex information makes this addition an absolute home run.  I hope you are as excited as we are for the addition.  

If you could, please give our readers a little background information about yourself, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available and/or notable publications.
SM 1SM: I’m currently the cross country coach at the University of Houston and coach 10 professional middle and long distance runners training for the Olympic trials. Among my most accomplished athletes, I’ve guided Brian Barraza to a 13th place at the World Junior championships, Sara Hall to top American and a 20th place at the World Cross-Country Championships, Jackie Areson to top 15 places at both the world indoor and outdoor track championships, and 8 other athletes who have qualified for the Olympic trials or US championships in events ranging from 800m to the marathon.

From an academic standpoint, I have a M.S. in Exercise Science from George Mason University and am currently working on my PhD in the same thing from the University of Houston. Additionally, I am a columnist for Running Times magazine, and wrote the book The Science of Running.

JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.

SM 2SM: The biggest mistake I see is the application of a program without fully taking into account or understanding the demands of the sport. Since endurance coaches and strength coaches generally come from different perspectives, what I see from both sides is that they see the world through their own biased perspective. Essentially, they try to fit the athletes into their program, instead of fitting the program to the athlete.

JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?

SM: Read as much as you can in as many subjects as you can, while at the same time talking to anyone who is doing smart things in any field. As coaches, we need to develop a BS filter, and that comes about from being exposed to and understanding a wide variety of topics. One of my mentors, famed sprint coach Tom Tellez, always told me that you need to read as much as you can, until it finally clicks one day and you can tell if the person knows what they are talking about or not within the first sentence. The second thing is expose yourself to people who are passionate about what they do and striving for innovation. Even if it’s outside of your sport, there’s so much to learn from other people. You’d be surprised how many concepts translate from one domain to another.

JD: Please discuss your educational process, and how it has brought you to where you are today. What resources did you find most beneficial in pointing you in the direction of how you prepare athletes today?

SM 3SM: I started with a traditional education and still am involved in that area, but much like Nassim Taleb points out in his book Antifragile I think you learn more if it’s from things that you choose to learn about and not in a traditional academic setting. So my process has been, first learn the basics/classics of your sport. Second, learn the history of how the coaching methods got there. It allows you to understand how we got to where we did in terms of training design. Then, branch out. Read and learn from seemingly unrelated sports or fields and figure out how to connect it back to your sport. All the while, keep a slight foot in the door of your sport by seeing what the latest research is saying. I simply set up an RSS feed so that any journal article that comes out mentioning endurance performance is sent to me so I can stay up to date. In summary, get the basics down, find out how we got there, and then branch out while still keeping a foot in the door of your sport.

JD: What should our readers and attendees expect to see in your presentation at The 2015 Seminar?

SM: I hope to challenge your thought process and make you think. I’m not going to simply tell you what I do in terms of coaching and training, but instead I want you to understand the process I go through. If you understand the process, then you can apply the concepts to your own coaching.

More on 2015 Presenter Steve Magness:

SM 4Steve Magness joined the University of Houston cross country and track and field programs as an assistant coach with his hiring in August 2012. He serves as the Cross Country team’s head coach.

In cross-country, Magness has helped turn the program around, led by Cougars Brian Barraza and Yonas Tesfai. Barraza became the fastest UH Cougar over 10k in XC school history with his national qualifying 4th place finish at the South Central Regional in 2014. For the past two seasons, Magness has had three individual All-conference performers each year .

On the track, Magness has led the Cougar middle and long distance runner’s to a new level. In three years, the Cougars have had 7 school record breaking performances, including Yonas Tesfai’s 1:48.40 800m, Brian Barraza’s 8:04 3k and 13:56 5k. Showing depth, his student athletes have re-written the school record books with 26 performances in the Top-5 All time for UH.

Off the track, Magness’ squad has excelled in the classroom. For the first time in school history, the men’s and women’s Cross-Country teams received NCAA All-Academic awards, while Brian Barraza became the first Cougar since his coach in 2008, to

In addition to his collegiate coaching, Magness has had immense success at the professional level. He has coached 4 athletes to top 20 at the World Championships; including Jackie Areson (11th-2012 World Indoor Champs, 15th-World Outdoor champs, Sara Hall-20th 2015 World Cross-Country Champs, Brian Barraza-13th World Junior Champs, and Ciaran O’Lionaird- 2012 World Indoor Champs). Magness continues to coach several professional athletes. Most Notably is Sara Hall who placed 20th at World XC championships and has been a 7-time USA top 3 finisher in events ranging from one mile to 25k under Magness. He has also worked with 3:56 miler and 3rd place finisher at the USA indoor championships in the 3k, Tommy Schmitz and 3:58 miler, 13:38 5k runner Jake Edwards. More recently, Magness has begun working with several athletes who have qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the marathon, including Lauren Woodring, Carly Seymour, Whitney Bevins, and Zach Hines. Magness also works with former NCAA champion, Josh McDougal, 2:00 800m performer Lea Wallace, 8:40 steepler Felix Hentschel, and 15:25 5k runner Neely Spence.

Magness joined the Cougars after spending a year and a half working for Nike as a coach and scientific advisor with several of their professional runners. During this time, Magness assisted with athletes who came away with gold and silver medals at the 2011 world championships and 2012 Olympic games in London. While in Oregon, Magness was responsible for coaching several elite runners including, Irish miler Ciaran O’Lionaird who recorded an indoor personal best of 3:54 for the mile, as well as an appearance at the 2012 World Indoor Championships. Magness also worked with Israeli steeplechaser Itay Magidi, and Olympic trials qualifier in the 3,000m steeplechase Lindsay Allen.

Prior to working with Nike, Magness coached at the high school level, guiding Klein Oak HS runner Ryan Dohner to a state championship in the 3,200m run, and an 11th place finish at the Nike Cross Country National championships. Magness had 8 different athletes who went on to compete at the collegiate level.

Magness competed his freshman through junior years at Rice University, where he was the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and a regional qualifier in track during the 2003-04 season. In 2004, Magness qualified as an individual to the NCAA cross country championships by placing 5th at the south central regional meet. In his senior season (2007-08), Magness ran for the Cougars and finished in the Top 10 at the Conference USA Championships and was 11th at the NCAA South Central Regionals, missing making nationals by .08 seconds. For those efforts, he was named to the C-USA Academic All-Conference and the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic teams.

As a prep, Magness ran under Gerald Stewart, where he won the State Championship in the 1600M and set a state record in the event. As a high school runner, Magness competed against some of the world’s best at the Prefontaine Classic, recording a time of 4:01.02, which still stands as the 8th fastest high school mile time ever run in the U.S. Magness was also part of the fastest high school Distance Medley Relay team in the nation in 2003.

Magness holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Houston in 2008 and a master’s in exercise, fitness, and health promotions from George Mason University in 2010. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Exercise Science from the University of Houston. He is also a columnist for Running Times Magazine and a frequent contributor to Competitor Magazine and Meter magazine. He has been in to articles published in Runner’s World, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New Studies in Athletics, Wired, and the International Journal of Athletic Training. Finally, in 2014 Magness wrote the book, The Science of Running.


In this edition of The Central Virginia Sport Performance Podcast University of Iowa’s Landon Evans gives us a peek into the recent developments inside the Hawkeye athletic department. Coach Evans discusses the athlete centered approach being developed in their department, the evolution of the strength and conditioning staff at Iowa from interns up, and how all this plays together with his teams. I feel that we all can agree that an athlete centered model is the way of the future in athletics, so to hear first-hand from people on the front line of this professional evolution is fantastic. I hope you enjoy the talk as much as I did.


In this edition of The Central Virginia Sport Performance Podcast University of Wisconsin’s Jim Snider holds no punches. Snides dives right into how he is training the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams at Wisconsin, what this specific GPP block is geared towards, physical results he sees, and how he sees the results through the different hats he wears. This talk is FULL of awesome info that you can take home and utilize with your athletes TODAY! Even though it’s just a brief snap shot of what he does with his student athletes it is a HUGE view into why we wanted Jim on the docket and why I’m so excited to hear what he has to say come July. I hope you enjoy the talk as much as I did.


Introducing 2015 Presenter, Virginia Tech's Dr. Mike Gentry

Introducing 2015 Presenter, Virginia Tech’s Dr. Mike Gentry

I am extremely excited to announce our final speaker for The 2015 Seminar, Virginia Tech’s Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Performance, Dr. Mike Gentry. Dr. Gentry’s reputation is preceded only by his tenure at Virginia Tech. The author of A Chance to Win: A Complete Guide to Physical Training for Football, Dr. Gentry’s background as an author, coach, and PhD brings a huge addition to The Seminar. The following is his bio from CSCCa MSCC Class of 2003 page:

Dr. Mike Gentry begins his 24th season as the Hokies’ director of strength and conditioning. As assistant athletic director for athletic performance, his duties include overseeing the strength and conditioning training of athletes in all 21 varsity sports at Virginia Tech. He is directly responsible for the physical training of the football team and is the administrator for the sports nutrition program and sports psychology program within the athletics department.

A native of Durham N. C., Gentry received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Western Carolina University in 1979 and received his masters from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981. He received his doctorate in education; curriculum and instruction, from Virginia Tech in 1999.

Gentry worked as an assistant strength coach at UNC and as the head strength coach at East Carolina University from 1982 to 1987, prior to coming to Virginia Tech in 1987.

In 1995 and 1996, Gentry was recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a finalist for the National Strength and Conditioning Professional of the Year. Coach Gentry has a son, BO, 20, a Virginia Tech football player. He is married to the former Wendy Ann Williams.

A fantastic addition to an already superb line up. We welcome Dr. Gentry to The Seminar, are hope you are excited to hear what he as to offer as we are.


It’s always a thought provoking converstation when Cal Dietz is involved, and this fantastic interview with University of Minnesota Strength and Conditioning Coach and 2015 Presenter Cal Dietz is no exception. In our 20 minute talk, Cal dives into athlete monitoring and how he has used Catapult and Omegawave with his athletes, and the results he has achieved. I couldn’t be more excited to have him involved with The Seminar again.

VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH 2015 PRESENTER, University of Missouri’s Dr. Bryan Mann

Like every conversation with Dr. Bryan Mann, today’s podcast is full of amazing insight. Dr. Mann walks us through his soon to be published piece looking at stress and how it impacts the risk athletes have of becoming injured. The findings are really fascinating, and will without a doubt impact how I handle my athletes in specific times of the academic calendar. I hope that you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.


In a fantastic discussion, 2015 Presenter, Michael Regan discusses his career voyage that brought him from Australia to The US and back, and how sport science is different in Australia, what role he see’s it, and how they look at data to help the club as a whole.  It was a really fun, interesting conversation that I hope you enjoy as much as I did.



An awesome video podcast with 2015 Presenter Dr. Ben Peterson. During our discussion Ben dives into monitoring, ways we can make it more efficient, and the things that he looks at when discussing monitoring with teams. Every talk I get to have with him is always enlightening, so I really hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.


Making his second appearance at The Seminar is Dr. Vladimir Issurin.  Most notably recognized for his method of Block Periodization published through Ultimate Athlete Concepts (Vol 1, Vol 2), Dr. Issurin also has an extensive background working with athletes, ranging from 3 Olympic cycles of scientific adviser and head of the scientific group for the USSR Olympic canoe/kayak, and two more as a team leader of Israeli kayak and swimming national teams.  With over 150 publications on top of his Olympic coaching and management experience, his wealth of knowledge raises the bar for this symposium up one more notch.

JD: Could you please give your coaching background and your own athletic career?

VI: I had extensive practice as the swimming coach from 1965 until 1972 working with juniors, adult members of regional team (Leningrad) and several top-level athletes.

My own athletic career was very successful as the junior winner of Leningrad championships and several All-USSR competitions. I was less successful as an adult (champion of Leningrad, finalist of USSR championships), but more successful as a masters (many-fold champion of Israel in different age categories). Presently I practice 5-6 swimming workouts per week.

JD: Where did Block Periodization originate and with whom?

VI: I clarified in my book that Block Periodization was proposed by myself in cooperation with the head coach of USSR canoe-kayak team Vassili Kaverin at 1982-84 and first published in 1985. Approximately at the same time the similar training versions were implemented by A. Bondarchuk and G. Touretsky (personal coach of A. Popov and others). My concept and its clarification is very different from the published version of Prof. Verkhoshansky.

JD: How has Dr. Zatsiorsky influenced your career?

VI: I have maintained close contact with Prof. Zatsiorsky since 1971, when I had been a PhD student. He gave me excellent pattern of magnificent intelligence, open mind, wisdom, common sense, honesty, friendly attitude, and positive humor. His influence on my scientific style, human priorities and values is really great and I extremely appreciate his warm attitude and long-life friendship.

JD: What can people expect from your new book?

VI: My new book is almost ready; it consists of three extensive parts:

1) Basic concepts of athletic preparation (terms, principles, effects, training   transfer).

2) Fundamentals of planning and training designing (traditional and alternative training theories, new studies in this domain, talent, sport longevity, junior training).

3) Innovative approaches to athletic performance and training (concurrent and post-activation potentiation, psycho-physiological technologies, artificial environment and virtual reality training, electrostimulation and vibration training). I plan the book to be oriented towards coaches, training analysts, students and curious athletes.

JD: What can people expect from your presentations in Virginia?

VI: I suppose my lectures will be devoted to various aspects of Block Periodized training and, perhaps, some innovative approaches to training and performance. The final version will be coordinated with Coach DeMayo.

More on 2015 Presenter Dr. Vladimir Issurin:

Dr. Vladimir Issurin

Dr. Vladimir Issurin

Prof., Dr. Vladimir B. Issurin serves as a scientific and professional coordinator of the Elite Sport Department of the Israeli Olympic Committee at the Wingate Institute. He completed his undergraduate studies in Sport Sciences and his Ph.D. dissertation on aquatic motor fitness and movement technique of swimmers in the Leningrad Sport University (1963-1972). His post-doctoral studies on motor/ technical sportsmanship in individual water sports were completed at Moscow Sport University (1988). He served as a scientific adviser and head of the scientific group for the USSR Olympic canoe/kayak team during three quadrennial cycles (1978-1991) and earned two government awards.

Since 1991, professor Issurin has lived in Israel and works as a researcher in the Sports Science Department (1991-94), is a professional consultant and coordinator of the Israeli Olympic National teams (since 1992), and lecturer at the Wingate coaching school and Wingate Physical Education College. He was advisor of 21 Ph.D. dissertations in the theory, physiology and biomechanical branches of sports training. As a member of the national Olympic delegations he took part in five Olympic Games; twice as a team leader of Israeli kayak and swimming national teams (2000 and 2004). He has over 150 scientific articles in national and international journals and in edited books and given over 50 international presentations.

He has lectured at universities and coaching forums in Athens, Bangkok, Florence, Ghent, Gijon, Göteborg, Grand Rapids (Michigan), Jyvaskyla, Kiev, Köln, Leuven, Lisbon, Madrid, Magdeburg, Moscow, Palma de Mallorca, Pontevedra, Poznan, Prague, Riga, Rome, St.Petersburg, Sofia, Tashkent, Tallinn, Vilnius and Volgograd. He has authored or coauthored 9 books. He has received honorary awards of the Olympic Committees of USSR, Bulgaria and Lithuania. Dr. Issurin is a member of the International Informatization Academy associated with UNESCO. He is an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness and reviewer for the scientific journals, Sports Medicine and European Journal of Sport Sciences. Currently his research is focused on the methodology of high performance training and further development of the original coaching concepts for elite athletes. He is a multi-champion of Israel in masters swimming.