Season 4 Episode 12 PJ Vazel- “Improvisation is the most important skill for a coach

This week’s episode of The Podcast brought me back to some of CVASPS’s roots, talking training with one of the worlds the top and most forward-thinking track and field coaches, PJ Vazel. I’m a huge fan of PJ’s love for history and how it has impacted him as a researcher and a coach. Throughout this fantastic 35-minute plus conversation, PJ and I get into:

1) The role of fine arts studies leading him to dive into the history of sport science
2) Improvisations role in coaching, and why understanding your processes and goals are vital to being able to improvise
3) Where the Soviets were correct back in the day, and what has stood the test of time from their work
4) Specificity vs variability, where is the balance in this contradiction
5) How being calm and relaxed tends to lead to greater performance
6) Is it too strong or is it that the training leads them to be to tense?
7) What challenges are there when coaching “relaxation” with athletes
8) Talent identification, it’s challenges, and why it may come down to getting lucky

PJ provides such a fantastic perspective on the preparation of, and cannot thank him enough for being so open to share with us today. His understanding of history and the arts, and how it has formulated how he works as a coach is really awesome. I really enjoyed hearing how he looks at the history of training means and methods, the research behind it, and how he evaluates and implements that in his programming today. Make sure you give him a follow on the socials at X and Instagram @pjvazel. I really hope that you enjoyed this discussion as much as I did. As always, please share the show with someone that you feel could find value in it, and if you haven’t, I would greatly appreciate it if you subscribed to the show and left us a review on your favorite podcast player.

Who is PJ Vazel?

PJ Vazel is currently national athletics coach for France having coached sprinters, hurdlers, and throwers at each of the Olympics and world championships since 2004. He has been an IAAF correspondent and chronicler for Le Monde for a decade and has participated to scientific and historical projects in athletics.


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