Today we have the great pleasure to introduce our third presenter for The 2016 Seminar, Derek Hansen. Derek is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist that has been working with athletes in speed, strength and power sports since 1988. Originally working with Track and Field athletes, Derek expanded his services to assist athletes in all sports with an emphasis on speed development. He has since worked with some of the top performers in the world as a coach and a consultant – including Olympic medallists, world record holders, Canadian National team athletes, professional sports organizations and professional athletes from numerous sports. Locally, Derek has produced some of the top sprinters in British Columbia and continues to work with some of the fastest athletes in various sports.
JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about you, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available and/or notable publications..
DH: I really began my career as a sprints and jumps coach for Track and Field when I was a grad student. From there, I expanded my knowledge of speed development to athletes from other sports. I was fortunate to learn along the way in my career from great coaches such as Al Vermeil and Charlie Francis, formulating an approach to athlete development that has been quite successful. Other off-shoots from those relationships were forays into extensive use of electrical stimulation for performance and recovery, as well as unique approaches to hamstring injury prevention and rehabilitation. My consulting work with professional sports teams in the NFL, NBA and MLS, as well as NCAA Division 1 programs, has yielded extremely positive results, particularly from a strategic planning approach to overall athlete performance and recovery.
Most of my information and products can be found at my web site at www.strengthpowerspeed.com. We try to provide high quality information for people working in the field, with a number of experienced contributors offering their thoughts on various topics related to performance, recovery and health. I’m currently working on a plyometrics book for Human Kinetics Publishing that should be completed later this year. I am also working on a book and course curriculum on the subject of speed development that I hope to have completed for 2017.
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.
DH: For the most part, I think coaches are trying to do too much. Performance is not dictated by volume of work. It is determined by the quality of work performed during each training session. This is particularly important for the development of alactic qualities including strength, power and speed. However, we have been conditioned – perhaps as a function of human nature – to attribute fatigue and suffering as a desirable outcome for every training session. Head coaches always want to see people moving continuously with visible fatigue present all of the time. When I speak to strength coaches about speed development, I emphasize the need for optimal recovery times between repetitions. Recovery determines performance. If you are not recovered, you will not perform to the best of your abilities. More is not better. More quality is better.
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?
DH: My best advice to younger coaches that are seeking knowledge is to get out and form relationships with peers and mentors. It is one thing to read an article or book, or watch a webinar. It is quite something else to form a relationship with someone knowledgeable that you speak with on a regular basis on training philosophy and personal development. I can’t pinpoint one book or course that has changed my life or my outlook on training. But I can certainly remember conversations or personal experiences with certain mentors that have really had an impact on my philosophy and development as a coach and person. The articles and conference presentations should spark your interest to ask more questions and prompt you to reach out to that person so that you can learn more about a particular subject.
The second piece of advice I have is to observe the response of your athletes to your training inputs. I am probably my best and worst critic of everything I prescribe. I believe this makes me a better coach. If athletes are not improving, it falls back on me. How can I change the circumstances to yield a positive result? Why is one particular athlete not responding as well as other athletes that I have helped? Every interaction with an athlete should be perceived as a potential learning experience – an opportunity to improve yourself.
JD: If you could give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at The Seminar?
DH: I always try to bring an approach that is based around common sense. Is science important? Of course it is. But even science and research can be presented as impractical at times. In the end, I can really only convey what has worked for me under various circumstances. We can support some of these successes with scientific research. In some cases, there may not be any published research to support our methods. This is not because our methods are not grounded in science. It may simply be the case that nobody has embarked on research on that method. But I still believe we need to document and report our anecdotal successes. Others can try our methods and if they are met with success, I believe we can build a case for greater exploration and research into these areas.
Good training methods need not to be always validated by science. Otherwise, we would do a lot of sitting around and waiting, and training innovation would never take place. In my presentation, I am always trying to connect with the audience on common sense approaches that we can all agree upon. When people leave my presentation, I want them to feel that I have made their jobs easier and provide them with a more refined approach that will yield results. It should never be about making things more complicated. There may be a very complex rationale behind our methods, but the application of those methods should be as simple as possible.
JD: Any closing thoughts?
DH: I am really looking forward to connecting with people at the conference. My goal at these types of events is to present my ideas and then compare them against other practitioners’ experiences. My ideas are not static. I am constantly refining my approach and interacting with others helps me to constantly improve the way I do things. Collectively, I believe we can arrive at better approaches to athlete performance and health.
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