Monday, May 8, 2017

Begin with your inspiration | Paul

Begin with your inspiration | Paul

What is your inspiration?

What drives you to work endlessly with little to no effort & devote hours on end without ever noticing that the day slipped away from you?

If you are able to answer those two questions the hard part of planning a conference, retreat, or seminar is almost complete.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend several years learning how to organize and plan for successful speaking and teaching events and what I learned on the job those first few years was that event day success and participant engagement depended on the amount of detail and preparation that preceded the actual day. 

I put these lessons I learned down on paper so that those of you who are planning your first or maybe your next event can have the opportunity to be a little further down the path than I was . I'll share a few of my past struggles and failures along the way. (BTW there were more than a few....) The Guide is linked below. Best of luck. 

Guide to Successful Planning

The goal of this guide is to facilitate the planning of a successful event.

 Attention to details will facilitate the development of a cohesive flow of all aspects of the event and allow us to reach our goals.

 *What is the Desired Outcome of the event?
   The desired outcome of the event will drive how we answer organizational 
   questions and address each step of planning.

In this guide, we will fully develop the recommended steps for the planning and preparation of the following:

Attendees; Content; Speakers; Presentations; Manuals, Handouts, Downloads; Location & Facilities; Date(s) and Time (s) of the Event; Post Event Engagement of Attendees; Social Media and Website; Financing and Attendee Fees.

     Note: There are a few critical areas that deserve our utmost attention and directly influence how participants perceive their experience at our event.

 Who First?
When planning an event, we can choose from a few different approaches to planning.

 We have the option to decide on the desired outcome and develop the plan accordingly and then line up the individuals that are best able to help us achieve the desired outcome. Or we can develop the speakers & presenters list and let the team guide us in how to best use their gifts and abilities.

Now that we have determined what our desired outcome is we can focus on developing a profile of the intended participants. By knowing who our audience is we begin to understand the needs and expectations that they will bring with them to our event.

Subject Content
What is the event Theme?

            What are the KEY topics that fall under the theme?

Who First:
When developing an event, we can choose from a few different approaches to planning.
     This is an area that is critical for improved participant satisfaction and outcomes.

We have the option to decide on the desired outcome and develop the plan accordingly and then line up the individuals that are best able to help us achieve the desired outcome. Alternatively, (& highly recommended) we can build the team of organizers, administrators and speakers and allow the team to develop the expected outcome and event topics and presentations.  The approach we take to developing a team of should be a top priority and will affect and shape the event.

Before our speakers devote valuable time and resources into developing their presentations we will share some of the key fundamentals of effective presentation styles and organization. Well organized and structured teaching slides and media will facilitate an “active learner” event and improve participant engagement and knowledge retention.

Manuals, Handouts, Downloads
Well planned and organized manuals are essential to delivering our intended message to participants. The most effective manual is a text reference book that expands upon the material presented in greater depth and breadth, in paragraph format, with supporting material and references for the end user to use after the course or seminar.

Location & Facilities
Logistics Resource: 
 Logistics are the nuts and bolts of a conference that make it possible: where it will be, how you’ll find presenters, what it will cost, how you’ll get people from place to place, who’ll run the slide show, etc..  This is the part where the conference organizers earn their keep.

Date(s) & Time(s) of the Event
            When are, we going to have our event? Are we going to plan the event based on availability of speakers, convenience of participants, availability of the facility site, geographical location or any number of other possibilities? If this is a annually reoccurring event, when? Was the event successful, and if so why?

Event Engagement of Attendees
     This is an area that is critical for improved participant satisfaction and outcomes.
Pre-Event Social:
            If yes, What are we providing?

 First Day- Early/Mid-afternoon group interaction:
(Topic centered participant interaction)

First Evening Social/Fellowship

We'll also cover:
Social Media and Website
Signage, Identification & Safety
Financing and Attendee Fee
Speaker Instructions & Expectations 
Host Site Pre-Course Summary Letter 
Event Agreement

Friday, July 29, 2016

My Pirate Map for Lost Coaches

My Pirate Map for Lost Coaches (by Dan John)
- Stretch what is tightening,
- Strengthen what is weakening,
- Have beautiful technique,
- Eat more protein and veggies,
- Drink more water and take Fish Oil,
- Compete with your strengths, but work your weaknesses.
- Make a Difference.

Going Deeper Into Training Active Athletes-Now What?: "The Key to everything in Life" Dan John.

Dan John, in his latest instructional offering, continues to expand on his approach to coaching and training by confronting one of the greatest questions most of us face when developing programs for clients. He has been working hard the past several years to help those of us in the trenches of the world of "health & fitness" to grow and learn. His latest DVD course helps to simplify our role in delivering great services to our clients

Goals & Assessments. How do you balance your programming? By now I would hope that the majority of coaches and fitness/personal trainers are designing and building client programs with at least an attempt to honor a systematic approach otherwise how do you demonstrate that you are making meaningful change for the individual in front you. Is your program resulting in the desired outcome? How do you determine or measure that?

Dan begins by giving a few thoughts we must consider.
Before we begin let's confront "error of the obvious". "Most people know that in order to get stronger, you lift weights", "to throw the discus farther, throw the discus more".  Here's a problem: Most of the time training athletes is easy you should spend about 80% of your time on the sport or skill and 20% training/strengthening. The Problem: Everyone else. Most people are not athletes.

I know from my experience working with clients that most of our clients think of themselves as an athlete. In reality most are professional employees. You know nurses, lawyers, bankers, clerks, teachers, clinicians, brick layers, commercial painters......... But most consider themselves as better than average in their chosen sport/activity/hobby. This is the challenge. Just because our clients believe themselves to be a bit better than the rest should we really train them like full time athletes? Does the 80% / 20% rule realistically apply? Dan has us look at this a different way. Using track as an example he describes how to plot a course for athletes where the athlete is at point A, the goal is point B. But our clients, the non competitive athletes, have a difficult time defining the point B and have erred in placing their point A accurately on the map.

General Rule- Most clients will begin to tell you their goals for training but we as coaches and trainers need to understand that they are most likely trying to tell us what they think we want to hear.

Here's the teaser:
Do you know about Starting-Increasing-Decreasing-Stopping and very importantly can you teach these four concepts to clients?
If not Dan teaches us how to learn how to Start-Stop-Decrease-Stop by introducing us to:

1-Shark Habits- Take things off the table. one time then done (need to be done first; touch it once and be done, one bite)

2-Pirate Maps- Do THIS....from now on. Mark the progress from A to B. most clients want an easy guide to follow to the treasure

3-Peaking-Planning-Programming- Do THIS...until... 

4-Principles- The guide to everything we want to do.

Going Deeper Into Training Active Athletes-Now What?: "The Key to everything in Life" Dan John.

Check It Out at


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Three Principles You Can Apply To Any Movement

Gray Cook and Dan John Essentials of Coaching

So you're already a coach/clinician/trainer that has decided to set a baseline. You check your programs against it and adjust accordingly. What's next?
Define your SYSTEM.

If you have not yet adopted a systems approach to teaching, training, and coaching it's time and Gray Cook and Greg Rose have just introduced the "10,000 foot view" in which they lay out what it is, how it works and why you should implement into your clients and athletes routines. Lee Burton reminds of what that system looks like from the ground in an earlier video learning series. A comprehensive, systematic approach, your clients deserve better and your capable of delivering it

Gray Cook & Greg Rose: Three Principles You Can Apply to Any Movement

Gray Cook & Greg Rose: Three Principles of Movement 

FOR EVERYONE ELSE: those that have not embraced the need for a systematic approach I recommend that you become a little more comfortable with individuals questioning your approach and techniques. Let's take a closer look at our recent past as a movement culture.

Over the last 50-60 years we have seen a continual slide towards decreased general health, physical capability and capacity of the North American population. We as a culture are headed the wrong way. To illustrate my point let's review US military training policy and procedures history to help capture a picture of what is happening in our culture. I personally think that we have lost our baseline. As a culture we forgot what our movement baseline used to be. Follow me on this:

The minimum physical standards for our US military have been changed numerous times over the last 200 years. Unfortunately over the past 50 - 60 years these changes have mirrored the decline in our physical capability & capacity. 

We lowered the bar again and again because our population was no longer physically capable of meeting the standards. We chose the easy way out. Instead of addressing the problem of low pass rates on physical performance standards for the military we chose to lower minimums. We lowered those minimums more than once in the past 50-60 years. The general population of the early 1900's in North America were physically capable of far more than we are now. This trend was noted as early as 1943 in the work titled Youth Goes to War. Lieutenant General Brehon B. Somervell, Commanding General, Army Services Forces stated"....Far too many young people are unable to serve their country because they are not in tip-top physical shape." Our daily routines in North American culture, our lifestyle, has continued to take us further and further away from our natural movement baseline for the past 50-60 years. 

The Victory Corps was a program designed in part to address the physical deficits in the high school aged individual. 1943 also brought us the implementation of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) Field Manual-Physical Training (FM 35-20). I have talked about the evolution of our North American definition of fitness here & here  previously and think that it is worth revisiting if you are willing to take a critical look at our current culture of fitness and how we got to our current view of what many think fitness is. By 1950 as the USA entered into the Korean War declines and deficits were noted and  summary conclusions were made towards the end of that war in FM 21-20 (1957) that we as a military force were under prepared for the rigors of combat, stating :... an alarming number of causalities were attributed to the inability of the US soldiers to withstand the rigors of combat." Our pride seemed to get in the way of true progress. We dodged the reality of the decreased capability by changing the tests by which soldiers were measured thus avoiding the truth. This in turn allowed us to blame the metrics without addressing the true deficits in the training and conditioning which contributed to poor readiness. It allowed us to enlist #'s. It allowed us to fill the quota. It cost us. 

In 1954 the Kraus-Weber Test of Minimum Muscular Fitness used 6 basic test to assess fitness levels in children in the USA and in Europe. We F-A-I-L-E-D.

Sadly in 1954 due to budget cuts the Physical Training School at Fort Bragg was closed. Just as we are starting to see objective data showing our physical decline and as a culture we seem ready to address it we are dismantling the military training infrastructure.  In a presentation to President Eisenhower in 1955 Kraus & Prudden attributed this result to " - In short, Americans plush standard of living." Every decade since this study our standard of living in the USA has continued to surpass anything that could have ever been imagined as "plush" in 1954. In 1956 Eisenhower establishes the President Council on Youth Fitness.

By the late 50's into early 1960 we begin to see the testing scores of new recruits decrease on intake measures like the Physical Combat Proficiency Test as compared to the expectation of performance from previous generations. In 1963 the Army implemented formal weight control policies for troops because obesity was just beginning to be recognized as a detriment to military readiness and performance. Well over 60 years now we have been debating the cause and what to "do about it".

We need to re-establish an acceptable level of minimum movement competency for the human animal. We need to start here before. First Move Well, Then Move OftenImage result for First move well logo

Part of this discussion has to be centered around whether you have a system or not, And if you do have a system, do you use it? First thing first: Pick a system and then use it.

If you have followed my previous posts over the years it is quite obvious that I believe in and use the Functional Movement System approach to clinical care and personal training.  If you do not have a systematic approach to identifying limitations and asymmetries in the individuals you are working with and measuring your programs and interventions against a baseline I very seriously doubt that you can honestly tell me if you helped or harmed them.

So let's bring it back to the "10,000 foot view":

Gray Cook & Greg Rose: Three Principles You Can Apply to Any Movement

"Measure it and you own it" Gray Cook PT, we need to be comfortable with both the credit and the blame. Buy measuring it you allow yourself the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments and corrections in an appropriate time frame.

Gray Cook of Functional Movement Systems has spent the last 20 years growing, defining and refining his approach to health and fitness.He has spent many of those years teaching  others how he believes that we as Health and Fitness professionals should be contributing to our clients lives and to the profession.

You may be familiar with earlier attempts to define this approach in Gray's 10 Principles. In his latest installment in the series of discussions (previous editions in the series have been made available from On Target Publications) Gray highlights the 3 Principles that stand over the approach.

Nature versus Nurture

Gray Asks: "How many of us can develop someone better than nature can?"....

1) First move well,,,Then, move often (The Nature Principle)

     - Movement Literacy is the ability to reproduce basic movement patterns.
        The FMS sets a minimum level of movement literacy. A minimum score of          2 on every pattern in the screen.
     - Neurodevelopmental progression as example

2) Protect, correct and develop. (The Ethical Principle)

     - Safety is optimized when protection always precedes correction
     - Correction precedes development

     - External cues for movement and Internal cues for healthcare

3) Create systems that enforce your philosophy (The Practical Principle)

      -Standard Operating Procedure- 
       SOP- A systematic approach, a tight feedback loop for professionals interested in advancing long term movement development. A way to access movement competency against set minimum levels before engaging in higher level activities. Develop competency before attempting to increase capacity, develop capacity before solely focusing on skill acquisition. 

If we believe in Principle 1, 
you honor it with Principle 2.

To take action on Principle 2,
implement Principle 3.

Create systems that enforce your philosophy.

To many times, as both a clinician and a coach, have I had conversations with clients and even colleagues in which they were unable to tell me what they were doing in their exercise or treatment approach and if they could many could not tell me why they were doing it. By having a system, a standard operating procedure, you can begin to better answer these two questions.