by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*D and Jonathon Weakley
Coaching Podcast June 2022
Connect with a young researcher and coach on exploring strength and power topics within elite sport, including a deep dive into velocity-based trainin...
Connect with a young researcher and coach on exploring strength and power topics within elite sport, including a deep dive into velocity-based training. This episode features Dr. Jonathon Weakley, of Australian Catholic University and Leeds Beckett University, discussing his path from growing up in New Zealand, working and studying in the United Kingdom, and performing coaching-centric research with athletes in Australia. Listen in as “Jono” connects with Eric McMahon, the NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, on uses of weight room technology, providing appropriate coaching feedback to support athletic performance, and the global strength and conditioning and sport science landscape. This episode mentions the following research papers from NSCA journals: Weakley, J, Mann, B, Banyard, H, McLaren, S, Scott, T, and Garcia-Ramos, A. Velocity-Based Training: From Theory to Application, Strength and Conditioning Journal (43)4: 31-49, 2021 Weakley, J, Wilson, K, Till, K, Banyard, H, Dyson, J, Phibbs, P, Read, D, and Jones, B. Show Me, Tell Me, Encourage Me: The Effect of Different Forms of Feedback on Resistance Training Performance, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 34(11), 3157-3163, 2020 Find Jon on Twitter: @JonathonWeakle1 | Find Eric on Instagram: @ericmcmahoncscs or Twitter: @ericmcmahoncscs
Connect with a young researcher and coach on exploring strength and power topics within elite sport, including a deep dive into velocity-based training. This episode features Dr. Jonathon Weakley, of Australian Catholic University and Leeds Beckett University, discussing his path from growing up in New Zealand, working and studying in the United Kingdom, and performing coaching-centric research with athletes in Australia. Listen in as “Jono” connects with Eric McMahon, the NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, on uses of weight room technology, providing appropriate coaching feedback to support athletic performance, and the global strength and conditioning and sport science landscape.
This episode mentions the following research papers from NSCA journals:
Weakley, J, Mann, B, Banyard, H, McLaren, S, Scott, T, and Garcia-Ramos, A. Velocity-Based Training: From Theory to Application, Strength and Conditioning Journal (43)4: 31-49, 2021
Weakley, J, Wilson, K, Till, K, Banyard, H, Dyson, J, Phibbs, P, Read, D, and Jones, B. Show Me, Tell Me, Encourage Me: The Effect of Different Forms of Feedback on Resistance Training Performance, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 34(11), 3157-3163, 2020
“So the thing is you've got to make sure that they have this appeal to coaches. Because they've only got two to three minutes to look at a paper. They're not going to read an entire methodology section or results or discussion. So how can we make sure our results jump off the page, key points given to them in two to three sentences? And then that's how we make our real impact.” 7:03
“And I thought to myself, this doesn't make sense, because we're totally neglecting that athletes change over time and that fatigue profiles change over time. And I was even just seeing it in my athletes day-to-day. We might have six athletes and they all do six reps, but they'd have very, very different fatigue responses.” 10:08
“And that's when I started going, hey, we've got different athletes. They all require different types of feedback. But understanding your athletes and understanding how they respond to feedback, you can have monster adaptations and training improvements. It's just phenomenal.” 17:41
“I genuinely care about helping individuals, because our area is based on human interactions. It's not just barbell velocities and power outputs.” 36:38
“We need to make sure our coaches are not only great practitioners, but they have a solid understanding of sports science.” 37:42
[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING]
[00:00:04.37] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast, season 6, episode 5.
[00:00:10.19] So the thing is that you've got to make sure that they have this appeal to coaches, because they've only got two to three minutes to look at a paper. They're not going to read an entire methodology section or results or discussion. So how can we make sure our results jump off the page, key points given to them in two to three sentences? And then that's how we make a real impact.
[00:00:33.45] This is the NSCA's Coaching Podcast where we talk to strength and conditioning coaches about what you really need to know, but probably didn't learn in school. There's strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.
[00:00:44.19] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon. Today we're joined by Dr. Jonathon Weakley, a faculty member at Australian Catholic University in Brisbane, Australia, and Leeds Beckett University in the UK. Jono, welcome.
[00:01:01.40] Hey, Eric. Good to be here, man. Thanks for having me on, mate.
[00:01:04.59] Yeah. No, excited. Always great catching up with you and just an opportunity for you today to tell your story in the profession and just how you got started with strength and conditioning.
[00:01:17.50] Yeah, for sure. So originally, I'm from Aotearoa, or what we'd call in English, New Zealand. So I was from Christchurch, New Zealand growing up. And then I was always hugely, hugely fascinated by sports science. I even looked at some of my old training programs the other day, which I wrote when I was nine years old. And it was something which was already-- sorry, always in me.
[00:01:47.23] It was something I always loved and then I always wanted to be a sports nutritionist. So I went down to the University of Otago, and I did sports nutrition. Around that time, I didn't finish that, and then went over to the University of Wollongong and to dietetics. And then at the same time, I also thought I could stretch my legs a little bit.
[00:02:09.31] And when I was doing my masters in dietetics at University of Wollongong, I also enrolled in the strength and conditioning at Edith Cowan University, and I was doing my master's there at the same time. So I was kind of balancing the two master's degrees at two different universities.
[00:02:22.80] And it was a pretty humbling realization at that point when I realized that I love dietetics. But strength and conditioning was kind of my calling. It was something that I was good at. I understood intrinsically and it was probably actually my biggest passion.
[00:02:42.70] And so I made the leap from nutrition and dietetics into S&C, which I'm very grateful for. Because without nutrition, you don't have the building blocks to develop strength, muscle, and power. And then I was very, very grateful. I look back on this with a lot of gratitude to then go to Leeds Beckett University and work with Ben Jones and Kevin Till, and work alongside the England Rugby Union, and work alongside Yorkshire Carnegie, which is a rugby club there, and Leeds Rhinos, Rugby League club.
[00:03:14.35] And for those years, I did my PhD as well as being an applied practitioner. So we balanced the research and the coaching, which I think in many ways is how most PhD should work. Because all your research needs to be both interesting and useful to the practitioner. And then after that, I did my postdoc. And so my postdoctoral fellowship, which was with Leeds Beckett and working alongside the Rugby Union teams over in the UK.
[00:03:45.58] And then after that, I realized I missed the sun. I missed home. And I went back to the South Pacific and ended up at Australian Catholic University here in Brisbane where I now teach strength and conditioning. But primarily, a lot of my time is spent supervising research students and just trying to do the best applied research I possibly can. So yeah, that's me, man in a nutshell.
[00:04:06.64] That's great. And on this podcast, we talk to a lot of coaches at various career stages. And a couple of things, I really like connecting with professionals, researchers, coaches in Australia, in the UK, or who bring an international or global perspective to the field.
[00:04:28.21] But another thing, just when we do speak to researchers, I think it's really great to connect on research areas that are really relevant to the practitioner. And that's something when I've read your papers, when I've read your research, it's really connected with me personally as a coach, as a professional working with athletes in the field.
[00:04:51.32] And I think that's a goal for this episode is to really bring some of that to life in your research areas in the way that they impact coaching on the ground level. So I want to give you a chance. Talk about your research focus, some of the areas that you've worked on and published.
[00:05:09.05] Yeah, cheers, Eric, mate. I appreciate that. Primarily, my research is based around developing strength power, muscle hypertrophy for athletes. But probably on a higher level than that, it's about making the biggest impact for coaches possible.
[00:05:29.28] And I think, in reality, in academia we have this concept that we need to make everything really super complicated. And often, we make things complicated for complicated's sake. But there's no need for that in academia. And I genuinely believe that we can make papers or research really, really useful for coaches and really, really useful for researchers as well.
[00:05:54.87] And I think the actual skill as an academic is to be able to bridge that gap between research and practice. So for example, when I write a paper, I go, OK, what's this paper-- is this interesting for a researcher? And this is interesting for a coach? And is it useful for a coach? And then and then saying, if it is both these things, we're going to proceed. And my research group, we're going to go do this research.
[00:06:22.00] And if not, hey, shelve it. It's not worth our time. Because we need to make sure that what we're doing in the lab and on the field or wherever is going to make real impact for our coaches and make their lives easier. And that often starts with a sit-down and coffee with a coach, asking what's troubling them, what's an issue with them, what's a problem that they see in practice and how we can fix it.
[00:06:44.59] So yeah, mate, I think that's probably the premise of my research fundamentally. And then probably I'm building on that. It's then how you present it. If you're going to do your research, you got to-- almost nowadays in the age of technology and cell phones and infographics, you almost got to make your paper's infographic key.
[00:07:03.88] So the thing is is you've got to make sure that they have this appeal to coaches. Because they've only got two to three minutes to look at a paper. They're not going to read an entire methodology section or results or discussion. So how can we make sure our results jump off the page, key points given to them in two to three sentences? And then that's how we make our real impact.
[00:07:25.18] So yeah, mate, that's the general concept behind my research. And hopefully that feeds into all our strength, power, programming, order regulation, rugby. It doesn't matter. It's all the same. So yeah, that's how I approach my research with the practitioner in mind.
[00:07:46.11] Yeah. On the area of auto-regulation, a paper that we use for our RSCC coaching renewal course in 2020 was the velocity-based training from theory to application article. And I remember it came out ahead of print. It was really a great paper that I saw online first and has since been published in the journal. And I'm a little bit of a VBT nerd myself, so I really enjoy diving into that.
[00:08:22.72] But just some of the names on that paper that-- I know Bryan Mann helped you on that. And just a lot of the high profile VBT researchers really contributed. And I thought that really shaped a new area in the field, so to speak, VBT in a context along a continuum. And I want to give you a chance to just share what that paper was for you, how it came to life, and just some of the response that you've gotten from that.
[00:08:54.94] Yeah. First of all, VBT is an interesting one because it's so hard to argue against numbers. You know what I mean? Physics is physics. And the thing is is that velocity is velocity, force is force, and power is power. I think, fundamentally, it's very, very hard to argue against logic, although people do their best at times.
[00:09:21.74] And I think, fundamentally, VBT is based in physics and the concept that, hey, a bar is traveling at a certain speed. I remember sitting at work and thinking about all the athletes I was working with and all my athletes who would be, at the end of the week, having very, very differing kind of fatigue profiles. And they were completing vastly different repetition ranges and all those sorts of things.
[00:09:49.29] And I thought to myself, man, there's got to be a better answer to the traditional prescription. We often, with traditional prescriptive methods or procedures based training, we test them in week one. And then six weeks later, we're still programming off those values. Even four weeks later, even the next day we're programming off those values.
[00:10:08.31] And I thought to myself, this doesn't make sense, because we're totally neglecting that athletes change over time and that fatigue profiles change over time. And I was even just seeing it in my athletes day-to-day. We might have six athletes and they all do six reps, but they'd have very, very different fatigue responses.
[00:10:26.55] So I just started to think, man, there's a better way to program here. And I started to delve into the literature. And I saw this kind of method of VBT where they were applying thresholds to cattle fatigue. And I just thought, this just makes sense. This is so sensible for our profession.
[00:10:47.43] So we started to delve into it. And then I also saw that everyone had a different perspective of what VBT was. You looked in the '90s and people were saying, oh, VBT was monitoring barbells. Then in the early 2010s, we saw out in New Zealand that people were providing feedback.
[00:11:05.99] And then all of a sudden, in 2015, people were providing relative thresholds of velocity loss. And I started to think, man, we need to come to a consensus of what VBT was. So that's how we started to-- I started to put my head down and started to think, OK, here is some of the key practitioners and researchers from around the world. They all have great understandings of their own respective areas.
[00:11:30.32] If we can come together, develop a consensus on what VBT is, and then also detail all the different ways that VBT is used with a little bit of science underpinning it, but really hammering home for the coach what it is and how it can be used, this is the best thing for the profession.
[00:11:51.80] And I should note, if we're talking about actual impact of research, that paper in 2020 when it first came out, even though it came out I think in May, was the most read research paper in the entire 2020 in sports science and sports medicine. And that's in the Strength and Conditioning Journal.
[00:12:12.32] Forget about impact factors. Forget about all that sort of stuff. That one paper was the most read paper in the entire year. So that was a hugely impactful paper. And it just emphasizes how important it was for the profession in general, I think.
[00:12:30.09] On the VBT topic, it can be broken down obviously into the technology side of it, the physiology side of it, and then also the feedback. And I guess that can tie into more of the psychological aspects.
[00:12:46.44] And I think of a paper that you had in the JSCR in 2018, "Show Me, Tell Me, Encourage Me," which was really a feedback piece that, to me, connects with what you're saying. The feedback we get from velocity-based training validates what we're doing as coaches.
[00:13:08.16] It validates to the athlete that I performed more effectively. I did better because I can move this weight faster than I did last time. I can adjust the rest of my workout on that. And I really like that autoregulation concept.
[00:13:25.35] I think there's so many things in the field right now that have taken us maybe out of that mindset of traditional block periodization. And we've seen that evolution over a number of years. I think just the natural demands of professional sport.
[00:13:43.20] All of the different even tactical strength and conditioning, where there really is no peaking for competition, you always have to be ready. There's so much advancement in conversation in that area. And I think this is one topic around regulation that's really, really valuable important.
[00:14:05.34] Definitely. And I think when we have VBT, the concept of feedback is really the first step. But also feedback is also the first step of being a good coach, I think, as well-- talking to your athletes, understanding how they are, understanding how they're performing day-to-day.
[00:14:24.27] We see coaches prescribe weights, and then say, OK, go do five sets of 10. And then at the end of the session, they go, oh how was that? And that's not coaching. That's just giving someone a piece of paper or giving someone a tablet.
[00:14:37.98] And I think how that feedback stuff-- and I'll be honest. The first paper I ever did on feedback was a paper was "Visual Feedback Attenuates Velocity Loss During Resistance Training in Adolescent Athletes" or something. And that paper sat ahead of print in the JSCR for a wee while. But that paper really hammered home to me the power of feedback.
[00:15:02.61] But where that question came from was from some research in 2004 from Aaron Coats, and then I think 2011 from Dan Smart, where they showed that if you just provide supervision to your athletes, the improvements and strength and power are about two to five times greater than not providing supervision.
[00:15:23.10] So I was going, OK, if I can achieve strength improvements five times greater than not, then I should try and find a way to really harness that. But then I start thinking about why. Why are those strength improvements so much greater with supervision?
[00:15:41.34] I remember I used to coach 45 athletes at a time, and I'd be the only coach on the floor. And I'd be thinking, OK there's no way I'm going to be able to coach 45 athletes all at once. So how can I make more Jonathon Weakleys so that they're getting feedback, so I'm coaching everyone, I'm touching upon everyone on every single platform and providing feedback so they're optimizing their training.
[00:16:02.40] And then that's when I start thinking, hey-- feedback. Feedback is the key here. I can have conversations with athletes about every single set because I can see the numbers in front of me. And then we start showing that, hey, when you provide feedback, performance improves by about 7.5%, which is a huge, huge markup.
[00:16:24.27] If you think about it, we train athletes for years just to improve them by 1%. To improve them by 7% instantaneously, just first thing we give them feedback, performance improves-- unbelievable improvements. So then I started thinking, OK-- hey, this stuff is really, really powerful. Really, really powerful. And then I started doing, OK, what's the best way to provide feedback?
[00:16:49.80] OK, is there an effect of visual versus verbal versus just encouraging them? And guess what. They're all the same. They all have, on average, the same outcome. But yet athletes respond differently to them. So you might have athlete A who really just loves to put the old headphones on and zone in on the numbers and look at them.
[00:17:08.40] You might have another athlete who's quite competitive. And they get verbal feedback of the numbers. And they go, oh, OK. Hey, I got 0.8. What did you get? And they're going, OK, I got 0.9. So that first athlete goes, OK. Well, I'm going to try and beat 0.9.
[00:17:25.23] And then there's the other athletes, so the type C athletes. And they often are a bit more casual and laid back. And they require verbal encouragement. So hey, good work. Great job. They might need the coach to give them a rocket or put their arm around them.
[00:17:41.62] And that's when I started going, hey, we've got different athletes. They all require different types of feedback. But understanding your athletes and understanding how they respond to feedback, you can have monster adaptations and training improvements. It's just phenomenal.
[00:17:57.99] And we also looked at the psychological elements, which looked at competitiveness and motivation. And motivation for each athlete increased as well. So they weren't only getting better training adaptations. They weren't only just getting better training, like acute training practice. But they were more motivated to be at training. They felt more cared for. They felt more motivated and competitive with their training.
[00:18:24.36] And that's a huge achievement. That's goal number one of being a coach, isn't it? Yeah, there was a bit of a story behind that. And I realized actually, probably from a coaching standpoint, that some of the most powerful things you can do-- just providing feedback to your athletes.
[00:18:41.28] Absolutely. What popped in my head as you were saying that is technology as a force multiplier. If you're the one coach in the room, you can have a bigger impact by having more feedback devices essentially, helping you provide effective feedback as a coach.
[00:19:02.88] I gave a presentation years ago. It was really my first real presentation at a conference. And I presented on VBT and bringing together all the research and just some of the practical applications that I was doing with my athletes. You get speaker feedback after you finish up.
[00:19:21.73] And one of the comments stuck with me, because it was so constructive, was this was all great. But I just-- I'm at a program, low budget. I don't have the resources to invest in a $2,000 device or even a $500 device for my teams, or even my athletes on an individual level.
[00:19:46.96] So it really opened my eyes to connecting with your entire audience when you're presenting. But also at this is that feedback is the number one thing in coaching. You talked about supervision. All those things are part of the velocity-based training continuum.
[00:20:09.72] And whether you have the fanciest equipment or not, you can implement these principles regardless, and effectively, just by adapting your feedback around really intent. I think that goes back. Years ago, we used to talk about intent to move. And I think that's such a great concept that we're getting back to.
[00:20:33.00] Yeah, yeah. Definitely. The evidence is clear. When you train athletes with intent, you have different recruitment patterns. You have higher power outputs, higher velocity outputs. You're more likely to recruit those big type two fibers, which is something that I think all coaches want.
[00:20:53.88] Because of that intent, you also need a smaller training dose. Because you're recruiting those type two, you don't need to fatigue them just to recruit them. So you're recruiting them from the get go. And, mate, that's absolutely essential-- absolutely essential.
[00:21:07.42] So yeah, providing that feedback allows greater intent in our training, mate. And it's fundamentally probably the best thing we can do for our athletes. And it's also just fundamental good coaching as well, just caring for your athletes. Hey, is that load good? How are you? How's that sit feeling? And that's just being a good coach as well, mate. So yeah, while so simple, it's just so powerful.
[00:21:30.74] Agree, totally. And I want to expand this a little bit to technology as a whole. Obviously, VBT is just one part of the technology equation. And in sports science, in strength and conditioning, we're seeing just so many advancements around technology.
[00:21:47.30] Coaches are having to process a lot of information about how they're going to implement new devices in their program. They're getting asked by their supervisors, their athletic directors. Hey, this school's using this. Should we be using this? And we're having to really account for the why behind a lot of new technology areas. If you would, share your perspective on just the current state of technology and the industry and just the recent advancements.
[00:22:16.06] Yeah. No, definitely, mate. That's a really good question. Because if you've got-- I'm going to say this as politically correct as possible-- but garbage technology-- if you've got technology that doesn't accurately measure the barbell or the dumbbells or whatever you're using, then you can't really trust your outcome, the outcomes that you're receiving back.
[00:22:40.33] And I now know not everything comes back to research. But fundamental evidence is grounded in research. So that was the most important question I get asked by coaches every single day. So I went away and I looked at the entire research field. I looked at all the research that has investigated the accuracy and reliability of devices.
[00:22:59.62] And I said OK, what's the best? What's reigning supreme? And I ranked them all. And I published something in Sports Medicine in 2021 that looked at the validity and reliability of each single device, and as I said, ranked them and said, hey, this is when each device will be useful.
[00:23:18.91] But fundamentally, what we found was that linear position transducers or linear transducers in general, the general thing of linear transducers, they're the most accurate. So they're the most valid device. And they are also the most reliable. And they reproduce the most reliable numbers.
[00:23:38.48] The reason for that is because they directly measure the barbell's displacement. So most devices attempt to measure displacement. Well, sorry, all devices attempt to measure displacement. That's how they get velocity. But the thing is that some types of device-- so accelerometers, they have to do a couple of extra steps to get to displacement because they use acceleration rather than actually direct displacements-- sorry, direct measures of displacement.
[00:24:10.58] So linear transducers, so things like GymAware, they strap onto the bar with a little tether, and they directly measure the displacement that occurs when training. And therefore, because they have that direct measure of displacement, they're super, super accurate. They are research quality devices that coaches can use on the gym floor. And also, they're very, very user friendly. They improve performance. And they're super, super accessible for coaches.
[00:24:42.85] After that, we've got probably things like optic lasers, which there's only one on the device-- sorry, one on the market, and that's the FLEX, which also comes from GymAware. So GymAware and Kinetic Performance, those guys are actually crushing it. They're unbelievable. And I think that fundamentally become comes from their owner Evan Lawton, who's very, very particular about accuracy of the devices.
[00:25:06.31] But then after that, you've kind of got things like accelerometers. And accelerometers are pretty hit and miss. They're OK. They might be able to provide some accurate numbers. But then some of them aren't very accurate, and then also they miss a lot of the training volume because they don't actually count the repetitions.
[00:25:25.39] I think what you're saying there is identifying the best technology, and using their best technology. Because without accurate technology, you're going to be struggling to get accurate feedback for your athletes. So if it was up to me, mate, linear transducers every day, all day. GymAware is the Rolls-Royce of VBT devices in many ways. So yeah, I genuinely believe that the devices you use will dictate the success that you have with VBT.
[00:25:56.89] That's a good point to bring in there. And I want to ask you a question I ask all of our international guests on the podcast really. Coming from New Zealand, you've spent a lot of time in Australia and in the UK. Just about the current state of strength and conditioning internationally, what you've seen a lot-- most of our listeners are here in North America.
[00:26:23.81] I think it's very insightful when we can expand our perspective just to understand what's going on in the rest of the world around us in terms of what makes up a quality strength and conditioning coach. What are some of the challenges you see with coaches and researchers in different parts of the world? I'll let you share your thoughts on that.
[00:26:45.50] Man, this is a controversial question here, Eric. I've been very fortunate to consult for teams from the Americas to the UK, and Europe to Australasia. And I'm very, very fortunate. It's really interesting because coaches all interact with their athletes differently.
[00:27:03.36] So in the US, I see that coaches take a lot of pride in being called coach. It might be Coach Jonathon. And for me, I'm just like, bro, just call me Jono. You know what I mean? There's really different cultural elements. And there's also a bit more of a dictatorial style in the US. Hey, the coach is providing the training system to the athlete. And hey, this is what you're going to do. We're going to go and we're going to lift heavy.
[00:27:29.81] And it's quite interesting looking back into the history of strength and conditioning in the US and seeing there's such a big fascination with strength in the US and why that's come about. And that's come about from some of the practitioners and researches that have come from the US.
[00:27:46.81] Now, even alternatively in the UK, they've probably got probably a little bit more of a balanced approach in the sense that they emphasize different physical qualities to a different extent. They're probably also maybe a little bit more time pressed. They don't have the big colleges like the NCAA where they've got-- where the athletes are based at the school and they're living and dying for the school.
[00:28:11.68] But in the UK, they've got the club system. And then they're also a bit more time pressed, and they also play a few more field sports like Rugby Union, which have a bigger aerobic emphasis. In New Zealand, it's probably a bit more of a approach with colleagues between the coaches and the athletes.
[00:28:34.72] The athletes can quite comfortably come up to the coach and say, look, mate-- I don't agree with this. How do we change this or how do we improve this? And that's something that's just quite unique to New Zealand, and Australia, to be fair. So they've all got their own little flavors. And they've all got their little own emphasis. And they've all got their own different approach.
[00:28:57.31] But fundamentally, it's actually just how you communicate with your athletes. In the US, you might say-- oh, look, man. You're from California. I used to go to a meal out there. You can break it-- sorry, I used to go to a restaurant and have meals out there and have family out there. And you can kind of relate to them like that.
[00:29:13.15] And then in the UK, you might go, oh, I'm from the North of England. So, man, I can totally understand what that's like up there. It's cold and wet. And in New Zealand, it's a bit more like-- ah, killer, bro. How are you, my man? And it's a bit more chilled out. But I think, fundamentally, it's still just relating to the athlete at heart, also understanding the emphasis that the different sports have, and then also their prior held beliefs.
[00:29:40.55] So if you can understand those three things, but fundamentally how to break down-- break it down and get heart to heart with the athlete, man, you're going to be fine no matter what, I think, at the heart of it, mate. At the end of the day, it's just get big, get strong, get powerful. It's just how you do it and how you communicate it to your athletes.
[00:30:01.18] I think it's fun to think about that. And I appreciate you just sharing because I know us as coaches in one part of the world, we all have these perceptions and thoughts of how things are other places from what we see. And we don't always hear that coming from another part of the world. So I think it is really valuable just to hear your spin, your perspective on just what you've seen and heard.
[00:30:25.09] And one thing-- I'll make a little NSCA reference here is that the NSCA started in 1978 as a group of college coaches, essentially college football coaches that all came together to be more organized and united. Globally, we're all still doing that.
[00:30:44.23] We have a number of different governing bodies throughout the world trying to unite strength and conditioning and advance the profession. And the NSCA is a global community now. Just the fact that we're on this podcast right now talking about it, really shows how much growth has happened.
[00:31:04.39] And just the fact that we have members from the ASCA come to our conference and present every. It's been a little bit delayed with the pandemic, but we've got to get back to that. And it really is exciting just to see the global growth.
[00:31:21.43] And I think with the new direction NSCA-- and I don't really want to call it a new direction. But just the new focus on sports science with the NSCA, I think it's really a powerful way to further unite the global mission of what we're trying to do in support of coaches. And I want to let you jump in on that, just the sports science as a field in different parts of the world and just how much growth you've seen in that area.
[00:31:56.83] First of all, the sports science between different countries, the difference and maybe integration, understanding and the emphasis on need of sport science is out of this world. I remember coming from-- when I first went to the UK, I just couldn't believe how seriously people took sports science. They were just-- it was just next level.
[00:32:27.96] We had some of the smartest people sitting around in a room, all doing PhDs, investigating how we can track players or triangulate players' positioning on a field better. And it just blew me away. In the US, I genuinely-- and I say this really respectfully. I think US were world leaders in strength and conditioning for many years. And then they had a real big strength emphasis.
[00:32:54.18] And then maybe from a sport science perspective, they maybe even fell behind some of the countries for a wee while. And then they started recruiting a lot of the best sports scientists from Australasia, from Europe, and they started bringing them into the NCAA system. And the development in sports science in the US recently has been immense. I genuinely believe that.
[00:33:16.41] You look around the NCAA, the NFL, Major League Baseball and look at how many heads of performance have come from other countries, even basketball. Things like David Martin who worked at the Australian Institute of Sport for 20 years, the 76'ers grabbed him and said, look, tell us all the secrets.
[00:33:34.38] And the development in the US in sports science has been amazing recently. And it's really cool to see because they're starting to go, hey, we've got all these great athletes. We've got all these major organizations. We've got the funds. Hey, now let's take this to the new level.
[00:33:49.98] When you look at a country, probably like New Zealand, and they're very, very small-- 4 million people. And I think per capita, they're one of the maybe top three in the world for getting Olympic medals. And the thing is I think early doors they said, hey, we don't have the population to be able to compete with China, US, even UK and all those sorts of countries. So they said, we need to be really good at sports science from the get go.
[00:34:16.12] And that's why people like Mike McGuigan, John Cronin and AUT attract so many good sport scientists. So New Zealand really pushed the way with sports science in general. And they really emphasize it from the get go. So it's been really interesting watching the development of sports science in each country.
[00:34:37.83] And then it's also cool to see NSCA going, hey, it's not just lifting barbells and doing bench presses and squats and all those sorts of things. We need to make sure our coaches are not only great practitioners, but they have a solid understanding of sports science. And it's a real hats off moment to you guys at the NSCA for implementing the sports science aspect of the certification. So yeah, well done, mate.
[00:35:02.82] We are excited about it. The certification is launched. And more than that, it's a curriculum. It's a textbook. It's a global knowledge base that really is meant to unite and bring together the field.
[00:35:19.89] Jono, I appreciate you taking the time today. There's been so much great research coming out of that part of the world for a number of years now. You mentioned a number of the universities and institutions that have contributed. I just want to give our listeners an opportunity. If they want to reach out to you, what's the best way to connect, whether that be social media or email?
[00:35:44.05] Yeah, definitely. I think social media is easy. Twitter-- So you know Jonathon Weakley without the y and a 1 instead, because someone else must have taken Jonathon Weakley with a y. That's the easiest and fastest way to get in contact with me. However, emails as well.
[00:35:59.86] For example, if you want to get in touch about research or consulting or just hey, catch up over a Zoom call, man, just reach out over Twitter or email and I'm always here for a chat. On top of that, probably the best thing about academia and sports science is the coaches-- sorry-- is the conferences.
[00:36:20.14] And I'm just pumped to get out there to Vegas in 2023. So if you see me wandering around, just get in touch. I love hearing about how different programs are being run, about different experiences, and how we can help. I genuinely care about the profession.
[00:36:38.71] I genuinely care about helping individuals, because our area is based on human interactions. It's not just barbell velocities and power outputs. It's how can we make the best-- how can we help each school or program or college or organization to be the best we can? So I genuinely want to hear about how we can help and how we can improve it for you.
[00:37:01.18] But yeah, feel free-- if you're interested in research in general, feel free to reach out and I'm sure we can help as well. So yeah, it's been a pleasure, Eric. So thank you very much for taking the time, my brother.
[00:37:11.89] You got it. That was Dr. Jonathon Weakley coming to us from Brisbane, Australia. We're going to add a couple of the papers we referenced in this episode to the show notes. So if you missed those or want to dive in a little bit deeper, you'll get access to those. Everyone listening in, thank you. And we'd also like to say thanks to Sorinex Exercise Equipment. We appreciate their support.
[00:37:35.58] Hi, coaches. I'm Liane Blyn, the 2022 NSCA College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year. You just listened to an episode of the NSCA Coaching Podcast. Thanks for tuning in to hear important conversations about the strength and conditioning profession.
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