01. 09. 2020

By Mark Lebedew: Thinking About… Training Methodologies

Source: https://marklebedew.com; Photo:CEV

Author: Mark Lebedew

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The last Olympic Gold Medal was won by Brazil. The one before that by Russia. The one before that by the United States. In between those Poland won two World Championships. Logically you would think that by studying the training methods that led to those successes you would some similarities and be able to reach some conclusions on the effectiveness of different training methodologies.


Surely, success at the highest level must be an indicator of quality. Making that study turns out not to be very helpful. All of those nations have different, in many cases contradictory, models and methodologies. How can we say which one is the best if they all seem to work?

In the book Good To Go, author Christie Aschwanden reports on studies into the effectiveness of electrolyte ingestion on performance. Studies show conclusively that electrolyte drinks do not work better than water. However, when the study is electrolyte drinks versus nothing, electrolyte drinks are effective. Indeed the researchers reported that the subjects placed into the ‘nothing’ group were visibly disappointed. The electrolytes worked because the subject thinks it will work; a fairly classic placebo effect. Which got me thinking…

If different training theories and methodologies all seem to work more or less the same, maybe the key point is not that the methodology itself, but how the players think of the methodology. Perhaps training is a giant placebo effect; it works because you think it works. Perhaps the content of training is less important than how the players think about that content. As Hugh McCutcheon often says “Coaches are sales people and change agents.” Perhaps he is more right than he thinks he is.


About Mark Lebedew:

Mark Lebedew authors the At Home on the Court Blog. He coaches professionally in Poland, in season 2019/20 with Aluron Virtu CMC Warta Zawiercie. That follows five seasons Germany where his Berlin Recycling Volleys won three straight league titles and a CEV Champions League bronze medal. He has prior professional experience in Belgium and Italy. Mark was also Head Coach for the Australian Men’s National Team. 

Mark partnered with his brother and father to translate and publish "My Profession: The Game", the last book by legendary Russian coach, Vyacheslav Platonov. 

With John Forman, he is behind the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project (link http://volleyballcoachingwizards.com/) which identifies great coaches from all levels, making their experience, insights, and expertise available to people all over the world. The project has produced multiple books, a in e-book format available here ( link to http://bit.ly/34yakou ) or in print at Amazon here (link https://amzn.to/2JRqTE6)




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