In 1980 I set out on a journey of discovery as a coach to find answers to the question ‘What is the best way to train?’
By 1986 with over 100 elite athletes in my care, I decided to formalize my services and registered as a business, the first of it’s kind globally to provide commercial professional athlete preparation and coach education services to all sports.
However, the journey began long before.
I was born on an island in the Pacific Ocean and grew up in a play-based culture, in an era before TV and other electronic devices. During the late 1960s I was also exposed to my first formal non-play based training, strength training. It was then that I realized that in true islander way we had play-based training worked out, but the how-to of more formal training was totally missing.
Moving to Australia to attend boarding school I hoped they would have the answer. Whilst I appreciate what I learnt at high school from my coaches and teachers, they didn’t have the answers either. So I went to university to find the answers to my question ‘What is the best way to train?’ Whilst I again appreciated what I learnt from my lecturers, they weren’t able to help me with my questions. In 1980 no-one specialized in or taught athlete preparation, at least not in Australia.
So I set out to find answers through informal study, scouring the few books on training available at the time, from my training partners, from my personal experiences in training, and most critically, from the lessons I took from training athletes.
The first few years were tough – in fact the first decade was!
Remember that in 1980 there was no such term as ‘strength & conditioning’ and no-one had any notion that there was a real occupation here. People would ask me ‘What do you do?’ and I would respond ‘I train athletes’, to which I got a very confused and varied response.
I forged a role and career path training athletes where there wasn’t one, one that a decade later many others were able to follow. There were no resources on how to train athletes from various sports, and it forced me to think for myself, which has been an incredible benefit. I often refer to my experiences as a ‘Degree in Losing’. However, these experiences served me well.
My role as a coach education began in the early 1980s when I was asked to teach undergraduates and teaching staff about strength training at the local university. In the mid 1980s I wrote and presented Australians first state-accredited strength course for the fitness industry. By the late 1980s I took on the role of State Director and then Executive Director for the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) of Australasia, an offshoot of the US NSCA, and guided the formation of the Australian Strength & Conditioning Association (ASCA). In this role I wrote the course curriculum for the levels courses, much of which is still in place today. I served in this position through to the late 1990s.
By the early 1990s I felt I had cracked the code in how to successfully produce success in elite sport, that I had broken through and discovered many of the answers I was seeking. By then I had developed and refined many original innovations that have since been embraced globally – such as my Speed of Movement Concept; my Lines of Movement Concept; my Control Drills for Pre-Workout Activation – and much more.
It was not until the late 1990s that I began to share more openly the lessons I learnt in the first two decades. And in 1999 I chose to develop our own online global coach education -the first of it’s kind, aimed at teaching physical preparation coaches how to successfully train athletes. – which continues today.
What I was sharing in the late 1990s were the results of two decades of intense experience with high-level athletes in large numbers with incredible continuity. Our athlete involvement was typically 7-10 years unbroken with athletes, or a number of Olympic cycles. This presented an incredibly rare opportunity to objectively assess the cause-effect relationships of training and competition, and the time to tweak and adjust and reach conclusions. An era and environments rarely available to the contemporary professional.
To support our education program, I introduced the concept of professional development ‘Boot Camps’ in 1999, and in 2003, the concept of ‘Mentoring Programs’, both of which have imitated around the world in this industry.
From the early 1990 onwards I expanded my personal study to include a more holistic approach to success in life, including business, financial, personal and spiritual development. Our coach education is based on and we believe leads the way in holistic teaching for physical preparation coaches.
We took the lessons we learnt training elite athletes and applied them to non athlete groups.
These training programs for end-users have been applied all around the world, through publishing in popular mediums such as the hard copy Men’s Health magazine, online websites such as T-Nation.com, and through our educational book and DVD range Get Buffed™
During the last four decades we’ve helped thousands of athletes, through nine Olympic cycles, in over thirty sports at the elite level and in over a dozen different countries fulfill their athletic potential. We have taken a humble and low-key approach to our association with success in sport, letting the results do the talking. This incredible experience has allowed us to refine our way of training and competing – resulting in an incredibly high rate of podium finishes. We don’t count and boast medals, as the glory belongs with the athletes. We simply and quietly do what most dream about in a way no-one else can, shaping sport history in the process.
When athletes want to come first, they talk to us.Our focus is and always has been on the athlete.
Giving the athlete every opportunity to fulfill their athletic potential. Despite our contribution to date in the way of training innovations, the need for what we offer has grown even greater than it was when I commenced my professional journey in 1980. Two key challenges stand out – the epidemic of injuries and the absence of advancement in training methods that result in success.
In relation to the first challenge, the world has taken flawed training methods once applied only to adult athletes and is applying them to progressively younger children. My concern now is that if your child plays sport, they are probably going to receive unnecessary and in many cases life-quality threatening injuries. The majority of athletes talent identified and placed in training squads in their teen years will now have surgery and be out of their sport by the age of twenty. It was not always this way, and does not need to be this way! Theres is a better way and we seek to teach you that way.
In relation to the absence of advancement of sport, we have not only failed to match the advance of technology, in many cases we hide behind technology advancements as evolution in training methods. For the most part they are not. The disregard for the art of coaching has resulted in limited progress in successfully transferring training to sports performance. We are possibly the only educators (and definitely the best!) teaching the ‘art of coaching’. We invite you to join us in our educational programs to learn this lost art.
The world needs what we offer more than ever! There is an opportunity for you to join us in our vision that every body deserves the opportunity to fulfill their physical potential. If you resonate with this message you can collaborate with us in this mission!