Jason Hettler of Hettler Performance has written a nice blog on the art and science of coaching, a topic that always creates debate and discussion on Art vs Science, when of course coaching is a continual process of testing and evaluating hypotheses, so it's not either or by any means.

The following quote nicely sums up my view on art and science in coaching:

That being said, coaching is more than its individual parts – the sciences. It is the fluid, dynamic and ever-evolving interplay of these parts that create the whole. A whole which cannot be reduced to one element just as a cloud cannot be reduced to one particle. The art comes from blending these sciences into working with inherently individual athletes and maneuvering through any and all obstacles that will arise on a daily basis. The art comes from experience.
Source: http://www.hettlerperformance.com/?p=123
AuthorJoel Filliol
AuthorJoel Filliol

Dr. Marco Cardinale has an interesting blog on the intersection of coaching and sport science, based on his experiences first as coach, then as a sports scientist. Here are some highlights:

I still see enormous improvisation in the coaching community, with far too many people not having a programme and a structured approach to assessing what works and what does not work. There is still a lot of improvisation in too many places. Coaches turn up and do something, completely unstructured, with not much clarity and knowledge over the implications of their sessions and unclear ideas about progressions. In many cases, I see coaches picking “sessions” in random order and with limited control over loading.
Coaches should be great at coaching and teaching as well as creating positive environments for athletes to improve.
My advice to you working as a coach, as a strength and conditioning specialist or as an “ologist” with athletes at any level is to avoid the “Nessie Phenomenon” and try to critically analyse any information coming your way. Do not accept what you hear or what others tell you. Go and find the information, try things yourself, try to assess what works and what not, document your experiences, reflect. Only in this way you will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.
AuthorJoel Filliol

This is adapted from an analysis of British Swimming post 2012 from a senior US coach who compiled the following top ten recommendations from leading peers. It's not exhaustive but is applicable to all Olympic sports:

1. Abandon early selections for all but confirmed medal contenders.

2. Race in tough international competitions far more often. (French Grand Prix, German Bundesliga)

3. Hire a Head Coach from your country. Make your own people responsible for performance.

4. Feed an 'us against the world' culture.

5. Get the CEO and HPD out of the way, so the best coaches can be themselves and work in a way they have demonstrated gets results. 

6. Facing the worlds best should be your only focus.

7. Hold fewer national team camps and make them more specific in a competitive environment.

8. Focus on the athletes who succeed.

9. Put your athletes in situations where they are not well paid, not well housed, not comfortable. Those will fire in their belly will rise. Same with coaches.

10. Reward top performance, not effort, at the end of the journey. Some will fail. Tough.

AuthorJoel Filliol

James Vaughn has a blog on a research looking into characterises of the worlds best coaches. 

In summary: Read a lot, know thyself, and know your athletes.

Some key highlights below: 

the study was commissioned to better understand “serial winners”. Fourteen coaches from multiple fields – team and individual sports based around the world – where chosen for their abilities to develop Olympians and title winning dynasties.
This search – according to the data – is driven by a deep dark doubt, driving the obsession to ‘stay ahead’. These coaches are “always striving, driven by the fear of not being good enough”
These elite high performance coaches are visionary leaders, described within the data as ‘benevolent dictators’ – they are future orientated with excellent communication up and down the line: they have the capacity to simplify complexity when they communicate to their athletes. This is not disregarding complexity; they embrace and understand it, but are able to communicate in simple terms.
Most have also undergone a shift in leadership styles, moving towards a leader-follower approach, in which care and empathy are critically important.
these coaches know themselves – they know their core values and what it means to embody them, or how to demonstrate those values to themselves and their athletes.
‘what would have improved their coaching the most’, a theme emerged from all the coaches interviewed: “they said they wished they knew the athletes better”
Source: https://playerdevelopmentproject.com/key-c...
AuthorJoel Filliol

Check out my interview with Ben Hobbs of TRS Triathlon and Real Coaching co-host Paulo Sousa

Some topics we covered : A podcast talking about a podcast, talking doping and the latest scandals, professional unions in triathlon, racing in the middle east why aren't more women entering Bahrain, and of course more coaching & high performance.


AuthorJoel Filliol

Chris Gallagher has a great article on FreelapUSA.com on what high performance is really about and what it's not. The article is filled with gems, here are a few that resonated with me:

High performance is about much more than the name and facilities and equipment. It is not merely about capturing data

What, then, is a real high-performance environment? To me, it consists of three simple, yet major facets: people, philosophies, and culture.

People are, or should be, your greatest commodity, your greatest resource in a high-performance environment. Talented, driven, inquisitive and ambitious people are essential

Many coaches have a very large toolbox but cannot decide what to do because they don’t have a philosophy. – Dan Pfaff

“Good coaches are better able to learn from history—because they have a philosophy,” he says, and adds that “a philosophy protects from the comings and goings of the various trends that permeate the profession. Good coaches maintain a core set of principles—and are far less influenced by the current trends of the day.”

For a sports team littered with superstars, there is a humility, dedication to hard work and doing what needs to be done. “Ego has to be left at the door; there is a rigidly enforced ‘no d—head policy’ in the squad

Read the full article here for a number of other good points. 

AuthorJoel Filliol

Check out this episode of the Pace Performance Podcast with sprint coach Jonas Dodoo. I had the pleasure of spending a few days with Jonas at a conference last year. He was very switched on, and coaches from any sport can learn from him. 

In this episode of the Pacey Performance Podcast I speak with world renowned sprint coach, Jonas Dodoo. Jonas is currently coaching one of the best young sprint groups in Europe, if not the world.

The Pace Performance Podcast is a great resource for coaches with over 50 episodes now. 

AuthorJoel Filliol
AuthorJoel Filliol

A great blog by physio Paul Westwood  @triathlonphysio who support my squad over on Adam Meakins blog 'The Sports Physio":

A few highlights below that have guided how we work with our athletes and navigate the process of high performance training:

We tend to try that extra bit harder with high performance athletes. We want to impress them, they deserve more, they need to get everything they want. If they’re complaining of pain we need to do something about it and do it now! They need ‘intensive physiotherapy’. If the pain doesn’t reslove they need even more intensive physiotherapy. MRI scans are done at the drop of the hat, steroid injections given instantly, arthroscopes quickly, as long as it makes them happy and gives them what they want.
Think about what you can actually do to make a difference. Often this is not a lot. Don’t throw everything and the kitchen sink at athletes, don’t pump them full of pain killers, perform endless manips, poke them full of needles and give relentless massages trying to release what isn’t stuck. Don’t fly them across the world to see one expert after the next. In life shit happens from time to time. Once we accept this we can quickly move on and get back on track rather than wasting energy on a fruitless searches and potentially harmful interventions. A calm and reassuring response is all that is often required.
When you work with your athletes, show them what they are capable of rather than showing them what YOU think is wrong with them, and sometimes they just need to train and race to find their belief.

Once you look beyond the smoke and mirrors of the wonder physio there usually is a great therapist in there. They just have to trust their knowledge, humanist skills and faith in what people are actually capable of. Find this out by knowing your athletes. My most successful outcomes are usually achieved by simply listening and talking.
Source: https://thesportsphysio.wordpress.com/2015...
AuthorJoel Filliol

"Olympic Coach is a publication of the United States Olympic Committee Sport Performance Division/Coaching Education Department." 

If you've not seen USOC's free magazine for high performances coaches, check it out. Many good articles in the back issues on topics relevant to coaches.

2015 Summer Olympic Coach click here

AuthorJoel Filliol

When @iamspecialized_tri came to visit: A little insight into our camp and the powerful Richard Murray who has helped build this since the beginning ‪#‎jftcrew‬

Find the link in below for the full video of our days in Les Angles with @rd_murray and the Joel Filliol Training Crew. 

We asked what makes #JFTcrew a super group:


South African triathlete Richard Murray is spending six weeks in the French ski village of Les Angles, training under the guidance of Joel FIlliol. Specialized spent three days at the altitude base to understand the location, the dynamics of the group, and their road to Rio.

"To go out to train, that's the success really!" - @rd_murray 

‪#‎3DaysWithRich‬ ‪#‎Triathlon‬ ‪#‎JoelFilliol‬ ‪#‎Inspiration‬

AuthorJoel Filliol

Listen to my interview with Ben Hobbs of TRS Triathlon 


"Finally, legendary coach, Joel Filliol, shared his views on clean sport, high performance coaching and what separates olympic medalists from those who finish 20th. Who dopes more - age groupers or professionals? Do more than 30% of the Kona professionals take perfomance enhancing drugs? His answers might shock you."


AuthorJoel Filliol

Congrats to Katie Zaferes and Sarah True - both podium performances at the 2015 London ITU World Series  

AuthorJoel Filliol