Virtual Coaching | An Elite Athlete Success Story
We joke at Garage Strength and talk about this at presentations, that we can get, and have gotten, athletes to the Olympics just using a cell phone and apps. Using the cell phone and apps as a tool, not a video game or a social media device, but using it as a cool, working tool.
Alex Rose can attest to this.
99.9% of Alex’s communication with us at Garage Strength occurs via cell phone conversations, text messages, Voxer, Coach’s Eye, and Google Photos. In our opinion, Alex literally qualified for the Olympics using a cell phone. Cell phones can be annoying to a point but can be valuable if used appropriately.
Despite how ridiculous it sounds, Alex agrees, saying, “100%, I qualified for my first Olympics using my cell phone.” He says it all started with Coach’s Eye. He had never done technical analysis previously.
It started with Alex jumping with his right leg through the middle. For those of you who don’t know, Alex is a world-class discus thrower. This faulty movement pattern needed to be hammered out of him. Alex got a phone call saying, “Stop doing that,” and a video analysis came through over email. Alex saw what he needed to change and what he needed to do: get the right down quicker and stop hopping out of the back.
Alex sent another video.
Alex didn’t make a single change. He didn’t make any of the corrections sent. He jumped immediately out of the back, he was light off his right leg, and he overrotated.
Alex admits the first few weeks were just him not knowing how to make changes. However, the repetition and constant video analysis being sent to him over a cell phone got to him.
Alex realized that if he went really slow, he could do one or two throws that made the changes he needed, he could send those videos. It is hilarious that the intention was just to appease the coach, not really change. The kicker is that it really ended up working out. Alex found out that when he tried to make videos that made the changes needed he improved his ability to throw the discus.
Alex started realizing how balanced he was at the front of the ring when he wasn’t hopping. He realized how he could push from his right around to his left side and go through on the finish. Alex had a moment of Zen. Or as he says in his own words, “Holy shit, I need to listen to every word this guy says, cause it’s right!”
Technical epiphanies do occur. Athletes realize what coaches want them to do, like an “A-ha!” moment. Coaches may say something 100,000 times and the athletes are like, “I don’t get it,” but all of a sudden the athletes see it and they’re like, “Ohhhhh.”
With Alex, the rate of technical epiphanies occurring went really slow at first. Over time, the coach and athlete relationship improved to the point that things improved and occurred with patience through better communication.
Alex at one point talked about the European discus throwers opening out of the back got their left foot past 180*. Alex asked, “Is that something good?” The answer is clear, YES! This speaks to Alex’s ability to see what other throwers what is wanted from them, it makes coaching a lot easier, especially for people at Alex’s level.
In addition, Alex speaks to having his throws constantly analyzed via video making him analyze videos via video as well. It’s all we see nowadays. To the point where Alex is watching a video on YouTube of the 2008 Olympic final thinking about the technical aspects of the competitors through the lens of what his coach may think about the execution.
This is huge for the sport in general. People have done this movement for centuries. We can see what they did well, what they did poorly, and moving forward can continue to refine the movement patterns to potentially bring down the world record.
Alex Rose is a mighty strong individual. He is an incredibly talented individual. He is technically minded and puts that discus into flight like few in the world are capable of doing. Alex’s level of focus is that of a champion. Alex isn’t some person on the internet posting about how he is a lion and how great he is, by no means is that him. No siree. Instead, and how it should be, Alex is the person out there doing big things to prove how great he is at the things he has chosen to pursue, namely throwing the discus.
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.