Q: What do you think of brain typing as espoused at braintypes.com? Is there any credibility for it or do you think it's all hogwash?
Well you can call it brain typing, personality differences, external observation or whatever the hell you want to, but the bottom line is that people are different and certain mental characteristics and "tendencies", lend themselves towards certain behaviors. Nobody would ever claim that people all think or function the same mentally. If you can identify these tendencies then you can better predict individual mental strengths and shortcomings.
Not to pick on anybody here but let me share with you an email I sent to someone a few weeks back about Ben Roethlisberger. This was prior to the game against the patriots, where he threw 3 interceptions. Here I was explaining my prediction for a crappy performance the following week against the pats.
"Big Ben and his "brain type"?? Well, you saw what happened when he is put into obvious passing situations. Anybody can hang out in the pocket and complete 65% with a 90 QB rating when your football team runs the ball 70% of the time and averages 5 yards a carry and every pass you throw is off a play action with 8 men up on the line. But you saw what happened against the Jets when he has to pass a bit. I believe most of his interceptions in the regular season were in the first 3 plays of the game, which means he's predicting, executing, and going through robotic motions.
You see, it's the difference between "Judging" and "Perceiving". A judger tends to see one thing at a time but what they see is very intense and the way they operate is very orderly. In contrast a perceiver tends to see a lot of things at once but none of them all that clear. X-games types I would say, are the ultimate in perceivers. OK, to really understand the difference imagine taking a typical PHd mathematics professor and throwing him on a halfpipe on a skateboard or something similar. How do you think his brain would react to that? Do you see what I'm talking about?
The thinking of nerds and scientists et. al is too fixed on one thing at a time with a lot of intensity - thinking too much. In the heat of the moment they will get too serious with their options and lose their flow, zeroing in on one thing at a time.
On the other hand what happens when you take the typical x-games ADHD punk and throw him into a college classroom?? Nothing very good happens! This is why perceivers tend to do best in sports performance and judgers make better coaches, teachers, educators etc. A perceiver does things without having to think. Matt Leinart perceiver....Jason White, judger...go through the various professional sports rosters and you can pick out which is which.....some are a little difficult - like Trent Green is a judger but has been in the league so long and has a good scheme to operate from. However, you still see that in the heat of the moment he takes stupid sacks and throws shit up for grabs cause he's too dialed in on doing one thing when it really gets intense. On the other end guys like Brett Favre tend to be too loosey goosey. They don't think enough and often screw up from that end. But it's a lot easier to take them and get them thinking a little bit then it is to do the opposite."
Ok. Now, a judger can be very good as long as things work out exactly the way they're supposed to....they can go 1,2 3, bam! - and their technique on steps 1, 2, and 3 will probably be better then the perceivers 1, 2, 3 because the judger is more like a programmable machine. But throw a little wrench into the machine and make the robot do something it's not accustomed to and it blows up. By the way there are no starting point guards ever in the NBA who were a judging type.
It's also important to note that in my opinion none of this stuff is completely hardwired in. Changes in the balance of neurotransmitters can and will greatly effect a persons tendencies. The greatest illustration of this is with a mental illness such as bipolar disorder or manic-depression, which is caused by huge variances in neurotransmitters like dopamine. This is why a guy like Mike Tyson had such huge variances in performance ability and personality that nobody seemed to understand. (and despite what else you might here Mike IS as bipolar as they come). When he was on his mental game nobody could compete but when he wasn't he couldn't compete against anybody.
It can also be illustrated when you take an overly uptight, anxious, and "overthinking" type individual and give them a few drinks of alcohol. What happens then? Well, GABA, beta-endorphin etc. increase which provides more "balance". (and often leads to alcoholism in that type of individual :)) Or give a naturally lethargic lazy individual some stimulants and what happens?? You get increased dopamine, epinephrine, and cortisol, which that type of indidividual normally lacks (which explains the correlation between rural areas and crank addicts). I believe the future lies in creating the perfect mental chemistry through drugs and god knows what else.
The takehome point is that most of you reading this probably think too much and will improve your sporting performance by learning to relax and let things flow!
Q: What is wrong with my work capacity? I train every 5 days and I can complete a lot of sets during the workout but it seems like whether I do 2 sets or 20 sets it still takes me a long time to recover?
The reason it takes you long to recover is because it's taking you a lot of arousal just to get fired up and generate any intensity whatsoever. This could be do to many factors that are kind've unrelated to training - including depression, chronic fatigue etc. It could also just be the way you're wired. If you have a very excitable nervous system but are not so advantaged with regard to your endocrine system then you will tend to overtrain easily like this.
The body tries to maintain a level of homeostasis, or balance. With training you throw your body out of balance. Recovery is just your body getting back in balance. Some people can get thrown off balance even without any training at all. Hargainers are like this. They have a hard time recovering from even zero activity because they create so much stress doing nothing and are terrible at recovering from that stress, not to mention additional stress.
Chances are you're not like that but their are quite a few people whose systems are like the lights at a major league ballpark. It takes alot of electricity just to get those lights turned on. In fact, more energy is used up just turning them on then is used keeping them on for a long time. Whether they stay on for 30 seconds or 4 hours you gotta pay a big bill anyway.
Ok now, the main issue is that you're making gains. As long as you're making consistent gains I wouldn't worry about it right now until you start to plateau. Go ahead and milk it as long as you can. Most athletes do too much, and if you're making gains your program is working for you.
However, that approach will only take you so far as well before you hit a plateau. It will always take you 5 days to recover between workouts regardless of how hard you train unless you directly address that by training more often. I would consider an increase in intra session performance volume only one aspect of work capacity, the other half is how long it takes you to recover from any workload.
You can increase work capacity by either breaking your workout up into smaller segments or by inserting some low intensity feeder, tempo, or cardiovascular type work on off days.
I might have you do some calisthenic circuits or 15 x 100 yard sprints at 60%, or even low intensity cardio a couple of days per week.
Chances are when you increase your training frequency you probably won't like it at first and your performance would temporarily go down. Yet when you go back to your 5 day split your gains would be out of this world because your work capacity would be so much greater. This is a version of concentrated loading. After training more freuquently for a month or 2, you'd probably find that your body would recover in 2-3 days the same way it recovers in 4-5 days now.
Training infrequently does have it's advantages but it also does have its disadvantages. The advantage of is that it teaches your nervous system and muscular system that it's ok not to hold back. This is great for teaching it how to act in more of a "fast twitch" type manner. If the body has a choice between efficiency (endurance) and proficiency it will adapt towards efficiency every time.
When you train with full recovery and fairly infrequently, your nervous system knows it's ok to put out it's full magnitude and it doesn't need to hold back.
You mentioned one of the downsides which is work capacity. The other is that connective tissue health requires more frequent stimulation and can go to shit very quickly. It is also very easy to get fat training in this manner. This is why I always have people do low intensity work such as dynamic flexibility circuits even on a low frequency/low volume routine. The type of work capacity necessary for sport also never increases because the body never has any reason to increase it's recovery rate. The aforementioned abilities to "turn it on" will respond much quicker if one goes from a higher frequency phase into a lower frequency phase. In other words, you gotta have something to taper into.
The bottom line is you gotta challenge your recovery ability sometimes or you'll eventually stagnate and probably get injured as well.
Q: First, let me start by saying the new articles are really informative. The path of champions article was one of the best I have read bridging the gap between theroy and practical applications. It would be cool if you put out more case study type articles.
Now on to the training blind article. Is this a method that could be used regardless of the athletes current state of development or age? Do you save it for more advanced athletes? It seems to me that younger athletes could really benefit from this when doing something like agility drills because, there would be no reason for them to look at the ground when perfroming the drills.
Also, do you know of or use any techniques to improve "sports vision"? I work with a lot of baseball players and there are a ton of devices and systems that are supposed to improve vision and concentration. I just don't know if any of them actually work. Here is a link to what I am talking about http://www.hitting.com/visiontrainingtools/visiontraining.html
Yes I'd use the visual deprivation training for pretty much any class of athlete. If you really want to learn a particular skill quickly it works wonderful. It doesn't take any time at all to pick up skills that way. The same goes for various lifts. It doesn't take much either to get the hang of it. Once you can execute any move or lift with semi-decent technique you can start implementing it with anyone, cause it'll just make them that much aware of what they're doing. It definitely helps in the learning process.
As for sports vision I really don't pay any attention to any gimmick products on the marketplace so I can't offer much input there. There was one I happen to see though for basketball players that was something they put on their head that allowed them to see straight ahead but prevented them from seeing their hands or the ball. Something like that would be good for those athletes but I don't even remember what they're called. Hell, now that I think about it, you could probably take one of those styrofoam fishing caps and put it on backwards with the cap part sticking out under your chin. That would prevent you from being able to look down. Send me $39.99 and I'll send you one! (In case anybody thinks I'm serious that was a joke)