Sunday, March 29, 2020

Power: Teaching Connection

There are many ways to train power. At this point in my career, I think many athletes are better off training power without a barbell. I am not against it, but it demands a high level of skill, specific equipment and time to do it safely. Developing athletes are better off expressing this aspect of physicality via sprinting, jumping, bounding, throwing and putting. Exploit the acceleration, distance and time elements of the power equation.

Power = Work / Time
Power = Force x Distance / Time
Power = (Mass x Acceleration) x Distance / Time

Training for power doesn't always mean we have to train for maximal power, with heavy resistance as the key variable. And when we do need to train for maximal power, we should have the tissue and joint infrastructure ready to handle the demands of those tasks. We need the right foundational movement competencies so we are prepared. As James Marshall said in his most recent HMMRMedia article, we need a system and framework that purposefully provides the following elements:

1) Precision in the accuracy of movement.
2) Variety of movement within a theme.
3) Progression in terms of complexity, rather than sets/reps/time.

Ground-based power is the coordinated summation of segments. I start teaching this concept from day one with the Medball Squat and Press Series and progress the athlete through different movement experiences. Athletes need to move themselves and a variety of small objects before they try to move bigger objects like barbells.

I make extensive use of dumbbells early in the process via swings, muscle snatches and the squat & press. We use one or two dumbbells, vary our stance and start with a mellow tempo to make sure everyone feels the connection from the legs into the dumbbell. We strive for mechanical efficiency and repeated excellence. No energy leaks.

We can then progress things -- be more powerful -- by playing with speed and amplitude of movement. We learn movements from a taller position (high hang, hang) and work down to the floor. We learn to make a variety of shapes, from a coiled triple-flexion to a big and tall triple-extension. Begin with basic sagittal plane work and then expand the envelope with transverse and frontal plane variations as we master the basics.

These movements can serve as warm ups, recovery day movements or as terminal power work if that's all we need to accomplish our goals. The concepts learned with these dumbbell movements provide a good foundation for the barbell movements if you choose to advance to those. If you and your athletes have been trapped in power clean purgatory, I encourage you to try some of these dumbbell movements. They can be fast, fun and done by all ages. You might even put some of them together for a dumbbell circuit.


1 Arm DB Squat & Press



2-Arm DB Swing


1-Arm DB Muscle Snatch from floor


DB Muscle Snatch & Lunge Series


Freestylin' 2-Arm Clean & Press Thingy


2-Arm DB Nordic Squats


1-Arm Big Ass DB Row/High Pull

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Hypertrophy: I Got Over it

Hypertrophy.

Pursuit of mass looms large in performance -- for dudes. Gets to be obsessive sometimes in knee rehab. Girth is easy to measure. Feel the burn, see some results. But do those numbers reflect improvement in function?

Size matters. But is it the priority, especially at the start of the process?
Now patients can do some pretty functional (and slick!) e-stim at home with their own Power Dot or Compex units. These things can be helpful. We don't have to waste precious time during an in-person session now.

Then there is BFR. I'll be brutally honest: I don't like it and I don't bother. I think it is a major distraction from the real work that needs to be done in rehab. Why are physios so drawn to gadgets? Why aren't we more concerned with management of gravity and ground reaction forces? Connect the brain to the leg to the ground and move. Focus on coordination and control throughout the full ROM before anything else. Girth before capacity and joint integrity seems foolish.

The hypertrophy will come when you have full function and command of the system. Give it some time. Support it with the best nutrition possible.

I've not personally taken a medically-oriented course on the topic, but I have tried the Kaatsu stuff. I found the shit-storm of numbness and burn to be disconcerting. How in the world could anyone really focus on moving well and connecting things?

A set of force plates and some software seems like a much better investment. Spend your time building neuromuscular foundations. Yes, we track girth, but it is a secondary variable, not a primary focus. Play the long game.

On the athletic development side of things, I learned to bypass the whole "hypertrophy" training block -- and the whole scheme of traditional yearly periodization -- with my tall high school volleyball and basketball guys. They were all lacking in mass. But it was clear to me that my priorities were to arm them with good habits and good movement while they played too many games, all year round. I didn't have time to waste and we didn't have any mirrors to distract us; but we did have a scale to track the general trajectory of weight gain. This was the time to build body awareness and lower extremity mobility so they were ready for the collegiate system. My job was to keep their knees and shoulders healthy; keep their hearts joyful and make sure they were still loving the game.

From L to R: 6' 6", 6' 10", 6' 9", 6' 7", 6' 2". High school juniors and seniors.
I chose to support long-term health and physical literacy versus short term aesthetics -- periodize the long-term needs of the developing athlete, not the competition year. Taught them to eat and fuel better during this period of peak height velocity and peak sport madness. We cannot rush Mother Nature. We are much better off if we use our time with them to "build in" and not worry too much about the "build on." Most of these young men won't get to their full adult weights until their mid-twenties. So do what is necessary now and arm them with good habits and decision making. Yes, we can have fun and throw in some bodybuilding work now and then. But don't lose sight of what is most important.

If you can let go of hypertrophy, you will free yourself and your athletes up for the more important work. You will see that good programming and progression can support the development of both. Connect things first, don't isolate. Build in, then you can build on via a more authentic process of maturation.






Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Primer for Building Foundational Squats

Many people ask me about teaching athletes to squat. So I thought I'd put together a post showing some of my "go-to" teaching movement sequences and share a few helpful points. This post will not go into any depth about working with people who have significant mobility restrictions -- we'll save that for a future post. But this should give you some practical tools and cues to help you build your process and progression.

And that's my first point: We all need a process. This is the process I've developed over the last 15 years or so. It's not perfect, but I've found it helpful -- for me. EVERYONE I work with uses this process. So everything I do within my system of programming builds from the elements in this process. New movements will have familiar elements of movements already learned. 

Second point: You will probably need to use a few explicit instructions at the start. Stance width. Toe out. Help people find this right away. And then let them know that these things are important to dial in for any kind of squat. Then give them frequent and consistent opportunities to feel themselves squatting. After a bit, you can give them different squat puzzles to solve.

Third point: Check for old myths lurking. Many people, even very young athletes, have heard the following statements: 1) Don't let your knees go over your toes; 2) Sit back; 3) Keep your weight on your heels; 4) Look up; 5) Chest up and back arched. Get rid of these ideas quickly and you'll see big changes in movement. You thought someone had limited ankle dorsiflexion, but really they were just trying like hell to keep their weight on their heels and not let their knees move forward.

My cues: Move down, not back. Elevator legs. Knees first. Full foot. Look straight ahead or even slightly down. Stay tall, you don't need to arch. 

We want to cultivate body awareness of spine vs hip flexion, but we do not have to go crazy with isolated hip hinging work. This is a topic for a whole separate post.

Remember that any load on the front or back of the shoulders will change the center of mass and likely affect mechanics. Sometimes you will need to preferentially use one or the other to build the awareness, comfort and confidence before someone progresses to the other. A medball can be a very effective external cue. "Get low and touch the ball to the ground, then get tall and reach the ball up to the sky." These simple instructions tend to -- but not always -- help people sort things out on their own.

I use the Medball Squat & Press Series to introduce the squat to everyone. Most people do it in every warm up session. Many elite athletes have used it on the road -- some at the top of the half pipe. It's a great recovery movement sequence: Squat & Press, Diagonal Ups, Rotations for a little active leg rest, Giant Circles and then faster Squat and Press to finish if there is the desire to move with some power.




I use Barbell Warm Up A to introduce all barbell squatting, basic barbell literacy and terminology. Let's get this clear: IF YOU ARE GOING TO ASK YOUNG PEOPLE TO SQUAT WITH A BAR, YOU NEED TO TEACH THEM HOW TO SQUAT WITH AN EMPTY BAR AND WARM UP WITH PROGRESSIVE LOADS BEFORE THEY DO THEIR HEAVIER WORK SETS. Every. Single. Session. And please, teach them how to load plates right and to know what weight their loaded bar is. Pounds and kilos.

If you are going to power clean, YOU MUST TEACH THEM TO SAFELY RACK THE BAR.

If you are going to clean, YOU MUST TEACH EVERYONE TO FRONT SQUAT WITH A PROPER RACK POSITION. This movement sequence helps anyone develop the wrist, shoulder and thoracic spine mobility to rack the bar properly.

Barbell Warm Up A: Muscle Clean, Front Squat, Press, Push Press Behind the Neck, Back Squat, Back Squat into Press. 3 or 5 reps each. Use 10 and 15 kg bars at first. Rest between exercises if you need to. If you do 5 reps of each movement, with a 20 kg bar, without rest, you will have built a nice bit of fitness.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE USE AN EMPTY BAR ONLY. This is mobility and body awareness movement sequence. No other load is EVER necessary.


Barbell Warm Up B is for those who want to learn and use snatch-related movements in their training. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO LEARN HOW TO SAFELY SECURE A BARBELL OVERHEAD BEFORE YOU ASK ANYONE TO DO A WEIGHTED OVERHEAD SQUAT WITH A BARBELL. You must also understand the impact of grip width on wrist/shoulder loading. Torso lean and shoulder/spine position will be profoundly affected by any lack of ankle dorsiflexion. These are not trivial issues. Squat stance with the OHS may need to be a little wider than for front squat or bodyweight squat.

Barbell Warm Up B: Muscle Snatch, OHS, Snatch Grip Press Behind the Neck, Back Squat, Snatch Grip Push Press Behind the Neck, Snatch Balance.



I'm happy to go into greater detail on any of these movement sequences. Let me know if you have questions.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Weightroom Without Walls: The Art & Practice of Outdoor Work

In this episode, Donie Fox and I discuss the skill of being able to appropriately progress training and rehab in the outdoors. With our current situation regarding Coronavirus we are now without our facilities and indoor training equipment for the foreseeable future. How do we ensure our quality of care does not suffer? We pay particular attention to staying true to your philosophy and not just taking the easy option of making people tired for the sake of it. We discuss careful planning and implementation of training using fields, hills and stairs. We mention means of progression and regression, and we try to paint a picture of how we run these sessions with our athletes and those we work with.

In order to make this an audio and visual learning experience we have shared some of these progressions and ideas in a Google photos folder for you here - check each video description for more info.

And you can find our show notes for this episode here.

Link to the Anchor site and player to play in your browser.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Rethinking Load & Intensity: Valuing Bodyweight Work and Effort

Obstacles bring opportunity.

For many athletes and athletic development coaches, this is the first time they have not had access to a facility and traditional weight training equipment. Can we really do effective work with non-traditional/submaximal implements and bodyweight movements?

ABSOLUTELY.

This is our opportunity to see the power of simplicity. The power of consistency, intention and effort. Done well. Applied over time.


This is a great opportunity to reflect upon our ideas about intensity and load -- and the traditional definitions (%1 RM) we use to drive programming and periodization. The development of equipment to easily measure barbell velocity has prompted many coaches to seriously think about how they use a barbell. Many now see value in lighter absolute loads on the bar.

Can we get more coaches to value movements that don't use a bar? Maybe now we can. Because they are being forced to use bare-minimum loads. Maybe more coaches will actually try and do the bodyweight and other non-traditional work they've always seen as inferior to the "real" strength work.

We must learn to value and apply work that doesn't have a traditional method of quantification. Rise above the cult of heavy. Find value in the development of graceful, coordinated expression of physicality.

We have rigid definitions of "load" and "intensity" for training, relying on numbers to quantify everything. These numbers drive periodization and yearly training plans. They fit nicely into elaborate Excel spreadsheets.

Bodyweight and non-traditional resistance training implements force us to think outside the %1RM box. They ask us to understand "load" and "intensity" differently. They ask us to see "quality" and coach quality over "load." They ask us to value loads that are traditionally seen as too light to really do anything productive with regard to the development of useful strength. Research in strength, as it relates to performance, tends to emphasize the value and pursuit of maximal strength.

Now is the time to open our minds. If we only value maximal strength and practicing for the test of maximal strength (1RM), then we miss out on many other aspects of strength and it's role in developing athleticism -- that quality not easily captured in a spreadsheet.

Can we see the value in approaching the 1 rep/sec bodyweight squat -- even though you don't have anything actually giving you a number to record?

Can we train our eyes to see what productive / quality movement is?

Can we feel the value of multi-planar movements in our hips and spine?

Can we see the value in using timed sets? 1:1 and 2:1 work to rest ratios in the development of relative strength?

Can we rethink ideas on effort? And the value of consistency of effort? 

I like this discussion of effort from James P. Fisher, James Steele, Dave Smith, Paulo Gentil in their article "Periodization for optimizing strength and hypertrophy; the forgotten variables" from the Journal of Trainology. Who knew there was such a thing? Anyway, these guys ask us to think differently. Link to the full article here:
A key aim of periodization is to manage or reduce the risk of overtraining through modification of variables over time2. However, whilst fatigue and recovery are usually discussed, it is interesting that effort is not referred to. For example, Williams, et al.3 repeatedly discussed training intensity in reference to the load (% 1-repetition maximum; RM) being used. It has been suggested that intensity might best be thought of as the effort applied, rather than the load used9 and further that intensity actually refers to a measure of something and as such requires clarity (e.g., intensity of effort) when used, or should be dropped from the lexicon when discussing RT10. The use of the term intensity in reference to load is a relatively common error in RT publications, however as Leo Tolstoy stated; Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it”.11 The maximal number of repetitions performed at the same relative load (% 1RM) shows considerable heterogeneity across the population, as well as variation between exercises.12-14 Therefore, the effort required by an individual to complete a set number of repetitions at a particular relative load can differ between and even within individuals. As such, it has been argued that, not only should the term intensity be avoided and instead load or effort simply used,10 but that effort should be considered with respect to proximity to momentary failure and controlled by appropriate definition and applications of set endpoints15.
I hope this unanticipated time outside of traditional weight rooms gives coaches the opportunity to think about the why and how of "strength" and the time to explore the world of bodyweight and non-traditional resistance training implements. These are powerful tools that are effective at every level of athletic development. They are the foundations of basic physical health and infrastructure. As coaches, we must become comfortable dosing and using movements that are not easily defined by programming software or some % of a 1RM.

This is the art of building strength "in" vs "on." This is the art of coaching and human performance.



Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Recharge and Restart

I am dusting off my old blog. Time to get my act together and use this tool in a productive manner again. My friend Patrick McHugh has inspired me this week.

Most people would tell me to use the blog feature of my business website, but truth be told, the blog feature of the SquareSpace sites stinks. Especially when it comes to integrating video into posts.

Or I'm just an old curmudgeon.

Like everyone else, I'm working through this trying time, mostly from home. Thankfully, I'm not in any official quarantine and I have the luxury of my business space as a secondary retreat from home. So I am compelled to use my knowledge, that space and this space to help others stay sane and healthy while we work through our collective challenge.

Let's start with one of my favorite little movement sequences: Powerball Series #1 and #2. There are two sequences, with five movements in each sequence. #1 is geared toward single plane work: sagittal, frontal and transverse.  #2 has more combined plane work. The idea here is simple: move your arms in all directions and above your head. I created these sequences to address basic shoulder / spine infrastructure in my high school volleyball athletes and support my own upper quarter health. I used to not have much empathy for victims of whiplash until I was hit from behind at an intersection. That adjusted my attitude quickly.

Five movements, five reps R and L. Very much inspired by the "5 in 5" physical education modules put together by my GAIN colleagues Greg Thompson, Steve Myrland and Kelvin Giles. And the whole idea of just moving, versus doing some sterile external rotation or Codman's exercises is from by blogging buddy Joe Pryztula. His blog, Joe's Training Room was epic.

This is the original video I made, probably ten years ago.

When I redo these videos, I'll change and emphasize a few things.

1. I'll move a bit more slowly. No reason to go fast. Feel it. Be purposeful.

2. Think about reaching tall. Get long. Straighten those elbows.

3. I'll just use my arms. There is no specific need to have anything in your hands. These 2 lb PowerBalls are perfect and enough. 2.5 lb or 1 / 1.5 kg change plates also work well. Please do not try to use 5 or 10 lb dumbbells. Just don't.

I used these movements with EVERYONE --- from desk jockeys to Olympians. One Olympian told me I fixed her cranky shoulders. Sweet! You can do these movements in any space, at any time of day or night.

PowerBall Series #1
Shoulder Flexion x 5
Shoulder Abduction x 5
W into V x 5
Backstroke x 5 R/L
Alternating Still Punches x 5 R/L

PowerBall Series #2
Diagonal 1 x 5 R/L (square stance)
Figure 8's x R/L
Horizontal Abduction x 3 (palms down, palms neutral, palms up)
Alternating Step Punches x 5 R/L
Diagonal 1 x 5 R/L (stride/lunge stance)

The cool thing about these movements? I am sneaking in a bunch of subtle shoulder external rotation, above and below 90 degrees of shoulder abduction. Throw off the shackles of sterile, traditional physical therapy shoulder exercises. Use movement to remind your body that it is capable of great things. Put stuff over your head. Hair toss, check your nails, alternating still punches. Come on, dust your shoulders off, keep it moving.

I'll add some other ideas in the near future -- compliment this work with tubing and ground-based stuff. I want to write more. Happy to answer questions if you have them.



Monday, June 11, 2018

More Women in Coaching: Some Thoughts on How to Get There





Me with Andrea Hudy after a Kansas men's basketball practice during the 2014 NCAA Tournament in St. Louis. Andrea is the only female strength coach of a Division I men's basketball program and Assistant Athletic Director for Sport Performance at Kansas.

Some recent events have prompted me to think seriously about things we can do to positively impact the number of women in coaching -- sport coaching and performance coaching. First and foremost was my own departure from US Ski & Snowboard, where I was one of two women on the athletic development staff, one of only four total female coaches in the entire organization and one of a very few women to work in high performance in the US at the NGB level.

What was I thinking by leaving? I was thinking lots of things.

I knew there was a high probability my position would be filled by a male coach (it has been-- and I'm super supportive of this young man's ability to have a tremendously positive impact with all of the snowboard athletes), but in the long run, I felt I would be more free to speak, act and positively influence the entire profession working independently.

Don't get me wrong. I had and still have some angst about leaving and not being there for the female athletes, not being able to directly mentor the one current female intern, not being there to support and collaborate with Tschana Schiller (the other excellent female athletic development coach) and not being a leader of and mentor to the young men in the High Performance department. And I can say young, because at 49, I very much was the "elder stateswoman" on staff, second in age only to the venerable Bill Sands.

I decided to give up some very important daily opportunities to influence and lead in order to reach for some larger, nationally oriented goals, while also re-charging my emotional and physical batteries. Life is a balance of choices.

Here are some very honest observations, opinions and thoughts from a female coach.

1. Organizations like US Ski & Snowboard, the NSCA and CSCCA, all need to very purposefully and intently identify, mentor and support female coaches.

We need NGBs and coach certification organizations to proactively identify and support women in coaching and in sport leadership. To find the best of the best and help them stay in the game. To identify female athletes at the higher levels who might have an interest in staying in the sport and then nuture that interest into professional coaching mastery.

Not task forces.

Not women's breakfasts or luncheons at the national conferences.

Not just one "women's specific conference" every other year.

Do more. Make tangible efforts to identify, teach, support and hire.

Talent ID followed by purposeful support.

Those of us who have broken through to the higher levels of coaching have done so because we have had men in positions of influence actively support and help us move into a position to earn an opportunity. Women can only have those doors open if they have the opportunity to network with people of influence. If you really want women in the mix, this cannot be left up to chance. There has to be intentional effort, by both men and women in positions of influence, to get more women in the world of sport and performance.

The one and only Kelvin Giles. He's opened doors for me and other women in high performance.
Coaching education and national level coach development systems have to intentionally look for women who have a chance to thrive as higher level coaches and then support them. Coaching education departments can and should be more than just a revenue stream for these organizations. You are the people who know the sport at the grassroots levels and who can identify and recruit those individuals who have what it takes to be successful. Coaching education departments need to help put women in the pipeline and then help of support them up through the ranks.

Sport and performance coaching are very much fraternities. Male oversight of and leadership are the norm. This will not change without intentional effort to put capable women in visible positions, for all to see their skill and competence. Only then will old attitudes and biases really start to fade.


2. Smaller professional networks have to feature, invite and support female coaches to speak and attend. 

I have had the great fortune of being a part of Vern Gambetta's GAIN Network since 2009. Vern invited me to attend in 2009 and then asked me to first speak in 2010. It has been one of the most important developments in my career as a coach, as it has given me the opportunity to learn from, network with and become a person of influence in the world of athletic development and sport performance. I cannot thank Vern enough for his support.

I believe I am one of only five women to have been included as faculty/speakers at GAIN in its eleven-year history. For several years, I was the only female speaker and one of a small group (< 10) of female attendees. This year, I'm bringing one young female coach and hope to see more women in attendance. I am glad to see a new female speaker, Grace Golden, PhD, in the line up.

I was also the only female speaker at the USOC High Performance Strength & Conditioning Symposium, last May in Colorado Springs. This was a tremendous honor and opportunity offered to me by symposium organizer Tim Pelot. I believe there were about six other women in the audience of about 120 professionals.

Speaker photo from the 2017 USOC High Performance Strength & Conditioning Symposium. One of the very best and most impactful professional experiences I've ever had.

Tim has announced a 2019 edition of this event, and I'm very excited to see that Dawn Scott, Fitness Coach for U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, and Teena Murray, Director of Sports Performance at the University of Louisville, are on the list of speakers.

One of my personal and professional goals is to invite and bring as many talented young female coaches to these two events as possible. He doesn't know it yet, but I am going to bug Tim about the acceptance process for the 2019 event and see if we can't target a few more high-performing, young female coaches to apply. I know the event is geared toward more "experienced high performance professionals."  However, there just aren't a ton of women with many years of experience in high performance organizations, so let us go out and identify those who have potential to be future leaders in the profession, mentor them and open the pathways for them to earn that experience.

People like Vern and Tim have the ability and opportunity to open doors for others, just as they opened it for me. Now my mission is to help get more women involved in high quality learning and networking events like these and support that process. A secondary aspect of this mission includes being active on sport performance podcasts, helping other female coaches get a shot at an interview.  I want to thank Martin Bingisser and Nick Garcia of the HMMR Media Podcast for including me in their line up twice over the last year. Podcasts can give female coaches a voice, an opportunity to contribute to and be respected by the wider professional coaching community. Women need a voice and visibility in the professional ranks if we are to be accepted as peers and leaders.

3. Big sport organizations have to do some serious self-reflection and review of hiring processes and culture. There is a great deal of work to be done here, in spite of all of the accolades for female athletes in this country, particularly in the Olympic sports.

As I told a group of young coaches last week, I never really noticed I was a "female coach" until I was a part of a national sport organization. I noticed women primarily in "gendered roles" in the organization: administrative support / team managers, sports medicine (physical therapists), marketing, membership and fundraising. Sport coaching staffs, high performance leadership and the executive offices were overwhelmingly male, even for women's teams and for specific female athletes.

This is not a criticism, but an observation of what exists. To be fair, US Ski & Snowboard has hired women for two of the executive positions (CFO and Director of Human Resources) and I am happy to see that. But the current reality is that women still overwhelmingly occupy the lowest-paying, support staff positions. They are still very much absent from leadership, coaching and athletic administration positions.

You cannot become what you cannot see.

But I'm not sure the men in charge really ever notice there is a discrepancy, because they are never in the minority and it's completely "normal" in sport for men to be in charge and for men to be coaching women. And when it comes to hiring coaches and high performance staff, the people in charge of that process tend to be men. And what do we know about hiring? People tend to hire people who are in their network and who are like themselves.

You cannot change what you cannot see.

Many organizations, be they NGBs or NCAA institutions, are working on making their processes more professional. This is good. We have to move past the days where head coach, assistant coach and performance coach positions are hired behind the closed doors of "the old boys' network" and not open to others outside of personal networks. I applaud US Ski & Snowboard for hiring Nichole Mason as the new snowboard slopestyle and big air rookie team coach. She has definitely proven herself with the development of 2018 Olympian Chris Corning and new rookie team member Jake Canter.

Male coaches and administrators must be open to the idea of women working alongside them on a daily basis. I would thing this especially important when traveling nationally and internationally with young female athletes. All athletes, especially female athletes, deserve the opportunity to work with good female coaches. Organizations that have mostly male coaching staffs and administrators should take the time to carefully and genuinely listen to the needs and concerns of their female athletes. You might be surprised as to what you hear.

If diversity and inclusion are truly goals for an organization, open, professional hiring practices are essential. Language, conduct and fair treatment matter if organizations want to retain female staff.  Genuine support for women and understanding of the subtle and not-so-subtle issues faced by women in coaching must be recognized. If organizations are struggling to figure out exactly why there aren't more women in their coaching ranks, maybe its time to hire someone to evaluate the hiring practices and illuminate overall culture. This individual can also act as an advocate for pay equality, a fair system of promotion and an equitable allocation of resources to female and male teams. That someone needs to report to the board of directors, not be beholden to anyone in paid leadership. It will require brutal honesty and a genuine willingness to evolve as an organization.

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So those are some of my thoughts. I'm interested in constructive conversation and in hearing from others working on this issue. We all have to be more proactive and reflective --- individuals and organizations --- if we want to level the playing field in coaching.