230: Steffan Jones on Isometrics, Variability and “2nd Generation” French Contrast Training Methods in Fast-Bowling and Athletic Skill Development | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Our guest today is cricket fast-bowling coach and overall motor learning wizard, Steffan Jones. Stefan is the last “dual pro” between rugby and cricket, and is an ex-cricketeer turned coach. He is one of the world leading experts in regards to not only fast-bowling training, but also topics such as training individualization, motor learning and the process of reaching the highest possible level of one’s sport skill.
Stefan has worked with many of the world’s leading organizations and athletes in his work in the sport of Cricket. He has written much about his own training process in the many articles that he has put forth on Just Fly Sports, which essentially amounts to a medium sized book. His synthesis of his motor-learning model he calls “The Skill-Stability Paradigm” which is applicable to any sport skill you can imagine.
On our last podcast together, we went heavily into the specific strength needed to throw a cricket ball at high speeds, and some of the specialty methods used to train that strength, such as isometric training and isometric-skill complexes. This podcast builds on that episode by covering the means by which Stefan uses variability to further the training effect, and explore the possibilities of a sport skill to their highest potential.
Topics today include:
A chat on how Adarian Barr’s teachings on collisions factor into fast-bowling
The role of training variability in skill building
The role of fatigue in variability, “second generation” French Contrast
How extreme-isometrics and stretch loading means can play a role in helping athletes to higher levels of skill on their sport, in conjunction with the necessary maximal power and elasticity needed.
This is an awesome show for any coach or athlete interested in training, and goes well beyond cricket itself.
Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.
View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage.
Timestamps and Main Points
6:00 What Steffan has been busy with lately in regards to his coaching, and how he tests his ideas on himself first prior to integration with athletes
7:45 What one thing Steffan is using now as a coach that he would “train” his former self with as an athlete
17:45 Maximal rigidity in limbs in athletic movements versus a more “controlled collision in training”
24:45 The role of general strength means in Steffan’s program
31:30 How extreme isometrics and stretch-loading impacts proprioception
36:30 How Steffan measures outputs and drop-offs in fast-bowling and isometrics
40:50 How Steffan adds variability into his training and exercise sessions
50:30 The “Two-Minute Drill” invented by Jeremy Fischer and how that can utilize fatigue to help athletes increase the amount of elastic elements in the movement
57:00 Thoughts on “second generation” contrast, and some of Steffan’s samples for using this method to improve the skill of fast-bowling
“Technique underpins everything, you cannot run away from poor technique”
“The fascia does determine the success of a skill that does happen as fast as a skill such as quick bowling does”
“Adarian said, it’s not about deceleration (on front foot contact) it’s about controlling the collision and maintaining momentum, and that to me, shifted my mindset”
“For me, concentrics, there’s no purpose for training sport. Sport happens too quickly for a concentric contraction”
“For me, isometrics should be the number one exercise. Alex Natera is doing some good work and the skill stability feeds off of that”
“I always have some sort of number when I’m doing isometrics”
“Cognitive fatigue only affects submaximal work; cognitive fatigue doesn’t affect high intensity work”
“Same but different, medicine ball work in my same drop and block position.