ERIC HAGEMANN

Breaking down training, performance, and athlete development.

Why early sport specialization doesn't work

Early sport specialization is getting a lot of press. But if the phenomenon is new to you, it is essentially the trend for young athletes to focus on just one sport year round. The idea here is that more hours spent training that activity will increase the chances of success. Early specialization was in part ignited by the popularization of the “10,000 hour rule”, which credited the accumulation of training hours to expertise in...Continue

Why exercising every day is easier (and smarter) than you think

Last October, I made the decision to run every single day for 137 days in a row. While it was far from a Guinness record, that, for me, was a serious challenge given that I've had a life-long disgust (but secret love of) running. While running every day through the Canadian winter seemed like a daunting task, I discovered that actually getting it done wasn't as painful as I thought. By the end of the...Continue

Momentum, momentum, momentum

Training is a lot like steering an oil tanker--or so I would imagine. Forward progress starts so slowly, you can barely detect it. Coming to a stop feels like forever. The power of a ship of that size is in the momentum it builds over time. Don't give up when it's eight weeks in and it doesn't feel like you've gone very far. And don't think that a couple missed workouts hasn't knocked you off...Continue

4 benefits of strength and conditioning that you never thought about

The primary reason athletes train is to enhance their sport performance. When people think of how that increase in performance takes place, their mind usually goes to topics of physical fitness, like being strong, fast, and well-conditioned. But training provides more than just changes to an athlete’s body. Here are four less recognized benefits of training that stand out to me, and that you should consider if you’re an athlete, coach, or parent....Continue

Cheat meals are a bad, bad idea

It’s like a weekend pass from nutritional prison--where you’re free to eat whatever (and as much as) you like before heading back to the confines of egg whites and salads. It's the cheat meal. And the logic behind it is sound. The case for cheating One of the idea behind cheating is that it can break up the monotony of dieting. It's a chance to loosen up the reigns and provide a little...Continue

Why too much sport-specific training is the worst thing an athlete can do

"Why are we jogging for an entire hour?," he asked with a suspicious look on his face. I couldn't blame him for asking. Being a hockey player, he wants to get faster and more explosive. Trotting on a treadmill for 60 minutes at a mind-numbingly slow pace seems to work against this goal. It's also just not very difficult. At this intensity he could easily carry on a conversation or flip through the playlist on...Continue

Learning when to ignore the pain, and when to listen to it

Training is a balloon bouncing on the end of your fingertip. Fail to tap it often or hard enough and it falls to the ground. Hit it too hard and it goes flying away like a leaf in the breeze. The trick is to constantly bump it up juuuust right to keep it suspended and under control. Keeping this in mind, there are two widely accepted but conflicting principles of training: 1. You must stress...Continue

I wasn't good enough

It wasn’t the coaching. It wasn’t the ref. It wasn’t because my skates were too dull. It wasn’t because I made the wrong choices. It wasn’t because I didn’t want it. It wasn’t for lack of work. It wasn’t because I got unlucky. It wasn’t because the scouts didn’t come out. It was because I wasn’t good enough at the right moment. Simple as...Continue

How to love running

I've hated it my entire life. It hurt. It was pointless. It was did nothing more but damage the body and create suffering. Running was bad. And then a year ago, I thought, "what if I'm wrong?" So I started running. At first, all of my previous opinions were confirmed true. It hurt like hell. Every cell of my body screamed to stop. No jog was slow enough to ease the suffering. I was terrified...Continue