The Chaos Manual
“Chaos Theory” as demonstrated by Edward Lorenz in 1960, suggests that as a small random change is introduced into a system, it causes a ripple effect that can overwhelm and change the long term behavior of the system. Henri Poincare further determined that unless these initial changes could be defined and measured, the outcome or deviation caused by these ripples could never be predicted.

Sport, by nature, is also dictated moment to moment, by randomness and the athlete’s reaction to this randomness. A small change in play, a step too late, a push from the side can all radically change the ongoing sequence of events. The athlete must intuitively react and then make decisions in a split second.

Subsequently, the athlete’s performance is determined by their ability to overcome these unanticipated stimuli and is dependent upon their current level of adaptation acquired from their strength, skill and cognitive training means.

The only constant is that of the effort of the athlete and of the unpredictability of the reactions the athlete will have to make in order to perform and execute.

When we first acknowledge the complexity of sport we can then start the preparation of our athletes for its demands. Our goal is to create adaptations that will have the most potential transfer to their respective sport(s.)

The majority of strength training means by which we build and develop strength and speed have, up to this point, been limited to stationary movement patterns that are linear and predictable in nature. Adding general specific exercises that potentially address the adaptations required to randomly execute full range movements will compliment your current foundational strength training strategies. If we can strengthen the athlete in response to random stimuli we will be able to further bridge the gap between our strength training adaptations and sports performance.

Tom Myslinki’s thesis, The Development of the Russian Conjugate Sequence System, in discussing Verkhoshansky and the “Criterion of SPP” states, “For example, sports played in a non-programmable environment, require explosive reactive-ballistic muscular tension with definite multi-planar movement patterns. Solely installing an Olympic lifting program, or a vertical plyometrics program, improves the vertical component. However, this ignores the other directions of actions and their corresponding muscle development since these sports also contain a large horizontal and lateral component.”

The goal of the Chaos Training Manual is to further address these requirements.

Jim Smith, CSCS

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