Tim Pelot is a strength and conditioning professional who takes a no-nonsense and cutting-edge approach to helping the athletes that he works with take their performance to the next level. Tim has worked with Olympic athletes in a variety of sports for a number of years and his experience in the trenches is impressive.

Biography:

Tim has been has been in the strength and conditioning field for the past 15 years. He has worked as a strength and conditioning coach in the collegiate, private, & professional settings prior to current role at the Olympic level. He worked at all 3 of US Olympic Training Centers, Chula Vista, CA. Lake Placid, NY and Colorado Springs, CO. While coaching at the United States Olympic Training Centers, Tim trained the US National Men’s and Women’s teams in the following sport disciplines: Bobsled, Skeleton, Luge, Alpine Ski, Freestyle and Greco Wrestling, Volleyball, Track Cycling, Judo, Speed Skating-short track, Swimming (mid-long distance), Beach Volleyball and Waterpolo. He has helped his teams achieve 2 Olympic Gold Medals, 1 Olympic Silver Medal and 1 Olympic Bronze Medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games along with earning World Championship titles in both 2014 and 2015.

Credentials
Master's Degree - Sports Physiology
RSCC*D – Registered Strength & Conditioning Coach

Twitter feed: @tpelot7


Learn, Adapt, and Overcome 

Lessons from the Elite of the Elite

The U.S. Navy SEALs are the most elite tactical military group for a reason.  Unlike any other service branch in the military, the U.S. Navy SEALs are trained in nontraditional ways using unorthodox tactics while being expected to produce exceptional results.  

The U.S. Navy SEALs are the kings of knowing how to learn, knowing how to adapt, and then overcoming, in all scenarios. Their specialty is thriving in unpredictable situations where others may fail. In SEAL training, there are textbook tactics and techniques, but oftentimes, once deployed, what the textbooks say and what the training manuals suggest, fly right out the window. Like most exceptional students, U.S. Navy SEALs are exhaustively thorough. They pre-calculate all minor details of their missions and they check, double check and then triple check their gear but what makes U.S. Navy SEALs so great is not their thoroughness in their preparation, it is their ability to recognize when their pre-calculated plans are in jeopardy and how they can adapt their plans without hesitation and with precision.  

“We demand discipline, we expect innovation. The Lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depends on me, my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete” ……. U.S. Navy SEAL Ethos

 

“We’re designed for speed and creativity”

“We are the most resourceful problem solvers on the modern battle field”

“Small nimble units of highly trained warriors, we are experts that traditionally armies were never built for. Highly orchestrated assaults, discrete operations in challenging environments, performing bold maneuvers that don’t even have names yet”

“Nothing substitutes for preparation, even the smallest detail matters”

“You have to be willing to sacrifice your rest and your free time to constantly improve”

“With overconfidence comes sloppiness”

“We are obsessive about a thousand things, the condition of our weapons, and the details of the mission plan, how we were going to keep everyone alive on a treacherous battlefield. We were deadly serious about War. But making ourselves comfortable in small, individual ways that could make us better fighters and more confident men.”

“Don’t disrespect the game by not preparing fully or playing it as well as you possibly can”

 Commander Rorke T. Denver has run every phase of training for the U.S. Navy SEALs and led special-forces missions in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and other international hot spots.

 

As you read through Commander Denver’s quotes, there are a lot of commonalities between elite U.S. Navy SEALs and Elite Strength and Conditioning Professionals. (In my opinion)  

From the Navy to the Weight Room

I have been in the strength and conditioning field now for 15+ years and I strive daily to be the best student I can, applying the science that I respect and appreciate to the environments that I work in. This includes being a good student to the coaches and the athletes I serve and support in addition to learning how to be a better team member with other professional sport service providers. I believe that if we can become better students, we can better learn and better understand how to serve our environments and the people we work with. Once we understand who we are working with, how we can assist and what goals we wish to achieve, it empowers us and amplifies our ability to effectively apply information and insight. When we don't take the time to learn more about a situation or the people we work with, it may be like trying to sell a sports car to family who wants to buy a minivan.

Expecting the Unexpected

One of the most important lessons that I have taken from my time in the trenches of many weight rooms, high performance training centers, elite biomechanics and physiology labs, elite coaches and from many world leaders of sport performance is that we can't plan everything. Life happens.

It's my belief that how we react and how we overcome the challenges that come from the unpredictable situations we encounter in the S&C environment is what makes S&C professionals mediocre or exceptional.

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how I react to it"

 Charles Swindoll – World Renowned Christian Pastor / Educator

 

"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, most people listen with intent to reply"

Stephen Covey – World Renowned Business Professor

 

"We have not effectively used the abilities that science has already given us, and we have not made adequate efforts to change that"

Atul Gawande MD, MPH, Surgeon

 

Years ago, I overheard one of my mentors say to one of his athletes: “We plan the work, then we work the plan." In my opinion, that statement seems pretty straight forward and seems rational enough but what happens if the plan that we forge is unable be worked due to some unexpected circumstance? We surely must plan the work, then we must work our plan but we also need to be ready to make changes at any given moment to keep us moving forward.

Here is a great visual of what happens when we fail to adapt or when we fail to recognize when we should make an adjustment.

Plan, Adapt, Repeat

At the end of the day, our goal should be to help provide athletes with the training that produces the correct training response. If an athlete is not responding positively to training or is inconsistent with training, then a change is in order. Like most S&Cs, we try to investigate why an athlete is not responding to the training via surveys, testing protocols, etc.  But at the end of the day, if you planned on the athlete being in a specific physical condition prior to a specific training session but for whatever reason they are not where you had planned for them to be, it's a good bet that they are not going to get the intended training response. 

Over the years, I have had to modify my training designs for a variety of circumstances. The common ones relate to excessive stress (physical, emotional, cognitive, etc.) on an athlete from exams, sickness, hang-overs, sleepless nights, poor hydration, lack of proper nutrition, or injury. However, I have also had to modify training for new additions to the family, lack of sleep, unexpected volume of sport practice and unexpected travel (family emergencies etc.).

These are all real life situations and if we are unable to mold, flex and adapt with some agility in our training design all while knowing that life happens whether or not we plan on it, then the training plans and programs you are constructing won’t work.

To better understand how to make good long-term training plans, 10-15 years ago you could have found me a) spending many of my evenings with my nose in some old Soviet weightlifting manual, b) trying to better understand intensity and volume control from an old East German text or c) hanging on every last word while listening to top sport scientists talk about long-term high performance programming at big sport performance conferences.

Highly sophisticated longitudinal plans used to fascinate me! In my early days, my S&C buddies and I would gather over a few beers on some random evening and try to rule the world with how smart we were. We sat around and talked shop for hours about the plans we were making for our athletes and how elaborate they were. The more elaborate the program, the cooler it was (at least in our novice opinions). We used to print these programs out and hang them on our office/cubicle walls so that all those who walked by could clearly see how smart we were. It was like hanging our prized blue ribbon from winning first place in some contest.

We believed that by hanging this sophisticated plans it demonstrated to others that we put a lot of time and energy into the training programs we were making. I look back now and smile at how foolish I was. Time and experience sure has changed me, my philosophy and my programming. I have learned that no matter how complex a plan is it doesn’t matter if an athlete doesn’t buy into it. I have realized my goal is not to produce complicated training routines that look good on paper but to generate strong, durable, explosive and efficient athletes. It took a long time for me to recognize this but once I did, my athletes started getting more attention from me and I started seeing better results.  

Plan for the Long Term in Pencil, the Short Term in Pen

I am blessed to be where I am today and to be a part of some extraordinary teams. With these talented teams we have stumbled upon a few successes in world of elite sport. We have won World Championship titles in 2010, 2014 and 2015. We have a total of 10 Grand Slam titles, we have won World Cups in 2014 and 2015, and we have won Olympic medals (Gold, Silver and Bronze) in the 2012 Olympic Games. What these successes have taught me is that the pretty, sophisticated training plans that looked so cool on paper are not necessary and that the sport scientists who sold me on the need for extravagant plans were not accurate. Oftentimes, the training that was so beautifully orchestrated and so detailed left no room for deviation and I learned I had wasted way more time on those charts, layouts, templates and graphs than I should have. It's not about what the plan looks like; it’s about what an athlete looks like after they have gone through the plan.

In the past 15 years, I have learned that the farther I long-term plan the training of my athletes in high detail, the higher my chances are that something is going to happen that will require me to modify or change my initial training design.  On the contrary though, the shorter the training plan is, the more detail I can fill it with and the chances of my athletes consistently and effectively working the plan is much higher.  

So now, my planning has gone from spending hours and hours on in-depth, highly organized long-term detailed training plans (that you might find in a sport science textbook or that you might see on a slide at the next upcoming strength conference), to a more detailed and in-depth short-term training design that are part of a longer-term training thought processes, which are much more loose now than in my previous years.

So in summary, I plan long-term in pencil and I plan short-term in pen. I try to build my knowledge base and skillset the best I can, to allow me to make the best modifications I can when the time comes, because it's going to happen.  

In my experience, there is always something that comes up that we don't factor into our initial plans. Things happen that are out of our control and it is up to a good S&C coach to take all of their knowledge and skill and apply it the best they can when unexpected things happen. 

If all you have is a hammer, then everything becomes a nail.

 

Keys to Learning, Adapting and Overcoming

  • Be a better student, not a better expert from those you work with.
  • Don’t me married to your methods, acquire more tools. The size of one's toolbox can have a big impact on the ability to adapt and modify training.
  • Be a better adapter, not a better planner and programmer.
  • Give your energy to others, it can amplify the training response and overtime can make a big difference.

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