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IFAC Reflections Part 2
January 22, 2019
A review of Jerome Simian’s workshops on physical preparation for sport. I had to choose between different “strands” of coaching topics at the IFAC conference in Loughborough. A difficult choice, not wanting to miss out on some excellent speakers. I chose to attend Simian’s because of a quote I heard on the HMMR podcast: “I […]

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Speed Training: Frans Bosch

We (the Dutch) lost the World Cup Final against Germany in 1974, our biggest willem van henegentrauma after the war.

One of the players in the famous ‘74 team, Willem van Hanegem, was interviewed some two decades later by a soccer magazine. One question was, what his reply would be to a wide spread opinion that we lost, because he was very, very slow.

Willem answered; “speed is not existing”. This quote made the cover of the magazine and became famous.

Back then it immediately made sense to me without really knowing why and now I want to add; “and strength is not existing either”. Thinking in the basic motor properties, like we usually do, does not make sense to me anymore.

There is no stand-alone entity named “speed”.

The fastest sprinters do not have faster limb movements, than slower runners. There is no strong relationship between fast concentric contractions and running speed. The link between the % of FT fibers and sprint performance is by far not as well proven by science as always is stated.

If anything, new scientific insight drifts away from this stand-alone idea of speed. Running speed may well be limited by loss of robustness and increasing fragility of movement patterns.

The way Dynamic System Theory has shed a different light on how we control our running patterns is fascinating and calls for an integrated approach of training.

Dutch football speedSpeed, strength, coordination and even endurance are not separated entities, but merely doors, that give access to the same building.

So do not train them separate, but treat them as variations of the same overall theme.

The value of what we do, is not in the sum of the trained elements, but in the interaction between them.

Rumor has, that Willem was not just very slow. He also was very nearsighted, half blind. Still he was from a tactical point of view one of the best players we ever had.

Frans Bosch – author of “Running- Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology Applied in Practice”

Run Faster boschSee our Run Faster programme here.

Or buy the ebook Run Faster  here



  1. […] at running techniques with some of the athletes. The aim is to run efficiently. I watched a DVD by Frans Bosch that James gave to me, explaining all the separate stages of running and how they should be done. […]

  2. […] Frans Bosch delivered 4 great presentations at GAIN V this year each one packed full of information and ideas. […]

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