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About The Author

Phil is an Emmy-nominated writer who frequently contributes to The Inertia, SUP the Mag and Canoe & Kayak. He is the co-author, with Dr. Kelly Starrett, of the forthcoming books Flight Plan and Waterman 2.0, and is also collaborating on Game Changer with University of Michigan football performance director Dr. Fergus Connolly and Bridging the Gap with Sue Falsone, the first female athletic head trainer in Major League sports. His other books include Whistle Stop, which Larry King said, “I can’t put down,” and Our Supreme Task, which The Times Literary Supplement called “Illuminating.”

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Recent Posts



Youth Sports Part 2: Drink to Thirst Doesn’t Work & Other Surprising Truths About Hydration for Young Athletes

By Phil White | Tue, Nov 27

In the first part of this series, we explored how coaches can prevent the dreaded sports parents from becoming a distraction on the sideline and turning their children into trophy kids, as well as some tips to head potential problems off at the pass by improving communication, setting expectations, and enforcing protective boundaries.

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Youth Sports Part 1: Getting Bad Sports Parents to Behave Better

By Phil White | Fri, Oct 26

If you caught even a snippet of Chris Bell’s HBO show Trophy Kids, you likely winced at the scenes of tennis moms and golf dads behaving very badly.

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The New Rules of Sleep for Athletes

By Phil White | Mon, Sep 24

For the longest time, coaches have only considered the need for their athletes to get adequate rest from the perspective of “recovery.” While you must pair this with training stimuli to get adaptation, it’s far from the only reason to prioritize sufficient slumber.

Sleep is also imperative if your clients or athletes are going to commit what they’re learning to long-term memory.

A study conducted by Matthew Walker and referenced in his excellent book Why We Sleep compared undergrads who prepared for a test over several evenings and went to bed at a reasonable time versus those who pulled a pre-exam all-nighter. The results showed that “there was a 40 percent deficit in the ability of the sleep-deprived group to cram new facts into the brain (i.e. to make new memories).”

Most of the studies on this topic have been done with classroom students, but the gym is an equally rich learning environment (and perhaps more so, particularly for kinesthetic learners). Every time an athlete does something physical, it’s an expression of skill, and each skill has an intensely cognitive component.

Simply learning a new motor pattern or honing an existing one in the gym or on the practice field is only half the job when it comes to skill acquisition and progression. For it to take, getting enough premium quality shut-eye is imperative.

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