Don’t go into the cellar…Genre Blindness

I read an artcile some time ago about Genre Blindness (I know – I didn’t have a clue what it was either).

Basically it’s linked to TV and Movies where characters in a film conform to a set of specific rules linked to the Genre of film or tv programme they are in – you know the sort of thing – the young female hears a noise from the creepy cellar and heads down to investigate with a torch. The actors behaviour demonstrates that they’ve never actually seen the kind of story they are in, if they had they would know that the minute they walk into the cellar they are going to be hit over the head with a hammer! They conform to the rules of the genre and won’t deviate.

Hold on, I'm just going to check out the creepy cellar

Hold on, I’m just going to check out the creepy cellar

I think S&C coaches (actually anyone – physio’s, sport scientists etc) can fall into the trap of becoming genre blind. Over time we can become blinkered to the unwritten rules that say “you are an S&C coach so you have to do things a certain way”.

There are lots of coaches that remind me of a James Bond villain. They’ve read all of the S&C science and blindly persist with elaborate programmes and interventions when a simple strategy will do. Rather than shooting James Bond when they have a chance they inflict a wave loaded, daily undualating, conjugated programme, modulating phase potentiation blah blah blah…..urgh – guess what, James Bond escapes!

ahhhh Mr Bond, I could shoot you but I've got a very elaborate death trap waiting for you instead...

ahhhh Mr Bond, I could shoot you but I’ve got a very elaborate death trap waiting for you instead…

There are times in my career when I’ve wandered into the creepy wood (again) and decided to stay the night in the abandoned houseĀ (again) – even though I know it’s not a good idea? Why – well the rules of S&C say you should use a specific training method (e.g. Olympic lifting) to bring about a result, so that’s what I’ll do – I’ll conform. I was genre blind – conforming to the rules – trying to get improvements using a technique that wasn’t right for the task.

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this looks like a nice abandoned house in the middle of a creepy wood – lets stay here!

The key to avoiding genre blindness is to learn from your expriences related to the genre (S&C, physiotherapy, sport science etc) and if it’s appropriate – break the rules. Just for once, don’t go down into the cellar – lock the door and get out – don’t sleep in the abandoned house, stay at the Hilton instead – don’t build elaborate death traps – shoot them there and then – don’t run slowly when your being chased by Zombies – run like your in the 100m final.

quick - run away - but not too fast!

quick – run away – but not too fast!

As S&C coaches we like to operate in our own little genre – the S&C Movie.

The cast look similar- usually short male – bald or shaved head, shorts that are often too short and currently a penchant for beards and tattoos.

The things we do are similar – we coach the same – love olympic lifts – can’t get enough of strength diagnostics – love a spreadsheet!

We even eat the same – nando’s rocks – give me some grass fed beef – wash it down with a Kale smoothy!

That is all fine if you want to become typecast, but to be the best coach sometimes we need to step outside of a genre – embrace something new – stop conforming to what we think everyone else is doing.


Wake up – recognise the genre that you are working in and understand that the last time you tried a particular strategy, it didn’t work – try something new.

Additional teacher training, as well as creating a common justdomyhomework.com/ language between educators and developers, was recommended
Nick GranthamDon’t go into the cellar…Genre Blindness

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