Peal Professes Pose, Fall, Pull
by Cate Murway
The reward of coaching is the opportunity to help elite athletes reach higher.
Villa Joseph Marie Head Track and Field Coach Tracy Steven Peal has coordinated accomplished athletes in an already successful program and encouraged them to take massive strides to the next level.
Track is measurable and so are the detailed, yet quick, effective, and fun workouts that are more about the process rather than an immediate end result. It takes time, a lot of time, to build the athlete. The workouts and their objectives are explained while the athletes stretch; warming up properly expands range of motion. Specificity of training, while teaching speed and strength training through biomechanical efficiency is the key to reaching goals in competitions.
Goals are like road trips -- one needs to know where one is going before starting.
The goals must be smart, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and most importantly, TIME-BOUND.
The athletes responded with enthusiasm.
A successful program ensures that each athlete feels valued while star athletes are nurtured and encouragement is offered, building confidence in the entire team. Good coaching is all about communicating authentic caring to each member, getting to know the athlete, their friends, family, and just stuff about each one of them. One doesn’t coach track. One coaches people.
Athletes who feel respected by and cared for by their coaches will be more motivated to run through hoops or over hurdles for them. Track coaches have to be terrific sales people.
Talented coaches also recognize that each athlete is one grand experiment and they become masters at modifying training programs to better fit the individual.
In strides Coach Peal, an Elite Speed Coach and Movement Specialist.
There is way more than a TSP. of talent with Coach Tracy Steven Peal.
SupPOSE, just supPOSE that there really IS only one technique of running; that the very essence of running really doesn’t ever change and that every movement is built up by poses.
Coach Peal has studied horizontal positioning of the body from one leg to another in a scientific way, advocating that good runners go through poses efficiently and poor runners, using movement patterns that waste time and energy, go through them with great variation.
Embracing the fall and running as gravity intended can make the athlete a faster runner now and a healthier runner for the rest of his/her life.
He is quite a genius at figuring out the subtle differences between athletes, with an uncanny ability to alter an athlete’s perception of their form, leading to radical improvements in speed.
He resourcefully challenges their assumptions and broadens their understanding of movement and speed, training their minds as much he trains their bodies, advocating one way to do things and it is all about doing it the right way. “Mediocrity should not be celebrated as achievement.”
KEY things make a massive difference. The consequence of not leveraging his sound advice and professional tips is just wasted time and energy.
The athletes who were committed to the process quickly began to develop the skills needed to manifest improved performance while significantly decreasing their injury potential.
“The great runner is not impervious to gravity; instead he/she taps it as a readily available free source of energy.”
Dr. Nicholas Romanov
Mastering the POSE Method is like gaining free speed, spanning the gamut from physical movement to mental transportation. “Speed is the consequence of angle of falling,” Dr. Romanov says.
Coach Peal has been fortunate to shadow and learn from one of the greatest coaches and movement experts in the industry, Dr. Nicholas Stephanovich Romanov, a two-time Olympic Coach, author, educator and a sport scientist with over 30 years of experience.
He admired Dr. Romanov and he traveled to Florida to study with and be mentored by him, building his own skills while he learned his Pose Method, Inc. “I understand that Romanov is so correct.”
Dr. Romanov came to the USA for vacation and he stayed.
He graduated Physical Education of Chuvash State Pedagogical University in Cheboksary with honors and earned his Ph.D. in Physical Education from Russian Academy of Physical Culture and Sports in Moscow. He was looking for a better method of teaching athletics and track & field, so he left the traditional way in 1975 and developed the POSE concept in 1977.
“It is the body position not the posture that is important. The pose has intention with very sophisticated and specific movements.” His research on runners spans four decades.
Dr. Romanov, an accomplished athlete himself, has written several books and produced many tapes. His records still stand at the Chuvash State Pedagogical University from 1968. He was a Decathlon athlete, high jumping 7’0, and participating in the high hurdles, shot, javelin and discus events. “The whole world uses the metric system but USA still uses the outdated system”, he shared. His long jump was 6 meters 77 centimeters, [about 22 feet 2 inches].
“Tracy seems like he is being successful with this program. It is out of the traditional way of running.”
Coach Peal is a self professed, “Speed/T&F/Movement Coach, closet poet, father, hoops junkie, Perrier addict, Hitchcock-obsessed, Iyengar student [Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (1918 – 2014)], staunch Realist and writing something I swear!” One of his favorite athletes is the Jamaican sprinter and world record holder, Usain St. Leo Bolt.
According to Dr. Romanov, “The theoretical peak angle of human ability is 22.5 degrees. The steepest angle ever recorded was Bolt’s; he fell at 21.4 degrees during his 9.58-second 100-meter world record.”
Coach Peal is an imaginative high school coach and he has compiled various games and methods to keep the runners’ motivation and interest high while he uses high speed motion capture software to look for the alignment of their knees and ankles upon initial contact and as each progresses in an infinite number of poses in space and time, providing the videotape for immediate feedback.
The most efficient movement works with nature not against it. Untrained runners tend to increase the inclination or forward lean of their upper backs as they run faster, while trained runners’ thoraxes remain upright.
He analyzes each to provide the most effective way to increase speed, efficiency, quickness, agility, power and endurance and he corrects deviation in the standard.
This is where he “draws the line”, visually addressing that under the dome of the current gravitational field, the most effective single support is the one that’s centered, the one that brings balance yet is ready to destroy that balance in a blink of an eye.
The POSE method is designed to place a runner’s foot strike directly underneath the center of mass, which forces a slight knee bend.
Coach Peal is “dedicated to teaching athletes how to move efficiently by emphasizing the proper hierarchical relationship of all forces interacting during activity.”
The original Renaissance man himself, Leonardo DaVinci explained, “Motion is created by the destruction of balance, for nothing can move by itself which does not leave its state of balance and that thing moves most rapidly which is furthest from its balance.”
Coach Peal graduated from Salesianum School, a Roman Catholic independent school for boys in Delaware, earning All State MVP in basketball in 1979. “Guess I’ve come full circle now coaching at VJM, an all girls High School.”
He attended Penn State University with a basketball scholarship before transferring to the University of Delaware to earn his degrees in English Literature and Exercise Physiology. Coach Peal attended clinics and worked in a variety of fitness related jobs, including work as a trainer at a Nautilus gym in Washington, DC. He also worked with Dr. Lee Cohen, the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia 76ers podiatric consultant, helping Dr. Cohen’s patients during their rehabilitative process through correction of deficient movement skills.
He mastered his strength and conditioning techniques and began his TraceyPealSpeed entrepreneurial business.
“Our philosophy is based on the principle that a true movement paradigm exists for sports excellence, one that necessitates mastering biomechanical efficiency above all.”
He is a strong proponent of the Pose Method of running. “It’s all about gravity and falling and movement.” He was first introduced to this method when he observed Dr. Romanov’s clinic in Delaware that explained the mechanics of running.
Coach Peal had already been training some post college age triple jumpers for an upcoming Olympics and he began training them with Dr. Romanov.
He took an assistant coaching position at Malvern Preparatory School; the head coach was also interested in the Pose Method and asked him to train the sprints, jumps, and hurdles. He coached for a winter track season and two spring track & field seasons. “We won the Inter-Ac League Championships both years and 3rd place in the state in the winter; pretty good for such a small school!”
His first head coach job position was at Methacton where his 4x200 relay team made Indoor HS Nationals.
Implementing the POSE method helps make the athlete more injury resistant, reducing damage to an athlete’s bones and joints, eliminating many common overuse injuries.
“All athletic movements - running, jumping, cycling, swimming, etc. - are a product of the efficient use of gravitational torque, muscular elasticity, ground reaction force and neuromuscular activation to achieve motion.”
As one leaves the vertical line, the earth is already gone, and one is flying in the air. The POSE Method is a unique re-engineering of the athlete’s understanding of movement potential and body perception.
These selected VJM athletes share their poignant, heartfelt observations of Coach Peal’s profound influence and how it is helping them to put it all together.
“Be really present and engaged and deliberate at practice. Consistency is important!”
They have obviously learned that what they CAN control is their attitude, work ethic, preparation, focus, commitment, and unyielding drive.
Juliana Rane Littley, VJM ’19 “focused on hurdles that I hadn’t really done before. Coach Peal basically
taught me how to do hurdles all over again. He and his coaching staff are optimistic and pushed us a lot. I am such a visual learner so the videos really helped me. He kept working with us and never gave up.”
Juls’ favorite events are the short sprints including 400m and she confirmed that she is “pretty conscious about nutrition. I love my senior class; they are super hard working and dedicated. We will bring the team to the next level!”
She is the captain of the JEMS’ volleyball team and she is involved in the Athletes Helping Athletes. Juls is an NHS student, a Girl Scout Ambassador currently working on earning her Gold Award and she will be traveling on a Mission trip to WV with the Woodside Senior High Youth Group to assist with house work construction and repairing homes. Her college choices include smaller schools in urban settings and she is contemplating majors in the medical field, architecture, or communications.
The energetic Juliana was presented with the “Coaches Award” at the VJM Track & Field Awards dinner.
“Juls was part of the sprinting/hurdling group and she really bought into what I was trying to teach her so she kept improving. Her work manifested in her results with more speed and less effort,” shared Coach Peal.
Elizabeth Ann “Lily” Dineen, VJM ’20 is the exceptionally talented recipient of the Drawing & Painting 1 Art Award, an aspiring NHS student, a CSC leader on the Executive Board, as well as a powerful athlete. Lily earned coveted positions on the AACA All-Stars 2nd team and the Bucks County Courier Times Golden team 2nd team for her masterful 1600m runs this spring season. Lily appreciated how the captains led the team and enjoys the closeness of her teammates.
“The AACA League is pretty tough and there were a lot of expectations for us to win the League championship from the beginning of the season. I had trust in Coach Peal and his most helpful advice was with my form. I started to see improvements as I became stronger and more consistent than I’ve ever been. I ran my best mile 5:25.33!”
Fordham University is on her radar but she is avidly looking in the Boston and DC area as well.
“Art is important to me so I want to do something creative; I’m considering graphic art or something in architecture.” Her dream gig is to be a Broadway set designer but right now, she is interested in running her 400 even faster than she did in the AACA competition.
The quite accomplished Lily was also a recipient of the “Coaches Award” at the VJM Awards dinner.
“Lily ran her 400 at a very good time”, confirmed Coach Peal. “She practiced with less volume and more speed and technique.”
The most exuberant athlete, Avamarie Backich, VJM ’20 received the “Team Spirit” award.
“I had a great season with a great group of girls!”
Coach Peal and his coaching staff demonstrated and taught core ethical values to the JEMS as well, emphasizing trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. These are not only the skills needed to excel, but also those needed to be positive role models in their school and in their communities.
Learning never stops; for the coach OR the athlete. It's humbling.
Keep falling forward. Happy Trails!
“The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
Wilma Glodean "Skeeter" Rudolph [1940-1994], the first American woman runner to win three gold medals at a single Olympics.
Villa Joseph Marie High School
1180 Holland Road
Holland, PA 18966
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