Episode 230: Stuart McMillan on Systems Thinking, Creativity, and the “Philosopher-Coach”


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This week’s episode of the podcast is with Stuart McMillan, widely regarded as one of the best sprint coaches in the world. Stu has worked with both professional and amateur athletes in a variety of sports with a focus on power and speed development. He’s personally coached over 70 Olympians at nine Olympic Games, over 30 of whom have won Olympic medals. In addition to his hands-on work with athletes, Stu runs ALTIS, an organization that trains athletes and educates coaches to perform at the highest level.

I first became aware of Stu several years ago as an avid reader of his now defunct blog, McMillan Speed, and have followed his work ever since. It quickly became obvious to me that Stu not only knew his shit when it came to all topics sprint, strength, and power, but he was also a deep thinker with a knack for connecting seemingly disparate dots in a way that was interesting, educational, and accessible. I’ve been a longtime subscriber to ALTIS Connect, arguably the most robust library of educational video content for coaches that you’ll find anywhere on the internet, and also regularly read the newsletters Stu and his team put out every week. In short: Stu has taught me a lot, often without him even knowing it, and he’s had a profound impact on how I approach the craft of coaching and working with athletes. 

In this conversation, which easily would have gone another couple hours if we hadn’t run out of time, Stu and I cover a wide range of topics, from coffee and music to Stu’s former life as a DJ. We get into all things coaching, including how Stu got his start and how his approach has evolved over the past 30 years, creativity and how it influences his work, the role of the “philosopher-coach” and putting an emphasis on critical thinking and question asking, taking a systems approach to working with athletes and life in general, and so, so much more.

Stuart McMillan: Instagram | Twitter | ALTIS

the morning shakeout: Instagram | Twitter

Mario Fraioli: Website | Strava | Instagram

This episode is brought to you by:

Tracksmith. If you buy anything on Tracksmith.com, and you’re doing so for the first time, use the code MarioNEW to save $15 on your order of $75 or more. If you’re already a Tracksmith customer, use the code MarioGIVE and you can get free shipping on your next order and 5% of your purchase will go to support the Friendly House in Worcester, Massachusetts, an organization that is near and dear to me.

Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford.

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