Feed the Cats has spread like wildfire through the coaching world in a wide variety of different sports. Coaches everywhere are testifying to the success they have had since they started feeding the cats. Coaches and athletes alike love the empowering feeling of “building their own house” and applying FTC in their own way. They love the simplicity and the easy-to-follow guiding principles.

But not all coaches feel this way. High volume coaches clutch their interval workouts and aerobic training playbook like coach Red Beaulieu in The Waterboy. Some coaches don’t like how simple FTC is because they want people to know how smart they are and how getting faster is overwhelmingly complex.

This has led to some misconceptions about the training philosophy. Feeding the cats is just a set of guiding principles to keep athletes happy, healthy, and fresh while keeping the improvement of max velocity the main priority. 

The essentialist aspect of FTC offends some coaches too. Some people can’t handle the fact that 80% of what they do only accounts for about 20% of their results. Or even worse, their training may have an overall detrimental effect. Many coaches detrain sprinters. 

I have to admit I have been bothered for a long time by an international sprint guru’s subtweets about Feed the Cats and his frustrations with its growing popularity. He rants that FTC is too simple and there is much more to improving speed than just sprinting maximally.

This bothers me because it is a total misrepresentation of FTC. Could we make FTC seem so complex that the average coach could not comprehend it? Of Course. So why do we choose simplicity? We choose simplicity to empower coaches and enhance the experiences of young athletes. 

But, implying all we do is 95+% intensity training could not be farther from the truth.

In fact, we have plenty of documentation warning coaches of the negative outcomes of too much HIT (High Intensity Training), especially for athletes close to their genetic athletic ceiling. We preach that too much of anything can be a bad thing. “Small doses stimulate, moderate doses inhibit, large doses kill.” “DO LESS, ACHIEVE MORE” is one of the FTC commandments. “DON’T BURN THE STEAK” is fundamental. This applies to max velocity training as well.

In any successful FTC training program, there must be a focus on body positioning, coordination, general movement abilities and adaptability, and force application. There’s several ingredients in FTC that improve those attributes but we choose to focus on THE COOK rather than THE RECIPE.

“Feed the Cats” is open to interpretation by every individual so they can build their own house. FTC can be as simple or complex as you want to make it. But if you think all we do is sprint and wear spikes every day, you haven’t been doing your homework.

by Alec Holler

Alec Holler will speak twice at TFC-STL on Feb 7-8.

Alec Holler’s new DVD/video has just been published by Championship Productions.

Check out the most up-to-date, most detailed DVD/video ever produced about Feed The Cats, all recorded in front of an overflow crowd in Ames, Iowa, December 6th. Each video has 60 minutes of content.

Unified Theory ($24.99)

Prioritize Speed ($24.99)

Programming and Sequencing ($24.99)

Or, save $10 when you buy the Clinic Three-Pack ($64.99)

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