Getting to Know John Philbin

Walking a full day in someone’s shoes, you get to know a lot about them. And when you have the background that Coach does, there are some interesting nuggets to glean. Here’s a sampling:

– A former decathlete before he was recruited to try, of all sports, bobsled.

– He became a member of the U.S. bobsled team from 1983-’87, and the head coach from ’88-’92.

– He served as an intern under Joe Gibbs at the Washington Redskins while he finished his Masters at the University of Maryland.

– His work has been published many times over, most recently writing “High Intensity Training” in 2005, published by Human Kinetics.

– He serves as the President of the National Strength Professionals Association.


It’s an impressive resume to be sure, and the Nationals staff and players all seem to recognize that they are in very capable hands.


Naturally his background in bobsled caught our attention, and during a lull in the stream of players coming back to the weight room, Coach showed off some of his major battle scars from one of his nastiest bobsled wrecks, including a lengthy incision on his elbow. He says he has to have the bone in that elbow shaved down every five or so years. As painful as that sounds, for a workout fanatic like Coach, the two months rehab can’t be fun, either. He rattled off a laundry list of other injuries suffered in that crash, but said he doesn’t remember it because he was knocked unconscious for 12+ hours.


With his extensive background, crossing so many different and varied sports, we feel inclined to ask which athletes does he think are truly the best. Not surprisingly, it’s a question he’s been asked often, and admits there really is no perfect answer because athletes today are so specialized based on their sports. With tennis highlights on TV in the background, he points out their agility and speed. But do they have the raw power of an Adam Dunn to mash a ball 450+ feet (some foreshadowing to tonight, perhaps?). What about 6’10”, 270 pound basketball players with their athleticism and speed? It’s an interesting debate…what do you think? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll pass your opinions on to Coach.

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