For Your Information

Taking Charge

With money for athletic budgets getting smaller and smaller is up to coaches to find ways to enhance their programs while staying within those constraints. When it comes to conditioning I’m seeing more than a few coaches do a few things. They either take over the duties themselves or delegate it to an assistant or allow their athletes to go to an outside source. There are arguments for and against either scenarios, I’m writing to help coaches make an informed decision as to which way may be best.

I had an opportunity to talk with a local high school coach, who got his training protocol from a site on the web, which on its face can be a scary proposition to some, copied it and taped it to the wall. I saw a lift that I thought was really advanced for the demographic he was working with, when I asked him about the lift he said he didn’t know what it was, so I asked a the logical follow-up question, how do you teach it? He said “I don’t”. My first thought was how can we make this a win-win for the coach and his athletes, I suggested that the coach may want to reach out to the local colleges and possibly identify a person who is skilled in program design and implementation, there are students who are willing to intern. If you believe that compensation may be a problem, think outside of the box for ways to compensate some one. Compensation isn’t always about money. Had a coach who allowed me to work with his program, I knew the budget was tight and money wasn’t a big issue for me. The season ended with a conference championship (which was payment enough for me, the coach thought enough of me to make sure that I too received a jacket that the team got for winning!

Sometimes the duties are delegated to an assistant who, just because he goes to the gym everyday is chosen to run the conditioning program. The thing here is this does that assistant have the programs best interests at heart? Most of us know a guy who talks about how many people he has made throw-up or that people leave the gym so sore that they have trouble walking. In the grand scheme of things neither of these things speaks to the quality of the coach or the protocol. Remember you are preparing athletes to compete at a level that they may not have believed possible, remember you don’t have to prove how tough you are to people.

The other scenario is that your athlete is training with an outside source; this can be a recipe for disaster, if the kid’s trainer is telling him how great he/she is constantly and then rarely gets minutes during the game, you run the risk of having your authority undermined. The trainer may start question your decisions thereby causing your athlete to distrust you as well. One of the things I’ve noticed was that trainers are counting on their athletes to drop 30 a game, hence creating a bigger buzz about their ability to get athletes ready, and if his kid isn’t getting time that coach could be cutting into his profit margin. I totally appreciate a coach who doesn’t feel as though they have to micro-manage their athletes 24/7 but it is imperative that you control your message.

Ok coach, now that I’ve said all of this and you decide to do this on your own, allow me to suggest the concepts an effective training protocol is based on…

  1. All programs should be goal oriented, and those goals should be based in reality. When setting goals there are many variables effecting gains must be considered and optimized; these include the investment of time and effort, nutrition/diet, sleeping habits, availability of facilities and equipment.
  2. Training protocols should be balanced in terns of developing or maintaining all of the components of fitness. Your training protocol should consist of 8-10 full range of motion exercises, one (1) for each major muscle group, and be worked in the order of largest to smallest.
  3. Training protocols should be designed to either enhance specific components of fitness or introduce various exercises to enhance the total fitness experience, flexibility body composition or agility just to name a few.
  4. For continued and long term success progressive overloads tend to be the way to go. Progressive overload is the process of adding weight to the load after each successfully completed set. One thing to look out for is the “too much too soon” syndrome this can be a precursor to overtraining.
  5. Rest/recovery is a key component to any training protocol; it is needed so the effects of strength training can be optimized. Recovery intervals may range from 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on the activity and intensity. I am also a believer in working to give each body part worked 48 hours to recovery, also depending on the intensity if the training sessions.
  6. When it comes to training I work to keep my athletes guessing, I like them to come into our facility with a sense of wonderment. This was we fight the feeling of boredom, and if I get the sense that they may be bored I have no problem scrapping the whole plan and going off script. It helps to have access to some of the greatest minds in the game at your disposal, and a pretty decent group of athletes, who are fully engaged in what we do.
  7. Participation in regularly scheduled training sessions is the single most important factor in determining the athlete’s fitness levels Regularity/consistency goes along way to creating the type of stress the body desires for positive change.

This is just a small checklists that coaches can use to assist them in creating a training protocol that will lead to championships, I was going to include a training calendar but how about we do this, if you are inclined feel free to reach out to me and we will work to create a protocol better suited for your teams need.