Conditioning is undoubtedly one of the most debated facets of training. If you were to ask 5 or 6 sports medicine or exercise science professionals their opinions on conditioning, you would almost surely receive 5 or 6 entirely different descriptions of what is optimal in terms of conditioning. Not to mention if you asked the same group to generally define what conditioning is it is quite possible you would hear 5 or 6 different definitions. I feel as though the word conditioning too often brings to mind endless running and other long distance aerobic training as opposed to the plethora of other methods by which conditioning can be achieved. Due to the complexity of our energy systems and our ever evolving understanding of how they fuel performance, conditioning methodologies will continually adapt.
Last week during our discussion on conditioning, Dan talked about one particular method that I had never considered. Intensity can only be quantified in so many ways, and in particular, I have seen heart rate used frequently, or in rare occasions actual VO2 measurements. However, Dan brought up a creative form of interval training in which heart rate monitoring isn’t necessary, (though it could be utilized to assess recovery). The method he suggested requires recording an athlete’s sprint split times over a chosen distance, and then utilizing the split times to structure training sessions at given percentages of their maximum intensity. For example, say you had an athlete sprint 100 meters at maximum intensity, and their split times at 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 meters were 3.5, 5.0, 7.0, 8.5 and 10.5 seconds respectively. Utilizing those split times you could have the athlete run intervals for a given distance at a defined percentage(s) of what they are maximally capable of. The training session could be comprised of eight to ten 60 meter sprints with 50 seconds of rest between sprints, run at 80% of maximum intensity which equates to a 60 meter time of 8.4 seconds. This concept is versatile and can be applied for any given distance and percentage of maximal intensity. Assuming the coaches have the necessary tools and are able to implement the strategy safely, I think it would also be possible to do shorter distance over-speed training via the use of sprint training bungee cords. Utilizing the bungee cords to provide a pulling force in the direction in which the athletes are sprinting, you could attempt to have the athletes surpass their maximum 10, 15 or 20 meter split times. Though the overall training effect might not result in more top end speed 40 or 50+ meters down the track, a faster start can still lower overall times.
Aside from our discussion, I fell upon an interesting article (on Joel Jamieson’s website) written by Eric Oetter titled “Research Review: Energy Systems, Interval Training, & RSA.” I found one of his main points, and specifically the evidence supporting it somewhat surprising, and it made me take a second look at what I had previously assumed to be appropriate conditioning. Oetter cited a study in which subjects performed six second “all out” sprints with 30 second recovery periods while they’re ATP production/turnover was measured. The results indicated that from the 1st to the 10th sprint, the alactic pathway went from contributing roughly 55% of the energy to over 80% of the energy. The fascinating part of these results is that the aerobic system (to quote Oetter directly) is used “to regenerate substrates to fuel alactic metabolism,” and the output from the glycolytic system is significantly reduced. I found this to be interesting since lactate threshold training has become popular recently and therefore is often the target of interval training. The article went into much greater depth, but for the sake of brevity, what I took away was that our glycolytic system often becomes overworked, and our alactic and aerobic pathways receive too little focus for the amount they contribute to energy production. Though this is only one article, it did change my perspective on how to develop and implement conditioning programs, and I will continue to research the topic more to develop a better understanding.
Oetter, Eric. “Research Review: Energy Systems, Interval Training, & RSA.” http://www.8weeksout.com/2011/10/10/research-review-energy-systems-interval-training-rsa/
In our intern education meeting last week we covered linear and lateral movement and acceleration, and various other topics surrounding those concepts, such as running and cutting mechanics. There are those who have devoted their entire lives to the study and implementation of drills and techniques aimed at enhancing athlete’s acceleration, overall speed and agility. Because of the depth to which the concepts of linear and lateral movement have been dissected, we merely scratched the surface during our discussion. However, due to the fact that few of the classes I took discussed acceleration or speed development at all, never mind in great detail, I found our intern education to be extremely beneficial.
Due to my own personal drive to take in as much knowledge from every situation as is humanly possible, I spent the majority of the hour firing off questions about specific movements, progressions and programming. Out of everything we discussed, what surprised me the most was the simplicity of the movements (for the most part) and the rate at which they could be progressed (assuming proficiency by the athlete). Perhaps it is because I knew relatively little about the subject, but I was under the impression that enhancing an athlete’s ability to accelerate and positively augmenting their top end speed was a convoluted and complex process. At the elite level, I’m sure this may actually prove to be true because the focus becomes ever smaller in terms of what needs to be fixed. However at the adolescent, high school and college level, positively altering the efficiency and quality of even the most basic movement patterns can pay dividends and yield fantastic results. I realized quickly that the aim of linear and lateral movement and acceleration work is not to develop abilities that aren’t already present in each athlete. The aim is to make each athlete aware of their own running and sprinting mechanics and how they differ from what is optimal. From there, the S&C coach can create a program that addresses mobility restrictions and inefficient movement patterns, and progress the athlete towards being more mechanically sound. Say for instance an athlete is not achieving full triple extension in their back leg, and the explosiveness of the forward swing (hip flexion) and knee drive is just not there. Standing wall drills address both of those issues and without ever leaving the wall, the movement can be progressed until the coach feels the athlete is capable of applying the newly developed mechanics to actual running and sprinting. Or perhaps the athlete is more advanced and has solid linear mechanics, but they don’t seem to be able to move efficiently from lateral to linear and they aren’t applying as much power moving laterally as they are capable of producing. Band resisted lateral pushes, shuffling and bounding, and transitional work emphasizing efficient change of direction mechanics would address the athlete’s issues. And further progression could include reactive drills that force the athlete to combine and apply the mechanics that had just been addressed in a more isolated fashion to a sports specific situation. The beauty of this type of training is that you directly address what needs to be fixed. If an athlete isn’t using their arms appropriately, you perform drills that specifically address arm swing until they are proficient. If their mechanics are sound, but their reaction is poor, you can work specifically on how to apply the mechanics as quickly and in as many planes as possible. If there is one thing I have learned since arriving here at Northeastern, it is that bogging athletes down with information and instructions and complicated tasks can quickly ruin a training session. And for me, that is why I appreciated all of what we learned last week. As Dan was demonstrating, his instructions were simple, the movements were simple, and I never found myself confused. Though I can certainly learn more regarding programming for linear and lateral movement and acceleration, I feel more comfortable now with exercise selection, progression and when to implement programs for optimal results.
Until last week, I thought that I had a relatively solid grasp on the concept of plyometrics, in terms of why they’re utilized and how they’re implemented. The physiological reasoning makes sense to me, and I thought that I understood the appropriate way to integrate them in a comprehensive program. However, as this internship has proven to me time and again, there is always more to learn, and it’s what makes the job interesting.
Prior to discussing plyometrics with Dan, I was under the assumption that if you have a specific team or athlete in need of power development, plyometric work of any kind will be beneficial to them. Recently however, we’ve discussed the concept of “give them what they aren’t getting,” which is simple in nature but not anything I had ever considered before. Normally, if I were to work with a volleyball or basketball athlete, both of whom depend heavily on their jumping ability, I would have considered jumping plyometrics essential. Now I realize that this is true to an extent, but only during certain seasons. I would have thought nothing of doing box jumps, continuous jumps over boxes and hurdles or depth jumps in season. Based on what I had learned, I would have reasoned that increasing their power output while also perfecting their landing mechanics would provide performance enhancement and injury prevention benefits, music to any coach’s ears. Unfortunately I had never considered the fact that daily volleyball and basketball practices provide the athletes with ample plyometric work. Adding similar movements in the weight room, though applicable to each sport, is unnecessary and could potentially lead to overtraining in some of the athletes. Though we are attempting to create strong, versatile athletes, I’m learning much of our job, especially when teams are in-season, is centered on preserving the athletes so they can play for the entirety of the season. Therefore, plyometrics that mimic movements performed on a daily basis, and that are essential in off-season programs become contraindicated in-season.
Aside from what we talked about during our weekly intern education meeting, I did some of my own research out of curiosity and came across another aspect of plyometrics that I misunderstood. There are various ways to increase plyometric intensity, such as making jumps continuous, making the exercise single leg and increasing the height from which the exercise is performed. I had always considered adding weight to various exercises, such as squat jumps or depth jumps, to be a significant increase in intensity similar to that of increasing the height from which an exercise is performed; that was until I found several articles which stated differently. The first is an article titled “Practical Guidelines for Plyometric Intensity” authored by William P. Ebben and published in NSCA’s Performance Training Journal. In his article, Ebben states that recent research has determined adding weight to movements equates to a moderate level of intensity, and that height fluctuations should be the main means of varying intensity.1 In another presentation titled “Shock Method and Plyometrics: Updates and an In Depth Examination,” given by Dr. Natalia Verkhoshansky, the topic of plyometrics and their optimal usage are discussed. Continuing with the discussion of intensity, specifically with regard to height, Dr. Verkhoshansky presented the findings of a study in which 36 elite track and field athletes performed 8 depth jumps of increasing height. They found that power outputs were highest at a drop height of 2’5” and maximal force outputs were highest at a drop height of 3’5”, and therefore, drop height should be decided upon based upon the desired outcome.2 Additionally, Dr. Verkhoshansky discussed a study that looked at the effect of adding weight to depth jumps, and the study found that the highest vertical was achieved during the un-weighted depth jump, and that the additional weight did not “increase the working effect of the takeoff movement.”2
The discussion we had during our intern education along with the studies I found helped me to better understand that I was oversimplifying plyometric movements and their use in comprehensive programs. I now have a better grasp on when they will be the most beneficial, how to properly progress a plyometric program and how to adjust intensity based on movement selection and the height of the movement.
1. Ebben, William P. “Practical Guidelines for Plyometric Intensity.” NSCA’s Performance Training Journal Vol 6 (5), pp.12-16.
2. Verkhoshansky, Natalia. (2012). “Shock Method and Plyometrics: Updates and an In Depth Examination.” Presented at the Central Virginia Sports Performance Seminar (CVASPS) .
Strength and conditioning, still being a relatively new field (and controversial) will come with challenges, many of which will be faced with the athletics administration. Coming to a resolution and finding common ground is extremely important to the growth and progression of the strength and conditioning coach’s program and career also, the expansion of the industry. This has to be done through careful planning, outlining a budget and implementation of: strength and conditioning philosophy scientifically backed data, strength and conditioning program planning, creating short term and long term goals and objectives.
Funding, budgeting, requests for new equipment, renovation, hiring additional staff members, will all be a challenge to have granted by the athletics department. Presenting your personal or department’s strength and conditioning philosophy, scientific data to provide proof that your techniques and philosophies work (injury prevention, increased longevity, and improved athletic performance). Inform the Administrative body that by running the strength and conditioning program according to your philosophy and outlined goals all of your needs and goals will be met and thus, the will be a successful athletics program.
This should all be outlined in short term and long term plans complete with budgeting for: equipment, educational materials, staff, needs, insurance and so on . Everything you provide/choose to have included as part of your program should have specific reason for being chosen, used or implemented and show a direct correlation to the success and safety of the athletes; saving the school money (reduce injury rate leads to less money spent in insurance). When all these are presented together professionally and intelligently if will help insure the growth of your department and career.
Achieving and maintaining program goals (short and long term goals) is important to the personal success and the growth of the strength and conditioning industry. Belonging to young industry strength and conditioning coaches must be part of a movement to prove the effectiveness of strength and conditioning program planning, testing and injury screening and can only be proven through the success by applying our philosophy, testing and program planning. Continuing to grow, learn and to achieve success is the best way to overcome administrative obstacles.
Though we had previously discussed coaching cues during an earlier intern education session, the topic was brought up in a different light this past week. One of the coaches suggested that we look into the differences between internal and external coaching cues. Prior to researching the topic, he asked what we understood internal and external cueing to be, and my initial thought was entirely off base. I was under the assumption that external cueing involved physical contact, such as a finger placed between the scaps to initiate retraction; and my understanding of internal cueing was that the cues drew the athlete’s attention to some variable involved in the lift or movement, such as their body mechanics or bar speed. Once I began researching the topic however, I came to realize the extent to which I misunderstood the difference between the two, and how it may have been affecting the athletes I had been coaching.
External cueing involves drawing the attention of the athlete away from their body, and refocusing it on some external object or thought. For example, an external cue for an athlete completing a broad jump would be, “Jump to (or through) the line 3 meters in front of you.” Saying this refocuses the athlete’s attention towards the line and away from their body mechanics during the jump. An internal cue for the same situation could be “Fully extend the hips” or “Drive your arms forward as you jump.” Both draw the athlete’s attention towards their body mechanics during the act of jumping. I had always made the incorrect assumption that focusing the athlete on their mechanics and where their body was located in space would help cement appropriate movement patterns and thus lead to more efficient movements later on. To a certain extent, especially when teaching a movement, it may be valid to utilize internal cueing. However, after reading a review titled “Attentional focusing instructions and force production”, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, on the current literature surrounding internal and external cueing and focusing, I came to understand how much more beneficial external cueing is, and the impact we can have as coaches on each athlete’s performance.
After reading the article, I came to understand several concepts that I will take with me throughout my career. Interestingly enough, when no coaching or cueing occurs and the athlete is left alone, they will more often than not focus internally on some aspect of their body mechanics, especially when producing force during a movement. The issue with this is that an internal focus can actually inhibit the body’s natural, automatic movement processes because you are consciously attempting to control your movements as opposed to simply performing them and allowing your body to automatically regulate. Thus as a coach it is vital that you help draw the athlete’s focus externally, allowing the motor system to automatically regulate movements like it was created to do. External cueing and thus an external focus on the part of the athlete have also been demonstrated to increase performance. Wulf et al. (2007) conducted a study on vertical jump height in which the athletes were given no instruction at all, or told to focus on either their fingers (internal) or the rungs of the Vertek (external). Their findings showed that external cueing lead to significantly greater jump heights versus internal or no cueing. By drawing the athletes’ focus to the rungs as opposed to their fingers, their bodies moved via automatic control within the motor system. This allowed for enhanced coordination of muscular contractions and more efficient movement mechanics, and thus greater force output, leading to greater vertical heights.
Without going into too much more detail, what I came to learn is that how I had been coaching was essentially detrimental to the athletes’ I had been working with. I had been drawing their focus to their movement mechanics and bombarding them with information that was non-essential. Since reading this review of the literature I have begun to simplify my cues, and focus them externally in hopes that it will allow the athletes’ bodies to move more automatically and thus more efficiently.
Marchant, David C. (2011). Attentional focusing instructions and force production. Frontiers in Psych. Vol. 1, Article 210.
This article delivers an introduction of the science of coaching; which verbal cues make for the most effective coaching. I disagree with the author’s opinion that external cueing will always be a better choice than internal cueing and the evidence produced was not 100% convincing to me, from a research point of view. I believe that both internal and external cues should be used at appropriate times depending on the athletes’ training age, skill level, natural ability and education. This article left me wanting to know more about the evidences’ origin, the quantified data which was gathered the testers, the tested population and the equipment used.
Internal cueing is coaching the athlete to perform an exercise or movement(s) by focusing on what the body is actually doing mechanically and being conscience of what is actually going on with their body. According to the article this type of cueing is less effect because the athlete tends to focus on body movement patterns and it “increases consciousness” and “constrains the natural flow of the motor system”. External cueing is focusing on the overall goal of the movement or the “movement outcome”. This method of cueing gives the athlete’s motor system a more natural flow when attempting to execute an exercise or movement.
Internal cueing can be useful if an athlete is having trouble activating a certain muscle or muscle group for an exercise or movement. A perfect example of this is instructing an athlete to flex their glutes during a glute bridge (or any variation) or cable pull through. Cueing an athlete internally for this exercise works well and produces good results not only for these two examples but also for more complex exercises in the future. An external cue for the Glute Bridge is keep your hips from touching the floor, however the athlete must first understand how to use the glutes in order not to compensate with their lower back and perform this exercise incorrectly. Both Cues have a place in coaching it is a matter of knowing when and how to use them correctly. *I would like to note that I have experience this myself and witnessed there coaches using this internal cue to a success at my time here with the Strength and Conditioning Department.
There were two experiments presented in the article; the first was using a ski simulator with one group using internal cues, a control group which received no instruction and a group using external cues. The results were that the group receiving external cueing performed better than the other two groups. The second experiment presented was a balance reaction time test (using the same three groups), which yielded the same results.
My issue with the article may is that the process of the experiments was not explained, duration of the trials or how many attempts were allowed? T here was no population description (age, training age, athletic background, educational background, profession). No quantitative data was given with either experiment nor did was there a description of the equipment used to carry out the experiments. Including these details in a professional article is crucial to scientifically proving your, theory, methods (or the science behind coaching). With the professional field of strength and conditioning rapidly changing, modifying older theories and processes it is important to t only used fact based evidence to present your case but, also to show how you arrived at your conclusion.
In the end I still found this article very insightful article and an enjoyable quick read although, I still believe that if the experiments were presented better it would still be an introductory article with a little bit more explanation. It is the desire to educate ourselves that helps drive our industry; and to approach all aspects of strength and conditioning with fact based evidence. Constantly seeking out the reasons to why one way of coaching is superior to another, don’t just accept it as fact without thought and move on.
No matter what university or training establishment you work for, there will be variations in coaching philosophies, and because of those differences, there will undoubtedly be differences in the main movements that are emphasized. Each coach or team of coaches have designated exercises or movement patterns that they consider vital, and all other exercises are derived from these base movements. Here at NU the focus isn’t necessarily on a few particular exercises, but more on key movement patterns that are crucial to any of the lifts being performed. During each lift, we are taught to key in on neutrality of the spinal column, engagement of the core musculature and appropriate breathing patterns. The thought is that without these elements, the exercises will no longer be beneficial or useful, and may even potentially be dangerous. Neutrality throughout the spinal column ensures the vertebrae are stacked optimally to handle the loads -whether vertical, horizontal or rotational in nature- being placed upon them. In the cervical portion of the spine, cueing is as simple as reminding the athlete to tuck their chin. However, throughout the thoracic and especially the lumbar portions of the spine, proper positioning becomes dependent upon stabilization via core activation, hence the dual emphasis. From simplistic core activation exercises, to more complex movements such as the squat, engagement of the core ensures that anterior pelvic tilt is corrected for, thus stabilizing the hips and placing the lumbar in appropriate position for the exercise to be performed. Along with engagement of the core, the athletes are reminded how to breathe appropriately in order to stabilize the spine further. Continually reinforcing these points not only cements the body awareness and positioning in the heads of each of the athletes, but also helps them train more effectively and efficiently, allowing for greater returns with less injury and setbacks.
Coaching cues are as vital as the movements being emphasized, simply because the best program has the potential for failure without proper implementation. Over and under-coaching both have the potential to be detrimental to each athletes progression. Discussing and implementing department wide coaching cues presents a cohesive message to the student athletes, and helps to eliminate confusion during each teams lifting times. Aside from utilizing similar cues, the amount on which each of the cues can be expanded or streamlined should be discussed within the department. Each team will have athletes with varying levels of strength training experience, and cueing will have to adjust accordingly to fit each athlete’s needs and the needs of the team as a whole. It is for this reason that the department must agree on a message regarding important movement patterns and ensure that its delivery is similar between coaches. At NU, I have noticed that the coaches would rather say less than more, and try to make their cues succinct and to the point. I have always had a tendency to say too much when coaching, and it can often confuse the athlete that you’re attempting to help. Watching each of the coaches on the floor has helped me to rework the way in which I coach and cue, and the athletes have responded in a more positive fashion. I’ve also come to realize that physical cueing is often times more beneficial than verbal cueing when the athlete is just beginning to develop a sense of spatial awareness. Describing where and how their body needs to be positioned during the course of a movement often times is more confusing than cueing specific movements to happen via the palpation of specific musculature. All in all, I’ve learned valuable lessons that will help me develop into a more effective coach in the years to come, and I’m sure these two topics will be continually expanded upon throughout the internship.
My experience with Northeastern University’s coaching cues began when I was reading the PPE and FMS testing manuals before my first week. The importance of having an effective and uniform communication within the Strength and conditioning staff and with the athlete is of paramount importance. From the first day of my internship I was exposed to this; using the same cues as that are in the PPE Manual with all the athletes or for any test will insure that all the tests that we administer are done in the exact same way and that we collect reliable data. During the FMS a visual cue would be demonstrating the correct foot placement and body position during the inline lunge test. While administering a conditioning test telling the athletes the breathe in through their bellies or belly breathe will help them recover from the test and prepare for the next test or strength training practice.
I have learned many new coaching cues and I am happy to say that they make sense and are effective and reliable cues to usewhile I am coaching. The importance of having common and effective cues within the strength and conditioning department; is that it maintains clear communication among the strength and conditioning staff also with the athletes and athletic training department. When communication between all three is universal it is easier for athletes to be corrected on there movement patterns and strength training. If an athletes hears the same cue for the same exercise from three or four different staff members it is far more likely that the athlete will correct it.
The use of visual and tactile cues will reinforce the verbal cues giving during a strength and conditioning practice, allowing the athletes to better recall the correct way to execute a movement or how their body should feel while it is being performed. Placing a PVC pipe on an athletes back to teach a proper hip hinge or back squat, the PVC pipe is the tactile cue for the athlete performing the movement and a visual cue for the other athletes that are watching the movement. ( if an athlete is using a morrow it can double as a visual and tactile cue.)
I am now beginning to see results from effective cuing with the team that I work with. For example the Women’s Row team is really responding well to the cues that are given to them and are able to quickly recall correct technique or be corrected quickly. For example when they are cued to keep a flat back and Nuetral spine during a plank (or any exercise we do) they quickly correct themselves if they haven’t recalled them movement immediately or maintain a tight core while doing push ups. Having seen this work In a large student athletele population reinforces the need for the coaching cues to be the same.
Over cueing and cueing at an inappropriate time can cause confusion and overwhelm the athlete and may slow down the learning process for the proper execution of a lift for example. This can be detriment to the coaching process because it may create a lack of confidence with the athletes in your ability to effectively coach them with strength and conditioning. I was guilty of is during this past tacking and field practice what coaching an athlete during a hang clean. This is a habit that I definitely want to break and be aware when it begins to happen while coaching (and when other coaches are over cueing as well.)
Having universal coaching cues is important for building a strong and effective strength and conditioning program, they are the glue that hold the programs core philosophy together and give us the realsults that we want. Cueing is important not only while coaching strength and conditioning but, also while administering testing! Balancing and blending audible, visual, and tacticle cues is key to having the athletes retain and recall proper movement pattern and execution of the prehab and strength training exercises. Avoiding over cueing may be something that many coaches will have to over come however, it must not be part of our “tool box” as it will hinder the success and growth of the strength and conditioning program.
On a side note, I am implementing everything that I am learning here and applying my practice of Brazilian Jujitsu and to my Muay Thai program. This will only enhance my program and make me a better and more knowledgable athlete and coach. I am interested I seeing the results within the two sports overtime
Northeastern University’s Coaching Philosophy
Today at our intern education meeting Dan Boothby Jr. discussed how Northeastern University’s coaching techniques, strategies and philosophy are implemented and the specific process which all of the strength and conditioning coaches’ follow. We were asked what we thought of the coaching and testing experience so far at Northeastern University. I was excited to have had the opportunity to test and evaluate collegiate level athletes and see how the data was actually put to use. It’s was a brief but important opportunity for us to begin to understand exactly how the coaching process works, why it is used in this fashion and for us to express our opinions of the Northeastern way of coaching and our own personal coaching philosophy.
Here at northeastern university it is stressed that there is a universal platform and coaching cues from which all the athletes will learn from ( the hip hinge for example) . This approach makes perfect sense; the coaches are be able to organize their strength and conditioning programs more efficiently and according to how each individual athlete and or team learns and progresses through the strength and conditioning program thus making the communication between the strength and conditioning coaches, team coaches and other departments will be much more clear and fluid.
Periodically, all the athletes much be evaluated and reevaluated throughout the year with the PPE’s, FMS, VO2MAX and Omega Wave tests to name a few. This will ensure the athlete can safely begin or pick up from last season and all athletes begin with the hip hinge with a PVC pipe and a huge emphasis is put into muscle activation. All the athletes will be learning the same movement mechanics, skill set, techniques and so on and if they are unable to perform a specific move it is easier to take the aside and teach them an alternative exercise or break down the movement into parts for them to learn the movement.
What also stood out to me was the communication between the Strength and Conditioning Department Athletic and Training Department. I thought it was a great idea to not only have the two departments right next to each other but also with a glass window spanning across the wall, this creates even more cohesion between the two department allowing observation of one and other and of the athletes. Athletic Trainers and strength coaches are working together and collaborating on entire teams and individual athletes giving each other a better idea of how to how we will reach their goals.
Dan also mentioned at the meeting that there is a specific process of making changes to the strength and conditioning program (testing, prehab, resistance training , plyometrics )there wasn’t much elaboration on this yet but, I am interested to learn what Northeaster’s process is. This is another reinforcement of building the program from one solid foundation and not allowing something to be added to it just because they saw it at a clinic or on the Internet for example.
In my time here I have also seen the strength and conditioning coaches going through their own strength and conditioning programs. Including prehab (foam roller, muscle activation and dynamic warm up) which many athletes tend to skip or not put much effort into. I was really happy to see the staff “practicing what they preach” it gave me even more enthusiasm about being part of the Strength and Conditioning Program at Northeastern and I’m sure when athletes, team coaches and other see this they have a similar feeling.
An emphasis on being able to market yourself and your strength and conditioning program was discussed. Not only showing that you have the education and experience in the strength and conditioning field but, that you know how to apply it and create stronger, faster, more powerful athletes and that on top of all of this you will able the reduce to risk of injury in the athletic population. Fewer injuries will lead to a greater chance of success, less time and money spent on recovery.
What cannot be over looked is the desire to improve not only the athletes and colleagues around you but also to constantly challenge and improve yourself. Give the impression that you are an educated and experienced professional that cares about the teams and athletes that they work to improve every day.
My Coaching Philosophy
Coaching takes years to learn and a life time to master; in itself coaching is a multifaceted career, taking on the many responsibilities and challenges that come with each sport, individual athletes and interdepartmental communications. The responsibilities of the strength and conditioning coach will extend beyond the weight room such as budgeting, requesting new equipment. To be a successful coach one must be passionate about improving others around the (athletes and staff) as well as constantly challenging themselves and their athletes with a safe and efficient and efficient method while using education, experience and science to produce the desired results.
Being on time to practice or early is essential a coaches is, this is the first and easiest way to show the athletes, team coaches, the strength and conditioning staff that you really do care about putting time in and not only that but, you want to be there to coach and improve the athletes’ and teams performance.
Developing an appropriate relationship with the athletes while taking on a leadership is vital, they will feed off the enthusiastic energy of a coach who always eager to push them in the right direction. Display the confidence and knowledge in your assigned strength and conditioning programs, explaining the safety, body mechanics and techniques in the prescribed program making clear why they are doing what is prescribed and how it will make them better at their sport (more powerful, faster, stronger ,more endurance), less injury prone and healthier.
Working in a professional strength and conditioning setting there is a wealth of knowledge and experiences to be had, it is important for a coach to take advantage of this and show that you want to challenge yourself and improve yourself, staff members and of course the athletes. Every coach should take advantage of this and constantly learn from their colleagues within the strength and conditioning staff, and sports medicine departments, learning from the results they produce and how and why they obtained them.
Every coach needs to regularly stay update in the strength and conditions field due its’ rapidly changing and growing nature and competitiveness that comes with the territory of strength and conditioning. Earning the required certifications and going through the reeducation process is essential to maintaining and furthering your knowledge as strength and conditioning coach. Attending nationally recognized state clinics and conferences, reading and reviewing professional peer edited articles and research journals. Also keeping up to date with blogs and other social media, staying in the know of who’s who and who is doing what and why? Exploring how other scientifically proven research and training methods in other sports can be applied and positively impact your program.
Communications between the other strength and conditioning coaches is paramount to running a successful strength and conditioning program. Getting everyone on the same page and keeping there will help reinforce the processes and goals of the program, while maintaining a safe, efficient and professional training/work place. Also communicating between the strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers, team physician and team coaches will ensure that everyone is working together for the same goal and will be notified of any schedule conflicts, injuries, ect.
Coaching is more than a skill that must be honed and reevaluated throughout your coaching career. It is a lifestyle choice that one makes to become a leader and set an example of how things should be carried out. It takes a certain type of character to be a coach; you must be able to humble and be able to accept advice and criticism while at the same time critique the athletes and staff around you. Constantly challenge and reeducate yourself striving for self improvement and the success of your athletes and strength and conditioning program. Having a goal orientated approach with your program planning, with team and athlete specific outcomes in mind; while backing your approach with research and scientific evidence. Approach coaching wholeheartedly and show the athletes and coaching staff that you want to be there and see improvement every day. A good coach need to care as much about producing the best possible athletes that they are able as much as they care about being the best coach that they can possibly be.
The beginning of my first day of the internship program was hectic at first and I felt a little bit out of my element however, after a couple hours got into the rhythm of the testing process and became more comfortable. Being thrown right into the mix of things was just what I needed and wanted on my first day. I am constantly looking to challenge and improvement myself as a strength and conditioning coach. I have been out of school for roughly 5 years and this was my first hands on experience since then with PPE AND FMS testing outside the classroom, I was administering the Ankle Dorsi-Flexion and the shoulder mobility test. The testing was pretty straight forward as far as giving the athletes instructions and conducting the tests.
As the day progressed through the testing I began to to notice commonalities among athletes on certain teams would do well or poorly or fail the tests depending on there sport. This could be associated with the risk for injury and common injuries in the sport. I found this interesting and left me wanting to know and understand the data entry process, its practical application to strength and conditioning program and how we will help with the recovery process and injury prevention of the athletes who did poorly or failed the tests.
After the PPE testing I assisted with the high jump test and 1 repetition max for the flat bench press. I have use the jump pad and computer previously so I was already comfortable with the equipment and the testing protocols for the athletes to follow. I enjoyed working with the Track and Field team a lot, I feel like the understand the amount and quality of work he put in with the strength and conditioning program will help improve their athletic performance.
At the end of my first day I left satisfied with the time and work I put into the testing and the amount if education and experience I had was great. I am eager and up for the challenges I will encounter through my time at Northeastern University.