“Misconceptions of Performance Training, Strength & Conditioning”
Shiver me timbers, to all you fellow riph-raph & misfits out there its Sept. 19th, so Happy “Talk-Like-A-Pirate-Day”! Dead men tell no tales, so there are so many misconceptions that exist in everything that we are not fluent in. Take this into all walks of our lives and recognize that we are all idiots in some form, shape and fashion…You may be a good athlete, but fine arts is an alien language…You maybe great in mathematics, but history eludes you…You may love sports, but you lack simple comprehension of politics because its either too confusing or you haven’t found a reason to care yet. Even within my chosen craft of Human Movement Sciences, it never ceases to amaze me when we fail to give a HS coach well deserved credit for proverbially making chicken salad out of chicken shit. But we rain down oodles of praise and worship for a S&C coach from a professional team or even prestigious university. Much more praise should be given to the professional at any level who can do more with less than the ones who did just enough working with high-performance super stars training in high-tech facilities. The spotlight will never shine on the performance coach that develops a 5.1 40yd dash guy into a respectable 4.7. Yet up high on the pedestal goes the s&c coach who walked an athlete into the door as a 4.4 guy, but also ushered them out as a 4.4 guy. When you’re working with such a small margin of error as the less-than-gifted are, details matter more. You can’t out strong everyone, you have to be smarter in your preparation. Your athletes may not be a race horses, but developing a higher level of reliability means that that 4.7 athletes will deliver that in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and overtime. Developing a higher level of sustainability means that instead of suffering from a traumatic, season ending injury, the athlete recovers well from a hamstring strain and is back on the court. The original namesake of this profession as a strength & conditioning coach pushes the notion that effectiveness shall be measured by how much strength can we develop in our athletes and to what level of conditioning can we achieve. We are thrust into the metrics game of evaluating and reevaluating numbers for prudence, an arms race escalates each and every day when we walk into the facility. As goal-oriented and naturally bullheaded people, we push our goals and aspirations onto the athletes. Yet rarely do we remind ourselves that what we want may be either at best cost (time & energy) prohibitive to the athletes and God forbid at worst detrimental to what is most important to the athlete. If their “efficient & effective specific skill(s) acquisition” was not the very first thing that came to mind, then their performances within their chosen arenas better be. Weight room, record-board topping studs hold significantly less water if those numbers cannot translate to acquiring specific sport skills. When the training system develops a broader, more comprehensive movement vocabulary, then the athletes are bound less and less limited to do what the coaches are asking of them. This means that the athletes are gaining technical proficiency at a faster rate. Lastly, the systematic development of their psychomotor drive must be melted into, pressed in between and all throughout so that more composed and coachable athletes abound. In the highest circles of coaching, most will agree that most games are lost and not won. Lack of technique execution over here, a poor performance over there sprinkled with an under-duress, bone-headed decision here and there spread out over the entire roster of starters and the benefits of the philosophy of “reducing unforced errors” becomes blatantly clear. So with an ocean’s full of salt be wary of pirates’ tales of buried treasure. The unheralded knows that the best ship isn’t the prettiest one with the biggest sails, but rather the one with sturdiest hull. This is not to be confused with the flash-in-the-pan, once-in-a-while, occasionally good. We’re referencing the best-in-class, hall of famers and legends that have proven to be the most sea worthy as they were tried and proven true through every voyage through tumultuous seas. Now batten down the hatches you scurvy sea dogs!
20 years ago, i began refining S3 “Sword & Soul Solutions” by intuitively putting together scientific and anecdotal evidence to support what i felt was the most efficient and effective means for accelerating (movement) skill acquisition. Because this methodology was so far out of the scope of what was commonly practiced, i was once left with a fairly empty auditorium as the attendees laughed, scoffed and walked out within the first 10:min. For the bulk of my career i was relegated to those who had to involuntarily train with me under the demands of their coaches and the few who sought to reap the benefits of this unorthodox S3 system. The composition of the later can best be described with three more sub categories. First, there are those who are at desperate means. They are often at crossroads in their careers, taking steps up to the next level or in the midst of a free agent year and had to perform exceptionally well in order to put themselves at a better bargaining position for contract negotiations. The second categorical group were the injured. They are forced to do all that they can to regain the function of high speed in order to get back into the game. The third categorical group is the under-achiever who has tried other methodologies, programs and systems to lesser avail and are driven to rise from past lack-lusters.
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