Trust. Teaching. Technique. Training. My progressions are not rocket science. Come to practice on time. Bring a water bottle. If you don’t have a watch learn to read the one on the wall for rest intervals. None of the information above will sell out a seminar, but the realities is the limiting factor, not the GPS powerpoints and talk on energy systems-or Bondarchuck periodization charts. Nobody wants to start off at square one because it’s boring or remedial, but skipping steps is make believe. Lately, I have been turned off from blogging as the only interest in the community it seems is DNS or rehashing pubmed. Both will notfix athletes when people are out of shape or lazy. My thoughts are you can’t fix or develop the athlete if they are not ready to learn, so you must start off with building trust.
Trust means the athlete has faith that you and your program will work and is worth putting the time and effort. Sometimes trust takes time, but the initial meeting must bring honesty to get trust. Honesty is not popular, but I think it creates a refreshing breath for athletes. Right now nobody wants to tell the truth about how hard it is to get better. Just do KB swings and it’s the same as taking years of real power training? Yes it stinks doing a long warm-up on your feet compared to a few magic minutes on foam rollers, but getting ready to sprint or work hard takes time. Yes getting more sleep must mean giving up something or someone, but sleep works. Yes eating better means more planning and not giving in to eating garbage, but you are what you eat, even if more talented people eat burger king and get away with it. Athletes want to the truth. The internet is full of great information but also full of the get rich quick lies.
Teaching is not how to do something, but how to learn. Athletes are not prepared to learn as much, as texting and tweeting has hurt communication . You learn by doing and you learn by doing it with instruction with another being. Eyes on the coach or person demonstrating? Why is this so hard? At the Boston Indoor Games elite athletes would train the days before the meet and I was amazed on how many athletes would not watch the best in the world do things while they shared the facility. Where was the hunger or curiosity? Youtube is not the same as live. Listening means you follow directions, not be perfect with mechanics. I don’t care if people fail, but make mistakes because you were trying to do what was told.
Technique. If you can’t do things right, don’t do them with more intensity or more frequency as it will injury or ingrain bad habits. Teaching is a major investment, and it pays off when something is ingrained. I am having problems with athletes not having respect for technique as focus each year becomes a problem on average, but the last few years I have been lucky. Sloppy technique is disrespectful. This is why cameras and technology is great, because evidence of technique and rating it like a term paper is key. Technique must be reinforced though, as rushing through it or skipping steps is bad coaching. If an athlete is not prepared physically to do something technically, the coach must go back to the drawing board and try again. You can can’t cue fitness and strength if it’s not there. Give the athletes time to change, or you will build a foundation of quick sand.
Training. Get in shape. Be sufficiently strong. Come to practice every day. Stretch during warm down and get off the ground during warm-up. Breath hard and taste acidosis, or your body fighting something- besides the temptation to do angry birds during class. The reason we are soft is we rush through the training process and hurt athletes. If we hurt them they can’t train. If they can’t train they will get hurt. The injury bug is not random. Athletes are coming in specialized in competing but not preparing to compete in a high level. I think the patience of the islands is why they are beating us. While people will talk about WADA and out of season drug testing, they tend to have a clear approach to training and focus on training. Crawl before you walk, meaning if you want to sprint you need to be in shape to run or you will be talking about flights to Germany or Toronto for therapy.
Later next week Athletics Canada will feature some great speakers at the Jumps Conference. Hopefully the board will have some reps, as Jeff Cubos being a guy with good taste will be there. A major theme will be the LSU influence of Boo and Dan, but some other great people will be lecturing in how to podium. For more information click here.