The crave of athletic performance training has changed with more formidable direct marketing platforms (i.e. social media). As more and more athletes seek out the aid of quality performance coaches to help enhance their skills the industry has seen a boom. The availability to reach additional coaches, athletes and parents through social media sources has created a shift to what is being falsely considered as a more “functional” form of performance training.
The purpose for this blog is to briefly disregard the notion that making up movements to look exactly like the sport is false; furthermore, I will briefly highlight the importance of more “traditional” forms of training, which are functional. My brief analysis will highlight three major factors: one, analyze the sport by muscle requirements rather than identical “sport-specific” patterns; two, introduce an understanding of how overuse can be accelerated by this new age “sport-specific” model; and three, knowing how to implement and program is not cultured by merely learning exercises from YouTube, Instagram, E-Books, Facebook, Twitter, and more…
One – Sport Analysis
As a coach we must analyze the characteristics of the sport from both a metabolic and physiological perspective. Here are a few thoughts / questions that go in to my breakdown:
1. Is the sport classified as a loaded or unloaded sport?
2. What joints are the most susceptible to load and impact?
3. What muscle groups are used mainly? How are those muscle groups used?
4. What kind thresholds need to be met?
5. Categorize the energy systems…
6. Performance Enhancement results from…
7. What Range-of-Motion requirements are required (ROM)
8. How can we train to avoid overuse injuries?
As we do our analysis we discover what is vital for each athlete to be able to train. However, prior to beginning “sport specific” training we must first evaluate the athlete to determine their training level.
Two – train the athlete first and the sport second
One of the biggest things to understand is that overall athletic performance is extremely important. Joint stabilization, powerful hip extension, core, hip mobility, postural strength, and a healthy understanding of nutritional requirements are focus areas for all persons and athletes. The body must be taken care of prior to engaging in sport specific training.
Once an athlete has reached a training age to begin more sport tailored training the sport analysis should guide you. Certain exercises and movement patterns are universal across all sport arenas; examples are Olympic lifts, squats, pull ups, deadlifts, etc… These movements can be programmed in to all sports while factoring in sport specific characteristics.
Three – go beyond the exercise
A major portion of successful performance training is not just merely understanding exercises but developing their purpose for implementation; knowing the requirements from a mobility and muscular standpoint while being able to factor in the metabolic requirements.
Point three is where most ex-athletes now turned performance coaches go wrong. Having a base education platform, which is rooted in what that individual has done in their playing career (performance wise), is simply not enough to begin training athletes. For these ex-athlete coaches, they must dive deeper in the Strength & Conditioning field to better understand training age, volume fluctuations, muscular activations, progressions, mechanical drive components, etc…
From a business and coach standpoint I understand the marketability of high-level “cool” looking exercises. They get tons of likes and make athletes / parents want to train with you. Marketing these exercises by saying “train like the pros” or “train like this athlete” neglects the training age of the athlete and/or their specific limiters. Instead, we should be showcasing multiple movements while training all athletes to their level, advancing them from there.
Teach first, advance second, perform third… each athlete is untapped potential that needs to be cultivated in their own unique way.