Thanks for all the great feedback on last week’s blog about preparing for summer Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and the value of a strength and conditioning coach. Building on last week’s success we have a guest post from Coach Adrian Guyer CSCS, USAW-2, CSAC. Coach Guyer brings an extensive athletic background coupled with over a decade of training experience. He’s been an invaluable colleague and helps both teams and individuals excel in their fitness and conditioning goals.
For a strength coach, the summer months are a true breath of fresh air when it comes to athlete development and preparation, and no my friends this has nothing to do with the weather. For most high school and college athletes the summer months are an uninterrupted 8-10 weeks of training when an athlete’s physical preparation becomes top priority. The strength coach can finally write a program that focuses on applying the right amount of stress to yield favorable results come the beginning of the fall competitive seasons. The in-season struggle of not too much load, volume or intensity, training around travel, make up games, or injuries is gone for the next 10 weeks and it’s time to get to work! For the athlete or sport coach this means you need to be ready to capitalize on this training block so as not to get to the fall wishing you would have done things differently…In this post I will list some of the places where many athletes and coaches miss the boat with their summer training programs and how they can capitalize on their athletic preparation this summer.
Have a Plan of Attack
Sport is battle, and no soldier goes into battle without a battle plan and plan of attack. Your summer training is no different and you must approach it as though it’s a win or lose situation. A failure to plan is a plan to fail, and this mean’s letting down your teammates, coaches, school, and family. Many will sacrifice or have sacrificed to help get you where you are, now it’s time to pony up and do the same yourself. These two tips can be quite helpful in the process.
- Look at your summer schedule and figure out the days and times each week where you will train. Studies have proven that we are far more likely to do something if it’s written down and scheduled, do this first. Then sign it. Yeah, I mean put your John Hancock on that schedule and be accountable to it. Being accountable is the biggest struggle I find with athletes and adults in achieving their goals. Although it may sound simple writing down your summer training schedule will pay off big 10 weeks from now when you are back on the field with your team and your body is physically prepared for battle.
- Hire a strength coach who is both vetted and will motivate you every time you step into the gym. Find a facility like XIP Training Systems that will write you a comprehensive training program, your road map to success, but will also provide an environment that fosters growth and success. You don’t need someone to scream at you every day, you need someone who has the knowledge to make you a better athlete and the ability to keep you safe in the process. This summer training program is your ”Plan of Attack”, and is so very valuable to your success this summer. If you don’t have a reputable coach nearby do some research and consult with one online instead. Many of us have these capabilities in our programming and would love to help you or your athletes regardless of where you are in the world. Trust me the money spent will be worth the return on investment and will save you much stress and wasted time each day you train.
There’s nothing that thwarts progress more than an inconsistent approach to your training. That’s why creating your schedule and having a solid plan or program are listed first, without them it’s hard to have any sort of consistency in your training. The “shotgun effect”, or throwing every type of training modality you read about, watch or hear about will only get you so far, and to be honest this style of training will only provide results for the most novice athletes. These athletes would generally get results regardless of how poor their program may be simply because they are doing something more than they were before. Any stress will elicit a change if done consistently…
You see, one cool thing about the human organism is that it has the ability to adjust and change to the environment that it lives in, something I believe we all understand and can generally appreciate. This is evolution as we know it. With this established, our training program is the environmental stimulus and the work we do during training is applying the right amount of stress repeatedly so that the body will adapt. Pretty simple really. For athletes, we are speaking quite specifically about the musculo-skeletal system when dealing with performance variables such as speed, power and quickness. Without getting too geeky here I will simply state that your summer training program of 8-10 weeks is adequate time to make some really awesome changes to the system, termed the “S.A.I.D principle”, or specific adaptations to imposed demands. I know this because I have run summer performance camps with hundreds of athletes for over a decade now and have seen it firsthand. Your body will also adapt to a poor stimulus or mechanics, as it is simply doing what the brain is telling it to do. This is why it’s so important that we focus on our technique and skill development in our training, as we must create skills that will help us and not hurt us. At XIP we call this building roads. If you build a bad road through bad mechanics and do it over and over again you will pave that road, or pattern, and this is where poor performance or injury can arise. Be consistently perfect in your skill development.
After all the hundreds of athletes that I have worked with I can tell you with certainty that the single best way to sabotage results is to be inconsistent in the application of your program. Even the slightest trickle of water can eventually become a river, if the water supply doesn’t run out and if it doesn’t change course…Create a schedule that works and be adherent to the process and you will see you or your athlete’s performance improve. Coaches must understand that not every athlete will be as compliant as your “studs” that do everything you ask and literally would take a bullet for you. If you have an athlete that can’t make 3 but can do 2 days a week, so be it, just be sure they are 100% compliant to 2 days. If one day is all they can get be sure they give you 100% compliance and they will also get better. Yes, even one day a week will yield positive results, especially for those younger athletes who are maybe new to this whole training thing.
Rest, Recover and Refuel
Although I list this last it is not to be taken lightly. As mentioned above the human body can and will adapt to the demands that are placed on it. This happens 100% of the time that any stress is applied to the body consistently. However, the organism can also die from stress when not given enough time to recover and make the necessary adaptations. One of my favorite phrases when it comes to training the human body; “repeated low doses of venom.” Too much venom and we die, but repeated low doses over a long period of time and the body will form a resistance, a resiliency, and become more resistant to more venom in the future. This my friends, is how I make a living. I apply the right amount of stress to my clients and athletes week after week, month after month, year after year and good things happen. I have complete control of the stress to be applied, which through a combination of art and science has lead to some really awesome results.
What I cannot control are how many hours an athlete will sleep, what they eat and drink, and whether they perform recovery modalities on their own such as soft tissue work, mobility and flexibility. If you do not get adequate sleep, 8-9 hours for most HS and college athletes you will sabotage your results. If you do not consume enough calories and the correct macro nutrient profile of proteins, carbs and fats you will sabotage your results. If you don’t consume half your body weight in ounces of water each day you will sabotage your results. If you do not do your soft tissue work, stretching or other flexibility techniques you can sabotage your results. No matter how good your program is, or how consistent you are to your training schedule you will not, I repeat you will not get the results you are after without adequate R, R and R. In many cases all you will get is an injury…Food, water and shelter(recovery) are necessary components of life. If you can’t take care of these first don’t waste your time on adding more stress to your life because it won’t end well for you. This is the case regardless of the level you are at, from youth to the pros.
Coach Guyer has more great info available at his website https://www.xiptraining.com/
I look forward to letting you all know how our OTAs and Coach Guyer’s strength and conditioning program support our development this summer.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss summer OTAs, coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time.