Strength and conditioning has become a crucial aspect of training for modern athletes. It is a great way for athletes to get bigger, stronger, and more powerful (not to mention all of those other great perks of working out). It’s benefits are magnified when they have a coach who knows what they are doing in the weight room, can teach them proper technique and construct program suitable to fit the specific needs of each athlete.
On the other hand, think about Coach Tom, a decent high school football coach who lifted back in his hay-day, who now writes programs for dozens of kids who don’t understand the fundamentals of weight training, except what they see on the internet. It’s certainly concerning when bringing complex movements into the mix such as back squats, power cleans, and deadlifts.. This is a recipe for disaster and by disaster, I mean huge setbacks.. With poor coaching, poor habits will be created and this will eventually lead to injuries, overtraining, and most importantly, lack of progress. You wouldn't evaluate someone's eyes if you were a podiatrist, so why try to teach a kid how to deadlift if you’re just a football coach?!
How do you counter this potential disaster? Find a strength and conditioning coach! This will lead to less headaches and have someone who (hopefully) knows what they are doing, teaching the athletes the proper way to workout.
Every single athlete in every single weight room across the country is unique. Whether it is their scapular position or the way they respond to stress, they are all different people that need different approaches related to coaching. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to write an individualized program for all 50 of the kids on the team, because that may not be realistic for the coaching staff, but how you deliver the program to each kid has to be unique otherwise it will not be received properly. Two examples are cuing and mobility. Each athlete learns differently, therefore the same cue will not apply to every athlete . One kid may need to hear “don’t round your back” while another kid may need to be physically put in a neutral spine position. With mobility, you have a whole lot of super flexible kids, that do not need to yank on their shoulder capsule (which nobody needs anyways) nor would they need to stretch their hamstring with a super flexed lumbar for 2 mins.
Assessments can solve many issues before any athlete athlete considers touching a weight. How? If an athlete air squats and looks like a baby deer, I would argue they need a little motor control work before a bar is placed on their back. This will take a long time, but this is a one time upfront investment that will more than pay off in the anticipated exercise regiment. The week before the program is to commence, set aside multiple time slots to assess each athlete to understand their specific needs. It doesn’t matter if it is a nice lined assessment sheet or a piece of paper with a few notes about each athlete; this will go a long way in helping effectively train these athletes.
Feel free to comment below your thoughts, I hope to hear this isn't happening in your area!