A Kink In The Plan
Have you ever been several weeks into a team’s off-season training program a new kid suddenly shows up? Sometimes its a kid that has moved into the area, but a lot of times it’s a kid who is coming from another sports season. He or she has been playing sport B while his teammates in sport A have been putting in time and effort in their strength and conditioning program. We all like working with multi-sport athletes, but it does create some interesting challenges for us as coaches.
Things To Consider
There are several things to keep in mind while trying to get these “newbies” up to speed with the rest of the group.
- Recovery – If these athletes are coming in from another sports season, they are probably already tired, worn down, and “dinged up”. Oftentimes these kids are rushed into the off-season program for another sport. As a coach, I’d rather give a kid a few days off before they get started on their training program with me. An athlete who is worn down can’t give 100% and is more likely to get hurt. Giving them even just a week off between seasons can be beneficial.
- Differences in training levels – Even if these athletes are “in shape” for the sport that they just finished, they won’t be in shape for the sport that they are going to. Each sport has different physical and physiological demands. These athletes usually can’t be expected to start off at the same level as the athletes who are currently in the off-season program.
- Adjust the plan – When we create an off-season plan, we put all of our knowledge and know-how into it. And now we have to change it because of one kid? Yes. To build on the previous point, an athlete that is coming into your program will need to be eased in ,unless he is coming from a sport that has a solid in-season program. He won’t be able to complete the same sets, reps, and intensities as the other athletes. Just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. He or she will catch up to the other athletes soon enough.
- Focus – While it is sometimes difficult to do, try to find a way to focus on these kids. If they haven’t been lifting regularly or doing the same program, there should be an emphasis placed on technique. That way once they catch up to the other athletes, their technique will be good. This is especially important in lifts such as the squat, clean, and snatch. You should also get plenty of feedback from these kids on how they feel.
What To Do?
When you have a large group of athletes, it becomes difficult to integrate a new kid into the mix. However, for the good of the athlete, you must pay attention to these “newbies”. All too often they show up and just get tossed into the mix with the other athletes. While it may take some creativity to integrate them properly and at the right pace, it will benefit them in the long run.