Sometimes we get very wrapped up in the newest piece of training equipment. We see it, hear about how it can help your athletes, and we just wish that we had it to use. Unfortunately, it usually costs an and arm and a leg to own. So what do you do? Do you did deep into the bank account and buy it or just do without?
In reality, you can probably do without it. While it’s always nice to have the newest and neatest equipment, is it really necessary? Many excellent coaches started off working with limited resources. That means that they had to get creative and learn ways to make athletes better without having access to the fanciest equipment. They started off using basic equipment like cones and ladders and went from there.
When I was in college studying to be an Athletic Trainer (ATC), I was assigned to assist at a local high school. Since much of Athletic Training involves hands-on learning, this was where I would gain knowledge to supplement my classroom learning. I was to observe, learn, and eventually practice under the supervision of the Head ATC. One of my memories from that experience was that we used old bicycle inner tubes for ankle rehab. We didn’t use fancy thera-bands. We didn’t have the money in our budget. You know what? The inner tubes worked just fine. We didn’t have a lot of other fancy things that local rehab clinics had. However, we got creative and found ways to get the job done. Now, are things easier if your training room is stocked with every piece of equipment imaginable? Yes. Can you get by without having one of everything? Yes you can, especially if you don’t have any other choice.
The same goes for sports performance. I’ve worked at places that had almost every bit of equipment that you can imagine. How much did we use? Maybe half of it got used in the course of a month. In any given year, we might have actually used 95% of it at least once. Was it nice having all of that equipment? Yes. It meant that you always had lots of options for training. Could we have survived without some of it? Yes we could have. And you know what? Our programs would have still be good and our athletes would have still gotten better. In all actuality, it might make you a better coach if you don’t have as much equipment. It makes you research and develop other methods to accomplish things. Just remember, it’s your skill as a coach that makes the difference, not the tools that you use.