Earlier this week, a sucessful golfer from the 1940’s and 50’s, Frank Stranahan, passed away. I had never heard of Mr. Stranahan, but when I read the article about him, I was amazed. What was amazing to me was that he was also a dedicated bodybuilder & fitness buff. While bodybuilding wasn’t unheard of in that era, it wasn’t as common as it is now. For a golfer, it was unheard of. In golf, just as in baseball, the thinking was that lifting weights was a no-no. Most felt that this would bulk an athlete up. This would then lead to a decrease in flexibility and performance in their sport. Now it is common for athletes in both sports to regularly lift weights during both the off-season and in-season.
I grew up in the 1970’s in Central Florida. I remember going to the local high school with my Mom and Grandmother so that they could lift weights. Yes, in the 70’s this was pretty much unheard of. Women didn’t lift weights. I was at such a young age that I didn’t realize until years later how rare this was. However, we had a unique situation in our town. Since I grew up near the headquarters of the Nautilus fitness company, some of our local coaches were influenced by them. One of the local high school coaches began to open the school weightroom in the evenings for local people to workout. This was before the days of Planet Fitness, etc. There wasn’t anywhere else to workout in our town. The Coach was able to convince my Mom and Grandmother to lift weights to stay in shape. I basically grew up believing that weightlifting was normal for everyone. Heck, I remember walking into a bar on a bench and splitting my head open once. I also remember falling off of a multi-exerciser (that I was goofing around on AFTER having been told to stay off of it lol) and getting the wind knocked out of me. I saw my whole 6 year old life flashing before my eyes. I thought I was a goner for sure lol.
You didn’t see things like this years ago
Obviously weight training wasn’t popular for most people in the past. Fast forward to today. Now I have some athletes that I can’t keep out of the weightroom. I have female athletes that I tell to get in the weightroom more if they want to get better. We look on TV and see women doing all sorts of things, some that many men can’t handle. Isn’t it amazing how far things have come?
I love to watch other strength and conditioning coaches in action. I’m always looking to learn and better myself. I’ve picked up new drills, better coaching cues, and many other ideas from these sessions. It always puts your mind to work and makes you evaluate what you do and how you do it, which is never bad. I feel that things like this make you a better coach in the long run. Fortunately, most coaches are pretty good about sharing info with other coaches (although I did meet one recently who was VERY unwilling to discuss anything. I guess they discovered the “holy grail” of coaching and don’t want us to know it).
Where did you get your program?
Of course, this can be taken to an extreme. I’ve had sport coaches try to use a workout that they found somewhere else for their teams. It may have come from a college coach, from a magazine, online, or anywhere else. I don’t care how much ESPN you watch, how many issues of Mens Health or Muscle and Fitness that you read, or who you got it from don’t try to steal a program from somewhere. This never works!!!
Here are 5 reasons why it doesn’t:
It wasn’t designed for your kid(s) – The program was probably designed for higher level athletes. Most times these athletes are better prepared to participate in a physically demanding program. They also have years of practice to develop the techniques required to execute the program correctly.
It’s not based on your kids needs – How can it be? The person who designed the program has probably never met your kid. How do they know what his/her needs are? When you design a program you must account for the strengths and weaknesses of individual athetes. Then you design the program around this information. While this is difficult to accomplish in a group/team setting, it can still be done. However, it can’t be done by a coach that doesn’t know your kid(s).
It doesn’t have your personal touch – Much like when it comes to X’s and O’s in sports, I can’t run your system and you can’t run mine. We all have our own way of doing things. Can I pick up a program designed by someone else and run kids through it? Yes. Am I going to be as effective of a coach? No. I have my way of doing things and I have a system that all of these things fit into. The same can be said for other coaches. We can all follow a plan but without fully understanding everything, it won’t work as well.
You don’t know the “Big Pic” – Maybe the stength coach at “We lost too many games last year U” was told to “bulk up the players”. Maybe that played a role in his program design. Maybe he realized that his players are plenty strong but need to be more flexible. Once again, the program wasn’t designed for your kids.
It’s better to start from scratch than try to adapt a program – Sometimes when you try to adapt something you try to make as few changes as possible. Unfortunately, this hesitation to make changes means that you aren’t willing to make the program fit your kids. You are trying to make your kids fit into the program. Again, not a good thing.
We all borrow ideas and incorporate them into our programs. There’s no problem with that. The problem is when it turns to using someone elses program entirely. Remember, if you are a coach, this is what you are trained to do. Don’t worry about having a perfect program. There is no “perfect” program. We’re all learning as we go and trying to make our program as close to perfect as we can for our athletes and our situation. The bottom line is this: it’s much better to use a program that was designed specifically for the athletes who are using it rather than one that you “got from someone”.
Here’s a video post about heat illness. Since several high school athletes have died already this year due to the heat, I thought that it would be a good time to address it. The video discusses prevention, signs & symptoms, and treatment.
This is probably one of the most interesting articles I’ve read in a long time. I’ve heard Matt speak a couple of times at clinics and was fortunate enough to get to observe him conduct a training session at UF. I think that he does a great job and this article explains why. Matt puts emphasis on three things in the program:
Developing sport specific athleticism
Injury prevention training
Addressing individual weaknesses
Obviously most of us try to design our programs in a way that the same 3 items are addressed. I do admit that a volleyball team has less bodies to train than some other sports so some things are easier to plan for and incorporate. Regardless, it is a good read and worth your time. I encourage you to check it out.