Do you use technology in your coaching? How often? To what extent? One of my favorite uses of technology is to use video analysis. I think that it really helps me to see what the athlete is doing in a new light. It also enables you to give feedback to the athlete in a different format. As we all know, their are three types of learners: verbal, visual, and kinesthetic. The use of video definitely helps those visual learners to see what they are doing right and wrong. I really believe that video helps a large number of athletes and is a tool that needs to be used even more. That being said, I also think that just like any good thing, it is possible to go overboard. Do you have to video every single rep or drill? No. Integrate video into the program at regular intervals. Use it initially to get a baseline idea of how the athlete does on a particular skill. Use this info to help teach the athlete and then give them a chance to improve the skill for several session or weeks. Then get some new footage and let the athlete see the comparison. This should be often enough to gain the benefits of video without turning every day into a video day.
I know that Dartfish just released some info which stated that over 400 medals were won in the London Olympics by users of their software. I’m sure that many other athletes used some form of video analysis to perfect their performances. If video can help that many Olympic winners, it can help athletes at other levels too. Make sure to find ways to integrate it into your coaching.
We’ve all seen some amazing performances during the Olympics the last two weeks. We’ve seen athletes display amazing abilities. The question in my mind right now is, just how far can these athletes go? Remember when a sub 4 minute mile was unthinkable? That is until Roger Bannister ran one? Remember how it used to be watching the men’s 100 meter dash? Then Usain Bolt came along and started blowing everybody away. Today’s athletes routinely perform feats that were unimaginable when I was a child. Just how far can they go? With the ever growing amount of research and knowledge into sports performance, are we nearing the limits of human potential? Or have we just scratched the surface? I personally hope that the latter is the case. If it is, the next 30 years are going to be loads of fun.
Just like many of you, I’ve spent part of the last week watching the Olympics. There has been a big deal made about Ryan Lochte’s training and some of the unusual things that he does to prepare. These include tire flips, keg tosses, and using ropes. Some other S & C coaches have given their thoughts on his workouts. Some of these were positive and some not so much. Some of us might not feel comfortable putting an athlete through strongman type activities. Ryan’s S & C coach, Matt Delancey, does. I’ve heard Matt speak on a few occasions at clinics, including one lecture on the use of strongman exercises with athletes. I also had an opportunity to watch him at work. Matt is a former strongman competitor so yes, sometimes strongman exercises make it into the routines he uses with his athletes. One thing that you may not know is how much Matt emphasizes correct form. He is much less worried with how much weight someone can lift than he is with developing and maintaining proper form. His number one rule for strongman exercises is that as soon as the athletes form breaks down, you stop the exercise. I believe that having a full understanding of an exercise how to perform it correctly is crucial to being a good S & C Coach. While many of us might not feel comfortable including strongman exercises, often that is due to our background and a lack of knowledge about the exercises. While some might not agree with using these exercises with a swimmer, his coach is very comfortable with it. He is also very competent to teach the exercises and keep them safe. Whether we agree with the program that Ryan does or have some issues with it, we need to keep one thing in mind: every coach is different. Every coach has different backgrounds and experiences, different styles, and different levels of comfort with certain exercises or methods. That’s one of the neat things about strength and conditioning. While there is a lot of science that we rely on, there is also room for each of us to be unique and create our own program. Just because a program is different than one we might design, that doesn’t mean that it’s bad.
Here’s a sample of Ryan’s Training.
Strongman Exercises For Everyone?
One post I read a few days ago stated that Lochte’s training would have a negative effect on many clients. The author felt that many of their clients would come in begging to include tire flips, etc in their training. He’s probably right. I’m sure that due to the publicity, many athletes and coaches will suddenly want to include these in their training. Guess what? In general, that’s probably not a good idea. Remember, training programs should be individualized based on many factors including what the athlete is capable of. There also needs to be consideration given to what the coach can safely teach the athlete. This is where my greatest fear is. I hope that coaches stick with what is right and with what they can safely teach. Unfortunately, some won’t and they will end up needlessly injuring some athletes.