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Team environments can pose a difficult task for strength and conditioning professionals to gauge appropriate dose response in prescribing effective stress and adequate restoration.  We have used HRV (ANS), vertical jump (CNS) and subjective stress score measures in our small group/individual settings.  In addition, we are in the process of attaining a hand held dynamometer as yet another biomarker in our attempt to measure daily training readiness.  We have found these tools to be useful for a more accurate, individualized program based on the client’s current adaptability reserve (stress takes money out, recovery puts money back in, courtesy of Joel Jamieson).  Bottom line, we want our athletes to train as hard as they are READY to train.  In addition, we use subjective stress scores for our large groups.  Here is how we use these scores at DSC for our Athletic Development Programs. 

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I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Anaheim California with a good friend and fellow Strength Coach Sean Skahan.  Sean is the head strength and conditioning coach of the Anaheim Ducks in the National Hockey League.  I was invited by Sean to work the Ducks 2013 Development Camp for young prospects and drafted players within the organization.  To say this was a rewarding experience would be an understatement.  The week was packed with “in the trenches” education, shoptalk and good old-fashioned chalk, iron and sweat equity.  Sean’s presence in the weight room is a combination of passion and purpose fueled with genuine care for his athletes’.  He is an exceptional floor manager and leader.  These are just a few of the intangibles that make Sean one of the best in the business.  I learned many things from Sean throughout the week from protocol to practice, but the true lessons I took with me cannot be found in the pages of a textbook.  They are found on the floor, beyond the sweat, fatigue and sacrifice, they are found in the weight room-coaching athletes.  Below are three important lessons that were reinforced during my stay in Anaheim.  

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Posted by on in Programming

There have been several instances in the past where we have had guests visit DSC to watch us train our athletes in large group settings.  Many times Coaches will comment after the session about our plyometric component of program design.   “Those aren’t true plyometrics are they?” and I will indeed nod my head in agreement.  True plyometrics seek to take advantage of the Stretch Shortening Cycle using elastic energy stored in the tendons.  This is accomplished with minimal transition time (.15-.20 seconds) between eccentric stretch and rapid concentric contraction.  In other words, minimal ground contact!  A quick stretch excites the muscle spindles (which act as neuromuscular stimulators communicating with the brain telling it how hard it must contract a muscle to overcome a load).  We do progress our “jump training” into true plyometrics, but we don’t start there. 

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

Last month I had the unique opportunity of speaking at a local grade school for “Career Day”.  What an awesome environment!   Seeing young, impressionable minds eager to learn and quick to smile.  It was a chance for me to reflect on why I chose my path, how it shaped me, how it made me the person I am today…. why I chose to Coach. My father was a Coach, both my brothers’ Coach, and I am proud to call myself “Coach”.  This profession runs deep in our families’ DNA. Having the chance to self-reflect it was easy to see why I chose to Coach. 

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I am convinced that if you want something bad enough, you have to roll up your sleeves, buckle up your chin strap and be prepared to scratch, claw and grind for every inch of greatness you can attain before it’s too late.  All athletic careers have expiration dates!  You have to be ALL IN! There is no “I think I’ll go play Nintendo today” or “I’ll just have Mom and Dad say I’m not feeling well”, or “I don’t feel like rehab today on my injury” at the elite level.  You’re either all in OR your all gone!  Recently “rare air” has been attained at DSC as three of our elite athletes have attained Championships at the International and National Levels respectively:  Lisa Chesson (USA Women’s National Hockey Team World Champion), Connor Murphy (USA World Junior Hockey Gold Medalist), and Keith Gavin (USA 84KG Freestyle Wrestling Champion).  To say that we are proud would be an understatement.  They embody what it means to be “ALL IN”.  Yes, they all have great genetics, BUT more importantly, they are “Everydayers”!  Their work ethic and drive matches their attitude and desire to get better, get stronger, listen to their bodies, rest, recover, regenerate, and attain “consistent greatness”.   Weather it’s focusing on lifting heavy weight, breathing patters, diet, rehabbing an injury or getting more sleep, they spend just as much time “working in” as they do “working out.”   Bottom line: they are prepared! 

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