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Programming

Content specific to exercise protocol and design.

The use of debit card transaction has grown considerable over the years. Although I’ve never enjoyed watching money leave my account, the convenience is priceless. One swipe and magic, money has disappeared! With convenience one also has to assume risk. If you overdraw (miscalculate your funds) your account may be suspended, closed and accumulated debt is inevitable. In-Season strength and conditioning is debit card management! Too many transactions/stimulus and athletes fail to recover, leaving their accounts empty and exposed. Below are several major programming differences between an off-season and in-season hockey (insert any sport here) strength and conditioning program.

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As strength and conditioning professionals our job is to provide a safe platform for our athletes to develop strength, power, speed and other specific variables that can directly impact athletic performance. Simply put, we manage stress for a living. We prescribe specific doses of stress to elicit desired adaptation(s).   Too little we fail to alter performance. Too much, overtraining and organism breakdown are the result.  It is our goal to apply the right amount of stress at the right time to allow adaptation to occur (hypertrophy, strength, power ect.).

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Donskov Strength and Conditioning has built a niche over the years training hockey players. I would imagine my previous career in the sport (both at the college and semi-pro level) has led to the large influx of players and organizations entrusting DSC to train their athletes. I would also hope that my thirst for knowledge and professional experience in exercise science far surpasses my so-called career as a player. John Wooden once said “Don’t confuse professional experience with your ability to teach it.” Just because you played, doesn’t mean you’re a qualified coach. Although we take pride in our niche base of hockey players, I’ve never been a fan of what I would call “specificity overkill”, or sports specific overkill. Our job is defined, as Strength and Conditioning professionals not sport coaches. What’s the job of a strength and conditioning coach? Pretty simple; improve strength and conditioning qualities that can tangibly be carried over into competition!  Some qualities overlap regardless of sport. Some do not.

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Program design fascinates me!   So many unique elements make up the system that seeks to elicit results for various client populations. It takes years to master and is continuously under construction. As the saying goes, the best program is the one that you’re not currently on. Coach Boyle wrote an excellent article last year called “Should You Stick to the Recipe?”   This article is perfect for young, intermediate coaches who seek to build their own programs/recipes. The evolutionary stages of cook, sous-chef, and finally head chef are excellent analogies pertaining to learning the science of program design. Another important element is the menu. Once the recipe is mastered, there needs to be a menu set in place for your customers. What happens if a certain customer doesn’t eat red meat (they can’t squat) or is a vegetarian (had shoulder surgery)? Menu planning is an art. Here are the three stages of designing your own strength and conditioning menu. As Coaches, our goal is to design a menu that fits the needs of our customers.

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There is no such thing as the perfect program. The holy grail of exercise prescription does not exist. However, the journey to this never-ending destination is where we find meaning, growth, proficiency and answers. It’s also where we find gaps; pot holes that when filled create better programs, and better programs create bigger, faster and stronger athletes. I recently heard Coach Dan John lecture the staff of MBSC (Michael Boyle Strength and Conditioning) regarding what he calls “intervention.” Intervention is the equivalent of road construction! Find the potholes and fill them. Fill them quickly! 

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