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Programming

Content specific to exercise protocol and design.

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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Accidents happen, so make sure to buckle up! The physical need(s) for athletes varies depending on the population being trained. Contact sports are subject to high impact collisions, traumatic injury mechanism and a higher rate of concussions (concussion education/testing is at an all time high within the governing bodies of contact sports, including The National Hockey League).  In other words, “accidents” happen on a daily basis. There were 44 hits in the average regular-season NHL game in 2009-10; that number went up to 63 in the playoffs, a jump of 43 percent. (NHL.com) Below are three training considerations for collision athletes. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

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Hockey is an extremely demanding sport! A quality strength and conditioning program needs to reflect these demands. Components such as: soft tissue work, static stretching, mobility, dynamic flexibility, upper/lower body plyometrics, speed development, strength training and energy system capacity are all vital for performance gains.   When designing programs we often overlook one of the most fundamental questions, what are the demands of the sport? Does my program reflect these qualities?

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As Strength Coaches our job is three fold: prevent injuries in the weight room, reduce sport related injuries, and enhance performance. Unfortunately most coaches focus on the last two and ignore the MOST important! I don’t care if your athlete can back squat 400 lbs if he has a stress fracture and herniated disk and can’t participate in his sport. Bottom line: injuries in the weight room are the fault of the STRENGTH COACH….PERIOD! Coach Dan John, who has been coaching before I was born, most recently reinforced this concept in a lecture at MBSC in Boston. He emphasized, “DO NO HARM!” We need to reassess this concept, as exercise selection and protocol are the responsibility of the coach. It’s a simple concept, yet we make it inherently difficult. Below are four ways to assess/implement the “Do No Harm” philosophy.

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