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Programming

Content specific to exercise protocol and design.

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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Posted by on in Programming

I don’t speak Italian fluently but with the help of technology I can understand each and every line of The Godfather. Foreign language is unfortunately foreign to me. Different countries speak different languages’ that their respective “tribes” understand. Seth Godin in his book “Tribes” explains that a tribe is a group of people (large or small), who are connected to one anther by an idea, common interest, principal or leader. Strength and Conditioning Coaches, we are a tribe! Our themes, connections and leaders unite us in the strength game. However, one of our biggest problems is this: We don’t speak the same language! No Habla Strength and Conditioning! Travel to France, people speak French, travel to Spain, people speak Spanish, travel to any weight room in the country and coaches simply don’t speak the same language. I can’t tell you how many programs I’ve looked at where I had NO idea what the coach was asking for from his/her athletes. If this is confusing to us, how do you think the athletes feel?

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Program design is a nearly extinct art form based on sound principals and components. It is backed by current science and practical application. It takes years to master through education, mentorship and deliberate practice. A well-educated trainer/coach can defend each and every exercise in their program and explain why it is applicable to their training population(s). One size does not fit all! Weight loss clients train differently than elite athletes. Program design is a GPS system; it guides us through the obstacles taking our clients step by step to their final destinations.

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Either way we choose to look at it, we will all spend money on health.  The question is how we spend it.  It is much wiser to invest in “preventative” measures such as proper diet and exercise as opposed to “reactionary” measures such as disease and injury.  Our nation is fat (2007, 74.1% of Americans were considered obese) and does not move well.  Coupled with this problem is the fact that when many consumers’ are finally ready to exercise they are un-educated as to what constitutes effective/safe protocol.  We are consumed with the “magic pill” mentality of quick fixes.  It is not an easy problem to solve and the Hollywood angle only makes it worse.  Shows like The Biggest Loser and “celebrity” trainers offering professional advice only muddies the waters and makes our jobs that much more difficult. 

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