Anthony Donskov is the founder of DSC where he serves as the Director of Sport Performance. Donskov holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science & is the author of Physical Preparation for Ice Hockey.
Addition by Subtraction: “Think Small. Work Hard. Get Good!”
Over the years I have had the privilege of working with a diverse population of athletes. Although the niche of Donskov Strength and Conditioning is hockey, we have had the opportunity of coaching athletes at each stage of the development process. I can tell you that regardless of age, our goals are similar: stay healthy, get strong, get fast, and get powerful. In addition, our recipe is very similar: “Think small. Work hard. Get good!” (Wooden) Our goal is to master the fundamentals. Basic addition is one of the biggest problems with youth training AND youth sports. By constantly adding drills on the ice/field, youth athletes fail to master the fundamentals of their respective sport. The same holds true in the weight room. Addition by subtraction is the key to development! Below are three principals of the Addition by Subtraction philosophy that we utilize at DSC.
Our Athletic Development Programming at DSC varies throughout the calendar year. Our “Gold Standard” program is 4/week, however, during the coarse of the hockey season/school year we see our athletes 2/week. This changes programming dramatically. Here is how it would break down if your athletes Hang Cleaned once week during the 2/week program.
- Program Duration: 12 weeks
- Exposures: 12
Can we expect young Tommy to master a technically demanding lift such as this with 12 exposures? Absolutely not! This is where addition by subtraction applies. Simply eliminate workout #2’s “Olympic Lift” and add Hang Cleans. Now lets see the difference.
- Program Duration: 12 weeks
- Exposures: 24
There is a much better chance that young Tommy will become more comfortable with the Hang Clean under these circumstances. We have subtracted an exercise and doubled the exposure of another!
Focus on the foundation!“Nothing is an important as proper execution of the fundamentals.” (Wooden) Here they are.
- Knee Dominate (think squat)
- Hip Dominate (think SLDL)
- Push (think push up)
- Pull (think pull up)
- Loaded Carry
Don’t worry about the fancy stuff! You can’t build a house without laying the foundation. Roofs can be replaced, but foundations remain!
“Practice simplicity with constant repetition.”(Wooden) The only way to get better at something is to do it and doing it often. Bruce Lee once said: "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Addition by subtraction is the key to developing athletes. When training youth populations focus on exposure, foundation and repetition. When strength, power and speed gains are failing to increase with advanced athletes, subtract in order to promote adaptation and avoid overreaching! When in doubt simplicity rules! “Think small. Work hard. Get good.”