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.
Assessing the Training Population
I’m a sucker for strength training information: from Eastern Block methodologies (Verkhoshansky, Issurin, Bondarchuck, Roman, Drabik and Medvedyev), to Westside Methods (Louie Simmons), and Tommy Kono’s Olympic lifting information. A plethora of excellent resources exist for the strength and conditioning professional. Amongst all the resources, data, personal bias, and program layout, a few questions need to be answered prior to commencing the training process:
1.) Who are you training (sports/demands ect)?
2.) What is the athlete’s training age?
As Coaches, we need to design programs that fit the athlete’s needs, NOT programs based on personal bias. Bottom Line: What are the demands of the sport? Based on the athletes training age, how can we provide the necessary adaption needed to excel and enhance performance?
I love Olympic lifting, and am fascinated with the programming variables of Westside Barbell, but I realize that these modalities are only a SMALL piece of the puzzle based on our training population! We program Cleans from the hang, bench press and various forms of squatting and deadlifting but we also realize that hockey players are not competing Olympic lifters (very different training schedules and competition schedules) nor are they competing power lifters! To steal a quote from Coach Dan John:
“We train hockey players that Olympic lift, NOT Olympic lifters that play hockey.”
For us, working different spectrums of the absolute speed, absolute force continuum with high load/high velocity or low load/high velocity movements is the most important element when focusing on our demographic. We are not prepping for the next Arnold Classic meet. In addition, a beginner in the weight room does not need Block Periodization to get strong, nor can an Advanced Lifter afford to still seek gains based on a Progressive overload model: two different training ages, two different loading models. This is the art of Strength Training.
As much as I love to read about advanced methodologies, exercise selection, training schedules, and program design, I always come back to these fundamental questions. This has aided me in not fitting square pegs in round holes and providing our athletes what they need, not necessarily what I’ve been reading about.