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.
No Habla Strength and Conditioning
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?
The purpose of this article is clarity, to unite a “tribe” so that we can communicate effectively and efficiently among other members of our society. We need to agree on a language based on SIMPLICITY and ease of use. Below are two areas of “lost in translation” among our field, plyometrics and Olympic lifts. In order for us to communicate properly we need to be on the same page.
Two-foot takeoff/two foot land.
Single leg takeoff/Single leg landing (on same foot)
Single leg takeoff/Single leg landing (on opposite foot)
I have borrowed this language from Christian Thibaudeau. It’s short, sweet, simple and effective. When speaking about Olympic Lifts, it should be a three-word term.
- First Word: Position of the Catch/reception of the barbell (muscle, power, squat, split)
- Muscle: Catch with no bending of the knees
- Power: Catch with slight bend of the knees (less than 90 degrees)
- Squat: Catch with deep bend in the knees (past 90 degrees)
- Split: Catch with one leg forward/one leg back
- Second Word: Type of Lift
- Snatch: Bar finishes overhead
- Clean: Bar finishes on shoulders/clavicles
- Jerk: Lifting the bar from shoulders to overhead
- Third Word: Start Position
- Floor: lift starts on floor
- Hang: lift starts above knees
- Blocks: Bar starts on blocks
A Power Clean can be done several ways:
These are just two of the areas where conversation can get confusing among coaches. We add difficulty in a language that needs to be based around SIMPLICITY. We have to get on the same page. This is not an attempt to disrespect the coaches that have come before me, but an attempt to unite. This struggle will only continue if we name lifts after cues, people and countries. We have to keep it simple. If not, our language will be foreign to us all.
(1) Thibaudeau, C, Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods, F. Lepine Publishing, 2006.
Anthony Donskov, MS, CSCS, PES, is a former collegiate and professional hockey player, founder of Donskov Strength and Conditioning, Inc. (www.donskovsc.com) and Head Instructor/Director of Strength and Conditioning for Donskov Hockey Development (www.donskovhockey.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.