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.
Strength Coaches: Obey the Law(s)!
As coaches we demand a lot from our athletes. Attention to detail, technical proficiency and a solid effort each and every session. We also expect our athletes/clients to represent themselves positively away from the weight room; making good choices like wearing their seat belts, drinking plenty of water, flossing, and performing well in the classroom (Thanks Coach John!). We are more than just coaches; we are educators, teachers and role models. How would you feel if any of your athletes broke the law? I know plenty of Coaches would take it personal! If we expect this from our athletes, why do so many strength coaches break the law(s)? No, I don’t mean stealing or wearing seatbelts; I’m referring to the Laws of basic biomechanics, Newton’s laws.
Law of Inertia:
“A body will maintain a state of rest or constant velocity unless acted on by an external force that changes the state.” This law has implications for our athletes. Inertia must be overcome quickly in order to build strong, powerful athletes. The bigger the athlete, the harder it is to overcome, an SUV cannot do 0-60mph nearly as fast as a Ferrari. Our job as coaches is to build bigger engines! In order to accomplish this feat we must have plenty of tools at our disposal. Plyometric training, speed training, and Olympic Lifting such as the Hang Clean and Snatch enhance fast twitch fibers and improve the nervous system’s communication of mind to muscle.
- Plyometric Program (CNS intensive)
- Speed Program (15 yards of less)! First three to five steps focus on overcoming inertia.
- Olympic Lifts.
Law of Acceleration:
“A force applied to a body causes an acceleration of that body of a magnitude proportional to the force, in the direction of the force, and inversely proportional to the bodies mass.” The algebraic expression of the law is the well-known F=ma (F=Force, m=Mass, and a=Acceleration)! Want to get your athletes stronger? Increase the mass used, or accelerate the bar! THAT SIMPLE!
- Lift heavy (with technical proficiency)
- Increase the speed of the bar
Law of Reaction:
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”This may be the most powerful of all. If your in the business of building explosive/strong athletes. GET STRONG. This allows us to use GRF (ground reaction forces) to enhance acceleration/speed. The stronger the athletes, the more force they can drive into the ground, the more explosive they become. How do we gage this as coaches? Vertical Jump! Don’t worry about 2 mile times and bench press numbers, vertical jump reveals the “Law of Reaction” and the true “power” of the athlete.
- Single Leg Training
- Sled Training
- Lift heavy weights (technical proficiency)
Law of Gravitation:
“All bodies are attracted to one another with a force proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.” Simply stated, the greater the mass, the more attraction towards each other, the greater distance, the smaller the attraction. What does this have to do with strength and Conditioning? The answer lies with progression/regression. There should be progressions in each and every aspect of programming.
- Plyometric Training (eliminate gravity in Phase 1). Jump/hop on to a box.
- Strength Training (eliminate joints, make exercises gravity friendly)
It really is a simple set of laws to follow. We don’t need to get confused with the science. Take a look at the training implications. Simplicity at it’s best. Do you have plyometrics, speed, Olympic lifts, single leg strength in your programs? Do you lift for strength gains? Do you use progressions/regressions? Coach Dan John says, “I think "so obvious" is the most difficult concept in advancing one's work!” We expect a lot from our athletes both in and away from the weight room. As coaches it is our job to be solid citizens as well. We need to wear our seatbelts, floss our teeth and obey the laws, Newton’s laws. This builds better programs, and better athletes! It’s that obvious!
(1) Hall, Susan, Basic Biomechanics, Fifth Edition, McGraw Hill, 2007, pgs 388-392.
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 Off-Ice Strength and Conditioning for Donskov Hockey Development (www.donskovhockey.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.