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.
Systems: Operation and Order Inside the Strength and Conditioning Business
According to the English Dictionary, the definition of a system is: “a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole.” In order to operate a productive strength and conditioning business, systems MUST be set in place to provide organization, preparedness, structure, and effective, efficient daily operations. If you don’t have a system in place you don’t have a business, you have a job. Systems don’t need to be complex or overly difficult, in fact many times the best systems are simple to use and easy to operate. Systems can be used externally (business marketing,) or internally (facility code). At Donskov Strength and Conditioning, we currently use/used an internal system for facility set up, exercise design, and exercise feedback/progress. These are not complex, but allow the business to run smoothly. Organization is key; your athletes and clients know the difference! Below are a few of the current internal systems that are used at DSC.
System of Flow/Facility Set Up: Yes facility set-up is a system. Ask any good strength and conditioning coach and they will tell you that their facility is set up a certain way in order to eliminate traffic, clutter and to adhere to their exercise protocol (i.e. order of exercise).
- The parts: Turf, Olympic racks, free weights, energy system equipment.
- The Whole: Athletes begin each and every workout on the turf. This is where foam rolling, static stretching, corrective exercise, mobility, dynamic warm-up, plyometrics (linear/lateral) and speed development (linear/lateral) take place. From there athletes/clients move to the Olympic Racks for power development/Olympic lifting, then on to strength work, followed by energy system development. This system works like a clock with groups of athletes stagger started moving about the facility without traffic, clutter and/or waiting for equipment. Facility set-up is a system of parts forming a complex whole.
- The Parts: Principals and components of exercise design is a system in itself used to create personal training, semi-private training and Athletic Development training templates. Principals such as: Specificity, Overload, Variety, Tissue Quality, deload ect, and components (order of exercise) such as: soft tissue, static stretch, activation, dynamic warm-up, plyometrics ect, form a system of exercise design that creates CONSISTENCY and provides an organized, structural environment.
- The Whole: Each principal and component is reviewed and a template is created for different client populations (personal, semi-private, athletic). Workouts are designed on an electronic template. These templates can be used no matter who is coaching the session because the system runs the business, and the well-informed coaches run the system.
Exercise Feedback/Results: I want to coach my clients and athletes during their workout, not count reps, load weight, and document progress during exercise. In order to accomplish this, a system needs to be in place. How can you possibly document the progress of fifteen athletes working out in the same session? You can’t!
- The Parts: Clipboards, workout logs, pencils. (Keep it Simple)
- The whole: Clipboards are used to hold workouts in place and pencils are used to document progress. This system provides coaches and trainers to do what they do best, COACH. Without documentation a program is useless. How can a coach review strength gains or critique his/her program? Would you expect a golfer to remember his score after a round of 18 holes? Athletes need to document all progress. In order to accomplish this, a system needs to be set in place.
Systems do not need to be difficult, but they are essential for both internal and external business operation. “Without orchestration, nothing could be planned, and nothing anticipated-by you or your customer. If you’re doing everything differently each time you do it, if everyone in your company is doing it by their own discretion, their own choice, rather than creating order, your creating chaos.” (Gerber)
(1) Gerber, Michael: The E-Myth Revisited, HarperCollins Books, 1995.
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.