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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Donskov Strength and Conditioning

Posted by on in Programming

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?

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Program design is a nearly extinct art form based on sound principals and components. It is backed by current science and practical application. It takes years to master through education, mentorship and deliberate practice. A well-educated trainer/coach can defend each and every exercise in their program and explain why it is applicable to their training population(s). One size does not fit all! Weight loss clients train differently than elite athletes. Program design is a GPS system; it guides us through the obstacles taking our clients step by step to their final destinations.

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

Another year is officially in the books.As coaches it is important to reflect on our experiences, learn from our mistakes, and plan for the future.I have had the opportunity to learn from many great coaches, PT’s, and Doctors.I have invested in DVD’s, books, seminars, and on-line programming.Most importantly however, I have learned from application, from real world experience.Below are 10 things (both business and coaching) that I learned in 2010!

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Posted by on in Rehabilitation

They say pain can be a humble teacher, a somatic response from the CNS to avoid certain movement/exercise.  After bi-lateral shoulder surgery and enough rehab to make Dr. Drew look like an amateur, I can say that pain has been a humble teacher in helping me design exercise protocol for my current athletes and clients.  In conjunction with these injuries is the education from the likes of Mike Reinold (The Athlete’s Shoulder, Optimal Shoulder Performance), Robert Donatelli  (Physical Therapy for the Shoulder), and Eric Cressey (Optimal Shoulder Performance).  These experts have aided me in the process of designing appropriate screening and protocol for my business.  As coaches, it is our job to design safe and effective exercise.  Below are five ways to enhance the function of the shoulder.

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I never thought I’d use the words billiards and strength training in the same article, but the fact is that there is some correlation.  Cuing is a tool used in both professions.  Using the proper cue in pool allows the ball to travel in its destined path with efficiency and ease.  Strength and Conditioning is no different!  Cuing is an art/tool that allows ease, understanding and efficiency in the weight room.  There are two types of cues that reinforce proper motor programming, verbal and physical.  Combined, these cues build technical proficiency without “over coaching” and confusing athletes by speaking a different language.  The key to cuing is SIMPLICITY.  Below are several of my favorite verbal and physical cues.  Some are original; many are “borrowed” from well-respected coaches in the industry.

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Posted by on in Programming

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.  

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Over the years I have had the opportunity to view many different “take-home” strength and conditioning programs written for my college/junior hockey players.  I have also had the experience of being a former collegiate athlete expected to adhere to a rigorous summer program without the aid of a coach.  Through these experiences, I have come up with the following conclusion:  A program is only as good as it’s coached.  PERIOD!  A poor program done well is better than a good program performed poorly.  Hands-on coaching is the key to building athletes.  Let me give you another analogy: I can write you up a detailed manual on how to fly a plane.  You may understand each and every sentence, but do you think this would make you a confident, well-rounded pilot?  The answer to this question is obviously no.  Why than are we expecting our athletes to become competent “pilots” with such vague, non-coached instruction?  Below are several problems with strength and conditioning “take home” programs.

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I must admit that as much as I love uni-lateral protocol and the trap bar dead lift, my first love is the hang clean.  I truly believe that this Olympic lift is one of the most beneficial tools in an athletes program.  Why do I like the hang clean so much you may ask, there are several reasons. 

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Get a large group of athletes’ ages 15-18 in a strength and conditioning facility and you’ll have a testosterone level higher than the sales of Jillian Michael’s new Kettlebell training DVD (hopefully not).   Through my experience-training athletes, this can lead to the “one up” mentality where form and execution are compromised in favor of heavy weights.  The “next biggest plate” philosophy where the athlete thinks, “hey I’ll just add another 25lbs to each side” is a humble lesson that no well-instructed athlete should learn in the presence of an educated coach.  As a coach, I have personally learned this lesson and now consistently remind my athletes of “progressive overload”, five pounds at a time. 

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I just had the opportunity to read an incredible book that was impossible to put down.  Dan John’s “Never Let Go” was a gem full of information from a coach with decades of experience in program design, application and trial and error experience.  I enjoy learning so much from coaches like this.  Whenever I look for good read, I always look at “suggested readings” from coaches that I respect.  I also look for two variables that I think are important attributes the author must have: experience and application.   Does he/she train athletes’ regularly and what have they learned along the way?  I want to learn from someone that doesn’t sit behind a desk all day.  I also want to learn what not to do through previous experience and mistakes.  I want to learn from the great coaches that have gone before me.  This is the essence of true understanding. 

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