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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Training Philosophy

The field of strength and conditioning is a delicate mix of art and science. Both play an important role in professional development. In this day and age information is at a premium. Science plays an important role in evidence-based practice. However, the art of strength and conditioning is just as important. As John Wooden once said: “The person who can answer the question “how” will always have a job. The person that can answer the question “why” will be his/her boss.” In my opinion, one without the other is like peanut butter without the jelly. We can learn the “how” from science, textbooks, Dr.’s, PT’s and Coaches, however, to learn “why” takes years of experience. This is the art of strength and conditioning.

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

During my days as a youth, I was never a big fan of visiting the doctors’ office. Just the sight of a white coat made my heart race faster than a pace car at the Indianapolis 500. Maybe it was the fear of getting a shot, or the doctor asking me to turn and cough, either way you cut it, I had white coat syndrome! Fast forward to the present and my profession as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. The best coaches in the business use evidence based practice, meshing research with practical application to form safe, and effective protocol for their respective populations. Research however is a touchy subject. What journals are considered “credible”? How old is the study? What population was used to prove/disprove a theory? Does the study classify a “group” and not individualize certain characteristics (i.e. weight, height, age, lifestyle, sport career, previous injury, level of exercise, ect)? The list goes on and on! Research/Evidence is very important, and with all if this information at hand, many Coaches can get white coat syndrome (overwhelmed and hesitant to proceed).

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Who cut the cheese in the weight room? No, I ‘m not referring to the passing of gas; I’m referring to the QUALITY of movement and exercise selection. Too many times we as coaches sacrifice quality for quantity, quality for load, and quality for inflated ego. Any time your clients/athletes engage in training, the smell test must be passed! To pass the smell test: three questions MUST be answered with a YES. If not, your weight room will smell worse than yesterday’s left over’s.

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Posted by on in Business


As business owners and Strength Coaches, we each have our own philosophy, system(s) and operations procedures. Each business model is a system of unique parts that make up the whole. Without systems, chaos is inevitable. We are all in the business because we have a passion in helping others reach their true potential, but we also have to turn a profit to keep the doors open. I have always had the belief that a business plan/philosophy and strength and conditioning philosophy should be separate entities.   Don’t let your business plan run your training plan! What do I mean by this? I have provided several examples below.



Youth Training: I couldn’t count on my fingers and toes how many conversations I’ve had with parents saying, “My seven year old is an amazing athlete. We want to get him/her ready for next years hockey tryouts, do you offer any programs for this age group?” I could make a healthy living doing Athletic Development Programs for seven year olds, but it conflicts with my training philosophy. I believe in early generalization, late specialization. Let Tommy and Jane play multiple sports and come back to speak with me in five years. Putting adult values on childhood activities is dangerous. Unfortunately many times parents dream on behalf of their children.


Student/Instructor Ratio: I train large groups of athletes. Regardless of coaching education/experience, two sets of eyes are ALWAYS better than one. I have set a training philosophy for a student/instructor ratio of 9:1. This is an area that I need to improve. I hired an intern last November and it has been an amazing experience to say the least. My goal is to build a reputable internship program and hire a full time coach in the immediate future. Our goal as business owners is to expand the business and reach multiple populations, but we shouldn’t do so at the expense/quality of our product and the safety of our athletes. My grandfather always said: “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.”


Competing Programs: I have been approached several times in the past by multi-sport athletes wanting to participate both in a DSC Athletic Development Program while simultaneously participating in a strength and conditioning program at their respective high school. I don’t like this for several reasons:



Training volume
Not enough adequate recovery
Control: I can’t control the coaching OR lack of coaching, and the protocol performed in a facility away from me (technical proficiency, Olympic Lifts, heavy back squatting ect).   I don’t want this mixed with my program…. PERIOD!
Results: I want tangible results for my clients/athletes. I want them to look at their 12-week program and see how strong, powerful they have gotten. I can’t guarantee results in a program being performed (in conjunction with mine) that I have NO control over.

Parents: At DSC, parents are not permitted to view workouts. It is my training philosophy. Most parents I deal with are awesome, but on occasion I am confronted with a situation where parents want to watch their kids train! I will make this analogy: “Mr. Johnson what do you do for a living? Oh you are a dentist? Would you mind if I sat over your shoulder and watched you pull teeth all day? Would your clients mind?”  The problem with parents watching workouts is that coaches are competing for attention. A Coach needs FULL attention. I have never had to do this, but if a parent still had a problem with this, I would suggest another facility for their son/daughter to train in.



I have always had the belief that a business philosophy should not dictate a training philosophy. If you don’t have a passion for what you do, you will be exposed sometime in the future. Passionate people are contagious! We all want to build a profitable, reputable business, but we can’t sacrifice quality in order to attain it! Systems rule in business, just make sure your business system and training system remain separate entities.


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 info@donskovsc.com .


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Donskov-Strength-and-Conditioning-Inc/111694352189187

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Donskovsc

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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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There are few teachers who cross the boundaries and are relevant in all walks of life: whether coaching basketball, hockey, football, strength and conditioning, or a business leader looking for better ways to allow others to attain their potential for greatness. All professionals can grow and become more complete individuals/teachers when acting on Coach John Wooden’s wisdom. I had the opportunity to read Coach Wooden’s book: “Wooden On Leadership” and my highlighter almost ran out before I finished the first chapter. Below are his important bits of advice that transcend the word “Coach”. When applied correctly, this information can bring us one step further in our quest for personal greatness.

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There is a pre-determined path for success that few strength and conditioning coaches decide to take on a daily basis.  Small, yet important decisions that separate the good from the great, the mediocre from the magnificent.  There is no secret that the best coaches in the world practice “deliberately”, constantly pushing their boundaries and growing their horizons, never afraid to fail, only afraid of not trying.  It is not by chance or luck, it’s by sweat, time and energy. Robin Sharma states: " Lucky breaks are nothing more than unexpected rewards for intelligent choices we've chosen to make.  Success does not happen because someone's stars line up.  Success, both in business and personally is something that's consciously created.  It's the guaranteed result of a deliberate series of acts that anyone can perform."

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I have had the privilege of learning from some of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the world.  Attending mentorship programs from Coach Michael Boyle, listening to Alwyn Cosgrove and Gray Cook lecture, reading books from the likes of Stuart McGill, Shirley Sahrmann, Hoppenfield and Myers, and becoming a member of StrengthCoach.com, a web site leader in strength and conditioning information and research.  Some may say that I spend a lot of money on continuing education.  I would disagree wholeheartedly! I choose the word invest!  In fact, my business (2,700 sq foot facility in Columbus, Ohio) has prospered enormously from the valuable information that I have gathered from these coaches and put into practice. 

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When we think about a recipe for success in sports such as hockey, soccer and lacrosse, we think of speed, power, strength and anaerobic capacity.  Although these are all mandatory ingredients needed to enhance the final product (athletic potential), one of the ingredients missing in many of today’s strength and conditioning programs is the ability to accelerate. Acceleration is simply the rate at which speed increases. Very few times in the sports mentioned above do we reach top velocity and sustain this for prolonged periods of time.  However, we do accelerate constantly!  Simple physics states: “The higher the velocity, the lower the rate of acceleration.”  If we don’t sustain top velocity on a regular basis, acceleration is then one of the keys to success. 

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