Forget Shortcuts

I'm working my way through the latest addition to my book collection, Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and Practical Applications in preparation for a workshop I'm delivering in February (Performance Conditioning - 16th February, Leeds).

It's a real heavyweight book and well worth adding to your library. It does a fantastic job of working through the fundamental principles that underpin the physical preparation of athletes, something that is often overlooked in modern conditioning circles.

My highlighter pen has been working overtime and here are a couple of salient points that I've taken from the book so far:

' order to optimise athletic performance, athletes must be optimally trained...'

'...understanding how to apply the correct modality of exercise, the correct volume and intensity and the correct timing of various interventions is in fact the 'holy grail' of strength and conditioning...'

Obvious stuff right?

So how come so many coaches manage to get sidetracked from the fundamentals?

To become a great coach you need to drill the basics and whenever I work with aspiring S&C coaches there are three things that come very high up on my list of 'to do's'.

#1 Take a lesson from Goldilocks

Training variables and tools may change but your training principles should remain constant. Understand the fundamental training principles that are central to the development of high performance training programmes.  Once you understand the fundamentals you can learn from Goldilocks and learn to apply them in 'just the right' way to optimise performance.

#2 Don't climb the Penrose Steps

Making athletes tired is easy - any trainer can do that. Make sure your session isn't simply an exercise in futility. To be a great coach you need to nail your programme design skills and develop programmes that actually deliver a training outcome. Understand how to manipulate short and long term training variables to bring about the performance enhancement that you are looking for.

#3 Embrace the art and science of coaching

Many graduates are coming out with all of the book smarts but none of the street smarts. Coaching is educating and there is a real art and science to effective coaching. Have you ever thought about your coaching style? Do you understand decision training strategies or how to use language more effectively to establish triggers and coaching cues that will elevate your athletes performances during training. It's not what you know that is important, it's making sure your message gets through.

I'm constantly striving to improve my skill set and reading through Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and Practical Applications has prompted me to make some last minute changes to my Integrated Performance Training workshop in February. I've had this workshop nailed for the past couple of years but it's time to update it for 2013!!! I had best stop writing this blog post and crack on with updating the workshop! If you are coming to Leeds on the 16th February for Day 1 of the IPC Workshop Series, don't panic, I'll have it finished and you'll be the first to see the new improved version!