« Home | More Weight On The Bar Does Not Always Equaly Bett... » | Treating People as Individuals » | 2008 Goal Setting » | My current training outline » | Which shoe do you like? » | Happy Holidays!! » | Hypertrophy Rep Range? » | How Much Is Too Much? » | Another Weekend; Another Continuing Education Cour... » | Forming Opinion »

Are stupid coaches blowing up your athletes?

I swear. I am getting more and more disappointed with the quality of coaches running youth sports these days. I am currently working with a pole-vaulter who’s track coach told him “sprinting has nothing to do with technique. You just have to be able to run.”

What the f#ck does that mean? This coach’s philosophy is that in order to be a good sprinter you have to run more. So, that is what they do! They run for about an hour and a half straight. They basically just sit there and do high intensity interval training in order to “condition.” Never mind the fact that the should be developing good sprint mechanics and work on their starts and developing special work capacity for their given event. What is even better is that following the hour and a half marathon, the coach then takes them into the weight room to do circuit training for 30min. Nothing says great sprinter like triceps press-downs and biceps curls!!

I don’t know what is worse, the fact that this man is a teacher at the school and parents trust them with their kids. Or the fact that this guy is so stubborn he honestly believes that what he is doing is the best training program for a track athlete.

The pole-vaulter who trains with me has expressed his disgust for the coaches training principles and I have offered to help him write programs for his athletes; however, the guy won’t call or talk to me. He thinks that he knows everything and is not open to hearing other ideas.

I also train a couple of 10-year old soccer players. They have a strength and conditioning coach who is contracted to their team and comes out and works with them. They told me that when he is there, all they do is go through tones of speed and agility work with no rest and it makes them incredibly sore. Even better, he doesn’t allow them to have water breaks. I don’t know what is reasoning is behind this, but I am pretty sure it is rooted in the fact that he is a complete moron who understands nothing about physiology, let alone the sport of soccer.

It is a shame that these people are in a position to coach kids. I don’t claim to be the greatest coach ever (in fact I am far from it) and I don’t claim to know everything (in fact, I am only scratching the surface). But, what I do know is that I strive to give my athletes 100% and have their best intentions at heart. That means reading about the sport and trying to get a full understanding of the qualities, which make athletes in that sport great.

Having an understanding of what energy systems primarily dominate the sport, typical injuries common to the sport, and the joint angles and positions that apply to the sport are essential to being a good strength coach. As well, understanding how the qualities change between different positions in the sport (or between different events if we are talking about something like track and field). Finally, understanding the qualities of the athletes you are working with; age, sex, training age, preparedness, work capacity, strength and weaknesses, etc.
If you are in this field and working with athletes, hopefully this is not new to you and you are already considering this stuff.

If you are one of the coaches I just described, I hope this gives you something to think about. If it doesn’t, I hope you are fired from your position because you don’t deserve to be there.

Patrick