Being an individual in the fitness industry for the last 21 years, I have seen a fair share of athletes from 6 years old to professional athletes. It’s interesting because I am seeing more and more coaches who are improperly educating their athletes. Coaches who are of the older generation are still doing the same techniques and drills that they were taught 40 years ago. This is mind-boggling because with all the information we now have at our fingertips, I cannot understand why coaches haven’t started educating themselves on the new science and techniques that are available.
I still hear stories of coaches saying things like, ” We are going to run until someone throws up”. This is quite possibly the most uneducated training method I have ever heard of. Another phrase used is by many coaches are,”You don’t need a water break, I’m not tired”. If I look at the variety of sports and coaches across the various realms of schooling, it would be fair to say that most coaches are not particularly in the best condition themselves. If you are standing on the sideline and barking orders you will most definitely not be tired and I have yet to see a coach go through the same training protocol that they are putting their athletes through. The point I am trying to make is a coach should have an educated training protocol that is challenging yet reasonable for the particular sport they are coaching.
I am a firm believer in putting in hard work, however not allowing your athletes to have a water break when the temperature is conducive to them needing to rehydrate is STUPID. The same goes with running your athletes until someone throws up. This mindset proves nothing other than the low level of your I.Q. Coaches are meant to be encouraging, tough when needed, and most of all a role model to the athletes.
A better way to go about things is to educate your athletes on what to eat prior to coming to practice or a game. You should also talk with them about the benefits of being properly hydrated and allowing them to do so. There is no reason to have 3 a day workouts regardless of what sport you play. If you are going to have 2 practices in the same day, one of your sessions should be film study and role playing on the field. Most athletes level of conditioning is fine to play a particular sport, where most mistakes occur is when people don’t know where they should be on the field and why. A smart well-conditioned athlete is your best chance at having a winning team.
As a coach if you don’t have time or resources to educate yourself on current training protocols, then you should definitely hire a strength and conditioning specialist. As a business owner I always try to educate myself on things I could do better. At the end of the day, if it takes too long for me to learn or is above my intellect level than I hire a professional in the industry. This also means that you interview the person you are hiring because more often than not fitness professionals will train all sports the same way that most train a football team.
The main focus is usually bench press, squat, powerclean, and deadlift. These particular lifts are not necessarily beneficial for all types of sports. For instance if you are in a unilateral sport like baseball, golf, tennis, or softball, you are already imbalanced just by the nature of playing the sport. Compound movements can further create an imbalance in the athlete. You would be better off utilizing unilateral movements to fix the imbalance in the athlete. This is not saying compound movements cannot be used, you just need to know the appropriate time to utilize them.
My final thoughts on coaches and training protocols are, be reasonable as far as what you expect out of your athletes. You can hold them to a higher standard just make sure you are doing the same of yourself. If an athlete is struggling provide extra help and guidance to them, sometimes all they need is a little more instruction. Make sure that you treat your athletes with the same respect that you expect from them. As a coach you have a chance to impact these athletes in a positive or negative way. You need to be cautious in your thoughts, verbiage, and actions on and off the field. Kids of any age will imitate and act similar to what they are around and what they see. Coaches are one of the most influential pieces in an athlete’s career. Make sure you are a positive and educated one.