Everybody hates a hamstrings strain. Nothing sends a coach off their head more than a player doing a "hammie". While it is a subject that can be delved into in extraordinary detail, based on a request for LTAD overview points that I received through Twitter recently I thought I would respond with some thoughts quickly.
While these points are in a "broad" order, many of the components are developed simultaneously in a conjugate style periodisation. Where a player starts is determined by their qualification within each section.
My experience has been that if you get hip function right from day one you will very rarely come across any hamstring issues. Therefore, my approach is strongly biased in that direction.
Hip ROM: aim for good Thomas test, functional psoas complex and TFL.
Dissociation of hip and lower back function.
Functional Glute Medius: athlete actively identifies GMe activity in SL stability, lateral movement and / or lateral bracing drills.
Functional Glute Maximus: athlete actively identifies GMa activity in exercises from Squat or Lunge thread.
Coach's Licence - once I am comfortable that the athlete has the correct motor pattern in Lunge/Squat thread I will aim to make them sore! This serves two purposes; if you are squatting and they get a solid level of DOMS in their GMa you can be sure they are recruiting in the correct sequence, and secondly the athlete gets a very unambiguous idea of what is the correct group of muscles that they should be feeling during the activity. Please be clear, I only pursue this tactic away from any other high risk activities such as high speed running etc. and apply the appropriate recovery periods to allow adaptation.
High Force Production Glute Complex: correct patterns exhibited in producing high relative force in Squat, Deadlift, Hip Thrust and / or Lunge thread (NB: I don't introduce Deadlift to young athletes until they have proven they can use their hips correctly).
High Reactive Capacity Glute complex: Dynamic stabilising capacity in single leg landing activities both A/P and Lateral, and beyond into field specific movements.
High Capacity Glute Complex: capable of sustained force production in complex stability and lateral movement patterns.
Correct sequencing of front and backside mechanics during running.
Calf strength, SE and reactivity.
NB: Be aware of the threat of any lower back or pelvic pathologies and or "nuances" such as sacral torsions. Some anatomical "nuances" are prone to rearing their heads during periods of high fatigue e.g. post game or during loading phases, and should be assessed pre activity to ensure normal activities are not undertaken in a "risky" anatomical state.
Posterior Chain Force and Reactivity (Spinal erectors, Glutes and Hamstrings) - develop capacity, strength and reactivity via Back Extension, Glute-Ham/Nordic, GM-Rom DL threads.
I hope this offers some helpful information that either confirms or challenges your beliefs in a positive manner. Be assured, I don't believe I have a failsafe system, but I have experienced excellent long term success with these overview points.
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