Here it is...
UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED!
Sounds almost ridiculous doesn't it! Unfortunately, when I analyze the way I was educated at university and the way most still are, I would come to the conclusion that if you get the physiology right everything will be OK. Sorry, but in professional sport it doesn't quite work that way!
The issue as I see it is what I call a SEGMENTAL approach to athlete preparation. A segmental approach to athlete preparation basically takes the classic Bompa style periodisation chart as "literal dogma" and separates speed, strength, strength endurance etc etc into individual boxes that need to be "ticked off" rather than the philosophy that each of those segments forms part of overall athletic preparation (see Reductionsim vs Holism for an expanded view).
Often this misguided philosophy is also proliferated into the delivery of programs where there is little if no logical ingenuity in terms of adapting the program to meet both the session objectives and the athlete's needs on a day to day basis. More often than not this sees the coach working steadfastly from his plan and never once actually "looking" at the athlete to ensure the implementation is correct. While this last point clearly labours the observation, the same lack of "feel" applies to coaches who can't see beyond their job description and have a limited appreciation of the bigger picture.
While I don't for a second condone randomness in programming nor the SOTF (see Survival Of The Fittest) training model, I do personally pursue an operational model that allows me to make informed decisions where required to achieve my objectives for any given time frame from sessional to seasonal. Based on a very clear TRAINING MODEL that I reference for all training decisions, I am not one to wait a specified length of time before I move on. If I can achieve adaptation to a movement or performance within 2-3 sessions I will advance the program, not wait until the "little chart" on the printed program says I can move on.
Colin Powell leadership guideline…"If the Probability of success is 40-70%…make a gut decision and go. Procrastination in the name of reducing risks actually increases risks".
At a more practical level having an appreciation of things like the following is central to being an intuitive S&C coach;
Strength programs do not need to be implemented in the gym. This is no truer than in the early stages of a sound LTAD program. Kids can develop fundamental movement patterns, and general force production / reduction capacity in the park. NO need to spook unsuspecting parents by suggesting their precious little Johnny starts "weight training" in his unstable state of pre-puberty.
All "football" games share an intricate link between running and strength. Being able to see the relationship clearly, devise programs that contribute to the desired performance and appreciate the loads associated with each is a fundamental skill.
Share a clear vision with your athlete about how the movement patterns you coach in the gym contribute to what he is required to execute on the field
- single leg landing - Bulgarian squat - tackle
- anti rotation - rotation - contested possession
- lateral brace - Turkish get up - being tackled
Don't be a coach that implements flavour of the month exercises because that's what all the cool kids on the net are doing. Ensure that your exercise selection and loading parameters are clearly designed with the athlete's end-game in mind.
Understand when coaching human athletes EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. Strength, speed and endurance all intermingle to create the athlete. Addressing each as separate entity is a redundant philosophy.