Strength & Conditioning in team sports, at least in my experience, has changed significantly over the last decade or so. When I started it was simply...
“You run ‘em for 30min and them we’ll do footy for 45min” or “You’ve got ‘em until Xmas, then after that it’s just football” (both specific quotes from my first pro job…maybe this sounds like where you work?).
Now days, things have evolved. At the higher levels S&C coaches have taken on broader responsibilities and morphed into the “High Performance Manager”, and further in terms of team based time management.
As the number of technical and physical elements required for professional team success increases and the time to train reaches what might be considered a ceiling (let’s face it…there’s only so many hours training you can make people do in a day), the responsibility has fallen to the S&C coach to “make it work”.
What exactly does “make it work” mean?
From what I’ve have seen and experienced it means basically being the architect and engineer of the overall team program. Now I don’t for a second refer to the technical and tactical design of the team. However, I do specifically refer to the entire training program and how it is put together. Integrating on-field teaching drills with specific practice, general and specific conditioning with off-field injury prevention, strength training and recovery modalities is in general the responsibility of the S&C or the High Performance Manager who in the majority of cases is from an S&C background.
Possibly the most challenging area of program management involves interpreting and integrating what the Head Coach wants to achieve, his philosophies on physical preparation and technical / tactical development and practice, and most importantly his capacity to work to a plan. Despite what you'd think, many are very good in this area.
Technically you need to be on top of your game to be able to influence a Head Coach’s decisions and/or core philosophies. Training quantification, load modelling, drill design, small sided game design, the impact of grid/field sizes, positional variations, individual nuances…the lot! Gordon Gecko famously said in the movie “Wall Street”…”when the subject of money comes up you want to be damn sure you are the smartest guy in the room!” It is the same as a team S&C coach…you want the coach to confidently defer to you on all matters of physical preparation, planning and loading. A coach’s level of confidence in you is the barometer by which you can measure your ability to influence the program.
At the end of the day S&C coaches focus their life’s study on how to develop the highest level of performance from their players. So it stands to reason that we will be significant Influencers when it comes to program design. That said, it's never our program…it’s the Head Coach’s. The sooner you understand that the easier your life will be! Our job is to provide counsel, direction and advice on how best to put the program together and how to alter it when it needs it. Your ability to work with the Head Coach will define how much scope you can achieve in which to express your core skills…athletic development.
Comments will be approved before showing up.