Coach and Athletic Director

April/May 2018

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C O A C H A D . C O M 47 training, speed development or conditioning. After that determination is made, the basis of the program becomes a more clearly defined process. Since the objectives are to prevent injuries and maximize performance, I make sure to incorporate exercises in the program based off the needs of the individual with these goals in mind. A workout for a healthy athlete may look something like this: • Soft tissue work (foam rolling, trigger point, breathing). • Glute/muscle activation (mini-band exercises). • Dynamic warmup. • Speed and agility training. • Explosive/power-based exercises (Olympic lifts, plyometrics, medicine balls). • Strength training (upper body/lower body, pre-hab, torso stability training). • Conditioning (interval conditioning). • Stretch/recovery (static/PNF stretching). Structuring a program like this allows for a balanced workout that incorporates all aspects of training that helps prevent injuries while maximizing athletic performance. Exercise progression My approach to exercise progression is a step-by-step process that can't really be followed by a book. I believe progressing exercises is an ability that's developed through experience and trial-and-error. The most important factor in going through progressions is to know when to progress them. Some factors that influence progression include movement, strength, range of motion, balance and coordination. This is a general guideline that I use when programing with exercise progressions. √ Eccentric/isometric/concentric. Research shows that most muscle development is gained through the lengthening of muscle under tension (eccentric). From a movement standpoint, it's much easier to do the downward lengthening portion of an exercise. This is why I believe in starting progressions at the eccentric portion of an exercise. From there, the exercise can be progressed to holds (isometric) to upward, shortening movements (contracting). The strength can be developed through the eccentric and isometric variations and fully enhanced by performing the full movement with contraction. √ Bilateral/unilateral. Free weight and body weight exercises are generally easier to perform with two limbs (bilateral) than a single limb (unilateral). Bilateral exercises require less balance, motor control and less work capacity then unilateral exercises. This is why I believe in setting the bilateral exercises as the most basic progression before transitioning to unilateral exercises. √ Easy to hard. It's important to think about steps when progressing exercises. An easy way to track progressions is to have steps that go from easy to hard. When designing my progressions, I think of ways to make an exercise very basic and then I design a progression to make more difficult. This can include going from two limbs to one limb, changing body positions, and going from stable surfaces to unstable surfaces. Using this guideline helps me to breakdown steps when progressing exercises. Take the time to think through the progression, experiment with exercises, and develop your own guideline. Building a progression program is a huge benefit to a strength and conditioning coach, because it can adhere to different levels of capability and add variety to a program. Jeff Brodeur, CSCS, USAW, is a strength and conditioning specialist at The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention. Learn more at Considerations for weight room projects Weight rooms are becoming a hot commodity in high school sports. Here are five things athletic programs should consider before undergoing a training facility project. • Consult with coaches. Request feedback from sport coaches regarding their expectations and hopes for the training facility. Some might even raise issues that the athletic director and strength coaches haven't considered. It's also worth noting that the football team has different needs than they volleyball team, so cover all bases. • Itemize needs. Weigh what coaches want against what the program can afford. There likely will be some difficult decisions ahead when athletic directors are not able to accommodate all coaches and programs, but that's typical with all facilities projects. Just try to give everyone something that moves their teams forward. • Organization for optimization. Don't just drop new equipment into the weight room and let the athletes roam free; there must be structure. Athletic directors and strength coaches must sit down and discuss what best maximizes flow and the number of athletes who can train at once. There might be precious little time for teams to train, so don't make it difficult on them. • Think outside the box. When talking about training space, most programs will focus on racks, benches and free weights. But what about plyometrics or conditioning? Don't limit the facility to traditional equipment and training programs. • Room for growth. Training evolves, and so does the equipment. The school might not consider changes for another 10 or 15 years, but when the time comes, are you ready to accommodate the improvements? Do whatever possible to leave space for future projects. By Coach & Athletic Director

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