Some Observations Over The Last 3 Months

During the last three months or so I have witnessed some of the usual things that I have typically seen when athletes are training or are being trained. However, I have also observed some pleasant surprises.

Ok let's start with the typical antiquated stuff I have forever seen.

1. During training one of my athletes, myself and another strength coach stopped what we were doing and watched a youth lacrosse team warm-up with their coach. Here is what they did: Gather and a circle and then proceed to perform one to two calisthenic exercises. Next, sit and perform static stretches for about 5-6 minutes and then proceed to their lacrosse drills.

That's it. No hip,ankle and shoulder mobility exercises to increase joint movement and decrease joint stiffness so they can move better. No dynamic flexibility exercises to lengthen muscle tissue to reduce chance of injury. No speed and agility mechanic drills to increase speed, enhance agility and quickness and even make it lacrosse specific to prepare them for a long practice.

Just some old outdated warm-ups, if you can call them that, to continue to make them slow or to not enhance the fast athletes' speed by making there muscles woefully unprepared and tight for a long practice.

2. This one will never die. Athletes doing their LSD (long slow distance) running. I live near a high school and no matter what season the sport is in, I ALWAYS see the team or a group of athletes distance running in my neighborhood and yes it is SLOW.

I am fairly certain the coach told the team to do this and I know some of them continue to do this type of training on their own. It is not the athlete's fault in this case because they believe it is the right type of training to do.The coach, however, should know better.

The excuse of "making sure my athletes get an aerobic base or they need some good cardio training" is a terrible and lazy excuse. There is plenty of information now a days to crush that thought process.

Performing speed drills,speed endurance drills and providing short and mid range drills will be the much better option. The kids will not only be in shape, but they will be faster and more athletic.

3. This one is pretty close to the one above as well. Not having enough to eat or drink before training.

I can go back as far as last week with this one. One of my female athletes after a long day of school and driving about 20 or so minutes to meet with me, is scheduled to train with me for her in-season sport. After a half an hour, her attention span is not there. She is staring straight ahead and has that far away look in her eyes. Of course, I'm concerned and ask what is wrong. She explains she is very tired. My next question is have you had anything to eat or drink? Oh yes,she replies. When? I ask.

Lunch time. Lunch time was over 4 hours ago and still she didn't eat anything nutritious or substantial. I think it was a handful of jelly beans and a couple of chicken nuggets and a soft drink. Needless to say I couldn't get much more out of her training-wise.

Always prepare yourself with enough fuel before training. Eat and drink every 2- 2 1/2 hours. Keep it simple and nutritious, that means no sugar.

Ok some surprises.

4. Noticing improvements in athleticism and sprint mechanics over 3 weeks of training.

Myself and a few other sports performance coaches are training a large group of high school athletes (40-50) of all levels four times a week for 1 1/2 hrs.

We perform basic warm-ups, sprint mechanic and agility drills and mix it up with body weight exercise circuits, acceleration work, short and mid range shuttles and various drills in a game format that either emphasize straight ahead speed or an agilty/quickness component. We rotate these exercises and drills daily.

The first week or two, we noticed some slow, tight and sloppy moving athletes. A small percentage were athletic, while a few others were either fast but had poor mechanics and weren't very agile and still a few others weren't fast but had some agility.

Anyway, at the start of the third week we noticed that the kids, at least 80% of them, had dramatically increased their athleticism. Mechanics were more fluid and posturally they looked less stiff and rounded. The drills looked easier and faster. Confidence also appeared better.

The right attitude coupled with the right amount of training daily and weekly volume-wise and also good providing good coaching seems to be the right formula in this and in all cases.

5. How deadlifts not only increased one of my athlete's performance but decreased his back pain.

The first part of that statement I'm not surprised at as I am a big advocate of deadlifts. However, the decrease of lower pain caught me a bit by surprise.

Obviously, deadlifts strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, low back extensors and muscles of the upper back but I have found that hip mobility exercises, foam roller work and static stretches of the hamstring, glutes, IT band, hip flexor and groin to really diminsh low back pain along with core stabilization training as well.

My client felt that ever since he started deadlifts and increased his strength with them, he can drive longer distances, sit on an airplane without discomfort and perform his sport much better. By the way,he is on the U.S. Olympic Sailing Two Man Sailing Team. He qualified this year.

Questions or comments welcome.

Thanks for reading,

Andy



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