Monday, May 9, 2011

Some Observations

Just some observations, thoughts, and questions that have been stirring...

- It seems to be turning into the strength and cheerleading profession; my fear is that coaches are mistaking "ra-ra"-ing for coaching.

- There is concern over the NCAA's legislation regarding only allowing 5 (s & c) coaches working with football; many coaches have voiced their opinion of not so much an issue of having 5 coaches just for football, but of limiting the potential number of jobs on staff(s). I am in agreement that we need positions for young coaches, but not if it's going to be a matter of hiring more 'cheerleaders'; sorry big-time strength and conditioning coaches, but I do get the impression that many are just yelling and screaming... really, what determines a job well done? What is a coach?

I get the impression of WWE. Every workout is a rally to get as 'pumped-up' as possible before the actual workout, and hoping to ride this emotion on through. (Maybe it all just fits into the entertainment that college sports have become in our country) I wonder how this fits into monitoring training loads and recovery?

From Josh Leeger's blog: "Teach Intensity, rather than Aggression or Emotion - Intensity means the heightening of effort, focus, and often, relaxation. Intensity is singlemindedness of purpose. Aggression and emotion almost always result in tension (wasted energy) or a lack of focus (wasted effort)."

... all that extra emotion may affect HRV scores for those measuring.

- On that note, it also seems in collegiate strength and conditioning to be a matter of entertaining, not training... much less coaching. I would guess most coaches want faster, stronger, higher, bigger... so why a bunch of exercises that often don't fit the bill, but fall into the category of a "nice sell in the 'fitness industry'". I guess to be a considered a good coach, I need to make sure that everyone is having fun. Now don't get me wrong, there is a time and place, and I believe in play as much as anybody (read some previous blog posts), but why don't sport coaches change up their practice to make it more 'fun' for the athletes?

- Or the other side of things... methods that sound great in scientific theory and look very sport/athletic specific, but under close scrutiny are very hard to rationalize. Vern Gambetta made some excellent points in his recent blog post: When the Prevention is the Cause.

Is it Macho Man Randy Savage or is it deep in the cosmos with theoretical bit-by-bit engineering of artificial body intelligence?
Yes, change it up and do some different things from time to time, but I ask what is our job as strength and conditioning coaches?

- What about extra competitions to get more work out of athletes or a tough Navy SEAL evolution, or worse yet, knee-jerk reactions to a substandard season putting athletes in harmful situations? While at the same time we are worried about measuring an athlete's readiness on expensive devices, soft-tissue therapy, supplementation, physical therapy exercises, and on and on.

(You can train insanely hard, while still adhering to well-grounded scientific principles; namely progressive overload... as I was personally told this by the legendary Bulgarian weightlifting coach Ivan Abadjiev in Kansas City this past week)

College strength and conditioning is as ADHD as many of our athletes; do more, do it all and always change. Not much concern over better. I am not so sure different is always better. Maybe part of strength and conditioning coaches jobs are to babysit? Recruit big and keep them entertained and happy... I don't know (sigh)...

I see many programs just doing 'things' and saying "we do that". Great, what is it doing for your athletes? I get it, if they are having fun, they may work hard, but again... what is the goal? I think we need to be real with ourselves.

- Something I always wonder: How would John Wooden do it if he were a strength and conditioning coach?

Sorry to have such a negative tone on much this but I have thoughts and questions regarding the profession I am in. I know there are quite a few good coaches out there doing a nice job, but too often the face of collegiate strength and conditioning goes to the coaches at the 'big time' schools where videos present a montage of WWE displays, methods that are questionable, lousy technique or worse yet, no or little attempt at trying to coach technique to be better.

I have more questions than answers, and by no means am doing it perfect. I would really appreciate others to chime in on the subject; agree or disagree.