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.



Jared said...

Well said.

The worst part is this is the stuff that is being seen by people (our athletes, our athletic directors and head coaches who hire, the general public, etc).

Carl said...

Worse than that the new coaches (sometimes former athletes) start mimicking the "come on hoss! Get it" and other nonsense.

Dustin.S said...

Not being at the college level the biggest issue I run into with this is parents and youth coaches see it on the Internet or t.v. and now this is how they think there 13 year old kid should be training. .

Anonymous said...

On a side note, it is great if they get there athletes to work hard, but what good is working hard with shitty technique or worthless exercises????

Jim said...

I get on the web alot to follow various blogs and such, and to be honest your blog is one of my favorites. You hit so many valid points in your last post, that it made my day. I have seen this trend first hand and it amazes me that many in this field consider what they are doing with college athletes to be "elite". The level of athletic skill and POTENTIAL doesn't validate you as being an elite coach. Many of these athletes succeed DESPITE the programming and methods being used currently. Keep doing what you're doing...

Vern Gambetta said...

Spot on! Great post, you really nailed. Great to see a young coach who is willing to question and go against the flow.

Aaron Schwenzfeier said...

Thanks for the comments... the world we live in...

I appreciate the kind words Jim; you are exactly right in that many athletes can and do achieve some level of success despite methods, programming, and coaching.