Monday, December 19, 2011

Anti-Fragility Training

As we commence into the holiday break, a large fear as a strength and conditioning coach is the loss of a lot of hard work and time. It's easy for athletes to forget their responsibility to hold up their end of the privileged opportunity that is collegiate athletics. For some of the athletes it is going to be 4+ weeks before I see them again, and lots of bad can happen in that time... adaptations of negative flow.

Sometimes you'd like to enchant athletes with a never seize attitude when it comes to training. Sure overtraining is a possibility, but for most, it's a long... long way off. I've been fortunate to work with a few of the 'do more' types, and while they'll often deal with some nagging aches and pains from the constant motion, these rare athletes almost never experience the catastrophic injuries that their less trained counterparts often fall victim too. It's a balance of finding the 'sweet spot' of training, but as a coach it's much easier to reign in the enthusiastic husky, than it is to try to get a bulldog to pull the sled.

There's a reason why those that have long, lustrous, hall-of-fame careers. It's because they made the decision to work... consistent training was the ticket.

In the collegiate setting, I can total up 8+ weeks that a team and sport might have "off". Combine this with a 4-5+ month season and we are looking at 6-7+ months of either very narrow and specific training or little to nothing, save for the truly dedicated athlete. Why do so many get injured again?

Sure... look at an injured athlete and try to conclude why they got hurt, but Sherlock, please look at the healthy athlete and conclude why they have not.

As the s&c coach, the hard working athletes think you're great because you challenge them, the lazy athletes think you suck because anything you do makes them hurt (not injured I remind you) because they are so damn weak, out of condition, and lazy... and certain sport's cultures just don't like to do anything but their sport, which makes for some fun (*scorn*) enticement.

Should training ever stop? Usually, it just needs different forms. The work I do is the general work, maybe a physical education approach is what it should be called... but it's critical to keep athletes moving, they're athletes! Their recovery shouldn't be the same as the fatty who watches sports for a living (plus some desk job on the side). Run, jump, lift, and throw: work on the skills of moving, not the skills of a particular sport.
"... the training never ends."
For athletes to build up the mastery of their bodies and they must use them. Run, jump, throw, and lift... fast, high, far, heavy.

AS

*Hat tip to Nassim Taleb for the anti-fragility idea. While I don't fully comprehend his concept (apologies, I am working on it), I do understand that it works in opposition of fragile; which can continue to be broken down, anti-fragile is robust, but with the ability continue to be built up.

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