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Everyone Should Train Like an Athlete

Last month I talked about some current conversations I had been in and the basics of the purpose of a Strength & Conditioning Coach and how program selection/composition/design is based on that; this month I want to expand on that and expand on other ‘controversial’ or debate inspiring topics and discuss why it is Everyone Should Train Like an Athlete.

This one I should be able to actually keep short and concise…

1. Athletes train with a purpose and towards a specific set of physical tasks

Athletes use physical preparation as a means to achieve a desired sport/task related goal and with increased performance in mind. Vague, arbitrary or un-quantifiable gains in physical preparation are mostly, but not entirely, useless.

2. Athletes have competitive seasons and their preparatory training has undulating annual training

Athletes have natural ebbs and flows during the training year which allow varying times of intense and exhaustive training/competition as well as times of fairly simple and generally ‘easy’ training which allows both physical and mental recuperation and allows new or different physical qualities to be trained.

3. Athletes and their respective sport and performance coaches know that the sport/task is king and injuries suffered during training are ABSOLUTELY counter to the end goal.

Training with dubious or questionable methods, chasing arbitrary strength or physical adaptations or generally prescribing dumb and dangerous training is eschewed and avoided by any reputable coach. The punishments for such poor training can and does result in coaches being fired.

4. Athletes are creatures of skill and efficiency, any training which adversely affects this is detrimental

Even during the off-season/pre-season when the Strength & Conditioning/Sports Performance training is at its most intense, training and program schemes that result in mass amounts of soreness or Central Nervous System fatigue negatively affect the ability of the athlete to train maximal or skill qualities associated with Sprint technique, Change of Direction technique or other such skills related specifically to athletic expression of performance. Meaning that while GPP training is very important and necessary, a smart program ensures an athlete can still train the relevant skill work in various techniques such as sprinting as it this skill expression of the GPP gains that ACTUALLY makes our training transfer to the sport/task in question.

5. Athletes know that more is not necessarily better; Enough and Optimal are the name of the game

When training General Physical Preparation qualities such as strength, energy system conditioning, flexibility, mobility and speed; good coaches know how to not just spur them on but also how to pull back on the reins. Knowing the minimum necessary dose to achieve a desired quality saves time, saves resources, prevents soreness, prevents overuse injury, prevents CNS fatigue and prevents mental fatigue.

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