T Nation

Out of Date Coaching


#1
 I have recently (this semester) started running on the track team at an athletic DI university (to go unnamed). I have been quite amazed at the lack of up-to-date training advice and coaching we are getting. (I also have an internship �??I�??m the only one I�??ve heard of who has ever had this �?? in the weight room, helping train the swim team).

Here are some of the things I�??ve noticed about the coaching
- The track coaches and weight room coaches don�??t communicate or plan their workouts to go together

  • At no point has nutrition been mentioned

  • There was no teaching for the Olympic lifts even though we do them everyday �?? and I have yet to see a single person on either the swim team or track team do them properly. (although the football team seems to have them down)

  • We are told not to squat below parallel. I thought the consensus of the industry was that the weight room is for �??strength of the organism�?? as Charlie Francis would say, as opposed to be sport specific and thus just because we do not run with our legs at such an angle it is still proper to train with a full squat. (I actually got in a disagreement with my trainer about this as she interrupted one of my heavy working sets telling me not to go so deep.)

  • We lift like bodybuilders �?? e.g. 3 sets of 10 almost all the time (I realize it�??s the off season, but most of the team is trying to lose weight as opposed to gain it)

  • There are many more detail, but are unimportant in this thread

On top of this I find the attitude of most of the athletes to be quite miserable. They complain about hard practices, complain about the heat, about the speed of the training etc�?� It seems to me that it is ever increasingly rare to find the naturally gifted athlete who ALSO loves the sport in which their gifted.

It seems to me that many of the coaches in general nowadays are basically athletes who have decided to coach. They do little reading on current research and train their teams the way they were trained �?? feeling that because they were successful (obviously to a point) with those methods that they must be the best.

Also, especially at the collegiate level, they attribute the success of the athlete to their methods despite the fact that the recruit who won was the state or national champion before they trained in such a manner �?? natural talent.

I realize i have much to learn in the industry, but i thought id throw my thoughts out there. btw, im a kinesiology major

Any thoughts on this, similar experiences, different experiences?


#2

Lead by example, when your stronger/faster/leaner and they are at the same weight for 3x10 with acheing joints tell them why that is. If no one wants to change then so be it.


#3

Actually I'm having the EXACT same issues with my high school football team. I mean sure it's high school but still... The D lineman coach was telling me that the way that I tackle was wrong and that I should 'lift' the guy up and toss him down. I just ignored him and tackled the way I've always done for rugby.

Also our starting quarterback was such a dick he wouldn't even run the 1 measly lap around the track at the beginning of practice because 'quarterbacks don't need to run in the game'. If we were allowed to go 100% or close to it in practice he would see why QB's need to run. The coaches won't listen to me either when I suggest doing things a bit 'differently', arghhh. It's just so aggravating.


#4

Dont forget that their the coaches, they might be in that position for a reason...


#5

ummmm, that doesnt sound like the same issues at all. the OP is talking about weight room work. You're talking about the actual, technical aspects of the sport and saying your coaches dont know anything about them ... I dont know your coaches but that seems MUCH harder to believe than the OP's gripe, which is actually relatively easy to believe.


#6

Im totally with you on this, when older athletes turn their hands to coaching they occasionally dabble in strength and conditioning with not always perfect results. saying that there are a fraturnity of old strength and con coaches with old methods.

I had to keep one MMA instructor out of the weight room, because he disliked what i was doing with the athletes, "Heavy weights will makes them slow, getting them running, lots of static stretching" he'd say. He changed his tune after their condition was obviously alot better and they remained injury free.

Wait till you get out into looking for strength and con jobs, their are so many idiots and "old boys" taking up strength and conditioning posts in teams and organisations, its cringeworthy watching them work.


#7

the biggest problem just seems to be that they make me do the exercises improperly or do these terribly written programs. its just frusterating, and as a freshman i feel like i shouldnt be in there doing my own workout during team training.


#8

I know what you mean...
How does a person who went to school to be a strength and conditioning coach think that:
3*12 squats
3*12 lunges/leg
3*12 lateral stepups/leg
followed by some other random shit, have any kind of positive effect (other than making your knees feel like they are gonna rip apart)
Especially when this is after ~3 hours of practice

Absolutely no training in HOW to do lifts either... my teammates all look like retarded whales in the weight room and all that's going to do is get someone hurt.


#9

This is the exact reason why I am glad I am going to the school I am going to (FDU @ Madison). The S&C coach here is a competitive olympic weightlifter. The teams who decide to follow by his routines and drills and such turn out to be the best teams at the school. We have athletes doing Front Squats, Cleans and Clean Pulls, Banded dynamic benching and the like.

I honestly enjoy seeing the athletes train like this.

makes me cringe at how some D1 schools have their athletes train. Our coach had a copy of a nearby D1 school's Football team's off season routine and had notes all over the place on what was wrong with it, and at the end it had a url which the school stole the routine from.


#10

What you are seeing is very common, which is infuriating due the issue of status, but frankly, keeps me busy as a trainer.

All of the most basic errors are common, including rep ranges and volume that causes physical and neuromuscular changes that are undesireable.

Lumping athletes into groups based on "position" as opposed to training needs & positional needs (which is definitely possible, as we used to do it in high school).

Assigning the same programs for freshmen, who may never have lifted weights previously, as they assign for seniors who have been lifting in the program for three years.

My questions to this are always: are your programs producing changes? As an athlete advances physically, will the program need to change also? Then how, if your program is effective, can a senior be doing the same program as a freshman with no appreciable lifting experience?

Yep, I am popular.

This issue is especially true when plyos are assigned.

Finally, the idea of correcting basic flaws in movement is absolutely foreign.

Now, my answer when I was coaching was just to recruit naturally gifted athletes. But, I was a FB coach, and we get the cream of the athletic crop in America. But if you watch a group of DB's doing agility drills, and then watch a group of baseball players doing agility drills, you see vastly different movement patterns. But for the most part, as long as the athlete does the prescribed reps around the cones, who cares how inefficiently they do so...?

The whole industry, and its means of entry ensure that fragile egos are protected, and the same guys who couldn't remember who to block on 236 Power are suddenly the 'best minds in the business'.

Like I said, its all of these things together that keep my schedule, Joe D's schedule, Mike B's schedule, and many others' schedules busy.

There is really only one answer to the issue, and I learned it as a coach: fight for a bigger recruiting budget..

J


#11

thanks for the insight jumanji, as a S+C coach who's between posts, getting work in the industry is a nightmare, in the UK the scene here is very much "olympic lifts and nothing else", hell strength and conditioning coaches where like gold dust 4-5 years ago. There seems to be a culture of mutual back scratching in large UK orgs and retiring elite athletes assuming what works for themselves works for a population.


#12

In my experience, collegiate athletes are children most of the time. High school coaches are in high school for a reason and collegiate strength coaches have the widest range of knowledge in existence. It takes the initiative of someone on the faculty to organize training across departments.
Good luck with that.


#13

Simco~

Collegiate athletes are children all of the time.

High school coaches are in high school for their own reasons, and it is a great market to consult with since they often realize their knowledge is limited, and their athlete base is very different than recruited athletes.

Widest range of knowledge? Hmmm...

Experience? Yes.

Knowledge? We would probably have to take a closer look. Knoeledge is a matter of education and experience integrated into a sound program. This requires both aptitude in gaining knowledge, aptitude in analyzing this knwoledge gained, and the ability to integrate this knowledge into a training environment that is limited by varying constraints.

Notice all of the aptitude emphasis. The first sign on aptitude and learning is constant questioning, probing, and the NEED to constantly read, communicate with others, etc.

Think a young S&C coach who constantly asks questions (like the specific questions I posed above) will be popular? Get good recs when trying to move on?

Think the industry is dominated by high SAT types? I am not saying they don't exist, but it is very seldom that a kid who enters college as a meatball suddenly chooses to read for hours every night after working 80-100+ hours a week.... we are what we are.

Plus, no matter how much you read or question, a 1400 SAT type and a 950 SAT type see very different things when they view the same material. One is figuring out how this underlying priciple, or root cause, or constraint will affect the overall training stimulus, while the other is trying to decide whether they should jot this down on a note card to remember it. One assimilates the information instantly, the other simply does not.

Aptitude.

So while I do side with your statement if it were 'greatest experience', I must disagree with it as it stands. This comes from direct experience viewing actual training programs of Division I - III colleges.

You know you have an issue if:

The freshmen and seniors are all doing the same programs. There is no differentiation between Strength and Rate dominant athletes. There is no clear progression for things like plyometrics, and movement training.

Oh, and my own personal experience is that even football players do not do olympic lifts very well, as they almost ALWAYS (99%) block their hips on full extension trying to get back under the weight.

Train a movement pattern over and over under high force, and the movement becomes engrained. So when it is time to explode or accelerate, it is very common to see the athlete block full extension. This, coupled with such a huge squat emphasis, creates athletes who often truly never reach great triple extension, and have lost power at toe off. The guys at Inno-sport talked about this at length, and I see it often. A kid comes back with really nice progress developing an ass and thighs, but now runs like a nimrod. He scoots, but doesn't drive.

Olympic lifts, if taught correctly are great for FB players who need to develop extra muscle mass (beyond what would be optimal for actual locomotive optimization) in order to survive the sport. So the upper back, grip, and trap work is excellent.

But for sports like soccer, basketball, etc where extra weight is many times a constraining factor due to the greater energy system demands, there are many other triple extension exercises that develop RFD which are far simpler to teach and perform correctly. They are easily as safe as the o-lifts, or safer, and can be taught to near perfection in a single session, with just a little cueing needed ongoing.

Think of it this way Simco, if everyone needed the same stimulus at the same time, why do Christian, and Eric, and Chad all keep revealing new programs? So if you keep checking back weekly for new goodies, then you are on my side of the argument. Each athlete must be categorized and trained based on at least three things:

Training age.
Dominant current underlying method of developing force (Rate or Strength).
Sport and positional needs.

If all of these things are being accounted and differentiated for, then you are on track. Then 'little things' like injuries, etc must be factored in.... the depth is only limited by your athlete load, work rate, and time.

I would continue, but I am watching the UF vs. GA replay, and Urban's continuing evolution of his spread system just made me puke in my own mouth (I was an OC also), so I must go rinse.

I do love the loyalty sticking up for the industry Simco, and I definitely honor the great S&C coaches I have met by praising their work, and more importantly by implementing their principles. But to make a blanket statement about an industry that would aks great minds (who could actually advance the industry) to work for very low wages and long hours throughout their life is silly.

I was talking with an lady who places graduates with bachelors degrees and she said that Target hires in high performers at 40-45k for management, and once you get your own store, it is a six figure position.

Freakin Target!!

So if a big box discount retailer is far outpaying the S&C industry as a whole (which until you get to the highest levels literally asks you to work for no pay or pay that is less than beginning HS teachers), we will never attract the best minds. Only the best minds that place hanging out in the weigthroom above providing their own children with opportunities. I like hanging out and watching jacked guys bench press as much as the next guy, but c'mon.

Ok, need to go rinse. Urban is now being interviewed and I puked again watching the replays.

J


#14

Hmm, I kinda got the feeling that simco was being ironic with that "widest range of knowledge in existence".


#15

It's very late so I'll respond when I'm more level headed and can contribute more.
I will say there was no irony or sarcasm with the range of knowledge comment, though. There are some very, very good coaches at the collegiate level and at the same time you will find some who seem willfully ignorant to modern research and training.


#16

Simco~

Agree completely.

J