This is my first try at writing an article. Hopefully there will be many more to come about sports performance training and the science based approach we take at the BVT Lab. I think every strength and conditioning coach at their core begins their career in this field with a genuine desire to help every athlete they train reach their goals and potential. Some of my criticisms in this article aren’t directed towards coaches but the field as a whole. My intention is to contribute what I can to help in the progression and professionalization of Strength and Conditioning. All of my inspirations in the field of strength and conditioning have one important thing in common. That is their willingness to share knowledge and information with younger coaches such as myself, parents, and athletes for free in the hopes of progressing the field. The Strength and Conditioning field is young and has really exploded the last 20 years. However, it’s behind the fields of sports medicine, and physical therapy in terms of knowledge and professional standards, even though they’re all different points in the same spectrum.
Most coaches make the mistake of training their athletes like how they train, and letting ego dictate the training. The beginning of my career was no different. I was very fortunate early in my coaching career to learn from Seth Foreman. He was lucky enough to have learned from Pete Bommarito and Loren Seagrave during his time at IMG Academy. I wasn’t aware enough then to realize how valuable the information I was learning. Most coaches might never have the opportunity to learn from more experienced coaches. As a result the amount of qualified strength and conditioning coaches is very small. Due to this lack of knowledge from coaches, misinformation spreads to parents, and athletes. I don’t believe it’s the intention of most coaches to mislead parents and athletes. However, the lack of knowledge leads to unrealistic goals, failure, performance decline as well as increases chance of injury. I’ve experienced it countless times. For example, a parent and athlete walking in and asking me to get the athlete faster for a showcase or combine coming up in a few days. I have to be the person that tells them that speed is the least trainable bio-motor ability, and it will take minimum 8-12 weeks to cause enough adaptation to improve it.
The growth of social media has led to the rise of the Instagram coach. As a result, anybody can become a strength and conditioning coach as long as they have an endless list of drills and exercises. Having a vast library of drills and exercises alone is not what makes you a good coach. There needs to be some understanding of physiology, anatomy, programming and manipulating training variables for specific adaptations, and communication. The “Sports Specific Training” phenomena is the result of lack of knowledge from coaches and realizing it’s easier to sell to clients when coaches say “Sports specific training.” Parents and athletes walk in the gym for the first time and believe the athlete will get faster and improve performance if they perform the sport motions with their lacrosse stick. The lack of understanding across the board has created this misconception that the sport can be recreated within the training, it cannot. The exact stimulus while playing the sport can’t ever be recreated in the training. The development of strength is the foundation of sports training. “Sports Specific Training” in reality is to transfer this strength to enhance the qualities demanded by the sport using joint specific angles, and specific velocities that are similar to the sport actions performed in the sport.
I have learned in this field to ensure the most success for your athletes, the training must always be in the best interest of the athlete. As a coach you must always have an open mind, and be the first one to continuously scrutinize your own training methods. There are different methods to training athletes correctly, all these methods will always follow universal scientific principles of sports science. As a coach, I would be lying if I were to say I was all knowing or I’ve never made mistakes training athletes. Learning from others with more experience and knowledge than myself, I make it my obligation to never be satisfied in my quest for more knowledge in order to keep helping athletes reach their goals. Come down to the BV Training Lab at BVSA to learn how to get faster and stronger through science!!
Special Thank You To:
Niccolo Del Duca