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How to start coaching strength and conditioning
“How can you demonstrate if you have never done the exercise?”
was one of the questions I asked the candidates on the Level 1 strength and conditioning course at the weekend.
Reading a text book or journal is one thing, setting up a good plan is another. Delivering and executing that plan, then being able to adapt it is where coaching is difficult.
There was a blend of youth and experience on the course, with 5 students and 5 people who work. As always, I started off with trying to establish coaching language used in order to dismiss folklore and create better understanding.
However, one of the candidates thought that my insistence on using simple coaching cues actually complicates matters! This came up in our discussion on how to communicate effectively when coaching.
Once again, language is important so we avoid doing “rotator cuff” dumbbell exercises (which have nothing to do with our rotator cuff works in real life) rather than thinking about the movements that our sport requires and training our shoulders accordingly (shoulder exercise video)
Walking the walk
As usual, over half the course was based on practical learning and delivery. I try to work from the premise of creating structural integrity with our athletes, then progressing to developing movement efficiency.
It is quite concerning to see young people who are in pain and who lack the ability to perform fundamental movements such as squatting, skipping and balancing on one leg.
Without these basic skills, it is hard to move fast, or sustain movement without getting injured. I took the candidates through a series of exercises and progressions that will help remedy this. We then applied this in speed and agility work.
Again, I kept this simple, but concentrated on coaching it thoroughly. The principles can then be applied to whatever other drill the candidates choose to use in their environments.
I have to be patient and realise that young people are a product of their environment and are just starting out on their coaching pathway.
"James worked with the Exeter and Taunton based Southwest Talent Centre scholarship athletes. He is deeply knowledgeable about strength and conditioning and has excelled at working with young athletes. His sessions are challenging and fun and he has succeeded in blending a group of athletes from a diverse range of sports into a cohesive training group.
17 Mar 2018
Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Course – Somerset
Venue: Princess Royal Sports Complex, Wellington, Somerset. TA21 8NT
Assessment Day: Sunday 25 March 2018
Cost: £280 including materials and access to online resources. To book send a deposit of £100 here.