Monday, November 24, 2008

Sydney FC

THe W league team had a good win this weekend just gone and a big game this week with Queensland roar. The team had an easier week last week but we will step things up slightly this week but still keeping the volume low and the intensity high. IM often asked can we make significant changes in fitness mid season and my answer is it depends - if a team is playing only 1x/week the chances are we maybe able to make a difference but it is not easy and a balancing act - obviously a well planned program wont get you in this situation but if we look at our cites A league team we are in this situation. With possibly the worst athletic development coach going round we are in a mess 1 win in 7 with the best list in the comp (but than again he has injured most of them) i have never seen a more one paced team so I do wonder what is going on. Could we make a differnce with this team my answer is a definate yes but firstly please get rid of this uneducated, obnoxious no hoper and send him back to teach hurdlers in South Australia. Its always best to stick with what you know as Im not about to go and coach hurdlers he should take the same advice and not work with team sports.

Injury Prevention

I never think of myself as a specialist in injury as this is the domain of the sports medicine people but I do hope that my programs help to prevent injury. Its important to spend time with the physio's and sports med doctors to hear about what they see and their views on prevention. So often the injuries happen due to poor training programs that lead to imbalances and opther associated problems. A common problem is lack of functional strength and its important that you take into account injury prevention when writing your programs. Many pro teams offer bonuses for athletic development coaches if injuries are low and althopugh this has a positive side I also think that too many programs do not stree the athlete suffisiently because maybe the coach is worried about the bonus. Analyse your sport, analyse your athlete get them to have a functional screen and work out how to train problem areas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Mystery Person

Being involved in athletic development gives you a significant amount of annonoymity when it comes to the team you are working with. When the team wins there is little recognition and thjis is ok but when a team loses you also get little recognition. Many coaches in our field have been fortunate to stay long after their use by date and this is unfortunate. There are too many jobs for the boys or cioaches bringing along their mates to fill the job. This is ok to a point IF the person is competent but too often I see too much incompetence. If you dont know the inside operations of a club just look at injury stats and if they are high than this should alert you (some injuries are unavoidable but if there is a consistent pattern we have an issue), analyse a game and have a look at the movement, have a look at when points are being scored, trak a players performance this is all interesting to do and you will soon be able to see who is doing a good job. In Australia we are fortunate to have some great people in the field but I am still amazed how far we still have to go. I think there are great session conductors but the next step of planning, understanding the plan, working on technique etc is missing in many instances

Monday, November 17, 2008

Crazy Cycle

I have been marking papers all day and it is enjoyable to read some of the great work produced. One paper facinated me and without mentioning names it will highlight the problems in our industry. A student did a case study of the nutritional intake and recovery procedures of a professional organisation (sounds simple and interesting) but what he found was even more exciting. The strength and conditioing coach who by all accounts was a great guy gave his dietary recomedations to the student for assessment but when we looked at it things just didnt add up
  1. All players prescribed the same intake regardless of size
  2. Specified quantaties of nutrients not met when diet was analysed
  3. Significant reduction in energy intake on game day

and this is just the start. I asked the student to tehn ask about qualifications and guess what he had none other then being a champion power lifter whiiuch may explain why his team lacked mobility. I ask why would he be prescribing the nutrtion I would be getting in a specialist in the field and how the hell does a guy like this get a job. It all adds up as many teams in this country have poorly qualified personal and look im not one to discount experience and I do understand maybe they havent had the time to get qualified but for goodness sake dont make it up as you go along get someone to advise you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kids and Sport

I spoke the other day at a conference looking at the emerging athlete and it is an area that I am passionate about. Too often coaches lose sight of the athlete and forget about the long term picture so it was nice to try and get my message across. I think that it is imperative if you are working with young athletes that you

  • Realise that they have many competing interests - school, friends etc
  • Dont forget the athlete that may only be losing because of size - people grow at different stages and rates
  • Work with all your athletes not just the ones performing well now
  • Never forget success as a junior does not guarentee adult success in fact it is probably detrimental
  • Look at the entire athlete and get people nto help you if you are not and expert in certain areas (nutrition, strength etc)
  • allow them to do other sports early specialisation is a killer

When the Balance is all Wrong

I hate to waste my time writing about ego's in our buisness but again why be so silly to criticise others when your own track record is so poor. Again I talk about our cities team and their strength and conditioing self proclaimed guru - he has injured more players than I have ever heard of, he is disrespectful to most and worse still he has lost the respect of his players. If you do not have the ability that is ok but when you think you have it and you dont well that is a problem. We are dealing with peoples carreers and a season under someone like this can see you go backwards and I have seen this with players I have worked with that are now under his care. Yoou can only hide behind your words for so long and I doubt he will last the year and it will be another club he has been sacked by. My point to this is never get too big for your boots, seek advice from others and realise you can learn a great amount off others. I know we all have an ego but I hope you have someone close to you to tell you when it is out of control. I just hate to see players effected by poor training and this is what has happened this year please leave the job to people who really care

Sydney FC W League

The last 2 weeks have seen us lose and drw so 1 point from 6 has seen us drop into second position. We have injuries unrelated to our program but just different contact injuries and others related to overtraining where we havent been in control. It is difficult working with players where you do not have complete control as a number of our players play all year round to make a living thus these injuries are bound to happen. You must work with what you have so I must manage this the best I can but it is never easy. The girls have 3 difficult games coming up and if we can secure 7 points from the next 9 we will be in good shape. This week will see us ease off training as they have worked hard over the previous three weeks and as I said in the previous post you must manage the work and the rest - its like life get the balance right and you will succeed.

In Season Training

What can you do during the season? Too often the role of the althletic development coach working with team sports is designated towards the pre season with the idea of get them as strong, fast and fit by the season start and lets try to hand onto for the rest of the season. In data I have collected it appears in soccer players that there is a significant drop in performance from the start to the end of the season. Why should this happen when games are being played and training is being completed - my theory is that the intensity drops off too much and our job is to become the professional warm up person rather than completing our job to its full potential. Of cause the volume has to drop off but having that extra time at the completion of the warm up to work on certain aspects such s speed, agility and power will decrease the detriments in performance commonly seen. If you can also encourage the head coach to up the intensity during the week in small sided games again advantages will be seen. You must stick to a plan that balances work and rest but I believe there is much we can do so that the performance of the players we work with does not decline.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Keeping it all in perspective

Junior sports and athletes is a facinating area. This Friday I will be speaking at a conference looking at long terma athletic development and preventing athlete dropout. A couple of things come to mind for us as coaches. Firstly value

Do you value the successful athlete more than others. with juniors it is important to look at the big picture as success now doesnt mean success in the future in fact statistics show you probably have a greater chance in latter life being successful if you are not a champion junior. Value the ones with potential but more importantly value everyone you work with and keep to the philosophy that you can work to maximise everyones potential.

Do you coach or just run drills. This is an area Vern Gambetta speaks about often and it is one I also am strong about. I see alot of drills going on but very little coaching. If you dont know how to coach what you are doing find out or be mentored by someone that does.

Do you promise what you cant deliver. Parents all think their kid is the best and will be the future of sport in their chosen activity. Keep it real and focussed on the journey rather than the outcome. Think about the big picture and other things that are going on in the kids life we want well rounded children not children that are swimming 15 hours/week at 10.

There are many more issues to ponder but there is no doubt youth sport needs to be kept in perspective

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sydney FC W League

Great 2 wins from 2 starts and looking good