The role of the professional strength and conditioning coach has been rapidly evolving over the past 20 years. Beginning with a simple motto of “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” many coaches in the past have viewed their role as a strength and conditioning coach as one that involved getting athletes to do things they believed would make the athlete “Bigger, Faster, and Stronger”, with the proof being shown with an increase in body weight, faster sprint times, and larger bench presses and squats.
Since many professional coaches work with hundreds of athletes at a time in college or high school settings, they have been forced to create systems that work with assembly line efficiency and address the normal distribution of athletic needs. Workouts are forced on athletes with the dogmatic intensity of a Marine Corps drill sergeant running a McDonalds hamburger assembly line. This “one size fits most” style of template programming has drifted into the commercial arena as well, with the belief that because the system has worked for a few athletes at a high level in the past it will address the specific needs of the current athlete.
However, this approach begs one obvious question: does the bigger, faster, stronger, assembly line approach build a better athlete on the field? Will it improve your performance, in your event? The answer is yes and no. It has worked well enough for a few star athletes to justify its continued use by some. However, its justification comes from two commonly misheld beliefs:
- Increases in general strength and conditioning test improve overall athleticism and thus, athletic performance on the field of play.
- Principles and guidelines built from the success of a few gifted and noted athletes offer the best strategies for improving athletic performance in all athletes.
If #1 were true, then the strongest athletes in the weight room would generally be the best athletes on the field. However, this is rarely true.
In the case of #2, using the general success of past athletes to address the specific needs of the individual athlete at best is inefficient, at worst leads to injury and sport skill break down. This shot gun approach can hit the general target of deconditioned and untrained athletes, but misses when aiming at the needs of the competitive athlete held back by specific athletic shortcomings or sport specific skills that need to be addressed. If you are taking the time to read this I know you are an athlete dedicated to mastering your specific sport and skill, with a specific desired outcome in mind. Do you believe you will maximize your efforts and results following a program designed for someone who doesn’t have your specific needs.
Today’s dedicated professional, midlife, or amateur, athlete simply cannot afford the time and energy of an inefficient generalized program. A dogmatic, shot-gun, one size fits all approach had its time and still has its place in some situations, but not in the athletic development and maintenance of highly sport specific skilled athletes. To best address the needs of the midlife and dedicated athlete an Individualized, Strategic, Blueprint (I.S.B) must be in implemented.
I.S.B differs from the dogmatic drill sergeant approach in four distinct ways:
- I.S.B takes into account far more then the simple motto, “Bigger, Faster, Stronger”. The I.S.B approach recognizes that success in your sport is comprised of many skills and attributes. A collaborative assessment of your skills is created with input from you, your coaching and medical staff, to help create a guide toward sports mastery.
- Based on the collaborative assessment, an individualized long-term development and maintenance game plan is created. To maximize efficiency and effectiveness, your needs are prioritized and addressed according to what is most needed to improve your game time performance.
- Your performance and condition is measured in a variety of areas both on and off the field. This management style enables you and I, or any professional coach, to work together in real-time to better address your changing needs on a daily and weekly basis. The goal is not to try to make you fit a dogmatic system, but rather create a system that supports your needs and goals.
- The end goal in developing an I.S.B is not to produce another “showcase” athlete that shows the validity of the system or coach at hand. The goal is to empower you the athlete with the specific tools and insights you need to fulfill your Athletic Quest in a self-directed way.
You are not a hamburger! You are a thoroughbred race horse!
Yes, “all things being equal” the bigger, stronger, faster athlete will win. However, things never are equal. If being treated like another piece of meat and simply improving your ability to lift more weight or more reps has not gotten you to where you want to be athletically, maybe it is time to put together a I.S.B that gives you the results your efforts deserve. You can start by taking advantage of this powerful free resource that will help you clarify your goals, organize your time, and if needed help you find the right coach.
Train Smart – Live Well – Play Often,