As strength and conditioning coaches we sometimes lose sight of the big picture when it comes to programming. What I mean by this is that we tend to divide training into its individual parts rather than looking at the process as a whole. The various modes we use to train our athletes to better express strength, speed, power, endurance, and of course the sporting skill must be integrated together.
Think of the athlete as one physiological/biological system. This single system is going to respond to the combined effects of all the stress that we impose upon it. This means that whatever we do on Monday is going to affect how we adapt to our training on Tuesday and vice versa. Even further, if we are training multiple qualities concurrently, where does each best fit within the week or within the training session? Are these abilities that we are training together even compatible? If the biological system does not separate, training cannot be separated.
What we need to do is take a closer look at all the components of the training program and see how they interact as one system. Think about the current training programs you’re prescribing for your athletes. Do they look like a single program with clear congruency or do they look like a few different programs mashed together? I’m not saying that training cannot have multiple parts or that you can’t train multiple qualities concurrently. In fact, training should have various parts. Even though the body is a single system, it is made up of multiple, interacting components. Training should reflect this concept. It should be made up of various components that effectively stress the different systems of the body in order to improve the output of the whole organism. However, the components must be trained in a particular sequence in order to ensure optimal results. We can’t just plan various “speed” and “strength” progressions and put them together expecting to see great results from each individual component. The training in the weight room must compliment the training on track/road/treadmill and it all needs to be integrated with skill training. Do all the elements of your training programs complement each other or are some aspects hindering progress?
The organization of training is a very complex subject matter and I know that I personally can’t answer all the questions concerning this topic. This is one of the reasons I’m looking forward to Landon Evans’ and Joel Jamieson’s presentations at the seminar this April because of their work within this method both in a team and private, 1-on-1 setting on a daily basis.
Matt Thome is an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Richmond working with Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Football, Swimming and Men’s and Women’s Basketball. Prior to him landing at the U of R Matt was a graduate student at Indiana University, where he received his Masters in Exercise Physiology. Matt is also heavily involved in the organization of the seminar as well as leading the staff on wild research hunts to help better improve the physical preparation of the athletes at Richmond.