Divide And Conquer Approach To Athlete Development
In today’s society which is ruled by sports, many athletes and their families find themselves stretched between different sports, multiple teams, school, extra curriculer activities, etc. A lot of parents are confused on this concept and believe that as many games, tournaments, practices, training sessions, and sports in general that their child can be a part of is the way to help them become a successful athlete. However, this can cause kids to be burned out and cannot give 100% effort to all of their respective activites. If 100% effort cannot be given at a trianing session or practice, is it actually beneficial to that athlete to attend such a variety of events?
Doug Scott is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at The Pingry School in New Jersey, where every day he trains large groups of athletes with busy schedules and multiple sporting committments. The first step in making the most of this situation is open communication with all other coaches that are involved with each athlete, as well as athletic traininers, physical therepists, team docs, and parents. Communication is key to a successful team atmosphere, as is the understanding that sports professionals working with an athlete should be on the same page (i.e. all trying to help the child get better at what they do).
As a strength, Coach Scott also says that he relies on other coaches’ practices and training sessions to take care of aspects of training that may not be addressed in the weight room. For instance, conditioning and endurance work can be addressed at sport practice simply by running hard through every drill, always being ready for the next drill, maintaining a high tempo throughout practice, among other small details that are often ignored. If this is implemented at every practice and coached well, there is no need to hold extra conditioning sessions or spend time running sprints after practice, or waste time in the weight room doing conditioning work. If a skill or aspect of fitness can be addressed at one practice or training, there is no need to address it at another or hold extra sessions for it. Another example is to have teams stretch and foam roll during film sessions. Obviously the primary goal is focusing on the task at hand, but this is also a good time to knock out mobility sessions.
The best way to help a team be successful is for all coaches and leaders of a team to work together and share knowledge of ongoings within the team. The second step is for coaches to be smart and efficient wth the time they spend with athletes. Do not expect another coach to address things that you could during your time with a team. But also, make sure all coaches communicate what is being done so training sessions and practices are efficient and effective.
Finally, make sure that each athlete understands that it is his or her responsibility to give 100% effort at each aspect of their sport – whether lifting, running, sport practice or gameday. It may be cliche, but the classic saying “quality over quantity” is certainly applicaple to this situation. Less practices a week that are performed better and better each time will always be better than multiple sessions where athletes give less than their best effort.
Check out this short video from Coach Scott on what has worked for him with regard to training multi-sport athletes at the high school level below.
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