Performance training is a means to an end for most every athlete that walks through our door. That statement is sometimes difficult for sport performance coaches to always remember. Yes, athletes come to our facilities to get bigger, faster and stronger, but for the sole purpose of performing better at their sport.
When we write sport performance training programs we must keep in mind that the goal is for each athlete to be the best they can be at their sport, which in the majority of cases is not powerlifting or weightlifting. As coaches we sometimes fall in love with exercises and do not appreciate what we are really using a certain exercise for. We should always be able to explain why we are programming a certain exercise at a certain time during the season and how that applies to the athlete being better at their sport.
Whether training helps them make the high school team or gives them a shot at a college scholarship, as a coach you have to ask yourself what is going to help this particular athlete the most at their development and in their sport season.
When an athlete’s main objective is to get fast we still know that strength is a huge component to that end, but actual speed work needs to be focused on. How fast are you going to get if you never sprint? The answer should not blow you away. You will not get very fast if the whole session is only focused on strength development year round.
The athlete’s yearly template will dictate how much speed work is included in the program. For example, speed development will not be a huge focus for a baseball player a few weeks after the season ends, but it will be for a soccer player that is a few weeks out from starting their season.
There always has to be a focus on what the athlete needs, not what the coach enjoys coaching. Every coach has biases, but the best coaches can put that bias aside for the betterment of their athletes. Not only will this show on the field of play it will keep athletes coming back for more training. That is a win, win for everyone.