Don’t Get Caught in the Storm

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

All I wanted to do Saturday night was chill out and watch the Patriots do their thing, but I couldn’t make it more than 60 seconds without some pumped up weather dude interrupting the game. They found it necessary to again advise me to “make sure you have a gallon of water for every day you could be without power; make sure to have nonperishable food items on hand; make sure to have a flashlight, extra batteries, etc.” Damn those guys got annoying, constantly telling us to take some time to prepare, how to prepare and why we needed to prepare for little Ms. Irene. I was sitting there cursing those guys and thinking to myself that we probably wouldn’t even get another drop of rain out of this (kind of messed that one up!!). But sitting there on my couch I thought to myself, “If I wasn’t told to prepare and hadn’t taken the time to prepare, I may find myself in some deep water (yep, pun intended) come morning.”  It then came to me that a training program closely resembles the weather man (performance coach), the hurricane (training… training is tough but if proper makes us stronger) and the aftermath of the storm (training outcomes).

You Don't Want Your Training to End Up Like This

Just  like the weatherman who had analyzed and tracked the hurricane, and then advised an action plan for those who were in the path of the hurricane, a performance/strength and conditioning coach must analyze the athlete/client, track measures and progress, and continue to develop a quality program to ensure optimal outcomes. If the weatherman did not take the time to properly analyze and predict the path of the hurricane, and then advise those in its path on a strategic plan of preparation and subsequent action, the results of the hurricane could be devastating. If the performance coach does not take the time to properly screen an athlete/client and then develop a progressive program to address the individual’s needs and necessary preparations, the athlete/client will experience subpar results and even worse, will be at a greater risk for injury.  It takes proper preparation and progressive action to endure the storm, just as it takes proper preparation (movement efficiency work) and progressive programming (you can’t expect to squat 300 pounds before you can efficiently squat your body weight) to achieve optimal training results and prevent injury. The steps to a quality training program include:

1)      There must be an appropriate screening process in order to ensure that the individual is first and foremost moving correctly (using the Functional Movement Screen is a good start).

2)      From the results of the screen, the performance coach must provide individualized movement pattern work which should include necessary soft tissue/self-massage work (foam rolling for example), mobility/stability work and activation work. This “pre-work” is a necessity to allow for the most efficient gains in performance and to decrease injury risk.

3)      Once the movement pattern (“pre-work”) is addressed, athletes/clients should be advised and coached through functional movements (not sitting on machines) and should utilize body weight/low resistances until the movements are clean.

4)      When the client/athlete has proven that their movement patterns are correct, resistance can be added to the functional movements via free weights, weight vests, bands, chains, medicine balls, etc to further enhance performance parameters (strength, power, endurance, etc).

This is what happens when you skip steps and preparation…mom may not always be there

If one of these steps is not given adequate attention and time, or even worse completely skipped over, the athlete/client will not achieve the positive outcomes desired and many times will experience injuries that are sure to bring a screeching halt to training expectations. When proper movement is not addressed and initial preparation is disregarded, loaded/high intensity movements (i.e. lifting weights,  jumping, sprinting, etc) can be just like a devastating hurricane. When unprepared, the heavy winds and rain of a hurricane can leave you with a less than enjoyable experience. If you take the time to prepare for the storm, you will have more favorable outcomes. So to make sure you don’t get caught in the hurricane, listen to the weatherman’s advice and prepare… and if the weatherman doesn’t offer any advice, or simply tells you to just “weather the storm”, change the channel (yes, get a new coach).

Not sure if I would take his advice…anyway, don’t get caught unprepared!

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