With the introduction of Natalia Verkhoshansky as a presenter at the 2012 Seminar, I think that it is a great time to talk about a book that she had a great part in producing. That, of course, would be “Special Strength Training Manual for Coaches.” I can honestly say that this book might be number one on my list of must reads for anyone in the field of physical preparation. I’m not going to divulge in great depth today because well, I’m not going to give you the cliff notes. What I am going to do is tell you what, in my mind, was a key point brought up in the manual that I feel a lot of coaches need to take into consideration. Coaches attend seminars, clinics, call their buddies and always talk about, “what they are doing” with other coaches. While I do believe there is a huge amount of merit to this, I think many coaches are missing a key part of the puzzle. That is, how do you implement it, and how do you build into and out of the idea.
Keep in mind that all training means can have a positive effect on performance (albeit some will have a more profound effect than others) and different models of periodization are extremely useful (again, some are more beneficial than others based on the level of preparation of the athlete). What should occur with all phases of training and all means selected (if they change) is a need to be phased in and out, not just traded with one another. Although this is a pretty simple idea, I found it to be absolutely brilliant. I mean think about it this way: everyone out there wants to know “what does he/she do for this and how do they progress it.” Well if you have a progression, and that progression builds one exercise upon another, as it should, then one can assume that the techniques being used should contribute to the success of the next, right? Ok, so if that’s the case (exercise A is the precursor to exercise B) then why, once you have a solid handle on exercise A, would you stop doing it and just move on to exercise B? Wouldn’t you want to continue to perform the mastered exercise while you are working in the more advanced means of training to ensure that you understand what your athletes are doing and they understand what they’re doing. Your athletes will understand the connection and still continue utilizing the lesser means as a training stimulus while they master the more advanced stimulus. Although it may drag the learning curve on slightly, I feel that this could truly be a way to improve the ability to master techniques used in the physical preparation of athletes. Additionally, in my opinion, this could be the tie in for just about every aspect of training. It just makes sense. If you implement corrective exercises and/or the FMS, wouldn’t this be a fantastic way to make sure that the athlete’s you’re working with actually do start to do better? Now, I’m not going to say that I have all the answers, but one way I feel that this could be done would be to have a number of sets that you are working up to. For today, let’s just say it’s 3. You work your way up in the foundational means, and then decrease the number of sets while you increase the volume of the slightly more aggressive means. It could look like the following:
Exercises Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Exercise A 1 Set 2 Sets 3 Sets 2 Sets 1 Set
Exercise B 1 Set 2 Sets 3 Sets
To me it just makes sense. Wean them off the lesser means while increasing the volume of the more intensive. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Now, I understand that this will not work for everything, but for movement training, jump training, changing the emphasis of the training to a new cycle, corrective means and learning a new skill this pattern just seems to look right to me. This is just one of many brilliant concepts illustrated in this manual that have made me a better coach. I highly recommend you get over to Ultimate Athlete Concepts today and grab a copy for yourself if you do not have one yet.