Follow Up Friday with Jeff Moyer of DC Sports Training

In conjunction with The Podcast we bring you Follow Up Friday.  Each Follow Up Friday will answer the questions from the previous weeks edition of The Podcast.  In our 1st Follow Up Friday, Jeff Moyer of DC Sports Training and I answer the question “How / when do you know to transition into 14s and 8s?”  You can catch Episode 1 of The Podcast here if you haven’t already.

MoyerJM: It’s really based on a few things:

– What are the needs of the athlete?

– How much time do you have in the calendar year to work with the athletes?

– Where are they in the calendar year in relation to their sport(s)?

– How old are they (biologically / chronologically / training age)?

– Where do you feel they are progressing in their physical and technical development?

This isn’t necessarily easy to answer because this relies on the art of coaching, which is much more intuition based.  My easy answer to this would be do not change until the wheels have fallen off of whatever you are doing.   I have each athlete use a log and track each and every workout so we monitor progress. However, for me, our progress with the 20s -14s – 8s, is based on how improvement in our explosive work and how our specialized work is looking / progressing.  I don’t care all that much about improvements in general work.

I have had athletes stay and progress for a long time (16 weeks) in the 20’s before I finally moved them into the 14s.  I have also had older high schoolers and college athletes use 20s for several weeks before moving them right into the 8s.  I have had athletes progress from 20s to 14s, and not ever had them do 8 reps of anything because I felt that general strength was no longer their issue.

For me, this is when it comes down to “what does the athlete need?”  If they need “more strength” and their strength gains are starting to slow in improvement, you can do one of two things: progress them down, or just change up the exercise.

If the athlete needs more explosive / speed work, then halt the athlete where they are, and focus on bringing up the explosive / speed work.  For example: Instead of having them keep moving up in squat weight, have them stick with a weight for some time and have them try to move it faster and faster. Introduce explosive lunges in place of regular lunges.

If the athlete needs more technical development, then stay longer in the 20s.  If they need more SPP development, based off of their technique analysis, then use more SPP exercises with them.  Get into multiple sets of exercises (knee drives, paw backs, calf raises for example).

Sorry for difficult answer, but it really just DEPENDS.

logo-smallJD: The timing of change in the program is an art, one that I really haven’t mastered yet.  There are 3 different changes that occur throughout the program: intensity, means, and volume.

Intensity is changed in one of 2 times: when there is a change in volume (no duh right), and when it’s necessary.  If we look at a particular exercise and the athlete can complete AT LEAST 20 repetitions with good form and doesn’t look like they were about to pass out, they can increase the intensity the next session (add weight to a barbell or add height to an extensive box jump). This increase in intensity could also be a change in the methods by going from extensive to intensive jumps.

The actual means changing is one thing that I’m really not that great with to be completely honestly.  Most of the lifting exercises are general right?  So as soon as a kid looks like they are “stuck” at a weight, go ahead and change it.  I tend to hold on a little too long and give the kids a few too many tries to get past that sticking point, when in reality, as soon as they start to slow down we should just take the side raises and make them front raises.

Changing the volume is the real fun one.  We look at the time to change as 2 different things: 1) when their squat starts to get stuck or 2) when their measurable stops improving.  Typically you don’t have both happen at the same time, or at least I haven’t seen it, so when one or the other starts I just pull the trigger and cut to 14 (or 8 if we were in the 14’s).

With younger kids who you have the chance to work with for a really long time, I’d have to defer to Jeff on this, but that’s how we look at it here at the university.

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