Our sixth exclusive lecture from The Community is from Wake Forest University’s Director of Athletic Performance, Ryan Horn. In this 62-minute presentation Ryan breaks down all the what’s, why’s, and how’s of the physical preparation of the Men’s Basketball team at WFU.

After a brief intro Coach Horn breaks down the pillars of his program. These 8 “pillars” are what drive the direction of everything he does with his student athletes. This leads directly to Ryan breaking down, piece by piece, what he looks at when designing the physical preparation programs for his student athletes. This includes specifics that may limit some of the objectives and directives he utilizes.

Next, he touches upon his evaluation that they utilize (referred to as “Risk Profile”) with their athletes to help provide the best training protocols that are most suitable for each individual athlete. This is not just a S and C thing but an evaluation done with both Coach Horn and their Sports Medicine Department. This brings him to a phase by phase (or in this case month by month) break down of how he trains the basketball team at Wake Forest. He breaks it down into the categories of: post season, May, June, July, and pre-season. Coach Horn shares, not only what they’re doing, but the reasoning behind it, where the ideas came from (as in who the influences are that helped him come to these training prescriptions), and how each phase progresses into each other. The breakdown of the program includes the speed work, jump training, throws, strength training, and ESD programming/goals of each of those phases.

This leads into a dissection of the actual training session. These “parts” are:

  • Warm-up: He breaks down what he looks at, how he handles it, and what the goals are of this aspect of the training session/practice including a little step by step walk through of 2 examples of warmups.
  • Sprints/speed work: How they go A-Z with their athletes with their acceleration and top end speed work.
  • Jump training: After they sprint, Coach Horn has his guys attack different ends of the force curve by using a variety of jumps. He shares with us why he adjusts the volume/intensity based on what his athlete’s do on the court on a regular basis in practice (which based on NCAA rules is a constant with basketball players) and how that impacts their planning.
  • Throws: Ryan gives examples and reasoning of what mean’s he’s selecting and the methods being utilized with each means.
  • COD work: this varies throughout the year with not only what the goal is but how large of an emphasis it holds, and Ryan shares the why’s to this.
  • Strength Training: Ryan discusses not just the methods, but the means/menu that he utilizes for each of his athletes.

Ryan ties those together with specific examples of training sessions with each block, what they were doing exercise wise, why these were selected, and how they tie into the actual goal of each training phase.

Coach Horn finishes out breaking down how he provides the individualization of training for each of his student athletes. This includes multiple examples looking at each aspect of their initial evaluation (his “Risk Profile”). This also includes some before and after measurements that have been seen due to this individualization.

If you’re looking for an A-Z example of all the particulars to a program, I couldn’t recommend you checking this talk out. Ryan breaks down each and every aspect of their program from the ground up with tremendous detail, and it’s a talk that I’m sure people will be driving some fantastic discussion.

We are hoping to provide the best possible content for strength coaches with each of our shows. If feel this could provide value for anyone else in the strength and conditioning field please feel free to share.

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