Behind every top athlete is a great S&C coach, though these coaches might create different programs and have individual equipment preferences, there are a few things they all have in common.
All their athletes follow programs
The quality of these programs can be what makes the difference between being just another Athlete and an Olympic winner.
So whether you’re a recreational athlete, or weekend warrior, the following program commonalities, when put to appropriate use, can help you take your performance to the next level.
Planning or programming (which includes periodization) is the foundation of any athletes training schedule.
- Programs are designed in cycles that allow the athlete to peak for their event
- This is done through varying training volume and load
- It's important that the athlete does not peak too early or late
For example, If an athlete was competing in the Olympics, the coach would ensure their program allowed them to peak at 4 years. A recreational athlete should follow similar principles, tapering down before an event.
When designing a program, it’s not as simple as picking exercises and doing them until competition time. The program needs to include phases with different goals.
The program would usually include
- Preparatory phase – this is then further broken down into micro phases such as strength, agility and sport specific training.
- Competitive phase – Which tries to keep an athlete at their peak for the duration of an event while avoiding injury and overtraining.
- Transition phase – Where the athlete recovers from the competitive phase while still training maintain their overall fitness.
A good coach selects their exercises carefully, not just following the latest fad. Exercises should be chosen and modified with the goal of improving specific sporting performance. The wrong exercises could reduce performance or worst-case lead to injury.
There are no secrets or special exercises that the top athletes are doing which you don’t know about, they are doing the same exercises as you and me. The only difference is a good coach with a good plan!
Carl Jan De Vries
Carl is the resident strength and conditioning coach at IFC, he has and is currently working with some of Singapore’s national athletes and top-level amateur competitors. If you’d like to find out more he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org