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Integrating medicine ball training into the plan

This article was originally posted on High Performance West. Jonathan Marcus is building a great platform over there, so check it out.

In my article last week I looked at the unique advantages offered by medicine ball training and how to design exercises to get the most out of the dynamic training tool. But once you find the right exercises you also need to put then into a plan. Should medicine ball training complement the primary sport work you are doing? Should it contrast it? And how do we make sure it doesn’t counteract it? Finding the right plan is perhaps more important than finding the right exercises. Read more

GAINcast Episode 102: Reinvent yourself (with Danny Kerry)

When Great Britain’s field hockey team won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, coach Danny Kerry had a lot to be happy about. Over the course of the prior eight years his team had finished five spots higher. But it was Kerry himself who had perhaps an ever bigger transformation. He had changed from a tactical-obsessed coach ready to quit into a culture-focussed coach ready for more. On this episode of the GAINcast Kerry joins us to discuss how his coaching philosophy has evolved, and how he has put that philosophy into practice in terms of creating a team culture and better designing training sessions. Read more

Training – The Process

Training and preparing athletes for competition is a process. It is not a framework, model and definitely not an algorithm. Each athlete is a case study of one. There is no set formula for preparing the athlete, there are principles and guidelines, but the process demands coaching, being there with the athlete or team day by day, session by session to make adjustments and refinements to keep the training on track toward the ultimate goal. Read more

Vern Gambetta

Some Thoughts on Planning

Planning is the preparatory work the coach must do to structure training systematically in alignment with the themes and objectives of training and the athlete’s level of conditioning. The process is the result of the experience of the coach coupled with applicable sport science concepts. Jan Olbrecht, Belgian sport scientist, likens the training plan to a table of contents. It should be comprehensive, covering all aspects of the athlete’s performance. The training plan (Table of contents) should include: Read more

Practice Breaker – Lectures

6a00e5521cccd08834019b02973881970d-320wiStarting practice with a long lecture is a surefire way to ruin the training session. Coaches are good at talking and love to talk, but the start of practice is not the time and place. Recognize that the athletes are there to train, not to listen to a lecture. My rule of thumb is three minutes of talking that consists of very specific instructions pertaining to the training session. Read more

Practice Breaker – Lines

6a00e5521cccd08834019b028668d5970d-320wiPerhaps the most common practice breaker I see is lines. I was watching a soccer practice recently where 18 players were doing a shooting drill; there were two lines of nine with two balls. Do the math how many times did each player get to practice a shot in a five-minute period? Answer: not enough to be meaningful, not to mention the lack of instruction. Lets be clear lines are important for organization and efficiency, but learn to use lines to be effective. Read more

Practice Breaker – Laps

6a00e5521cccd08834019b026eb7cd970d-320wiHere are two of my favorites: “Let’s go – take two laps and then we will get started with training.” “If you miss this shot then you will have to run.” Think about it, you see this all the time at all levels of sport, talk about a practice killer! Practice time is precious; it is a daily opportunity to improve skill, tactics and sport specific fitness, and wasting time slogging laps to “warm-up” or extra sprints for punishment does not optimize the opportunity to improve. Read more

Practice Maker – Refinement

Refinement is fine tuning the practice after the basic technical model has been mastered. When that is robust then and only then should you think about attending to the finer points in a skill. Often we are in a hurry and try to do this too early in the process and the whole technical model erodes. Read more

Practice Maker – Repetition

Repetition is the mother of learning. We are what we repeatedly do. I doubt anyone would argue with those points. The task then becomes to carefully choose what we repeat. It is necessary to have a clear idea of the technical model you wish to achieve and a plan to achieve the desired technique. We know that practice makes permanent so repeating incorrect or flawed movements will ingrain the faults. Read more

Practice

The key to getting better is practice. Up to a point when an athlete is beginning their career virtually anything they do will make them better, in fact the more they do the better they get. Then there comes a point when practice must be guided and have a specific purpose. Read more