It is always worth reflecting upon the past to gain insight into how things may go in the future. This is an annual ritual for many with New Year’s celebrations at the turn of the year. However, taking a historical look at trends in the world of sport can lend insight into what practices are trending towards in the coming year and beyond. In my realm of organization and management, there are many upcoming developments to be excited about and many to be wary of. Below are three areas of high performance here I see big developments on the horizon.
About Mike Bahn
Mike Bahn is the former strength and conditioning coordinator for US Ski and Snowboard as well as the NHL's Arizona Coyotes.
A key component of a successful high performance program is the ability to identify obstacles that are limiting performance and then implementing solutions to overcome (or avoid) those obstacles. Regardless if you are an operator (an athlete or coach for example), director or in management, all are searching for processes to improve performance in an ethical and measurable manner. When such obstacles are clear and the resulting payoff of overcoming those obstacles in substantial, targeting such “low hanging fruit” should be an immediate goal.
In the last year I have met with many organizations that are inquiring about what exactly a high performance program is. High performance models are not new to the world, but they are new to the professional sports scene in North American. The success of the Australian Olympic team through the 2000 Olympic Games was followed by the success of the British Olympic Team at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. This has led to a wave of interest in North American teams to create a better performance environment and find ways to give their organization an edge.
The goal of training is to get better; to choose methods that will transfer to results in your sport. In working with US Ski & Snowboard our staff was responsible for working with 10 different disciplines that had incredibly different physiological demands. Although each one might appear similar as they all take place on snow, when you dig deeper, the needs of each sport have unique differences that must be taken into account in training. Figuring out where those differences are and tailoring the training appropriately can be the difference between being on the podium or not.
Recovery has become a popular term that has sparked a deluge of equipment, technology and practices. So far, unfortunately, the research lags far behind the practice. This is not to discount the validity of some strategies or items in affecting the recovery process, but it does require us to take a much closer look at the overall processes and develop strategies accordingly.
The world of technology and science has had a massive impact on sports performance. Just take one quick look at modern surgical techniques, rehabilitation protocols, testing analysis and training monitoring to see how much things have changed compared to just a decade ago. It is very easy then to get swept up in the tidal wave of amazing tools that are being marketed to the masses as the missing element in a program that will take one’s performance to the next level. Some of these may have merit, but what is disturbing is how often factors that have a much greater influence get lost in that tidal wave.