When building a house it may be specified that a wall carrying heavy loads may need a wider or deeper foundation. In many ways when we seek to develop strong athletes who want to improve their current physical capabilities we must take a similar approach.
Training at any level in any sport must carry a purpose. You need a road map that is going to chart your progress from location A to location B. Players and coaches alike need to be accountable, patient and clear in their intentions.
So back to those foundations. When a team or individual player enter into a specific strength and conditioning block it is crucial that this is phased in a proper coordinated structure.
Thankfully in the modern era young people have access to copious amounts of information on line in the form of respected coaches providing good content on a daily basis.
The biggest issue is probably not over consuming all this content and stripping it down to what is really applicable to you.
So if you have identified that you need to be a little quicker over 5 to 10 metres or that you would like to improve your single leg leap ability then these areas can all be individually researched at the click of a button.
You will notice that the highest performing club sides and indeed individuals are all extremely well conditioned, the increase in professionalism at club level over the past 10 years has driven our games to new levels.
In fact the pursuit of success in many cases is all consuming. Over the coming weeks when various championships are won you will hear of cases of heroic like sacrifices that panels and players have put themselves through in quest of scaling the mountain.
And behind most of these success stories will lie a long term plan, championships won are often the culmination of a body of work carried out over a matter of years.
This is measurable in relation to S&C.
Coaches: DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Everyone has a starting point, so record that starting point, then at junctures reference that starting point and acknowledge the progress of your individual or team.
In the majority of cases you will also find that both field coach and s&c coach will sync up so as to accommodate each others training blocks, certain periods in a season allow for different areas of emphasis, so as we are reaching the climax of the club season those teams involved at the business end will no doubt be urging the mantra quality over quantity in all that they do. Any S&C gym based work will be low in volume encouraging players to remain sharp, mostly low sets low reps power based activities.
Similarly on the field the need for the hard slog becomes vastly diminished. There is much more recovery time afforded to players between segments, session duration reduces and the emphasis on executing the basics really well will come into focus.
As coaches we fail our teams and players when we become short-term focussed. It is good to have short term goals, because they keep everyone on their toes, there is a new target to be hit and this keeps a panel energised. Ultimately though the best organisations in any sphere think long term, In relation to your club think:
-Long term player development
Through the platform afforded to me through this column I hope to provide some insights for the club player out there who wants to improve his GAA performance, and this is the crucial part.
An eight-week pre-Ibiza gym block and a measured long term cycle of conditioning aimed at improving athletic performance are two totally different things.
The road to consistent high level performance on field is a winding one, let the journey begin.
Peter Nugent is a strength and conditioning coach based in Armagh