This past weekend I was a presenter at the COR Speed Strength Performance Seminar – hosted by Mike Doyle and Kim Tulane of COR Performance Training. It was a fabulous experience meeting with over 40 coaches and professionals in the sports performance industry. I co-presented with Charlie Francis and we covered all aspects of training, with an emphasis on speed development.
One of the ongoing themes throughout the seminar was the need to take whatever care necessary to ensure that your athletes continues to improve in a healthy, timely fashion. We touched on the importance of program design, quality execution of technique, management of volume and intensity and the ever-present need for active and passive recovery and regeneration methods. Something as simple as a quality warm-up and well managed stretching was covered in great depth. Sometimes doing less work – in the form of quality stretching – provides significantly more value added than doing more training. This is a very difficult concept for coaches (and athletes) to grasp, as they are always trying to fit more work into their finite training glass (taking a page out of Bruce Lee’s book on the futility of trying to over-fill a glass of water).
Additionally, the need to keep things simple was an important point made throughout the seminar. Adding more exercises, more equipment and more complex protocols may look sexy on the outside, but management of these ever increasing number of variables can be problematic. What is working for you and what is creating training interference? If you cannot adequately determine the key training inputs and separate them from the support inputs and the non-inputs, then you are destined to have problems along the way. In this way, less is more, and there is a lot to be said about taking a minimalist approach to coaching.
On the issue of running mechanics, we had the opportunity to work with a young football athlete preparing for his NFL Pro Day and the CFL testing combine while we were in Utah. We only had a few hours to work on his running mechanics for his 40 yard dash. We worked on simple concepts with regard to starting posture and acceleration technique. With only a few technical cues provided – mostly pertaining to head posture and arm carriage – we were able to enhance his starting and acceleration abilities significantly. The athlete is a 315lb offensive lineman, and we were making his 20 yard dash look fluid and easy. His acceleration improved to the point where it took him 30 yards to decelerate from a 20 yard acceleration. Imagine if we had a few weeks to work with him.
These types of experiences encourage me to keep pushing ahead on the mission of RunningMechanics.com – to get the word out on proper running mechanics and speed development. Good running mechanics is just that – good, efficient running. I come across so many different opinions on how to run fast and what kind of technique to use. But, the more I work with athletes, the more I find out that the simple solutions provide the most bang for your buck and the most staying power. We live in a world where style is all to often rewarded more than substance. When it comes to achieving results for your athletes, substance will always get the job done.