Physical Preparation: What does it mean?
If you have been following End Line Training Systems you have probably heard the term Physical Preparation or Physical Preparation Coach by now but might not be sure what it means. The term is growing in the field and more and more coaches are going away from calling themselves trainers, performance coaches and strength and conditioning coaches. The reasoning is two-fold, one to get away from the current infiltration of coaches who classify themselves as strength and conditioning coaches and secondly, to give a better description of what they are trying to accomplish with their athletes. When an athlete goes looking for a coach to take their game to the next level they don’t want just to just get stronger or just having better conditioning. What an athlete wants is to prepare themselves physically for the demands of their sports. Well, most athletes wouldn’t say it like that but here is what most athletes need in order to succeed:
5. Body Control
8. Proprioceptive awareness
9. Mental toughness
10. Proper Nutrition
11. Sporting Skills
12. Work Capacity
13. Sports Specific Conditioning
14. Tissue Quality
15. Injury Prevention
These are the qualities that will help athletes be ready for the demands of their sport. This is not to say that some strength and conditioning coaches don’t develop all of these qualities but in most cases your standard strength and conditioning coach is not taking into account all of these qualities when training athletes. The physical preparation coach wants to let athletes know that there is more to what they can provide than just strength and conditioning. This is just like how strength and conditioning coaches don’t like being called a personal trainer.
The real truth of the matter is that most coaches aren’t actually preparing athletes for the demands of their sport irregardless of the job title they are claiming. The programs that coaches are adhering towards are not based on scientific principles but rather empirical evidence from a small sample size (this is the “This is what I did so that’s what I’ll have you guys do” approach). It is really hard to even begin to pick apart the problems with the methodologies because for 1: most athletes don’t realize that their current system has major flaws and 2; because the methods people use are vast. The reason why most athletes don’t realize that their program is not correct is because it works. Hold with because we are opening up a big can of worms here. As crazy as it sounds, everything works until it stops working. But what works and what is optimal isn’t always the same. The real reason why everything works is because most athletes go to a trainer with a low level of physical preparation (think of all the numbered qualities mentioned above). When you start at the bottom you can get a rise in performance very easy and that is why so many methods are around. Coaches fail to understand this fact and think, “Well this is what we have always done and it has always worked so why change it?” A very hard truth to swallow is that the most optimal way of development, early on, might not prove any greater gains in the short term BUT it will prove greater results in the long run.
Building a Foundation
When an engineer designs a building he must ensure a proper foundation before anything can move on upward. If the foundation is not perfect than the building will continue to have more and more issues the higher it goes up until you can’t build any higher (injury/plateau).
Hopefully we can start to get a picture as to why the methods at the early stages of development are important now. The problem is that like laying the foundation, the methods of proper physical preparation may be boring and meticulous. Some might say these methods aren’t very fun but you know what is fun? Winning, results, being better than your competition and not sitting on the sideline; this is what is truly fun and rewarding.
When thinking about athletic development we need to think about the demands of the sport and program around those needs.