AW Coaching Chronicles, Week 2

Dear AW Geniuses,

We have officially logged two weeks in the books for team training, winter 2016. With so many athletes in our building at one time, our community (athletes, parents, coaches, and other professionals) often ask, “How can you possibly train your athletes with the proper personalized programming and coaching that is needed in order to be safe and effective?”As coaches at Athletes Warehouse, we never try to deceive; We are not trying to pull the quilt over anyone’s eye and say that team training is just as effective as individualized training. We will all tell you that a one on one training experience for our athletes would be vastly different than a team training atmosphere. However, we would also explain that there are distinct benefits to a team training atmosphere as well (i.e. cost reduction, competitiveness, team camaraderie, etc.).  While the more convenient and cost effective option may have some added benefits there is still a distinct difference among the experience of a one-on-one training session.  However, our team works tirelessly at try to combat combat the typical over generalized, militant style team training environments. Our main goals are to apply the common principles being utilized in the strength and conditioning industry as well as intertwine the world of research into every training session we have. Completing 100 burpees in an hour as a form of discipline does not accomplish either of those aforementioned goals. Thus, the topic of our second winter coaching chronicle is to explain how we effectively group teams in order for them to get the most out of their team training time at Athletes Warehouse.

Get organized

Organization is the key to being an effective professional in any field. It especially becomes   important when you begin training a large volume of athletes. Organization does not just ensure that we as coaches can properly track data but it also aids in injury prevention as well – making sure the environment and training protocol is safe for the athletes. Here are some tools we use to stay organized with our athletes.

Daily Meetings – Each day the group of coaches will meet at 1:30pm to discuss the current training plans for the day. We will debrief the staff on the teams renting our turf, small and large groups training in our building that day, the times that in and out traffic will be high, equipment that is needed, training areas being utilized, and which training sessions our junior coaches will be most useful on. This gets everyone on the same page and allows us to solve potential conflicts at 1:30pm opposed to at 6pm when our building is mayhem.

Team Grouping and Scheduling Sheets – The two sheets shown above are our lifelines for great organization. The scheduling sheet allows us to see which days the athletes from a particular team are coming in to train. The days in yellow are indicating our evaluation days and the days in gray are indicating when the team has requested time off for holidays, breaks, or competition. Our grouping sheet is great for adding athletes to their team within a team. The ‘A group’ is usually the group that is most comfortable in the weight room completing movements and possesses the least risk for injury. The ‘C group’ is on the opposite end of the spectrum where they are uncomfortable completing exercises in the weight room, are at a high risk of injury or possess a current injury themselves. Group B is combination of the athletes who fall somewhere in the middle. Notice that whether or not an athlete landed in group A, B, or C had zero to do with talent or athletic ability in their specific sport. Instead, it was merely predicated on how we would begin to program for the vast array of athletes we experience within a team. This initial grouping is predicted based on the athletes maturity, comfortability in the weight-room, leadership, and concentration/attention capabilities.  Due to the fact that many athletes excel at different movements, ideals, and constructs, these groups are forever changing as an athlete who has started in Group A for squatting may actually be in C for a hinge day simply because they can not grasp that skill quite yet.

Awareness of Attendance

Anytime you want to plan for anything in advance, it helps to know what you’re going up against. Fortunately for us at Athletes Warehouse, our team in comprised of some awesome members that are able to immerse themselves in conversations with our team coaches and players. The continuous emails and phone calls can be a lot of work but it brings us one step closer to being the most prepared facility we can be. During our team meeting we as coaches will get a rundown from our scheduling coordinator and Assistant Managers, Claire and Ryan, as to how many people will be in attendance that day for each group and team. This way, we know if we are preparing for a team of 20 or group of seven, how many coaches need to be assigned to the team and if extra help is needed on that team from our junior coaches.

Take great notes

During the initial evaluation process, it is imperative to utilize this time as effectively as possible. If we can take detail oriented notes during this time we will have one more source of information that can be used to write that athlete’s program. Information on injuries, movement patterns, discomfort, tightness, and growth are just a few examples of what might be added to the notes section when evaluating an athlete. For example: During the warm up we may have noticed an inability for a few athletes to take off an land without their knees crashing. Additionally, these same athletes experienced difficulty completing the glute bridge exercise and felt extreme discomfort during a hip flexor stretch. These simple three snit-bets of information will lead us to group these athletes together as their prehab protocols will probably be extremely similar.

Grouping of the Athletes while Writing the Program

I think the best way to explain a typical grouped programming day is to show you one.

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Cassie comes to Athletes Warehouse after winning a National Championship for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide Softball team and completing her Masters where she focused on the biomechanics of the female athlete softball swing. She serves as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Softball Coach, and Director of Research and Development ensuring that she is pouring her passion for knowledge and overall athletic development into those she has the opportunity to work with. She is a published author of the book, Finished It - A Team's Journey to Winning it All; where she highlights the triumphs and tribulations of the 2012 Women's College World Series.

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About the author

Cassie comes to Athletes Warehouse after winning a National Championship for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide Softball team and completing her Masters where she focused on the biomechanics of the female athlete softball swing. She serves as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Softball Coach, and Director of Research and Development ensuring that she is pouring her passion for knowledge and overall athletic development into those she has the opportunity to work with. She is a published author of the book, Finished It - A Team's Journey to Winning it All; where she highlights the triumphs and tribulations of the 2012 Women's College World Series.

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