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Better Coaching

Posted by BridgeAthletic on Nov 3, 2018 10:15:19 AM

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Let's talk about your goals to always be better.

To start, let's talk about coaching at your best.

Positive coaching is a hot topic right now, and once again, one that relates back to communication.

The way you communicate with your athletes can build them up or break them down, maybe in ways you weren't even aware of.

Read more about positive coaching.

With more free time, you'll find more time to focus on your coaching. You can find the time to get coaching certifications such as ones through Exos.

Getting more certifications and learning different ways to approach exercises is just one channel that can be taken advantage on your path to better coaching.

Just taking time to understand what your staff or athletes need is another way that you can become a better coach. This can be as simple as sitting down and really learning about the technology you want your staff to be using.

Coach Webb believes that it's essential for coaches to understand the technology and data they are gathering so they can then communicate with the rest of their coaching staff, as well as their athletes.

By understanding what he was using technology for, he was better able to examine the behaviors of his athletes so he can more easily identify signs of overtraining. This has been a huge step for his staff to help their athletes avoid injury while training, thus a huge step towards coaching his athletes better. 

Read more tips from Coach Webb 

Never stop learning - continuing to research, read and ask questions are three easy ways to ensure you are always bettering yourself as a coach. Especially if you are coaching athletes from a variety of sports .

Pro tip: Go out to practices and watch how the athletes move- it can be extremely beneficial when they come into the training center because you understand what movements they are frequently doing.  

Understanding your athletes needs and being able to be adaptable is another way to better coach your athletes.

Becoming adaptable means being able to shift how you are coaching to better match the coaching an athlete needs. Flexible leadership will increase your communication and relationship with your athletes because you are putting their needs first.

This is a way to avoid disengagement in your athletes, if they don't respond well to your coaching style it can cause friction or lack of interest.

While both you and your athlete should attempt to find common ground for how to best work together - making the first step towards better communication can go a long way in harnessing your athlete's optimal performance.

Worried about player engagement? Read more about it. 

Evaluating Success
This is a hot topic in the strength and conditioning profession right now because so many different aspect can be attributed to success. We have a few suggestions that you can integrate into your system to measure success more effectively.
 
  1. Create basic strength development markers.
Has your squat increased? Yes, well now we have to add in another factor - how is your performance on the field or court looking? Does this increased squat performance equate to increased performance on the field?
 
      2. Look at the big picture. Has their performance on the field improved?
 
While there are other attributes to measure and consider, their overall performance can be a key indicator. Because at the end of the day that is what all of this work and training is for.
 
This is the same kind of philosophy that Tracy Axel, Manager of Sports Performance and Research at Sports Academy, applies when training any athlete - ranging from NFL combine athletes to youth athletes.
 
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Tracy suggests testing the metrics that matter most for each individual. While the 2 x 25 bench is the most debated standardized test of strength, it is one that needs to be tracked and practiced because it is what the NFL uses to evaluate combine athletes.
 
While, when assessing youth athletes, Tracy advises to focus on their training goals.
What movements are they weaker working through? How can we safely impact their progress more quickly?
 
Once, you understand the goal of an athlete or a team you can better decipher how to measure success.
 
Sport Academy uses force plates for tracking athlete movement progression. These tools provide insight across load distribution, power and weight transfer. While every athlete, team or organization will consider different metrics, be sure to leverage the new tools at your disposal effectively. If you're getting lost in data, take a step back and consider what's truly important for success.
 
Utilizing resources
 
Getting the athlete to take advantage of these resources they have available to them to better recover. At Texas A&M, the staff stresses the importance of active communication between the student athletes and the psychologist, dietitians, nutritionist - everyone they have accessible to them.
 
“We want athletes to see an actual person, so they understand they have a human to talk to and understand them, that they can look in the eye and connect with. So then we can make that connection later, and say,
 
'hey did you go talk to your team’s dietitian about recovery methods to be fully fueled?'
 
90% of the time, they’re like, “no, I didn’t think about that. I thought i’d just been working hard.” And it’s like “well, yeah, you’re working hard. We love that. But you can also recover hard. You can take care of yourself outside of your practices, and set yourself up for success.”
 
As we talked about earlier, the staff members such as the dietitian and nutritionist can be key assets to helping an athlete succeed and train/recover properly. Everything that is being worked on in the training center or practice time needs to be supported and backed up with the proper tools.
 
Research and Development
“If you can’t find the research to support it, that means you have to do it.” - Tracy Axel
 
Staying on top of evolving trends in your industry means doing your research. 
"Knowing how to find what's applicable and what matter in the day to day really matters when looking for research" - Tracy
 
A lot of research lately has been revolving around the introduction of technology into training and how to properly integrate Big Data. We cover this along with many other developments ranging from wearables to technology for refs and your training facility to 3-D motion captures.
 
Here is a little sneak peak...
 
Markerless Solutions: Are solutions using IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) sensors to capture precise movement patterns. These more advanced solutions are becoming more user-friendly as they allow you to gather information seamlessly. Performance Facilities will likely begin to adopt these sensors to provide more personalized programs and therefore greater value for athletes and clients.
 
For more info on how these spaces are adapting, check out this article from EXOS.
 
Connected equipment: Technology is now being integrated into the everyday equipment athletes need to play their game. True to the saying, "You manage what you can't measure," equipment companies are not leveling the playing field, but rather improving it by creating both a highly competitive advantage and an evolved sport culture with technology at its epicenter.
 
Examples of this trend:
 
Intrigued? Read more on tech development on our Sports Tech page.
 
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Topics: Coaching Tips