I started a company
In June 2011 I officially registered as a limited company, hence the birth of ‘Athletic Performance Academy.’ I felt that by operating as a company I could offer my services to a larger sector of the market and expand out of Tennis BUT importantly I wanted retain the credibility and reputation I had earned personally from 13 years coaching.
I wanted to put together a philosophy for the company first because when you start employing other staff to represent your own company you need to be able to convey to other coaches how you want things done. So during the whole of 2010 and a large part of 2011 I was doing two projects:
1. Reading BLOGS of coaches I respected to get insights into how they run their facilities and organise their programmes- what are their philosophies?
I tend to read Alwyn Cosgrove, Pat Rigsby at the IYCA, Joe DeFranco, Eric Cressey, Mike Boyle, Nick Grantham, Vern Gambetta, Brendan Chaplin because these guys all have established facilities and/or public profiles. I don’t read as much as I would like to but I always make sure in my holiday time I have a quick catch up on the last few months of posts to see what they are talking about.
2. Designing a Player Development Model
Basically this is my interpretation of Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Windows of Opportunity. I wanted to articulate to my team what biomotor abilities need to be prioritised at certain stages in an athlete’s development and what kind of drills might be used and progressed to serve this purpose. I came up with 6 levels across the big 5 Biomotor Abilities (Suppleness, Skill, Strength, Speed, Stamina). Each level has a selection of drills that can be used as examples of how to develop that component.
I don’t believe in creating robot coaches who wheel out the same cookie cutter programmes every term. So to this end I don’t prescribe all the drills I want coaches to do. I only ask that they cover the relevant abilities and get the right blend appropriate to the athlete in front of them.
Of course, neither of these projects ever stop but I am now at a point where I feel I can give a new coach a great insight into all the different biomotors and where they all fit. Based on these projects I came up with a Coaching Mandate– a list of bullet points that articulates what APA coaching is all about.
Below are a selection from the Document: These are the Most important ones about the overall role of S&C and the role of the Coach.
Goal of S&C Training
Priority #1 Keep your athletes healthy so they can train consistently and get better at their sport
Priority #2 Build a ‘complete’ athlete fully capable of competing at their highest level without any limitations
Basically Priority 1 and 2 relates to reducing the risk of Injuries. Mike Boyle adds:
> Preventing injuries in the actual training process, and
> Reducing incidence of performance related injuries
Basically, we can’t afford to get anyone injured in the gym. There is an assumption of risk on the field so if someone gets hurt in a match, ‘well, it’s part of the game.’ But in the weight room then that’s our deal.
There is a difference between putting someone in a situation where you think they could get hurt (Sport) and then deliberately putting them in that situation and calling that training (trying to recreate the stresses of sport in the gym).
Priority #3 Integrate your inventions into an inter-disciplinary framework to serve the Overall Goal of Performance improvement in the Competitive Arena.
The sum of the parts is greater than the whole ― Aristotle
Suck it up coaches! Leave your Ego at home and remember that it’s only by all of the experts in the team working together to agree on a SHARED GOAL for the athlete that Performance Improvement will be realised. Success is an improvement on the sports field!!
> It’s not about the recipe it’s about the cook (delivery counts)
> Be a coach, not a trainer- act accordingly. Organise. Teach. Communicate. Inspire
> It’s not about the drill, it’s about the skill
I guess these are my top 3 things I look for in a coach. The Top two are DELIVERY ability (how do they deliver their knowledge- do they get their messages across) and linked to that specifically is their ability to INSPIRE. Then a close third is ability to actually TEACH something rather than just doing work!!