like many of us busy coaches this time of year represents a time for reflection before we get back to it in January. I was looking over some of my notes for 2014 and lessons learned and I totally forgot I hadn’t posted on the blog the notes from the UKSCA conference!! So here it is!
If you’re a Strength & Conditioning coach then this is the must go to event. I have only missed one since the inaugural conference in 2004!! As ever there was an extensive line-up of International speakers with representation from UK, Australia and USA. There was also a record turn out of over 500 delegates over the 3 day programme. So I thought it would be appropriate to feedback a few of the key messages and applied methodologies presented at the workshops I attended or made notes on.
I have included below the thoughts of a friend and colleague of mine, Arran Peck, who fills us in on his key take home messages from Saturday’s speakers
Head of Physical Performance (British & Irish Lions)
Physical Preparation of Elite Rugby Players
- Improved performance normally exists where EVIDENCED BASED PRACTICE and PRACTICE BASED EVIDENCE meet
- It is imperative to stand by your principles, underpinned by your experience, understanding and information available
- Effective motor learning elicits far stronger and more effective transfer than mechanistic learning
Regional S&C Lead (English Institute of Sport)
Programming for & adaptation to Concurrent Training
- Modulate the TIMING, ORDER, FREQUENCY, DURATION and INTENSITY of sessions to minimise likely inhibition of adaptation
- Training for multiple qualities is ALWAYS going to increase total work load, the likelihood of system fatigue & reduce the rate or magnitude of gains
- Every time you step in the gym, there’s an energetic cost but not always an adaptation
Lead Physiotherapist (Welsh Rugby Union)
Integrating Injury Prevention & Athlete Preparation
- Research shows having your most effective players available more often & at key times increases likelihood of success…obviously!
- Identify most frequently occurring injuries, target the ones that are preventable, understand the mechanisms, profile who is in greatest need & develop management strategies
- Consider the COST : BENEFIT of ‘functional’ screening – consider workload, lifestyle, environmental and technical issues as more likely cause of injury
Director of Education (EXOS performance)
The Art of Coaching Meets the Science of Motor Learning
- Value of ‘Constraint based’ model of training – manipulate BODY, TASK and ENVIRONMENT to optimise development over time
- The benefits of CONTEXTUAL INTERFERENCE – but variability needs to be related to ability!!!
- Understand difference between IMPLICIT & EXPLICIT learning and that internal cueing often less effective than external cueing & sometimes less effective than no cueing at all!
APA Director Daz Drake comments on Day 1-
Adam Beard– I found this a great insight into use of monitoring to inform competitive readiness in Professional rugby. They used GPS and morning monitoring diaries extensively.
|GPS Match stats|
|High speed running (HSR)||500m|
|Maximum velocity (m/s)||8.5|
If a player was returning from injury they were able to use this to determine whether they were back to full fitness. Key thing- know your sport. I remember Dave Hamilton presented on GB Women’s Hockey in 2012 and 148 m/m was the norm for Hockey.
Adam also talked about the importance of being able to repeat high quality efforts. Hence greater use now of power endurance strongman circuits and speed endurance to top up the running volume. But these must be performed explosively.
Duncan French– this was a nice blend of theory and then application of concurrent training (strength with endurance training) with a case study of his programming for British Taekwondo.
Body transformation vs. Sports Performance
Duncan reminded us that it’s not about being a great generalist. It’s about training specifically. If you throw a lot of different training modalities together in a week or session (aka Crossfit) that will definitely be effective for stripping fat with the general population. But the down side of concurrent training could be chronic fatigue and most importantly, a drop in rate of force development (RFD).
Research shows us that doing strength training doesn’t seem to impair aerobic performance but doing aerobic work does impair strength performance
Cycling seems to have less negative effects on strength levels than running
Whenever you can separate a strength/power session DAY from an aerobic day do so IF your goal is to OPTIMISE strength/power indicators
Repeated sprints (30-100m) 2-4 times per week improve aerobic/anaerobic performance without causing decrements in RFD if programmed effectively.
Dr Craig Ransom– questioned practically of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). Movements are slow and work the end range- is this representative of what happens in sport? Even if the information is useful, can it be gathered and acted on quickly. You will probably need to do another screening to determine why the movement is inefficient.
Solution- a targeted musculo skeletal screening which dials down on the key target areas that are associated with injuries in the sport. Can also use Field based functional tests- for example, single leg elevated glute bridge for 25 reps. This replicates demands of the stress placed on the hamstrings at mid stance of running cycle during high speed running- a major source of injury in rugby.
Nick Winkelman– this was a whistle-stop tour of coaching science, stopping off at Dynamic Systems Theory (environment), constraint based learning (instruction) and internal and external cuing (feedback).
I always enjoy hearing from coaches who are interested in motor learning theory. Some coaches just focus on Newton’s laws and production of force, using those methods which we know work best such as heavy weight training. While I believe this has to be a large underpinning principle that respects the principle of progressive overload, I also believe elite performance is all about error elimination and decision making under pressure.
Remember: errors must become unstable for efficiency to emerge
Introduce uncertainty in skills- it leads to learning
Introduce variability in skills- it gives the body system a chance to experience the pattern you want it to discover.