As many of you have already figured out, I am a huge proponent of education both academic and professional upgrading. I am very fond of the integration of the pure science and the holistic approaches, however in the past I have not provided enough evidence based articles to back up the claims that I have learned through some of the course work I have attended. From now on I will aim to do just that, however the frequency of my posts may decrease as I aim to research the topics to a greater degree.
Another thing I am a total geek for is reading. Funny, I hated it as a kid, and read only when I needed to complete a book report. Magazines were more my thing, less time, and more than one long article. However my love for reading came in University when I started to read what I was interested in, and peaked with the meeting of Andrew Gustafson. I to this day admire the depth of Andrew’s knowledge and wide array of reading material. When I worked with Andrew, I would go into his office and see what new books he had in his library. Each week I went to work, my wife Pam was hoping that Andrew did not get any new books because she knew that the shift I worked would be spend at Chapters ordering new material.
I have just started a new book called “The Secrets of Soviet Strength Training by Dr. Michael Yessies. The Secrets of Soviet Sports Fitness and Training, published in 1987, tells the story of Soviet sports success in the Olympic Games and World championships. It describes the key factors of the Soviet system of training athletes — a system that is still unsurpassed by any country in the world — not even after the country was dismantled. I purchased an updated version of the text. In addition to the original, an addendum has been added to each chapter to bring it up to date with the advances that have been made since the first printing. More information from practicing Russian coaches as well as from the literature has been included. Also added are results from application of Russian methods by coaches who have incorporated one or more aspects of their system.
Reading the text, coupled with a conversation with a client and the fact that her son at 8years old plated 6 games in 7 nights though got me thinking back to an article that I read and summarized in graduate school. It was called “The Basis of Modern Training Process Periodization in High Performance Athletes for Year Preparation” by Vladimir Platonov. This article summarized the training a periodization of athletics, and our job in school was to summarize the “directions” into one or two sentences. Although this is directed at national and professional athletes there is a great amount we can learn from this and translate to the training and periodization for youth and recreational athletes/ weekend warriors.
Below are the summarized directions that may help you as you read the article.
The volume of training has increased 2 – 4 times since the 1960’ mainly due to the increase in commercial competitions. This increase in training volumes had a negative impact on the success of the individuals and/ or teams performance.
Early specialization of children for the hopes of producing the elite athletes has been detrimental to long term athlete development.
The number of competitions in a given year has risen which does not allow the athlete to peak at the major competition. They must perform at each competition to obtain points for standings. This may decrease the perceived “importance” of the main competition (e.g. Olympics)
Periodization of the training for an athlete must be set in such a way that it accounts for the athlete at the final stages of their career. This must include proper rest and health practices. Too long are athletes left “broken” at the end of a career. I will admit, I will try and train my final year veterans at the college for life after their given sport.
Early specialization has lead to a decrease in the general training that develops the structural tolerance of young athletes that improves their capabilities at later stages in their career.
Early specialization has changed the methods in which athletes are chosen for competitive teams/ events therefore changing the direction in which coaches have trained the athletes in the past.
The functional training for an athlete should be foreground to specialized training to ensure proper long term athlete development. However, my definition of functional is “It is the development of adaptive responses to an endurance or resistance stimulus and the ability to translate those responses in a physical response so that the body can move in synergy and produce a purposeful movement.”
The lack of fundamental training that is compromised for specialized training leads to an over reaching or fatigue response. Athletes are training too hard and too often to recover. I am going to point a finger at the constant high intensity training that is far too common in the profession today.
Training must be periodized in such a way that it balances the work to rest ratio. Training must include…
Mobility and Movement Preparation, Pre-habilitation/Corrective Exercise, Elasticity, Core Training, Strength Training, Metabolic Training and Regeneration
Planning and scheduling of competitions must be in a timely and logical order to ensure performance is peak and necessary adaptations take place prior to the event.
The coach/ physiologist must have a large “tool box” from which they can plan appropriate training.
Education and planning of proper progressions, fundamental movement patterns and regenerative techniques for the athlete is highly important in the prevention of injuries.
The methods of training and periodization for athletes of any age must be flexible as to be tailored to the needs of the athlete. Planning and periodization is not a ridged method.
The article by Platonov did a fantastic job of bringing to light some of the glaring issues that occur in many programs that are written for clients, athlete and the general public. Hopefully, this for a more careful view of your program to ensure that you are not falling into the directions pointed out in the article. I am now going to spend a bit of time researching some concurrent training articles, looking at the purpose of combining strength training and endurance training, as I believe that the perceived purpose of strength training for endurance athletes is not well understood.
Cheer and once again, your’s in Health and Performance,
Jeff Osadec, MKin CEP CSCS