Brendan’s Blog: 8 Points for a Better Performance Programme
Over the last 13 years of coaching athletes at many different levels of performance there are some trends that great programmes exhibit. I wanted to share a few of these almost ‘golden rules’ to consider when it comes to programming for performance. This is not just for athletes, rather these are principles that will improve pretty much any programme for any individual (in my humble opinion of course!)
1. Quality VS Quantity: Less is more, don’t pad your programme out with unnecessary volume and sessions that really don’t add anything to your game. Think about doing less to get more. Why do 8 sets when 5 will do the job nicely.
2. If you add something in generally you need to take something out: This links in with the first point nicely. If you are training hard in a finely balanced programme you need to take a session out before you add a session in to avoid overtraining/long term burnout.
3. Prioritise Recovery: Level 1 is getting 8-10 hours sleep a day, quality nutrition and a good warm-up and cool down post training. Level 2 is your active recovery, foam rolling etc and Level 3 is your more advanced methods of recovery such as ice baths, compression clothing etc. Here’s a tip, don’t think about level 2 or 3 until you’ve got level 1 sorted!
4. You can’t train when you’re injured: Do your injury preventative work which includes stretching, core training, mobility, and most importantly specific work that should improve your movement, and address any imbalances you have as an athlete.
5. Develop a high level of strength: Clearly a key priority and a goal of any strength and conditioning programme. Work towards towards a 1.5x bodyweight back squat, 1.3x BW press and pullup amongst other strengths that need to be developed. This doesn’t happen overnight it takes commitment and dedication.
6. Think long term: Don’t just think of your next month or competition, think about this next year as a medium term plan, and the next 3-5 years as a long term plan. This way you can set goals for your sports technical and physical development and make plans to achieve them. The same for your strength and conditioning.
7. Joined up approach to training: Do you work with multiple coaches? What about physio’s? Do they all know what each other is doing and the plans for development of the client or athlete? It’s your job to link them up and make that clear. As a strength and conditioning coach I need to know what the sports technical goals are as it will affect the programme I put in place.
8. Get the basics right: The best way to conserve energy and have great endurance in sports is by having excellent technique. Commit to making it excellent. Speaking as a martial artist for a second, efficient technique means you use less energy to execute movements and you will execute your technique on better opponents with this improvement. The same goes for your S&C. Do you have great mobility so you can get into deep squat positions, lunge perfectly, press and pull with efficient and controlled shoulder movement? If not you need to work to get excellent technique in the basic movements in the gym. In doing this you become more loadable which means it’s far easier to develop high levels of strength, power and rounded athletisicm.
All the best,