Another great quote I have heard a million times in Strength & Conditioning circles is, “it is easy to make an athlete tired, it is very difficult to make an athlete better at their sport.” This is one axiom I base most of my methods and planning around because an athlete who is burned out and overtrained is not going to be any good at their sport, right?
In a similar vein to the “minimum effective dose” philosophy, it is important to consider the longevity of an athlete’s career when choosing the path to optimal athletic development. A handful of the athletes I have worked with can fill their training week easily with 12-15 different training sessions, and still have time for active recovery on weekends. This is not uncommon for a lot of athletes, however it does present challenges when looking at the longevity of their competitive careers - is this amount of physiological stress sustainable?
I have personally experienced and witnessed the effects of overtraining and adrenal/neural fatigue, and the consequent decline in performance, this is something I try to avoid at all costs these days. While there is a time to grind and push your athletes into PB territory, there is also the necessity to pull back on the reigns and focus on stimulation - not annihilation. The truth is that you simply cannot “redline” all of your athletes all year round.
I would like to encourage all coaches to investigate ways to further develop longevity in your athletes. While a lot of young fighters have the “bull at a gate” mentality - always wanting to do more - it is the role of a respectable coach to know when to hold the athlete back from doing themselves more harm than good. Having to pull out from a fight, or being beaten as a result of overtraining or injury can have devastating effects to young fighters financially, emotionally and developmentally.
One way you can help develop longevity into your athletes is to stretch the end goal out over a longer timeframe, essentially taking a longer term view of the master plan. Don’t grind the athletes unnecessarily, consider the risk-to-benefit relationship of what you are trying to achieve. Take into account the enormous amount of stress some of these fighters are under, and utilize long term planning.
If you are not aware of the Bioforce HRV system, then I strongly encourage you to check it out. The great Joel Jamieson and his team at 8weeksout.com have created an excellent, scientifically proven method for measuring the physiological/stress load that your athletes are under, which enables you as coach to accurately prescribe loading parameters for each session based on the athlete's stress levels.
My team and I have seen incredible results, and uncovered a wealth of information about our athletes using the powerful BioforceHRV system. It can be a very helpful tool for quantifying the ‘minimum effective dose’ and really planning to build longevity into your athletes’ careers. www.bioforcehrv.com
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