The subject of education for strength coaches can be a polarising one. On the one hand, you will find a bunch of coaches who are hungry to learn, grow, develop their knowledge and skill-set to become the very best they can at their craft. On the other hand you will find a bunch of less passionate individuals who, for one reason or another, don't see the value in continuing education and tend to rest on their laurels rather than invest in growing with the industry. I, for one, am part of the first group - learning and investing in my personal and professional development are among my highest values.
This week's topic is aimed at strength coaches, in particular those who may be part of the second group mentioned above.
To quote the great Mark Buckley, “If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing.” Another brilliant axiom to help navigate your career as a Strength & Conditioning coach. Specifically for the major lifts in strength training, I am talking about assessing your athletes to qualify them for the positional demands of the lifts you want to expose them to. This is one thing that will separate truly elite coaches from the rest of the pack.
The knowledge and expertise to effectively assess and qualify your athletes for major compound movements will take a significant investment of time and money in your education. This is a skill which is absolutely vital for the development, longevity and injury prevention of your athletes.
If you don’t have a screening or movement assessment process in your arsenal, I strongly suggest you invest in the education to help develop a system for your athletes. Poorly prescribed techniques and exercises due to not screening for functional and structural limitations is a recipe for injuring your athletes. So you must qualify the athlete for the positional demands of the lift or the technique you want to expose them to, based on the orthopaedic profile needed for that lift.
A practical example of a screening lift is the overhead squat. Because this is one of the most positionally demanding lifts you can expose an athlete to, it will uncover most of the structural and functional limitations you are likely to encounter. If your athlete meets the Orthopaedic profile and positional demands of the overhead squat, they will in all probability meet the demands of any traditional lift you want to expose them to.
To learn more about this stuff, I highly recommend investigating FMA strength training education. It is one of the most challenging and value-packed education pathways out there.
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