Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Speed and Power DOGMA Part I

How many times have you been through a long grueling practice, only to end with CONDITIONING?
"Use caution, FAST Athletes CROSSING!"

Why, in off-season training, are coaches putting their athletes (involved in speed and power sports) through endless intervals, repeats, "gassers, etc. ? "Come on, If you ain't puking, you ain't trying!!"

Some typical answers:
-"We need to be in shape for the season"
-"It'll make us mentally tough"
-"We gotta build a BASE "

LOOK, I'm all for the occasional training session that will push an athlete to aerobic and anaerobic capacity, but they have their time and place! Not day in, day out, especially in the OFF-SEASON.

*Note: Don't get me wrong, the sessions that absolutely TAX the HELL out of you, can and WILL make you mentally tough, get you in kick ass shape, etc but I feel that the further away one is from the competitive season, the less this type of work should be done.

In my humble opinion, any mature athlete that is in off-season mode should be focusing on:
-SPEED in linear and non-linear planes
-Body composition
-Basic, GENERAL fitness

Now there is more than 1 way to skin a cat here. You can go with basic Linear Periodization, Conjugate periodization, etc etc. The list goes on. BUT THE PRINCIPLES REMAIN. If an athlete is to seek their maximum potential in speed and power gains, what is the answer?

Read Part II of this discussion when I focus on WHY speed should hold priority over conditioning in early preparation, sample weekly set-ups, and the pros and cons of different off-season training methods for TEAM SPORTS that are heavily influenced on SPEED and POWER (hint: most, if not ALL, are!).

As the old adage goes, SPEED KILLS! The faster, stronger, powerful athlete will usually DOMINATE a slower, weaker opponent. Leave that food for thought. Until next time..

-John Cortese

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