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S&C Internship – EPP @ St. Peter’s High School

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Strength and Conditioning Internship – EPP St. Peter’s R.C. High School

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Role Description

Purpose: To support the strength and Conditioning coach and other members of the sports department with the delivery of the Elite Performance Pathway, a school based Long Term Athlete Development programme at St. Peter’s R.C. High School and Sixth Form Centre in Gloucester.

This is voluntary unpaid position

Responsible to: James Baker – Strength and Conditioning / Stuart Crabb – Head of PE

Duration: Until the end of the 2016-2017 academic year

The internship will provide you with:

  • Hands on coaching experience operating within S&C in a multisport environment
  • Knowledge within S&C principles to assist in obtaining a job
  • CPD including in-house workshops and networking opportunities.
  • Mentorship through UKSCA accreditation
  • Experience/knowledge of how to implement S&C in a school setting
  • Opportunity for research for dissertation/thesis.

General Responsibilities:

    • Improve athletic performance through the programming and delivery of athletic development sessions.
    • Test, monitor and review of pupils competing in a variety of sports during in season
    • Assist in the design and delivery of year round training programmes for individual athletes
    • Undertake a variety of projects including research to maintain consistent progression throughout the internship.
    • Assist in the delivery of S&C sessions during school hours and after school sessions for athletes across different sports with a view to eventually leading your own sessions.
    • Promote the safeguarding and welfare of children with whom you come into contact.
    • Maintain regular consistent and professional attendance, punctuality, personal appearance, and adherence to relevant Health & Safety procedures.
    • Pursue personal development of skills and knowledge necessary for the effective performance of the role.
    • Develop and maintain a good working relationship with the staff, pupils and other guests.
    • Carry out any other duties which may reasonably be requested of you by the Head of PE.

The ideal candidate will possess:

      • Coaching experience preferably within S&C and/or with youth athletes
      • Graduate qualifications in Sports Science, Strength and Conditioning (or working towards these) and/or REPS Level 3 Personal Training Qualifications.
      • Good knowledge of S&C principles including speed/agility/Olympic lifting
      • Comfortable in a team sport environment, controlling and disciplining large groups.
      • Excellent ability to communicate with, and develop, young people
      • Willingness to learn and develop as an S&C coach
      • Desire to complete UKSCA accreditation
      • Computer literacy, including MS office, especially Excel

DUE TO THE AGE GROUPS YOU WILL WORK WITH, YOU MUST HAVE/OBTAIN A DBS CERTIFICATE & COMPLETE THE SCHOOL SAFEGUARDING TRAINING IN ORDER TO BE APPOINTED IN THE POST.

To apply: Please download the application form: S&C Internship Application Form and send it with a covering letter explaining why you think you are suitable for the post to James Baker on – jbaker@sphs.uk.com

Start date: September 2016 (some CPD sessions in July 2016, if you are available)

Closing date for applications: 30th June 2016

Interviews: 4th July 2016

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FREE Pre-Conference Workshop: Velocity Based Training with Dr. Mike Young

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Well just in case two days of learning from leaders in the field of strength and conditioning at our Child To Champion LTAD Conference wasn’t enough we’ve just confirmed an AWESOME pre-conference workshop on Velocity Based Training with Dr. Mike Young on Friday 8th April between 6pm-8pm.

Mike has adopted Velocity Based Training technology at his facility in the US (www.athleticlab.com) so he can share with you his experiences on how to get the most out the technology we now have at our disposal.

The session will provide a unique opportunity to work with Mike in both a theory and hands-on practical setting where you will get to use VBT technology which will allow you to gain a deeper appreciation of how to effectively apply and use it with your athletes and teams.

Access to the pre-conference workshop is FREE to conference attendees, to take advantage of this exclusive offer you can check out the full line up and sign up here!

Nick Grantham Workshops – Metabolic Conditioning

Nick Grantham Metabolic Conditioning

Nick Grantham Workshops:
Physical Preparation for Performance
21st Feb 2014

>>BOOK NOW<<

Today we are looking at what you can expect from each session during the Nick Grantham workshops in February

Session 3: Metabolic Conditioning – Modern Energy System Development

Get ready to shift your paradigm and embrace a more effective approach to metabolic conditioning. Discover why traditional periodisation may not be the most effective approach and how doing a complete 180 degree shift in thinking could boost performance.

Learn how to develop metabolic conditioning sessions using a variety of training modalities, including resistance training and HIIT training. Find out how to use density, pyramid and timed sets to maximise each training session and how to develop programmes to specifically target peripheral and central adaptations and deliver the results your clients are chasing.

A limited number of spaces are available at the Early Bird Price of £75 or get the weekend bundle including the 0.5 day Speed Clinic for only £100.

>>BOOK NOW<<

Olympic Lifting Workshop @ Trimnasium Fitness Centre 19/01/2013

Yesterday was the second workshop in conjunction with Trimnasium Fitness Centre in Cheltenham and it was a real success again.

The group were superb in terms of their work ethic and desire to learn and there was good progress shown by everyone in the group. This particular workshop was focused on the Clean and Jerk and the first work shop before Christmas was for the Snatch.

The Olympic Lifts are a tremendous tool in an athlete’s tool box for the development of explosive power. So if you have time on your side it’s a worthwhile investment of your time to learn them.

The primary goal of the workshops is to improve the athletes understanding of the correct technique & their ability to execute a safe and effective lift.

Both lifts are very technical compared to the majority of exercises you see being performed in the gym and my advice for anyone wanting to get in to it would be to seek out a good coach to get you started. To demonstrate the technical nature here are the phases of the Clean & Jerk:

1)      Start Position

2)      1st Pull

3)      Transition Phase

4)      2nd Pull

5)      Catch

6)      Front Squat to Standing

7)      Split Jerk

If there are phases in that list you’ve not heard of there’s a good chance you’re missing something in your lift and you could be putting yourself at risk of injury.

As a coach there are a couple of things I’m looking for before I start anyone on the Olympic Lifts.

1)      For the Clean – Can you Front Squat with excellent technique?

2)      For the Snatch – Can you Overhead Squat with excellent technique? (i.e. full depth squat, able to maintain neutral spine and bar above the crown of the head)

If you can’t do either of those, in my eyes, the full Snatch or Clean & Jerk aren’t for you yet. You need to be able to execute the Front & Overhead Squats well as they are the positions you will be catching the bar in during the lifts.

If you’re good at those lifts under load, you can be sure you’ve got the strength and stability to catch effectively in the lifts.

We’ve been lucky that both groups that have joined us at Trimnasium have been good squatters so we’ve been able to get into some Olympic lifting.

Throughout the workshop we have coached the proper execution of the individual phases of the lifts & then linked the different phases of the lift together as the athletes demonstrate technical competence.

It was great to see by the end of the session that we had some of the guys executing full lifts with good technique. Whilst other guys in the group still needed to work on some other aspects before they could progress, the main thing was that everyone left with a clear idea of where they were at currently, what exercises they could do safely and what they needed to do to improve!

If you’re keen to involved on the next workshop keep an eye on our Workshops page, check out Trimnasium Fitness Centre on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @proformanceteam

Semi-Private Training Packages are launched!

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We are very excited to have launched our new Semi-Private Training Packages offering high quality personal training on a small group basis (max 3-4 people per group).

By training in small groups we can give you a lot more training for the same price of your normal 1 to 1 personal training sessions which will give you better results! For the same price as 4 x 1 to1 PT sessions and your monthly gym membership we are offering 3 Semi-Private coaching sessions per week, that’s 12 coach led sessions per month!

For more info about Semi-Private Training check out the 3 new monthly package options on offer!

Wall Drills to improve acceleration technique

This is one of the most simple yet effective tools for coaching the correct position for acceleration and to begin getting strength gains made in the gym to transfer to actual movements.

The focus should be on quality execution of single repetitions to begin with and then you can to progress to executing ‘doubles’ & ‘triples’ when you are able to maintain the technique.

Start by using 2-3 sets of 8 single repetitions (4 on each leg) and take about 90-120 seconds between sets. I often use it at the end of a Movement Preparation sequence before heading into the main body of a session.

Strength Training: A Periodization Model

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Strength Training: A Periodization Model

As a coach one of the common things I hear when I’m talking to people about their strength training is that they’re banging away just trying to go heavier and heavier week on week.

Training in this way may get you results up to a point, but you’re going to hit a plateau at some point. In addition, if you’re always lifting at a 100% repetition max (RM) load (i.e. that maximum load you can lift for a given number of reps) you are constantly subjecting your body to a high level of stress that will result in a lot of fatigue & may in the long term result in over training.

The fact is you don’t have to max out every session to get stronger.

A system I have used with a lot of clients/athletes over the years is a step loading system varying loads across a training cycle between 80-105% of a rep max load. The loading pattern that has worked consistently for me is 80% – 90% – 95% – 105% then the pattern repeats itself.

Strength Training Periodization

With this system you lift “very heavy” (105% RM) once every 4 weeks and that week is followed by a recovery week of 80% RM to allow for supercompensation (see previous article on recovery for an explanation of this process) because the unloading gives your body an opportunity to recover. The process then repeats itself building the loads back up over the next few weeks from 80-90-95% to another 105% load.

In case that doesn’t make sense here’s an example programme to make it clearer:

Ex programme strength

Taking the example of the Back Squat – at the start of the cycle Client A is able to squat 100kg for 5 reps. Employing the above loading system for the next 4 weeks he squats as follows:

Week 1: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 80kg

Week 2: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 90kg

Week 3: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 95kg

Week 4: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 105kg

 

Having completed week 4 with a new 5RM of 105kg the next 4 weeks % RM loads are calculated from this new PB.

So based on 105kg 5RM the loads for the Back Squat for the second 4 week cycle would be:

Week 5: 4 x 5 reps @ 84kg (80%)

Week 6: 4 x 5 reps @ 94.5kg (90%)

Week 7: 4 x 5 reps @ 99.75kg (95%)

Week 8: 4 x 5 @ 110kg (105%)

 

Now this certainly isn’t the only way to get strong and there are lots of variations to the sets, reps and variations to %RM that you can utilise, but this system has produced consistent strength gains for me as a coach and reported improvements in the athlete’s physical and mental freshness/preparedness for their training after the carefully planned recovery weeks.

Learn more about Periodization and Programme Design with Nick Grantham at his Physical Preparation for Performance & Speed Workshops 21st & 22nd February 2015. Nick will be covering 5 major areas: Programme Design, Core Training Concepts, Metabolic Mayham: A Modern Approach to Energy System Development, the Art & Science of Coaching and Speed, Agility and Change of Direction. For more information & to take advantage of the incredible Early Bird Discount Bundle >>CLICK HERE<< 

The Importance of Recovery

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Having been working with junior athletes between the ages of 11-18 for the last few years one of the major areas that is a concern for me is what opportunity, if any, do they have to recover within their weekly schedule? Do parents, school teachers and club coaches have any idea of the total work the young athletes are completing in any given week? What are the implications of their training schedules to the athlete’s long term development and their health?

What is recovery?

Recovery is a process resulting in a return to baseline energy levels and then an optimal performance state.

Understanding the process of recovery

Crucial to understanding the importance of recovery is understanding the process that the body goes through as a result of exercise/training/competing. The body is always striving to maintain homeostatis (balance) of the bodily systems so it will constantly adapt to stresses that we place on it. In the context of sport, stress comes in the form of training for and competing in that sport. Training is a manipulation of stress to bring about desired changes in the body as it strives to cope with the stress and achieve balance again. In training terms this is known as Supercompensation (Gambetta, 2007)

The diagram below (Figure 1.4 source: Zatsiorsky, 1995) is the theory of Supercompensation which is a four step process. The horizontal line is the athlete’s baseline level of fitness/preparedness. The vertical axis and curved line represents the changes in the athlete’s fitness/preparedness as a result of any workout.

Supercompensation

Stage 1 – Application of training (stress)

When any form of training or sport is completed by an athlete this stress is followed by a depletion of the body’s energy stores creating a state of fatigue demonstrated in the first section of figure 1.4. At the lowest point if the athlete were to attempt to perform in their sport there would be a predictable drop off in the level of their performance.

Stage 2 – The Recovery Phase

When the athlete is given a suitable period of recovery which could be in the form of active rest, a recovery session or a light training session. The athlete’s energy levels and preparedness to perform will return to baseline levels.

Stage 3 – Supercompensation Phase

This is the body’s adaptive response to the fatigue brought about by the training and it is a rebound above and beyond the baseline levels creating a heightened state of energy levels and preparedness to perform. At this point if they athlete were to perform in their sport/training we would expect performance to be of a higher level than normal.

Stage 4 – Loss of the Supercompensation effect & return to baseline levels

From the peak of supercompensation there is a natural decline back to baseline levels if there is no new training stress applied, known as the detraining phenomenon.

Slaves to the Schedule

Athletes invariably train and compete according to a set schedule, and when careful consideration is not taken this schedule can be intense/excessive/challenging. Typically the athlete will follow this schedule regardless of the readiness of the athlete to train or perform. In such cases, athletes will not be at their optimum to train or compete due to insufficient recovery or poor adaptation to their training again as a result of little or no recovery time, or poor recovery strategies.

Certainly the young athletes I have been in contact with appear to have little or no recovery planned in to their weekly/monthly schedules. The more gifted and talented the athlete it appears the more demands are placed on them as the school teachers and club coaches insist on their involvement in any and every game/sport going with little thought given to the benefit of the session to the individual and there appears to be little communication between any of the parties to ensure that the young athlete is not overtraining. From teachers that I have discussed this issue with they are aware of young players playing 3 games in a week including 2 in a weekend.

I’m not pointing the finger of blame at any of the parties in the mix as they are all facing different challenges that make it unrealistic to plan to this extent for each individual athlete in the school or club. However, for that small percentage of young sports people who have shown signs of the capability or desire to compete at the highest level surely we must take the time to plan their training and competition schedule appropriately to avoid physical/mental burnout?

What is overtraining?

Overtraining is the result of a long term imbalance between the amount of stress applied to the body through training and the individual’s ability to tolerate and recover from the training. Symptoms of overtraining aren’t always clear but residual fatigue, persistent minor injuries, loss of motivation and a lack of progress are some examples of the negative effect that it can have.

Physical symptoms include reduced appetite, a tendency to tire easily during exercise, weight loss, a slight increase in blood pressure, an elevated resting heart rate.

The effects can also be psychological in nature and athletes may show nervousness, inner unease, poor motivation and eventually depression. (Siff, 2003)

The importance of sufficient recovery and optimally planned training

In an optimally planned training schedule another training session would take place at the peak of the supercompensation curve and the process would start again from step 1 and at the end the body would rebound to a level of preparedness above and beyond the level following the first training session as demonstrated in figure 1.5 below.

Optimal Recovery

Figure 1.5 – Optimal recovery time between training sessions (source: Zatsiorsky, 1995)

If sufficient recovery can be achieved consistently over a long period of time the result is going to be a continually rising curve taking the athlete towards a superior level of performance as well as hopefully maintaining a healthier, fresher athlete.

In contrast, if the recovery period between training sessions is insufficient the results are much more detrimental to the athlete. If the next training session is applied before the athlete’s energy stores have returned to baseline then supercompensation is never achieved resulting in greater levels of fatigue and further reductions in the athlete’s readiness to train and perform.

Insufficient Recovery

Figure 1.6 – Insufficient recovery between training sessions (source: Zatsiorsky, 1995)

If this trend continues in the long term the athlete’s physical development will be hampered and their level of performance will be decreased as there are increasing levels of fatigue and less energy available to the athlete. In the long term this is the scenario that will lead to overtraining putting the athlete at risk of developing the symptoms described above.

Finally if training sessions are not completed frequently enough (i.e. too long between sessions) we will lose the supercompensation effect and there will be no noticeable gains from the training being completed as demonstrated in figure 1.7 below. The result again being limited or no development in the athlete’s physical capabilities or performance.

Toolongbetweensessions

Figure 1.7 Recovery between sessions is too long (source: Zatsiorsky, 1995)

Recommendations / practical application:

  • Recovery should be planned in to the overall training programme and should involve not only recovery days but planned training weeks of a lower intensity and/or volume of work to maximise recovery and adaptation to the training. The table below identifies a very basic 4 week training cycle involving 1 planned recovery week every 4 weeks.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Moderate Workload

Heavy workload

Very Heavy workload

Light workload

(Recovery week)

  • Ensure that athletes have 1-2 days per week of ‘recovery’ which may consist of active rest, a recovery session or a very low volume training session.
  • A good use of recovery days is to focus on maintaining or developing flexibility with stretches focused upon areas of the body that have been used heavily within the weekly training or areas that are known to have a limited range of movement (e.g. tight hamstrings, hip flexors). Light prehabilitation exercises addressing any weaker areas & specifically looking to prevent common injuries in the given sport would also represent a good use of this time.
  • Essential parts of the recovery process that are often overlooked or poorly applied are good nutrition and adequate sleep (approx. 10 hours per night for young athletes)
  • Continual monitoring of the athletes physical state and the training that they are doing will help avoid overtraining and further their development as an athlete. How we can monitor the athletes will be a topic for discussion in a future article.

Please feel free to comment and question my views on this subject.

Author: James Baker

References:

Zatsiorsky, V. (1995) Science and Practise of Strength Conditioning

Siff, M. (2003) Supertraining

Gambetta, V. (2007) Athletic Development