Welcome to part 2 of these blogs in which I lay out my philosophy around long term athletic development. In this part I will discuss my final beliefs and how they come together.
Everyone is an Individual with Potential
This was the motto of my secondary school. While I didn’t realise it at the time, it is something that I passionately believe in. To me personally, the quote means a couple of things.
Nobody is identical. This may seem obvious at first, but I believe it runs deep within strength & conditioning. I am an evidence-based practitioner, meaning I listen to and keep up to date with the latest science and practices. However, there will always be exceptions. I will always refer to current guidelines and recommendations, however if something else works, I will keep doing it. Whether an athlete responds differently for psychological or physiological reasons, I do not mind.
Similarly, linked to my desire for all athletes to “master the basics”, is the recognition that individuality is a hugely important factor in achieving this. Again, I will always refer to recommended guidelines of motor patterns and movement, but athletes come in all shapes and sizes and cookie cutter movement patterns are not what I am looking for. Anthropological and morphological differences mean every athlete will move slightly differently. Allowing them to match a “perfect” technical model, while determining what works safely and effectively for them, is the foundation in my approach to motor learning.
Every individual has potential. The key is finding out how to release it. As well as building a rapport and helping them master the basics, I feel allowing a young athlete to explore their own athleticism is vital. Yes, making sure performance goals are met is a must but helping them to learn and understand their movement is my ultimate goal.
Become an Authentic Tour Guide to Long Term Athletic Development
These beliefs underpin my approach to long term athletic development. I strongly believe that it is my responsibility as a coach to provide a foundation from which athletes can unlock their own potential and maximise performance. Much like the authentic guide, there will be times when I lead the way and give information to make sure the tour is a success, but there will also be times when I allow exploration and self-discovery.
If I ever feel I am drifting away from my philosophy I think of these quotes from five-time Super Bowl winning head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick; “do your job” and “control what you can control”. If I successfully control the basics and provide an educational route, my athletes will do the rest themselves.