Individualizing Team Training

The off-season training for most of our athletes is underway as well as the off-season training for an elite hockey organization in the northeast.  With team training there is often a conflict of interests with parents as they tend to believe that the “general” training outline given to the whole team will not benefit their son.  Individualizing a program to meet the needs of all the athletes then comes into question.  Here are some of the reasons I believe parents are asking these questions (based of what they’ve said and implied)…

  • Different positions require different training, so how can training with a team be individualized or meet the needs of all the athletes?
  • Training one on one with a trainer is going to be better than with a team (some of the players have training with someone near their house)
  • “How is this any different from Crossfit?”

Let me first start out by addressing the third bullet point.  Is this person serious? Also, I do not care what your philosophy is but if it this..”Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist,” Houston, I think we have a problem.  Would you program the same exact way for a 40 year young soccer mom as you would for the 20-year-old football player? I sure hope not, considering they have different training experiences, genetics, background, injury history, etc..Better yet, the more is always better approach is completely ignorant and known to injure people.  When it comes to sport, although I agree that most of these athletes need a foundation (which crossfit does do, I agree with multi-joint movements they do) in order to perform lifts correctly, there are specific patterns that each sport has that can lead to “specific” restrictions, limitations, asymmetries, and structural changes.  Again, more is not always better, and by more I mean A LOT MORE (sorry for the capitals, it shows emotion).  Anyone can crush someone in a workout, it doesn’t mean it’s promoting good health or exercise.  The end does not always justify the means. One can starve themselves or they can steadily change their diet and start to incorporate basic healthy principles.  Both will work, but does it mean that starving themselves is good because it got the job done? Food for thought.

” You better throw up or else we didn’t do our job.”

Sorry, onto the next issues.  Different positions do require some changes in the program.  I have explained this to parents in the past.  Although multiple players are receiving similar programs, we can and probably will make changes to power, strength, or core movements depending on how they move, their injury history, if anything currently causes pain, and even the position they play.  For example, if we see someone who needs more core stability work because they are very unstable, we will change the mobility filler exercise with a more appropriate core stability/activation exercise.  In my opinion, this is individualizing on the fly and will help that athlete out.  I need to have an “eye” for these things to better suit the individual athlete.  The program is just an outline for the athletes.  As coaches we are doing more than simply looking at the program and coaching it to the best of our ability.  For example, (Kevin did a great job to make this change) changing lateral bounds with rebound to the more specific pattern of goalies –> lateral bound into rotational bound is only one example of how we change the power portion of the program to meet the needs of different positions (this applies to every sport).

Hope this sheds some light on team training and how can look at individualizing them,


Categories: Injury Prevention, Strength Training

Tags: , , ,

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