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12/12/2012 10:46:18 AM -
More Coaching Points

I learned two really important things about coaching from Dave Tate. Both of these things helped us out this year immensely. I’ll start this from the very beginning, back when I first stumbled onto this site and started reading articles.

I’m typing this on a Word document on a plane right now, with no internet access, so I’m going to have to go back and correct this later—but years ago (I’m talking ten-plus) I saw an article entitled “A Multi-Year System of Deadlifting.” At least I think it was about deadlifting. That doesn’t really matter as much as the multi-year part. This was my introduction to the world of Eastern Bloc-style PASM stuff, even though I don’t think this article referred to it as such.

See, I always thought about training the way it’s laid out in magazines—as something you do for 6-8 weeks before you move on to something else. Everything was always short term, with MASSIVE GAINS FAST and BIGGER BICEPS IN 30 DAYS, GUARANTEED! That’s how I approached my training back when I played, because I played twenty years ago under coaches who weren’t exactly specific when it came to physical preparation. The process of managing training loads over the course of a year—or a lifetime—wasn’t a concept with which I was familiar.

This year, more than any other—and this was also the result of some long conversations with James “The Thinker” Smith—we focused on the concept of program management, stripping the program of as much unnecessary bullshit as possible and, again, laying out the whole “big picture” scenario so we could manage our athletes more efficiently. From the very start, we oversaw the program as a whole, and not as a series of disparate parts where things changed every week. Everything was planned and accounted for—with daily and weekly changes based on walking around from athlete to athlete and talking to them to see how they felt.

The other thing I got from Dave came from a seminar I went to five years ago at Murph’s gym in Boston. Matt Kroczaleski spoke, and after that, Dave opened up the floor to questions. Someone asked Dave why he thought Matt was so successful doing what he did. Dave responded by saying that it didn’t matter what programming you chose, as long as you stuck to it—and that Matt was experiencing success from what he was doing primarily because of his consistency. That no matter what, he showed up every day and did what he was supposed to be doing—for a matter of years, not months or weeks.

That’s the other part of it that helped us out immensely this year. This season wasn’t about finding some magic pill the put us over the top. It wasn’t about the jumps, the throws, the squats, or anything else. It wasn’t about glute activation or movement screens or installing the spread option. It WAS about making a plan, sticking to it faithfully every single day, accounting for all the stresses our kids have to face, and showing up every single day ready to work.

That’s why we won games this year—because we plotted out a way to have our kids absolutely peaked from week to week, and peaked out of their F-ing minds when it counted late in the season. The last three weeks of the year, we made teams quit. By the time we were late in the third quarter, I saw kids on other teams that just didn’t want to get hit anymore—and I saw kids on our side that were healthy, happy, having fun, and fully recovered by the time the next game came around.

Did our athleticism improve? Yes. Did we get stronger? Absolutely, even in-season. Most importantly, however, we were rested, recovered, healthy, and having the time of our lives before every single kickoff, and I’m convinced it was this “total program management” concept that did the trick. I owe a big debt of gratitude to both James and Dave for planting that seed in my head. This shit works, and we’re living proof.

Angry Coach

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