Ways to Improve Your Performance Program

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This week I started a few new things at work that I believe will help our performance program. Not so much in the direct sense of progress, but in an indirect sense. We will still be doing the same exercises and such, but I’ve added some spice to the program through some external methods. I’ll go through what I’ve implemented, which might also get your proverbial ‘ball’ rolling for some ideas.

  • Personal Record (PR) board
          • I believe this is a great tool to motivate the athletes. It reminds them where they’re at with certain performance measures and it also adds a inferred sense of competition because they will compare their numbers to others’ in the program
  • Athlete Programs (physical sheets)
          • The athletes have their own sheet within the group training, which allows them to feel like they have some kind of control
          • They still all participate in the same exercises (or versions suited to them), but record what weights they are using
          • This is also a great way for record-keeping purposes, as I can see each athlete’s progress and make adjustments accordingly
  • Program Design
          • I’ve included several training strategies into the program that have been proven effective that we weren’t emphasizing enough in the past
              • These included movement preparation (Mark Verstegen style), anti-movement core training, soft tissue work, and several others
          • Originally, I wanted to have certain days dedicated to specific performance characteristics (i.e., M,W,F = Strength/Power & T,R = Speed/Agility), but this is very hard to implement in the private setting where the athletes are not required to come certain daysTherefore, I opted to revert back to a mixed-methods approach, where we hit a couple performance characteristics in each training session and just follow the proper order of things (i.e., agility/speed work before strength work, etc.)
                  • This would be problematic because an athlete that is lacking strength might only be able to make Tuesdays and Thursdays, which would be speed/agility days
          • Also, within each training session, I included some choices the athletes have to perform certain movements. Basically focus on movement patterns, not so much on the implements or specific technique being used for that pattern. For example, if you want your athletes to squat on day 1, you might give them the choice of what kind of squat…front, back, zercher, kettlebell depth, etc. Again, this gives them some control and may lead to better attitudes about the program
  • Testing Days
          • I plan on implementing this soon, so I haven’t actually done this yet, but it seems like a good idea for now
          • The plan is to have specific days set aside for testing ALL of the athletes in the program in ALL of the performance measures you choose to test
                • The idea is that we would let them know in advance, so they are ready psychologically and physically to test.
                • Also, this would be a day of competition because many of the athletes in the program (at least mine) are either friends or from rival schools, which would increase their motivation to perform well
  • Athlete Classification System
          • I got this idea from Supertraining and the Russian system of classifying athletes, but it really hit home when I heard Travis Self (Fitt Warehouse Training Systems) speak at a local strength clinic
          • This is simply setting different levels of performance standards for your athletes to meet as they become more advancedThe cool thing is that it is a HUGE motivator and you can name each level whatever you want….some examples were given from Travis including rookie, all-star, and MVP
                • An example would be using relative-to-bodyweight standards for lifts (squat 2x bodyweight for level X) and gender/position standards for agility/sprint measures (<3.5 seconds for X amount of yards)
          • I caution you, though, to make sure you don’t set each level’s standards too high for each performance measure

Like I said, these are just a few changes I’ve put into place this week. Hopefully they will remain an integral part of the program from now on. I hope this article helps many of you with your program! Are there other things I could do? Maybe some things that could make these few things I listed better? Let me hear your thoughts.

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