One of my favorite aspects of working with athletes is step one of the entire process; the assessment. Implementing a solid assessment is one of the most valuable tools for a coach to have and something that I think is truly underrated in today’s field. Not only can we use the assessment process to look at movement quality, performance baseline markers, kinetic dysfunction and/or muscular imbalances, but we can also use this period of time as a huge rapport builder between the coach and athlete.
It can often be said that, “ignorance is bliss.” A few years back I was at a coaching clinic when I heard a fellow strength coach talk about the use of PUSH bands in his weight room. As he described the uses and possibilities of this technology, I asked myself what many teachers and coaches ask themselves in public education; how much will this cost and can I afford it?
The world of strength and conditioning (S&C) is full to the brim with technology and coaching aids that are designed to improve the coaching process and by extension the performance of our athletes. Not only that but more and more research and development is being put into coaching support with the latest in hardware, software, wearable technology, biometric tracking and performance analytics being released almost daily.
The collection, analysis and interpretation of training and testing data is a routine process in the physical preparation of athletes. We, as practitioners and coaches, utilize these data in a cyclical decision-making process that aims to maximize fitness and the readiness to compete, whilst minimizing fatigue and the risk of injury or illness. Ensuring we collect the right data is an important part of this process (e.g. valid, reliable and feasible measures), but equally important is ensuring rigor and accuracy in the way we interpret the data.