Having worked with elite soccer players for nearly ten years now, it is easy to forget how far the monitoring side of things has come in that time period. When I first started out as an intern at Blackburn Rovers FC, we were just about to embark on embracing GPS systems as a necessity for players to wear during training sessions. Athlete readiness was either a sheet of paper or an extremely sensitive and expensive piece of equipment. Gym monitoring was largely sets x reps x load, in a hastily put together excel spreadsheet with conditional formatting .
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.