I hope this message finds you all doing well and in the midst of great summer workouts. I am sure many of you have had student athletes back on campus for some time, while others may just now be getting your teams back this week. Summer training has always been a great time to make significant strength gains, build new and improved work capacities and great conditioning. It is also a great time to build a solid team bond.
For the Fall sports, there is always that sense of urgency that produces a renewed sense of pride, sparking a great atmosphere for each workout, with sights set on the upcoming season. For the Spring sports, there is great opportunity for rebuilding and restarting a journey that ended for athletes not too many weeks ago — an opportunity to set new goals, a new vision, and a new training plan for the upcoming year.
There is always a different feel to summer training. I always thought summer sessions were some of the best of the year. I hope all your sessions are going great!
Summer training is also a time where new students come to campus to train for the very first time. From the time they officially made their decision to join your team, until the time they arrive in your facility, there have probably been many communications, many workouts sent, many questions asked, and much anticipation as to what their first workout would really be like. It is always fun to learn about new team members, their physical attributes and limitations, as well as their personalities and views of the game.
Some will arrive with the mindset that they are the greatest thing to ever touch a barbell, while others may have never really been involved in organized workouts to speak of. It is our responsibility as strength and conditioning professionals to embrace all those scenarios and all points in between to produce the safest and most productive training environment we can provide for our most precious asset — our young people.
As we have often discussed in the last decade, getting our young people back on campus is an exciting time for everyone, including the teams, the strength and conditioning coaches, the sport coaches, the sports medicine staff, and the administration. It is an event! It is also one of our most critical times as strength and conditioning professionals and care takers. It is a transition period for the returners who have been away from campus, as well as those who are arriving for the first time in their life.
Follow The Protocols And Stay Safe
We have discussed the importance of introducing workouts in this transition period in a format that is slow and gradual. By now you should be very familiar with our recommended protocols, the 50/30/20/10 rule and the FIT rule. If you are not familiar with them, they are on the CSCCa website under the Health and Safety section. If you are familiar with them, it is always a good idea to review them and make sure you have no questions about them. It is of utmost importance that you follow these protocols to help create an atmosphere of safety with new students as well as returning students.
In many instances, there may be a mixture of players that have been on campus for several weeks, then after that time, a new group of players arrive that may be all newcomers, or even a mixed group of newcomers and returners. This is a time when we must be extremely careful.
It is very easy as a coach, to become very accustomed to the work capacity and level of conditioning of the players that have been on campus training with you for several weeks. This is a false team standard and should only be a measuring stick for those who have been training with you for those weeks. Be mindful that those players that just showed up do not have the same level of conditioning as the ones that have been there for several weeks. When the new group shows up, it is important to get their strength and conditioning levels up, but we must treat them as a separate group. It is their first time under your watch. They are starting from scratch, no matter what they TELL you they have been doing, you can only evaluate what you SEE.
It is of utmost importance that we start our newcomers off with workouts with low volume and low intensity and move them along gradually and safely. Fitness gains and strength gains take place over a time continuum. They do not happen quickly. It may not always feel like it, but you DO have time to get the newcomers to the level at which they need to be. They will get there. It is our responsibility as strength and conditioning professionals to get them there safely and effectively. It is up to us as care takers to observe the 50/30/20/10 protocol and the FIT rule to start them on their journey safely and effectively.
Summer training is also a great time to get some outdoor training. Get out in that sunshine!!!! Some sports need to train outdoors in order to get acclimated to the heat. Others do not. Please take great caution in evaluating the elements when training outdoors. Consult your sports medicine team and departmental protocols as well as the information we have provided on the CSCCa website to help prevent potential heat illness and exertional heat stroke, as well as potential hydration-related issues.
Share Your Summer With US
Knowing that summer training is a great opportunity for team bonding along with great training, we would love for you to share some of your great training moments with us on social media. If you have great training moments you would like to share with us, tag us on Instagram @CSCCaofficial, and on Twitter @theCSCCa.
Please keep in mind that all training programs should be written following sound scientifically researched protocols, slow gradual progressions and sound fundamentals of periodization. We do not want to promote workouts that are “novel” or “exotic” in nature. These types of workouts produce potentially dangerous environments and can lead to catastrophic outcomes. These types of outcomes can put the athlete’s health and safety at risk.
Keep in mind, we are training athletes to get better at the sport they love to play. Make sure the workouts you conduct have sound training principles and are designed solely to help athletes get better at their sport. Follow proper training protocols and help the athletes better themselves and better the team. Tag us on social media so we can see your athletes working hard to achieve their goals!
The Executive Team, the CSCCa Board of Directors, and the CSCCa Staff want to wish each and every one of you a safe and productive summer. We want to encourage all of you as you are training your teams to observe and institute effective safety and training protocols as more athletes return to campus. It is your duty to be up to date and proficient in the latest health and safety protocols.
Start with low volume and low intensity. You can always raise volume and intensity as you progress, however, too much too soon will create a situation with a harmful and potentially fatal outcome. You can always do a little less and live to fight another day. Train safely. Coach your athletes as you would want your own children coached. Coach your athletes as if their families are watching your work. Be firm but fair. Help them grow. Help them achieve things the never dreamed they could do.
Best of luck, and have a safe and productive summer!
-Scott Bennett, CSCCa CEO
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