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Safe, Effective Strength Training for Athletes

January 13 "If you have laid a solid foundation for the program, trained your athletes to a high level of conditioning, and developed advanced skills, you should win consistently." -Dan Gable, Legendary Wrestling Coach

Supervision

A strength-training program that is well supervised is critical for the success of athletes. We have witnessed many coaches sitting or reading the newspaper while athletes train. This does not benefit our athlete. Many things are involved in supervision. One very important job of the supervisor is to make sure all athletes are training correctly on the proper program and are performing the execution of each exercise correctly. This will ensure the safety of the athletes. It will be beneficial for many coaches on staff to get involved in supervision.

Ken Mannie explains, "Your entire coaching staff should be well versed on the practical application of your program. They should also be capable of providing hands-on assistance during the training sessions."

Another important job is to make sure that each athlete is spotting the lifter correctly. We also feel another very important job is to monitor each athlete’s progress and make necessary changes to each individual program. We categorize athletes into three levels: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. Athletes may make their transition from one to the other at different times. Each athlete’s progress will occur at different rates. The coach may have to reduce the number of sets for an athlete or adjust the frequency (rest days) of another.

Some may feel that this would be a big job or impossible to do if you have many athletes in the weight room at once. However, it really is quite manageable provided the program is well organized. Using controlled movements also may reduce the time spent coaching technique, as these types of exercises are much easier to master. Olympic movements on the other hand are extremely technical and take constant coaching. It does not take very long to learn controlled movements and develop efficient neural pathways compared to Olympic lifts. There are many more errors that can occur with Olympic movements as well. Imagine one supervisor with 45 athletes in the weight room and half of them are trying to do power cleans and the other half performing the snatch. This situation is dangerous and impossible to monitor. The coach would not have the time to give that appropriate attention to all athletes.

Mannie, Ken. "Perspectives on Strength Training For Athletes."

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