What college Strength Coaches may need to be ready for.
With collegiate athletes able to return to campus June 1st for voluntary workouts, strength and conditioning coaches need to be ready.
First: Coaches need to be ready to evaluate athletes. Not by running lots of conditioning drills and tests. But by starting athletes off slowly. Allow your eyes to view the athletes. Watch them warm up, act, move. The eye test can be very beneficial for strength coaches to use to evaluate your athletes. Also, talk to you athletes and ask them how much they have been doing and what equipment they had access to. Having honest conversations can help you gauge what type of program they may need.
I cannot stress this enough. Evaluation does NOT mean test. You can test but be very smart with it.
Once you burn the cake, it’s done. Start training your athletes slow and you can always progress quickly. However, when you start too fast, you may see an increase in soft tissue injuries. We want to maximize training time with our athletes (since we lost a bit of time these past few months). If our athletes become injured from improper training, that athlete will lose valuable time preparing for their sport. Be smart. Do not assume every kid was doing the summer program exactly. My guess is the majority of kids have not.
The warm up period may need to be extended to help prepare athletes for the work in the weight room or on the field. Make sure they are physically and mentally prepared to train each session. Your warm up period is also a great opportunity to evaluate your athletes. Use this time wisely for yourself and your athletes.
Second: Coaches need to be ready to progress and regress athletes. Have a plan in place for each athlete but have your progressions and regressions ready to go. You will need them those first few weeks back.
Remember, our first rule as strength coaches, do no harm. The last thing we want is to hurt an athlete in the weight room. So evaluate, begin slow and then progress. Regression is not a bad thing. Know your exercise progressions and regressions and have a plan to execute either one.
Third: Coaches need to prepare for change. Whatever those changes may be, be open-minded. Athletes may have to to train by themselves at a rack/station. If spotters are limited, the intensity of specific lifts may be smaller so exercise selection may have to different to continue to challenge the athlete.
The amount of athletes training at a given time may be smaller. Now this may be a good change as it may provide a better coach/athlete ratio. More attention for each athlete would be a positive change. This may make it easier to apply progressions and regressions to each athlete.
While coaches need to prepare for change, not all changes may be negative. Keep an open mind and get ready to work hard preparing athletes for a safe return to training and sport.