Track and Field Performance Philosophy
Goals of Training – training will be aimed at reducing each athletes potential for injury and improving the physical qualities that will allow them to perform their specific skills at the highest level.
Transfer of Training Affect – this is simply the relationship between the improvements made in training performance and how it affects performance of a specific skill. For example if improved performance in training does not positively reflect in the ability of specific sport performance then the transfer from training to the field is low. Choosing the proper training modalities (exercises) and dose allows a greater transfer of training which yields greater event application.
Movement Based Training– training will focus on movements that will translate in to athletic performance and quality of movement should never be compromised for greater intensity (i.e. heavier weights). When athletes train movements the muscles required for improved performance will be trained requiring intermuscular coordination between muscle groups requiring actions that will be specific to the sport, if training focuses in individual muscles then this coordination and “communication” between various muscle groups is lost and transfer of training affect to each event is much more difficult.
Exercise Selection– as stated above proper planning, including strength training should focus on movements that will allow the greatest improvements in performance. These movements should be specific to athletics but specificity does not imply simulation. Exercises that meet the following three criteria should be the foundation of training.
- Ground Based – force application into the ground is the major difference between the various levels of performance among athletes. This applies to total amount of force that can be generated but also how force can be generated per unit of time (power).
- Multi-Joint – given that athletics skills require a kinetic chain multi joint action to run, jump and throw it only makes sense to choose and train movements that require multi joint action that will allow the intermuscular coordination of the segments needed specific to the sport of track and field.
- Three Dimensional – training the body to produce and resist forces in a three dimensional manner will have a greater carryover to each event and the specific skills of the sport.
The above three principles for selecting sport specific exercises are found in every on field skill so it would only be logical to perform exercises that challenged these three principles in training.
Training System – system in which all components will be involved at some level but will vary based on each individual and the progress throughout the training year. This system will allow proper organization of training variables and modalities in effort to help each athlete reach their highest physical performance potential. There are 7 components to the entire system.
- Prehabilitation – addressing each individual’s weak link to prevent the possibility of injury that may occur through compensations due to poor or weak movement patterns. The aim is to be proactive with injury prevention rather than reactive, so we won’t wait until it’s broke to fix the problem.
- Previous Injury History – open lines of communication to understand each athletes previous injuries or restrictions and improve them through progressive and consistent training.
- Movement Screen – evaluate each athlete’s general movement qualities as a starting point for training. In sports, we always look at performance based testing results and it is just as important to evaluate the quality in how each athlete functions through the biomechanics of their skeletal and neuromuscular systems. The following areas are evaluated through the movement screen.
- Dynamic Movement Warm-Up – athletes should warm up as they wish to perform, therefore incorporating proper movement patterns that progressively warm up the tissues and take the joints through an active range of motion will be best suited for performance and will incorporate the same standards that we use for exercise selection in all aspects of training as they will be most specific to track and field (ground based, multi-joint and three dimensional). All warm-ups should progress from general to specific, shorter range of motion to greater range of motion and low intensity to high intensity.
- Speed Preparation (Plyometrics) – following a low to high intensity warm up and general to specific approach the next phase would incorporate beginning to increase the neuromuscular systems ability to create forceful, rapid movements by increasing the rate of force development. In athletics even though maximum strength plays a role in performance, the rate at which force can be applied is even more important because baseball skills are time dependent so these power improvements are critical for performance.
- Speed Application (Linear and Specific)–speed application can be broken down into two components that will aid each other in improving performance.
- Technical– improving the efficiency and technique of the movement to produce optimal positions for acceleration, deceleration and change of direction.
- Tactical – using the improved technical ability in an actual sports similar movement that cantransfer the technical ability
- Strength-Power Development – strength is the ability of a muscle or group of muscle to produce force and power is time dependent strength application. Training for strength and power must focus on the entire continuum of strength application from high force/low velocity to high velocity/low force.
Using exercises that are ground-based, multijoint and three dimensional will have the greatest carryover to athletic performance. Exercise selection will be based on training movements that fall into five categories to train the entire body. Movement will be based on an athlete’s individual progression and training skill to provide the most effective and efficient workout.
A. Lower Body Push – Strength training movements that train the body to load and move the center of gravity toward the ground (deceleration) and then explode away from the ground (acceleration) via triple joint (hip, knee and ankle) flexion and extension that will improve the ability to produce force against the ground.
B. Lower Body Pull – Strength training movements that load the hips outside the base of support (deceleration) and pull the hip back into support (acceleration). These movements are focused on hamstrings, glutes and torso.
C. Upper Body Push – movements focused away from the body
D. Upper Body Pull – movements focused towards the body
E. Torso – training the torso to efficiently transfer forces from the lower body into the upper body to prevent strength/power losses that could result in energy leaks and inefficient force transfer.
- Energy System Development (ESD)– training within proper work to rest ratios that will provide the greatest adaptations for event specific conditioning. This will allow the dominant energy system used in each event to work effectively and recover adequately throughout the course of a competition.
Recovery and Regeneration – training is a stress and the only way that adaptation and improvement happens is through recovery. These methods must be incorporated and instilled if fatigue is to me minimized and injury potential reduced. Methods include but are not limited to post workout stretching, soft tissue work, ice, active rest, post workout supplementation, nutrition, hydration, alcohol avoidance and sleep. Many of these issues occur off the field so education is an important, control what we can control.
The wider the levels below the greater potential for a wider point at the top of the pyramid, the key is finding what level or areas are the weak point in each athletes profile so weakness don’t hold back another levels development.