The Preparation Season

The Preparation Season

Everyone has a plan! The old saying is that if you fail to plan then you’re planning to fail. This holds true for any and all athletic plans as well as life plans. Having a plan set in place, well thought out and with some previous proven success can and will definitely set you up for long term success in whatever area you plan for it in.

 

During this time of year, we are preparing our athletes for this upcoming seasons Competition which usually start in December/January. We plan to start training in August/September since the early bird gets the worm! It seems this is a time of year when everyone starts preparing for the upcoming year, so it takes that much more effort and makes it that much more important to come up with a great training plan for your athletes. Now of course, some will have athletes that are phenomenal no matter what they do, no matter how bad the plan and no matter how bad the coaching is…and trust me…there are plenty out there like this!

 

However, it’s our job not to focus on how good other athletes are, but to get our athletes to focus on how great they can become. My goal is always aiming for greatness! Nothing else will do, nothing else will satisfy me, nothing else will even come close to describing my life’s purpose…to become great is what I aim for and I encourage my athletes to do the same.

 

Since the overall purpose of the plan is to achieve greatness, we need something that models after great programs and has achieved great results. Since there is no one size fits all type of program out there and there’s more than one way to ‘skin a cat’, part of the plan needs to be putting together workouts that speak to and get the most out of each and every one of your athletes. Knowing which athletes respond to which exercises, recovery methods, strength training methods and special strength exercises is a big part of getting the most out of everyone you supervise. You have to know what motivates them!

 

Am I advocating putting different plans together for each and every one of your students? Absolutely not! Working in the setting we work in that would be very difficult to achieve and implement. Putting the athlete in the right training group, with the right partner, with the right coach could be all they truly need to execute the plan to its fullest extent, but that’s all part of what the plan is and knowing your athletes.

 

Most coaches plan for their athletes to run fast, jump far, jump high, score more points, kick more field goals, make more kills, make more saves, swim farther and faster, etc, etc, etc. That’s a great plan, but HOW are you going to achieve that? What’s the method behind the madness? How is the mad scientist going to lay out his/her plan? What does the plan consist of? And most importantly, what is the adjustment to the plan once reality slaps us in the face? Many never get to the HOW and WHY of things. ‘Why’ do we want the athlete to be and do better and ‘How’ are we going to help them achieve that are the two questions we must answer, in my opinion, to achieve the greatness we all seek after day in and day out.

 

My plan is simple: We are aiming for greatness, legendary status, having our names echoed throughout the ages of time! How are we going to do this? Simple: We are going to defeat the one person who always stands in our way everyday…the person in the mirror!

 

Continue in knowledge my friends!

 

Charone  

How to Properly Design a Dynamic Warm up…

Seems like I’ve been gone for a minute, but I’m back now…had to pack up and move to Georgia (more on that later), but for now let’s get to it with this warm up…
 
With the advancement in training methodologies over the past 20 years, it is in the best interest of coaches, athletes and parents to stay up to date on the latest and most recent methods and theories of training especially for sports that are deeply rooted in speed, strength and power. These sports have to stay up to date on the scientific as well as the actual training practices which consist of having a working knowledge of chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology and biomechanics (Remember, I didn’t say you needed a four year degree to understand or know these, I just said all you need is the desire to educate yourself and having a working knowledge of these in the sport you desire to be an expert in). Neglecting to study these areas can result in many athletes not being able to reach their full potential in the sport they desire.
 
Since we are talking about training methodologies we have to start somewhere and there’s no better or simpler place to start than the warm up. As we research the years of how warm ups were structured and executed we find that the warm ups of the past are no longer valid in helping the athlete reach a state of maximum readiness especially for speed and power athletes. The old warm up, commonly referred to as a “static warm up”, consisted of jogging anywhere from 2 to 4 laps, static stretching and a few drills! That’s about it for that warm up and the athletes was expected to be ready to go after that!
 
However, once we learned how the chemistry of muscles worked we started to move towards a “movement” warm up that became known as the “dynamic” warm up. This warm up involves everything from muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints and puts everything through its full range of motion thus preparing the athlete for speed and power workouts.
 
The design of a dynamic warm up isn’t really hard, but it should be well thought out and supervised. The coach and athlete must know what is being accomplished with this warm up and why. Being armed with this knowledge the coach can then design an appropriate warm up for speed and power days.
 
 The simplest way to design a dynamic warm up is to remember to go from low intensity movements to high intensity movements (Yes! It really is as simple as that). A sample dynamic warm up that I have designed for my sprinters on our speed days goes as follows:
 
SPRINTERS WARM UP
 
PART 1: IN FLATS
 
3X100M TURNAROUNDS AT TALK PACE
 
  1. 2X400M (2 LAPS) OF BUILD UP 50M FOLLOWED BY 50M WALK.  DURING THE WALK, DO 10 DYNAMIC WARM UP JUMPS (BOUNDS, CARIOCA, ANKLE HOPES, FRONT LUNGES, C-SKIPS, SIDE LUNGES, BACKWARD RUNS, STAR JUMPS, SLIDE SHUFFLE, MOGUL JUMPS).
 
  1. HIP MOBILITY (LEG SWINGS, EXTENSORS, PEDASTALS, 10X EACH LEG)
 
3X100M, 50% EFFORT FOCUSING ON STAYING TALL, TIGHT ABS
 
  1. SPEED DRILLS EVERY 10M FOR 100M (A SKIP, B SKIP, SIDE SKIP W/ARM SWINGS TURNING AROUND EVERY 10M, C SKIP, ANKLING, STRAIGHT LEG BOUND)
 
3X100M, 75%, FOCUSING ON STAYING TALL, STEPPING OVER THE OPPOSITE KNEE
 
  1. 2-3X30M SPRINT EXERCISES (FAST LEG A RUN, FAST LEG B RUN, C             
SKIPS, A HOLD/R/L/BOTH LEGS)
 
PART 2:  IN SPIKES
 
  1. MODEL RUNNING, 2X30M EACH (L-3 STEP FAST A, R-3 STEP FAST A, 2 STEP FAST A, L/R SINGLE LEG FAST A FOR 20M)
 
3 X FALLING STARTS IN SPIKES FOR 20M (POWER OFF THE LINE, PUNCHING THE KNEES FORWARD)
2-3 X 3 POINT STARTS OR BLOCKS X 30-40M
 
PART 3:  FOR HURDLERS ONLY, IN SPIKES AND USING BLOCKS
 
  1. 3-4 X 4-5 HURDLES WITH 5 STRIDES, 11.5M – 12M BETWEEN HURDLES FOR WOMEN; 12.5M – 13M FOR MEN
 
  1. 3-4 X 2-3 HURDLES WITH 3 STRIDES BETWEEN HURDLES
 
  1. 2 X 2 HURDLES USING BLOCKS, 300/400 HURDLERS DO 2 X 2-3 HURDLES FROM BLOCKS ON THE CURVE
 
  1. 15-20 MINUTES REST BEFORE RACE
 
Notice how the entire sequence of exercises go from very low intensity to very high intensity, mimicking competition settings and effort. This is important to mimic the intensity of the competition within these exercises as to prepare the athlete for the demands of the sport. This warm up, in particular, was inspired by Loren Seagrave, and a leading expert in the field of biomechanics.   
 
I hope this sample and analysis helps you in your search for knowledge about modern day training theories and gives you a road map on where to begin. Stay tuned as I will continue to post more speed and power analysis and workout strategies.
 
Continue in knowledge my friends!
 
Charone

Training for Speed Part 2

Last time in Part 1 we talked about training for speed and I gave the scientific evidence of how the energy systems work, the limits of each energy system that’s involved in speed training and how the set up of the beginning stages of training should be. 

This time we’re getting down to the nitty gritty! Prime grade A examples of how to design a program to help athletes get faster. 

This sample speed training program is over a period of 4 weeks (4 microcycles). This is the kind of program I would use within the general preparation period. If you notice, the athlete would only go up to 30 meters and there is a reason for that; the reason being, the athlete should not move up past a certain level without first mastering the current or previous level as it is with all things. Remember to increase the intensity and volume every week when following the principles of overloading; the athlete will make gains in strength when he/she works at a greater volume and intensity to which they are accustomed to. Speed/Acceleration training should be a year round session in any speed training program to allow for the actualization of speed work or to see the athlete reproduce the desired result 80% or more of the time. Without stabilization (continuing to train speed twice a week year round) actualization cannot occur. Give these workouts a try, vary them according to the athlete, make them fit for your group and watch your athletes improve like never before. 

Week 1; Day 1

Speed Warm up

5x20m. Rest 2-3 min

*focus on explosiveness, low heel recovery, punch the knees forward, push back*

5x30m. Rest 3 min

Total volume: 250 meters

*focus on forceful drive of the arms, everything down*

5-10 minute cool down

 

Week 1; Day 4

Speed Warm up

 *lower the volume from the previous speed day*

4x20m. Rest 2-3 min

4x30m. Rest 3 min

*continue to focus on explosiveness, low heel recovery, pushing back*

Total volume: 200 meters

10 minute cool down

 

Now we are going to increase the volume from the previous week

 

Week 2; Day 1

Speed Warm up

2x5x20m. Rest 2-3 min between reps, 8 min between sets

5x30m. Rest 3 min

*focus on pushing back, staying patient*

Total volume: 300 meters

5-10 minute cool down

 

Week 2; Day 4

Speed Warm up

*lower the volume from the previous speed day*

6x20m. Rest 2-3 min

4x30m. Rest 3 min

*focus on staying patient, push-push-push*

Total volume: 240 meters

10 minute cool down

 

And, again, we will gradually increase the volume to allow for adaptation

 

Week 3; Day 1

Speed Warm up

6x20m. Rest 2-3 min

2x4x30m. Rest 3 min between reps, 8 min between sets

*continue to cue proper technique, toe up, knee up, heel up*

Total volume: 360 meters

10 minute cool down

 

Week 3; Day 4

Speed Warm up

*lower the volume from the previous speed day*

6x20m. Rest 2-3 min

6x30m. Rest 3 min

*continue to cue proper form and technique, pushing off the line, everything down*

Total volume: 300 meters

5-10 minute cool down

 

Continue to increase the volume and intensity

 

Week 4; Day 1

Speed Warm up

6x20m. Rest 2-3 min

2x5x30m. Rest 3 min between reps; 8 min between sets

*focus on being powerful not quick, pushing down, everything down*

Total volume: 420 meters

10 minute cool down

 

Week 4; Day 2

Speed Warm up

*lower the volume from the previous speed day*

2x5x20m. Rest 2-3 min between reps; 8 min between sets

5x30m. Rest 3 min

*everything down, low heel recovery for at least 4 steps, powerful is key, not quickness*

Total volume: 350 meters

5-10 minute cool down

There it is and remember this is only 4 weeks! Imagine what the other weeks look like!!! Hmmm……..! Lol. We’ll get into that next time!

Continue in knowledge my friends!

 

Charone

It’s that time of year again…

This is the time of year that I admire the most; it’s time to start training for track and field! Yaaaas! When the world’s fastest men and women, boys and girls take to the track to start preparing themselves to earn the titles of fastest man, women, boy or girl alive….heck even distance runners are fast in this sport so don’t sleep on them either! Everyone in this sport does 30m and 40m wind sprints and we ALL know the 100m acceleration pattern so unless you’re confident in your sprinting skills, I would strongly advise you NOT to challenge any track and field runner or field event person…yeah that’s right, even the shot putters, hammer and discus throwers have speed just watch how they turn in that small circle!!!

Many track and field athletes have been preparing for this season since as early as the summer. Many have started in July, many later in August, especially after watching the World Championships and college athletes start next week after Labor Day in September and many of the world class athletes and even some high school athletes will start preparing in November!

That’s the beauty of this sport,…the preparation it takes just for one race, one moment in time, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 44 seconds, 50 seconds, 11 seconds, 10 seconds, 9 seconds is all we prepare for. And those seconds, to us, is a lifetime; it defines our life’s purpose; we put all we are into those milliseconds, those micro ticks! And even though it’s for one moment that we prepare for, it’s really one moment in many events. Moral of the story: always be prepared (Boy Scout motto!)

If you have a track and field team in your area or a college/university that has open practices, I invite you to sit in on one of their practices. Observe at how the practices are carefully designed, how the coaches and athletes know the routines from the warm ups to the planned units of workouts to the cool down and even the routine of the weight room. It’s all planned out accordingly and in many cases it’s planned and carefully designed to fit the needs of each individual athlete. This is one sport where one size DOES NOT fit all…it is truly an amazing sport.

Many of you probably don’t know this but a track and field coaches job is over 80% planning and barely 20% actual practicing! In this sport, our periodization or seasonal plan, starts from the end of the season works backwards! Yeah that’s right, we see the end from the beginning….we see it and envision it before it happens! Truly remarkable isn’t it??!!

However, the poor coverage of this sport is in no way a deterrent to its real fans and I invite you to become a fan too. We have online resources, word of mouth, heck anything we can get our hands on to keep up with what’s going on. We race against the elements of nature, other competitors and the most powerful foe of all…father time. And that ladies and gentlemen is track and field at its core. 

Raise your glass to speed and power and let’s toast to seizing all opportunities!

 See you in the stands!

Continue in knowledge my friends!

 

Charone

A New Year…or A New Day?

When 2012 came to a close and the door was opening on 2013, I didn’t really do much reflecting simply because I’m the type of person who learns his lessons daily, I capitalize on my mistakes almost instantly and I implement changes as soon as I decide on them.

 

However, one thing I did spend a lot of time thinking about my level of risk taking and really stepping out and taking chances. I must admit that I didn’t do much risk taking this year and that’s my fault. My mistakes stem from allowing my situations to dictate what actions I take instead of just purely taking action and allowing that to tell the situation what to do.

 

Now have I learned from those lessons? Absolutely! So what’s the solution? Well,…the answer is simple:  take action…NOW! 

  • The things I need to do more on a daily basis is:
  • 1. Continually educate myself on business and my passion
  • 2. Come up with a plan of action
  • 3. Take action immediately after I come up with the plan!

This isn’t a resolution or a year end goal, this is something that I’ve chosen to do on a daily basis!

Honestly, that’s what I hope for everyone…make daily and consistent goals that fit into your long term goals.

I honestly used to be this way, especially when I was younger. Between the ages of 21-25 I took many risks, would leave any city at the drop of a dime for a closer step to my passion. Chance taker should have been my nickname! 

(Just re-reading that reminded me of how I truly need to get back to that relentless mindset of endless pursuit of what I love to do!)

Seems we have to redefine ourselves from time to time. Who am I? What am I here to accomplish? What’s the cost of pursuing my passion? Am I willing to pay it?

Me? I’m a young coach who trains athletes, not only to become champions, but to provide opportunities, guidance and knowledge to anyone who thirsts for knowledge as I do. I teach the value of education whether it be academic or otherwise. The price of it all…I have to be willing to lose it all!

Take the chance, do what you love, live your passion, love your friends and family, show your significant other your love for them everyday and live the life you want to live…everyday!

 

Happy New Day!

 

Continue in knowledge my friends!

 

Charone

Want to get faster…Try High Quality Workouts!

Throughout my years as an athlete and coach I have acquired various exercises and workouts to help improve confidence and athletic ability. The workouts that I’ve kept around in my training program for my athletes are workouts that have been proven to get results, workouts that are tailored for their individual needs, workouts that address all 5 Biomotor abilities that ALL athletes need and should have(Coordination, Strength, Speed, Endurance and Flexibility) and workouts that challenge the correct energy systems.

 

If I want to improve Speed, then I’m going up to 60 meters; if I want to improve Speed Endurance, then I’m going from 60 meters to 150 meters; if I want to improve Special Endurance 1 (or Special Speed Endurance as I like to call it), then I’m going from 150 meters to 300 meters; and if I want to improve the Special Endurance (Special Endurance 2 as it is more commonly called), then I’m going from 300 meters to 600 meters.  However, depending on how you combine the distances run and how much rest you give your athletes will determine which part of the Anaerobic Energy System you will be training (remember it’s Alactic-without oxygen which is Speed (0 meters to 60 meters) or Lactic which is Speed Endurance, Special Endurance 1 and Special Endurance 2 (60m-150m; 150m-300m; 300m-600m)).

 

However, if you’re looking for quality workouts (you should always go for quality within every workout aka don’t beat the kids into the ground just working them to make them tough; that just shows a lack of coaching knowledge), especially during this part of the Florida high school season, then you are looking to give your athletes plenty of rest between reps and sets.  This also means that they are running very fast which is near or at their maximum speed which means that the volume is pretty low to achieve the desired result. During competition phase of training, the number of quality workouts will greatly depend on how much time you give the athlete to rest between workouts and rest between the workout and the next competition. Just remember, when planning these quality workouts, be sure to take all those factors into consideration before executing a theme for the training week.

 

Now, some of my favorite workouts for my athletes include the following:

 

  • 1x60m, 1x80m, 1x100m, 1x120m, 1x150m. Full recovery between each one
  • 2x350m. Full recovery between each rep
  • 1x250m, 1x150m. Full recovery between each one
  • 2x(150m+60m+150m). Rest 3 minutes between reps, Full recovery between sets

 

Those workouts just barely scratche the surface of my training inventory, but these are among some of my favorite to implement when the time is right and when the athlete has proven that they can handle this quality of a workout.

 

I hope this helps in your workout planning. Let me know if I can help you with this or if you have questions just leave a comment below!

Continue in knowledge my friends!

 

Charone

Why I do What I do…

This past weekend my team that I coach competed in their Conference championships. I’ll start by saying that we lost to our conference rival. However, there were many moments that had silver linings in them that provided hope, at least to me, for my athletes and our team. My job, as a coach, is to train athletes and help them improve their athletic performance; that’s what the public knows. However, my REAL job, as a coach, is to get these athletes and provide them with opportunites: opportunities to go to college, opportunities to believe in themselves, the opportunity for many of them to have someone believe in them and their potential abilities, the opportunity to try something that can have a positive ending to it, the opportunity to showcase all that they are, the opportunity to be challenged,…I think you get the point!

 

All of that only barely scratches the surface of the all the opportunities that present itself. But what I saw at the Conference championships was more than a lost, more than disappointment and more than frustration. What I saw was something that my athletes can begin to believe in. It’s one thing for my students to believe in me and what I do for them, but it’s a whole new world when they believe in themselves. When they buy into the training program they see what’s expecting of them and the road map to how they can achieve their success, but when they see the results from what they believed in, that’s where all the joy comes from.

 

That IS what coaching is all about ladies and gentlemen. That IS the very reason why many great coaches and trainers do what they do. Seeing the joy on my students’ faces when they achieve a level of success that they never thought possible just validates why I do what I do. To help these students believe…that’s something that I live for.

Continue in knowledge my friends!

 

Charone