Friday, August 8, 2008

Athletic Development vs Strength and Conditioning

Vern Gambetta - as ever - has some very interesting ideas in this blog post.

Strength and conditioning creates two images, heavy lifting all the time and running until you puke conditioning;.......Athletic development addresses all components of the individual athletes and a team’s development based upon the needs of the sport, the position or the event and the qualities of the individual athlete. At the risk of offending people it is easy to get strong in the weight room and fit for a running test, but the real art and science is to apply that strength to the sport and the fitness to the game.

........I believe in strength training as part of a bigger picture........Game fit is a cumulative process that incorporates all elements into building the complete athlete. Arbitrary “fitness” tests that do not reflect the demands of the game have no place in a good athletic development program.

As we have said before, it is all about developing real functional, useful fitness. The ability to excel in whatever position, movements or events that your sport - your life? - demands. Jogging, curls ad bench press do not fit the bill.

One of my loves is hillwalking in the Scottish mountains. For that I need the ability to walk uphill for several hours, balance and strength certain positions. I have been enjoying reading the work of Rob at Mountain Athlete as he works out ways to train for this sort of thing. FOr example his prescription for getting fitter for walking up hill:

Often I'll get questions from people living far from Jackson who are scheduled to vacation here in a few weeks and climb the Grand Teton, take a long back packing trip, or something similar. They'll see the website, check out the workouts and ask where they should begin.

My answer - Load up a back pack with 25-75lb and climb hills, stairs, or whatever. In a short time frame, this will most prepare them for their vacation and give them the most bang for their short preparation time.

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