Strength and conditioning is a rapidly growing industry. Much the same as many industries in the modern world with the invention of rapid data transmitting technologies such as the internet, smart phones, eBooks and other mediums which make the abundance of information available to anyone who wants it. Some of these mediums have also increase the contact between people, it is easier than ever to send a message, have a video chat, or email anyone in the world at any time. Couple this with social media and there has been a rise of groups, chats, and like minded exchanges everywhere. Basically whatever you are into you can find a group that is into the same thing and get the latest and greatest information about it.
This has made the growth of strength and conditioning exponential. Now if I need to know what someone is doing in any country in the world I can log onto my computer and find out. This all sounds great right? Well it is. It is not without its problems however, with all of this information literally at our finger tips it is easy to draw conclusions about others in the same field as you without understanding, or observing them.
Let me Explain….
This idea came about from a conversation I had with a colleague today where an athlete that is part of a team they were working with was also being trained by another coach in a private facility. The athlete in question was lured away from their team with promises of pro tryouts, agents, and specific programs. It was very easy for this coach to take shots at the team where this athlete was training stating that their programs were not specific, not giving him what he needs, and not going to be able to help him get to the pros. The problem is however that this situation is not the same as the private coach who trains each athlete individually. The private coach may have more time to specifically engineer each workout around each athlete as that may be their business model. In contrast the coach for the team is responsible for sometimes upwards of 90 athletes at one time. These two situations are vastly different in terms of the management of the training environment, program design, and implementation. Does that mean that athletes training in either environment will not get better??? or that one is better than the other??? absolutely not!! In fact both have their merits, for example training in a team environment has a great social aspect, peer pressure to perform, and a general welcomes about it that translates into a great training experience for many athletes. Similarly private training can sometimes offer an attention to detail that is hard to manage in a larger team environment. As it turned out in my above example, the private coach was doing a terrible job for this specific athlete and the situation was rectified. However it still leads me to my original statement your situation is not my situation.
I believe this is a huge problem in the strength and conditioning industry today. It is easy to point fingers at other coaches saying they are not doing things right, but the truth is sometimes they are doing the best they can. Take for example the coach who is contracted to train a girls’ volleyball team in a gymnasium with little to no equipment. Obviously their program is going to be far different than the university strength and conditioning coach working with the volleyball team. Often times the situation you are in as a coach is going to dictate the program that you can run. As long as you keep your passion for the development of your athletes, continually learn, take steps to optimize your training environment, have justification for each element of your program, and genuinely do the best job that you can, you will run a good program.
So, in a world filled with social media, and other glimpses into another coaches training environment try to withhold the opinion about what they are doing unless you know for a fact that they are really doing something wrong. After all the vast majority coaches are out there doing the best job that they can with what they have available. Lets stop the hate.