Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Paul Revere

As I transition back into fall coaching mode I have more time to train myself and have been taking advantage of that for the past 2 weeks. I feel like the time I spent this summer working hard on my snatch, clean, and jerk technique has helped but as is typically the case I focused so much on that I find myself lacking in the areas that I simply could not fit as much time in to address properly. For me squats and pulls are very taxing so I decided to not stress my recovery by keeping up with everything (squats/pulls notably) and compromising my coaching work (by walking around crippled and not being able to physically demonstrate or adjust athletes); I could have attempted to "cocktail" things more or used split sessions but I felt like this was a more appropriate step and one that should help me improve faster given the extra time/work I will be able to now put in. I would have definitely used split sessions if I felt my technique was better. Anyway, to the test:

Officially, I have beaten my record of 3157 watts @ 4.13 m/s (40.5 watts/kilogram) by jumping 3249 @ 4.25 m/s (41.7 watts/kilogram), and I am as awesome as I thought I was... The reality is that I have most of my female volleyball players in the 30's in the watts/kg average. Highest recorded volleyball female is 36.7 watts/kg (20y.o., 50k bodyweight) and highest volleyball male is 40.1 watts/kg (18 y.o., 68k). I'm still trying to create more of a baseline on which to base performance and readiness but feel like I'm on the right track with this testing/training.

An important point on this training/testing is the warm-up through the kettlebell swings (detailed below) did not prepare me properly for the power test (this is why I tested twice, indicated above as test 1 and 2). This brings up a couple of thoughts/points:

-If the goal was not to "test", but rather was to express speed/power at near maximum in training then a more effective means of warming up is required. Specifically, the gap in speed/power performance was simply too large. There's a continuum and too big of a jump was made and I was, in this case, ill prepared. It's going from 70% to 95% in 1 jump. Ridiculous, most of the time... but more on that later (hint: a story I have heard, but not confirmed, about Dragomic Cioroslan and Pete Kelley)

-If the goal was to test maximum speed/power then a more specific means of warming up is required. Force/velocity specificity considered, something I did before testing should have been done to make my body more aware of the demands of the test. Not including this is the equivalent of leaving numbers out of the formula taught and then testing students. An even simpler comparison is giving someone a phone number with the right area code but wrong prefix. I try to be specific to these problems as this helps to educate the athlete on issues such as why "I jump better in a match than I do in training" (which by the way I have tested athletes during scrimmage play and practice before with no difference typically).

Also, when it comes to weightlifting and/or training olympic lift variations I see coaches using many poorly executed complexes and lift variations that are not complimentary to lift performance meaning:

-they do not aid lift performance beyond as a general warm-up, and/or

-they do not help improve the specific expression of a quality/skill that can aid lift performance (eg speed/timing of extension in a power snatch/power clean demonstrated at a high level with a series of hurdle jumps, box jumps, dumbbell snatches, etc). If it's too slow/fast or in the wrong area code with mechanics then you will unlikely see improvements (especially in session).

I re-test after performing the med ball circuit for 2s x 3/3/5r (caber toss, hop + toss, slams) with a more positive result. For my purposes, the med ball throws work effectively because they accentuate a specific point in the movement's performance (eg the initial push from the bottom of a jump accentuated with the between the leg caber toss and the faster turnover from the trunk/hips with the hop + jump toss). Caber tosses were a little off technically but were not poor, in speed or mechanics, so we continue to move in the right direction.

Now here's a little story, I've got to tell
About 3 bad brothers, you know so well...

Warm-Up/Movement Prep/Greasing the Wheels/Putting the Cape On/Prepping to "Do Work"/Going from Peanut to Just Nuts/From Weak Sauce to Hot Sauce
I. Jump Rope - 90 Seconds (That thing's just a rope, man, you have to make the jump thing happen - Mitch Hedberg)
II. Foam Roll - "300" Seconds
III. Floor/Mat Warm-Up
A1. Reach, Roll, + Lift
A2. Kneeling Rotations
A3. Kneeling Prone 1-Arm Wall Slide
A4. Floor Bridge Variations (I will continue to invest the 30 seconds here even though some think it's a waste of time because I waste a hell of a lot more time blogging, sleeping, saving the world, etc)
A5. 90/90's, Plank, or Rolling Variations (Gray Cook)
A5. R/L Kneeling Lunge Position Shoulder Warm-Up - Arm Circles F/B, Shoulder Angels, Opp. Reaches (like Apley's Scratch Test), Should PNF (call them thumb high/thumb low for players), Arm Swings
IV. Movement
RNT Prisoner Split Squats, S-L RDL/Balance, Lateral/Transverse Squats, Cook Squat Progression, Spiderman (fewer reps than most I'm sure)
V. 4 x 30-Yard Skips to Accelerations
VI. 2 x 15-Yard R-L and L-R Shuffles or Crossover/Carioca Variations
VII. Kettlebell High Pulls + KB Swings
VIII. Power Test
IX. Med Ball Circuit - Caber Toss, Hop + Toss, Slams (2 s x 3/3/5r)
X. Power Test

Order typically gets switched based on needs but you get the idea... So where did the warm-up end and the training begin?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Low Battery

What I thought was a record-setting performance (previous best of 3157 watts @ 4.13 m/s) for a triple turned out to be a major disappointment (major in a 'I'm not as awesome as I thought I was' kind've way). With that said, it's hard to say if I achieved the in-session progression I was looking for on this power test (a bodyweight squat jump test using the tendo unit attached to a piece of pvc) or if the low-battery warning that flashed at the VERY END OF THE SET, upon completion of the jumps, was also an indicator that the tendo readings were inaccurate (as I have learned they are when the unit has low batteries).

I think you will see a significant difference in performance between Set 1 and Set 2 and this was the focus of the warm-up (although I will continue to argue with myself about the potential inaccuracy of the testing on this training day). I've learned that if an athlete, including myself if I can be so bold, does not start a session sharp better to extend the warm-up, sharpen the blade, and get 60 minutes of quality work (assuming an average training session of 90 minutes) then rush into things and get 90 minutes of average work. Having begun this session feeling relatively average, having a low battery of my own if you will, I was happy with my lifting performance on this day.

"If I had 6 hours to cut down a tree, I would spend 4 hours sharpening the saw." -Abe Lincoln

Tell me what you see?