Podcast Transcribed here
How you doing guys this is the very first coach Hare podcast. I wanted to start off with a very quick one I think people are doing podcasts these days and they are running too long so I am going to keep these short and I am going to go straight into it.
Who are these podcasts aimed for? They are aimed for people who just want improve their coaching and maybe you are with teams; maybe you are in clubs country rugby clubs; maybe you are doing the same all around the world. I am just going to talk from my experiences and give you some straight to the point information that has helped me along the way.
You have to realise the best you learn from your mistakes so I am not taking these out of book, these are from life experiences. So I am going to title today’s podcast The Ten Undeniable Truths of Strength Conditioning. I could have probably have written five thousand but we are going to start with that and that is what we are going to do.
So number one: You will never have enough time. So you will never have enough time with a team; with an individual; with a squad; with a client. It just never will happen. So many things factored into this, their diets you could always educate them. Their stretching you could always do more; their core you could do Pilates with them whatever you will just never have enough time. Do not beat yourself up that is why you just have to have bang for buck when you have them. Also I recommend at the start of the year see how many actual sessions the coaches allowing you to have and always ask for maybe 20% more, you might get 5% more and you will have a good time of it if you can just kind of know what the biggest bang for your buck. I cannot who remember told me this I think it might have been Dan John but I always remember if you were solitary confinement in prison and you had 15 minutes to workout everyday what would you do? So you can start that as your base point and professional team like Manchester United might be the end point; maybe 7 days a week you are going to get to train them but always remember even that coach of Manchester United will kind of think I do not have enough time with the players. So do not beat yourself up; everyone is feeling that way. Do the most bang for buck with the time that you have.
Number Two: You will get on some level emotionally involved with a team. Now my main advice here is you got to toe the line; so what you have basically got to remember is you do not want to be a mercenary you do not want to be the person that is literally training finishes at 7 and you are in the car driving off; remember you do this profession yes but it is still a very social thing indeed but you still want to toe the line. I would not be going drinking with the players; I would not becoming friends with the players; I would not be doing anything along those lines. You are a professional do the professional job; but would I go to the odd birthday party? Would I go to the odd afters of a wedding? Absolutely that is what a team is. No more so if you are in fortune 500 company and staff go and mingle and stuff and they’re the most professional companies in the world – but do not get too emotionally involved. If the team lose there is so many factors of play strength conditioning or fitness is you know very much an important one but it is the determining factor. Did they basically kick the ball in then net? Did they puck the Sliotar where they had to? Probably chances are no; tactically were they inept? There is so many factors but just do not get too emotionally involved. I have seen it cripple a few people probably earlier in my career I was way too emotionally involved and ultimately it made no difference to the job, okay?
Number Three: Your players will do mad stuff on their own; what do I mean by this? You have a squad maybe of 40 players some of them are doing Yoga on their own, maybe you like that. Some of them are doing cross fit on their own, maybe that does not fit your philosophies; maybe they took a power lifting class, who knows? So you have always got to be like Detective Colombo or like thorough with your athletes and really understand what they are doing on their own.
If you are getting a spate of injuries yes look at your programmes but also look at what your players are doing on their own. I have uncovered some crazy stuff ranging from [Inaudible 0:04:11.1] yoga which I have got nothing against but in this particular player it was a bad idea to ten mile runs every Sunday because the player “did not feel fit”. So three words I would use here are educate, educate, educate. Give the players constant education; brain-wash them nearly into your system.
You will I would strongly suggest you give them a little bit of leg room to do stuff that they would like to do. May be they like just going to do a 5k run with their girlfriend. That is not going to do any harm, okay? But at the same token always remember your players will do some crazy stuff on their own. Get to know have spies everywhere if you want to use that term and you can do something about it and kind of chop and change that sort of to suit your needs as an S and C coach.
Number Four: You will feed the screaming baby first. What do I mean by this? When you coach a team it could be up to 40 people coaches, selectors the whole shebang, you will always kind of feed the screaming baby. It goes back to this Paratoo principle of 80-20 but I would suggest here is get to the quiet lads. The quiet lads are your most valuable asset in a team. They could be the ones that could be dying from the training and will be very truthful when you ask them or flip side would be truthful when you get them in a quiet room and say “how do you find the training Jimmy or John or Mary?” Actually Dave I am actually in bits, my legs are gone and you can actually you know get some great information of them. Again I would not be putting these in front of the team and stuff like that but I know from my experience when you do get the quiet lads engaging a bit more the whole team as a result benefits. A lot of these guys get respect because they never open their mouth and when they do it is generally gold. So get to know the quiet lads, where do they work, who do they support? I do know just get to know them.
Number Five: If you lose you are not fit; guys we all know this. Very rare does it happen as such you are the S & C coach of a team; new management comes in and they keep you on. [Laugh 0:06:26.2] It very rarely happens. Of course if you lose you are not fit; why? It is just the easiest one to identify, look at. Now there is very many reasons why a team might not look fit by the way. You could test them on Monday and they are you know aerobic capacity could be off the charts, but they might be fatigued; they might just bored; they might must have low morale. Loads of reasons why but of course if you lose you are not fit that is the whole of that.
But basically protect yourself; what do I mean by this? Fitness test the team and I mean traditional fitness test the team. I love the 1k run, spider test is a good one; I suggest the 1k run might be the best for the Irish population because generally Irish coaches kind of identify long running with fitness. It is hard for them to kind of you give them a bleep test or it does not really resonate with them but you tell them how fast they can run a kilometre you know that kind of resonates with old school coaches so I always kind of air towards that. There is nothing stopping you doing that test another one to compare and contrast. Just protect yourself this is something I learnt off Barry Soul something that you can put down and show the coach well you are telling me they are not fit, well I am just telling you I have made them 15-20% fitter and it just keeps pressure off you and also sometimes the coaches just want to see that, they just want to see that actually you know what I was wrong there. If you do not test them aerobically like that how are you ever going to you know show them so just bear that in mind.
Number Six: Test but test to a bare minimum. So I kind of contradicting myself here but we are going back to point one here okay? So basically you never have enough time with a team, I would suggest here I have seen coaches again in the Irish market testing maybe 20% of the time with their session and I am not kind of thinking that is too much in my opinion especially when you have low level athletes and most athletes in Ireland are low level, I mean there are not in a progressive five day a week S & C programme in high school or anything like that. So test absolutely test but test to a bare minimum; when you have a low level team like let’s say a club team intermediate club team just get them fitter, just get them stronger it frees you up but you still need to test, you still need to show the players where they are going wrong, where they are going right and you will always uncover something that is very very interesting.
Bear in mind testing is an interesting thing, some players just hate it. I had one player in particular throughout my career that tested awful but on the pitch he was electric. When we GPS’ed him, when he did not know he was being tested his speed was off the charts and stuff like this. So it can be quite a mental thing some players just do not like being scrutinised, the fear factor can kill them and that is fine, again that is just coaching and you need to be aware of this but the lower the level of the team, test to a minimum.
Bear in mind the percentage area in all those tests are enormous anyway so just test to a minimum, keep it simple. I love body fat tests; I love the mass tests; I love you know a simple push-up, chin-up a goblin squad to a box they are the ones I kind of err towards, it gives me enough information. I test them every-day they are in the gym, record their weights especially if you have them on a 12 week programme and you can do it like that.
Number Seven: Shit happens; what do I mean by this? No matter how good an S & C coach you are no matter how wonderful your physio team is, no matter what shit will happen and what I mean by this is people will emigrate; people will get ill. Someone will trip of over a med ball and bust their head, stuff will just happen. Do not beat yourself up when it does but have a situation where it happens to a bare minimum.
You never know what happens in life, I remember pulling into a challenge match with a Gaelic football team and two lads were pulling in and a woman hit them behind in the car. Those two lads could not play; just stuff like this will always happen guys; just bear in mind but have your environment why by it is down to a bare minimum. Stuff like are the machines bolted? Do you do silly high box jumps you know and the skin on their shins are hanging off that is your own fault but keep it to a bare minimum, all that stuff but just be aware stuff will always happen, shrug your shoulders and move on!
Number Eight: Systems win; what do I mean by this? Guys you have to have a system for training team. What do they do when they come in? What do they do when they finish? What do they do in the middle? What do they do at the start? What happens if someone is late? What happens if someone has a left knee injury? A right knee injury?
You need to be able to answer all these questions if you are training a team because you have got to treat it like a factory of human performance. The rules change somewhat when it is like small groups like four – five to one but even then you will find you always gravitate towards a system.
Let’s look at it forensically, yes the goalies need a completely different energy system to say your corner forwards in Gaelic; yes your prop forwards need a completely different thing to your outer halves. But ultimately they all need to work their legs; ultimately they all need to push; ultimately they all need to pull.
So you still need to have a system, your system saying the rugby setting is you group them in their positions they do slightly different weights heavier etcetera, etcetera. The best coaches have a system; they are constantly evolving it, they are constantly developing it. Logistics dictate this lot in awfully currently our gym is upstairs, our movement skills place is downstairs it is a bit of walk. Simply little thing and this is very simple little thing, just getting bags for the foam rollers so instead of 20 lads grabbing one foam roller each, three lads that are early could grab you know 10 foam rollers each and that is a system. You have always got to look at ways to make things more professional. Any factory, any businessman will always try and do this that is what you have got to strive for. So have s system and develop it and remember systems win.
Number Nine: Kiss K-I-S-S principle it is a cliché but learn it. Everyone knows keep it simple; Stupid a famous New Zealand rugby saying but are you doing it? Have you introduced too much from your – you know you go to perform better seminar in the States or you went to Mike well you did this, you did that, you mentored me you mentored Robbie. Did you learn too much too soon and you are trying to introduce something too quick?
Bear in mind that you can over complicate things very, very easily and we have all done this. We see a drill say at country level training or elite rugby training, we introduce it to the club and our players just do not get it and they think we are a bluffer. So you have always got to go back to the ‘Kiss’ principle especially when you give your players a programme to do on their own. I will never give a player you know something that I am a bit scared about, maybe that is just bad coaching but I would not give them say Olympic lifts or something if they are year one on a programme because it is just not going to be any good at them.
So keep it simple stupid; always keep it simple, just everything you do so the way you write the programmes. I see a lot of programmes that are handed to players and they just look like maths exams, they have like charts, excels this, excel that. Lovely to look at, fantastic to look at but do your players understand it? Maybe they do; again if they have been around you four or five years that is like a language learnt. Maybe you just need to sit down with every programme you send out what I will do is I will use screen flow on my Apple Mac and literally talk over like I am talking to you now. Show them little YouTube clips, anything you can do to make it more inside their head do it and that will help your programme immensely.
Number Ten: Back everything up in writing and if you do not you are sunk. What do I mean by this? So much of what we do guys is about deals with clubs; deals with country boards; deals with rugby clubs; deals with athletics clubs; whatever. A lot of the time you enter them in good faith, you will forget 50% of what you agreed, the club will conveniently forget 60-70% of what they agreed and guess what, guess who gets stung in the end? If you agree anything in terms of price; in terms of training sessions; in terms of gear; in terms of anything GET IT IN WRITING. Even an email can do and you can print that and show them look you said this at this time. I cannot stress this point enough, I have seen so many coaches do a great job, not write anything down and get you know get the boot away quicker than they should off a low level club because they did not put anything down in writing.
Again especially say in designing a gym. You will get one budget, always ask for more and get it down in writing what you will now get. Stuff goes missing, I have personally know cases of people being accused of robbing gear and in good faith what has happened was that particular coach maybe you know replaced the med’s balls because they were broken or something and just forgot to tell the club in question and problems arise. Get everything in writing; you will never ever not want to do that. The amount of coaches I see in good faith that start off a job or train a team, do not get everything in writing and they get sunk.
So there is my ten rules, let’s go over them again or the undeniable truths.
- You will never have enough time so do not beat yourself up.
- You will get on some level emotionally involved, so just toe the line.
- Your players will do mad stuff on their own, so educate them.
- You will feed the screaming baby first so get to know the quiet ones.
- If you lose you are not; protect yourself with testing.
- Test, but test to a bare minimum, link to point 1.
- Shit happens, so worry about what you can control.
- Have a system, systems win. Look at the little things.
- Keep it simple, stupid principle Kiss for short.
- You must back everything up in writing, if you do not you are sunk.
I hope you enjoyed the ten points in our first coach Hare podcast.