If you are an athlete or player participating in any level in sport in Ireland have you been trained or coached throughout your sports career?
There is a difference as Vern Gambetta explains in his excellent book entitled 'Athletic Development – The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning';
“Training is paying attention to the actual workout: manipulation of sets, reps, heart rates, maximum lifts etc.”
Many of us have undergone 'training sessions' under the supervision of team managers or mentors - cones are set out and players/athletes must run from A to B or in a circuit type class perform X number of repetitions of each exercise while the supervising mentor or manager keeps the time and blows the whistle when the particular set or part of the session has concluded.....How much did you lift? How many times did you lift it? How far did you run? How fast did you do it?
“Coaching, on the other hand, is developing the whole person mentally, physically, and socially”..... Yes, the coaches main aim while you are in their care is to TEACH you how to move better, more efficiently in order to ensure you move closer to achieving your physical potential.
However, your coach should also have a grasp of the bigger picture and how to develop a player/athlete to coach relationship built on mutual respect.
The coach knows what makes you tick, how to motivate you (or facilitate you motivating yourself).
Practice sessions are Athlete/Player Centred and based on their current status when then walk through the door of the gym or onto the pitch and NOT on imposing a particular session on them without taking into account where that person is 'mentally, physically and socially'.
.....How was work or school/college today?; Are you ready to enjoy and give your best for this full practice session that has been designed for you today?; Do you need to be challenged more? Are you leading a balanced life i.e. are you giving time to your family, your friends, your education or are you just solely focused on your sport?
'Coach Carter' is another film that communicates an excellent message and is based on a true story.... he taught his players how to play basketball and how to develop themselves physically - but more importantly he taught them how to take responsibility for their own lives and how this will transfer onto the basketball court.
At NADA we pride ourselves on being Coaches - we aspire to help athletes to achieve their potential physically, mentally and socially by providing an encouraging, educational and enjoyable environment, where accountability and personal responsibility are accentuated.
The launching of our group based coaching via our INSPIRE Programme for developmental athletes will be another step towards achieving this aspiration.
Enjoy Your Journey,
About the Author - Martin Kennedy
Martin is a sports scientist and an athlete development coach who has worked with developmental, senior and elite level athletes in a variety of different sports including Gaelic Football, Hurling, Rugby, Netball, Athletics, Australian Rules Football and Basketball in Ireland, the UK and Australia.
He holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science (Strength & Conditioning) from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia and an Honours Degree in Sports and Exercise Science from the University of Limerick.
He is a Professional Member (Strength and Conditioning) of the Irish Institute of Sport and is further certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S), the Irish Amateur Weight Lifting Association (I.A.W.L.A.), the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (A.S.C.A.). Martin also holds various technical coaching qualifications in Gaelic Football, Hurling, Camogie and Rugby.
He has also worked as a Coach and Athlete Education tutor for Coaching Ireland since 2003.
He is currently the Director of NADA (the National Athlete Development Academy) where he and his colleagues work as athlete development coaches and consultants to both team sport and individual athletes, from developmental through to elite level in Irish sport.
Martin is also an assistant lecturer in the Sports Management and Coaching degree programme at I.T. Blanchardstown, Dublin.
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