A popular question I ask guests on The 3 Things Podcast (if you don't know what that is, click the PODCAST part of my website...) is what they are excited about in their respective field. No one asked me, but you clicked on the link so you're getting my thoughts anyway!
1) Stress management
The more I talk to the parents of our athletes and of course the athlete's themselves, the more I realize that sports performance is really stress management. A lot of our athletes are year-round in their sports, or are year round in developing the skills required in their sports. That's cool, more power to you. However, our job as strength and conditioning professionals needs to be to educate the families we work with on what stress is, how the body recognizes it, and how to manage the variety of stress athlete's face.
2) Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
I posted a question last month on my Instagram (@CoachCaseyLee) asking what technology's role is within strength and conditioning. The number one answer was to provide tangible feedback to coaches and athletes. I absolutely agree with that. Playing off stress management from above, HRV has been something we are looking to include in our summer collegiate training program at Parisi to better give athletes a tangible 'score' that will help them better understand where their body is. More importantly for us as Coaches, it helps us start the conversation as to WHY. I also think this is something very powerful to teach our athlete's as they go back to campus.
3) Aerobic work.
Yeah...I think it's cool again.
I've made a living in the last 8 years being 'the speed guy'. More times than not, I have athletes (and parents) who think that running dozens of repeat sprints will make them faster. They aren't necessarily wrong, however, what I see as the dude with the stopwatch and heart rate monitor is an athlete with a wompy (science-y term, right?) central nervous system that is unable to handle the high demand that maximal effort (of any kind) puts on the body. Often overlooked is a strong aerobic base that acts as the backbone to the body's parasympathetic nervous system. It aids in recovery, and go figure, allows the body to handle increased amounts of stress. Long story short, make sure your assessment includes some kind of aerobic capacity work, something like a modified/coopers test will most definitely fit the bill.