Optimizing power output is of the highest priority of every strength, speed, and performance coach. Successful programming begins with the end goal in mind and exercise selection needs to consider the what, why, when, and where. Furthermore, great coaches compare their exercise index to the "tools in a tool box analogy." The strength and conditioning community has watched the trend of coaches developing a "fill it to the top" mentality in regards to the exercises (tools) and variations they choose. However, many wise coaches believe it's best to to only use a few key tools to gain results. Regardless of where you stand, we know what we choose is only as good as how well we can coach it.
After choosing the most appropriate exercise for adaptation, turn your athletes focus towards the 3 P's of explosive power skill development: Position, Posture, and Pop!
1. Position - Coach your athletes to find the best angles according to specific bio-mechanics and anthropometric measures. My athletes know the line: "better position, better results," all to well. Always remember to exploit your athletes natural strengths here.
2. Posture- Cue your athletes to create tension and stability from the "ground up" or "heel to head" to optimize power production and ensure the proper transfer of forces. I find it extremely important to make my athletes connect the feeling state of many of my programs stability and postural drills to their power and speed exercises. Create familiarity and connection from any and every angle or exercise in your program. ie. The set up of a two point sprint may feel like a single leg RDL and the kettle bell swing can provide much connection for grooving proper vertical or horizontal jump posture and position.
3. Pop- Describe the intent or spirit of each exercise. Research supports external cues and analogies to increase power production and enhance the athletes ability to link mindset and movement . It may seem all to obvious, but if motor control starts in the brain, what are we doing to potentiate peak performance? Use the environment, use stories, create powerful imagery, and provide positive and purposeful cues. Give the appropriate cue to address technical issues, but allow the athlete to take ownership in making it stick. Positive and purposeful = powerful!