"There is a time for everything...
and a season for every activity under the heavens...a time to plant and a time to uproot...a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build..a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them..a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to be silent and a time to speak...there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work.." Ecclesiastes 3.
Ecclesiastes grabbed my heart last January and I believe this book relates perfectly to today's (strength and conditioning) coach. Much like seasons of life, a coach knows that training is cyclical. Whether it be a training career, training year, training macro/micro cycle, training week or even a training day, ebbs and flows inevitable exist.Peaks, level ground and valleys are surely present in long term athlete development and the macro cycles of a training year when dealing, describing and dosing maximal strength work. The quest for the optimal speed and strength combo often comes at the expense of the athlete. As coaches, we often jump on bandwagons or bias our philosophies towards our opinions and past experiences. Unfortunately, our lack of thorough understanding, data, and knowledge also plays a role in developing "par for the course" programs.
An analogy I like to create compares the vertical integration model popularized in the track and field community by Charlie Francis with my very own "training soup theory." Performance qualities are much like the ingredients to soup. We must understand ingredients and their ratios must change dependent upon the desired recipe and taste. While every great chef may have similar ingredients for their Ratatouille, each will have a unique taste and possibly some distinct idiosyncrasies. Training models are much the same. You need specific staples and ingredients to create successes and elicit adaptations. I believe John Maxwell quoted it best when describing business philosophies and systems, "Methods are many principals are few. The methods always change, principles never do."
When an athlete is younger in their training career maximal strength and it's pursuit plays a large role in the athletes advancement and the contribution it has towards speed development. We tend to chase the back squat beast late into an athlete career and often stagnate in power and speed due to our overprescription of maximal strength work. Eventually, the rate of diminishing returns theory has a cost on either the athletes health, recovery or speed development. We must also understand that no two athletes developmental processes will be identical. It is important to pause and step back as we assess and identify timelines for skill and performance quality progressions.
Remember, exercise prescription and leadership is both a science and an art. Use both sides of your brain accordingly and understand that it's not just how we see the world, rather the lens we often view the world through (Wayne Dyer) that shapes our thinking, understanding and application. Your vision, knowledge and perspective ultimately blaze a path for your athletes to navigate.