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Important Coaching Thoughts to Employ When Programming For SAQ Work

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As coaches, there is plenty of discussion around jumps, plyometrics, speed, agility and quickness training. We could talk incessantly about protocols, progressions and regressions and the myriad of errors that occur with regards to actually coaching these complex movements. But, let’s actually talk about the “behind the scenes” thought process you should take into consideration when programming for these complex movements.

Top 5 Coaching Thoughts for SAQ Programming:

  1. Who is this movement being programmed for? With movements as technically and neurologically demanding as these, it is imperative to rely on your progression and regression lists as there certainly is not a “one size fits all model here.” Easy way to look at this in programming is to ask yourself is the risk versus the reward worth it.
  2. As a coach, it is imperative to base your exercise selection based on the individual client needs, training age and mastery level. While one exercise may look amazing and could potentially be beneficial to your athlete, are they ready for it at that moment in time? Have they proven mastery or at least a basic capacity for a regression of said exercise? Are you choosing the movement just for the novelty or is it actually what is best for their goals and abilities?
  3. Take into account fatigue when deciding when to program these movements, as well as what are the goals and/or the emphasis of this particular program. When teaching these movements, they should be done after the warm up, basically as early in the session as they are ready for it. We want them to be as fresh as possible in order to ensure the cleanest forms of these movements are engrained. Typically these movements are done with power and the intent extremely high, attributes that will be diminished as they fatigue. Once, they’ve shown a good mastery of the movements and if they have a need for it, while the rest of the program is structured soundly, these movements could be implemented in a work capacity or conditioning manner. True plyometrics will rarely ever fall into that realm of the program, however.
  4. This is a question that gets overlooked quite often, but is vitally important to athlete safety. Where on the training floor, field or track is this movement being performed? As a coach you must be aware of the surroundings and potential injury risks of that particular environment. We are already dealing with dynamic, complex movements that have some inherent risk around them, so control the controllables to keep your athletes as safe as possible. For example, doing transit work (sprints, starts, bounds) in an area where other athletes may walk by with zero awareness or where loose equipment could be lying around. Seems like common sense, but get’s passed by all too often.
  5. So how do you implement these protocols and when do you progress and regress the movements? Do you have system in place to answer these questions? As a coach it is imperative to stay up to date on latest studies and to use your own coach’s eye (along with that ever present concept of critical thinking) to program smartly, safely and effectively for your athletes. More is not always better, and that encompasses complexity, volume and stress.

What are some thoughts on this list? Any other areas that a coach should focus on (besides the actual exercises/protocols) that you could see as being relevant?

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