As many of you will know (because I posted it all over social media ... as always) I have recently taken up a new job as Head of Strength & Conditioning at Eastbourne College.
This has been really amazing so far. It's a totally fresh challenge because I haven't worked with kids for over 4 years so it's tough at times but worth it. I'm still part time at the moment (15 hours per week) but I'm getting handed more and more each week, and I've got more people asking to do this or that so it is gradually expanding which is very exciting.
I'm hoping that it will continue to build to eventually become a full-time role within this year, and if not then hopefully the 2017/18 academic year, as long as I can show my worth and they want to keep me on.
So I just anted to put pen to paper and speak about the process that I am trying to put in place and build at the College.
There has been an S&C program there before, but the person in charge was also a lecturer so couldn't give all his attention to it to allow it to develop. This is my only position at the College so I am trying to give it all my attention whenever I am away from Esher things or Online Coaching with TBB.
Again, working with youth is something that I haven't done for a long time, and something that I don't have a lot of experience with from an S&C standpoint. So I've been thinking about it a lot; how to develop the Under 14s differently to the Under 18s. Or do I need to do it differently at all?
How do I differentiate between sports? What age do I start getting sport specific in the weight room? Which exercises to do, or not to do? And probably the most important of all of them ... how do I educate these kids along the process so that they understand the "why" as well as the "how"?
Let me try to break down what I'm going to try to put into place:
Year 9s - lots of bodyweight based exercises and low level plyometrics. There will also be an introduction to the fundamental lifts but only when under instruction.
Year 10s - more development into fundamental lifts but with a basis of GPP.
Year 11s - continuation of the fundamental lifts and start to train with some kind of focus towards sports performance rather than GPP.
Year 12s & 13s - continue to develop the fundamental lifts and start to coach more technical aspects. Focus on sports performance, injury prevention and mobility.
That's how I have things in my head at the moment. The idea is then that once I have been around for a year or two (here's hoping) then the plan will start to follow through - the year 10s will already have a good level of gym experience and technical background ready to progress into the more intense training sessions.
In terms of education the main aim is basically to just always be available to answer questions, and to explain to students why we are doing certain exercises, and how they can impact them.
It is also going to be a constant focus point to keep the students mobile and paying attention to correct form and movement patterns throughout. I don't ever want them sacrificing form for weight, so they are told to always leave 2 reps in the tank rather than push too far.
Essentially - my aim for all the students is that by the time they leave Eastbourne College they are able to head to their next destination with a good knowledge of what to do in the gym, and also why they are doing those things. I never had the opportunity to have S&C support at any point until I started doing it myself, so I want these guys and girls to have a step up. Starting in the gym with real focus from Year 9 ... if only!
Hopefully this gives some kind of idea as to what I'm trying to achieve and how I'm looking at doing it. Feel free to get in touch.