Sports Specific Programs
G’day and welcome to the Ocean Performance Centre.
I had been spending hours trying to figure out what was the best topic to delve into for my first blog. Recently however, a young university graduate asked me if the Ocean Performance Centre was a sports specific facility that ran sports specific programs.
Without going into what can be a very hotly debated topic, with someone I had only just met, I replied “yes and no.” That interaction made me realise that I should help everyone get a clearer understanding of what my beliefs are, and what I believe the Ocean Performance Centre to be. So, my first blog is about why I gave the good old Aussie response of Yes and No to the undergrads question.
The yes part of my response to this student is based on the following;
- We have water sport skill based coaches on staff, in particular Surf Coaches.
- Ninety – Five percent of my clients have and currently are water based athletes.
- From having worked with so many water based athletes, through trial and error, I have refined and gained knowledge on the best ways to physically and mentally develop water-based athletes.
- My own passion and experience has led me to build a strong knowledge base about water sports. I have spent in excess of thousands of hours over the years engaging in water sports and through this journey have always been intrigued about what forces are being applied to the body, and what forces the body needs to apply during different water sports. This intrigue has led to similar hours of research and studies on how we can change/condition our bodies to move better/faster/stronger through the water in the varying disciplines.
- Birds of a feather flock together they say, and over the years I have developed a close social circle of mentors, from skill based coaches to expert strength and conditioning coaches, as well as mindset and performance coaches, that all have expert knowledge in regards to water sports. This social circle has provided me with another avenue to get expert advice in regards to the physical and mental preparation of water based athletes.
- In my opinion training programs, once a solid athletic foundation has been established, to a degree do need to be sports specific. Each sport places slightly different demands on the body by requiring the athlete to produce different forces and move in different ways. Furthermore, different sports produce different types of common injuries. These facts must be taken into consideration when compiling programs, even if it is just to prevent the most common injuries that occur in a chosen sport.
- Lastly, some of our services are sports specific, the OPC runs exclusive semi-private sessions for Surfers, Surf Lifesavers and Swimmers.
With all of the above in mind I am very comfortable in saying that the Ocean Performance Centre is a sports specific training facility.
The No part of my answer to that undergrad student is based around;
- The fact that by stating you are sports specific gives the perception that you lack the ability to coach athletes from other sports. This is certainly not the case as I currently work with athletes from several land based sports such as Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Basketball, Triathlon, Netball and Soccer. I am also the physical preparation coach for Alexandra Headlands Beach Sprint Team. Through experience I have realised that for every athlete, no matter what sport they engage in, have similar programs, that is, they all have exercises that involve pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, lunging, bracing, rotating and carrying. Research provides evidence and history has left cues to success, regardless of what sport an athlete is involved in strong is strong and fast is fast.
- The social media perception of sports specific training involves providers endeavouring to coach sports skills in a gym environment. Let us be honest we have all seen certain providers doing some crazy exercises with their athletes trying to mimic skill based movements in a gym environment. As a coach we only have a certain amount of precious time that we get to spend with our athletes and this time is best served working on enhancing physical abilities using evidence based approaches that are proven to bring about results, not crazy way out skill based exercises that have no proven transfer to the sport an athlete engages in. I am a strong believer that sports skills are best left to be taught by the skill coach externally to a gym environment.
So, that’s the rationalisation behind my good old Aussie answer of Yes and No to the undergrads question. To be honest, the debate surrounding the term Sports Specific is forever ongoing, I am not here to debate its meaning or its worth. I am simply hoping that after reading this you get a better idea of what the Ocean Performance is and does.