Don&039t Let Your Coaching Philosophy Define You | Sparta Science

    is common in strength & conditioning circles to label staff for their philosophical allegiance. just got back from australia, i often hear “yeah, he’s kind of frans bosch”. Nationally, you might hear a trainer is good because “he’s a west side guy” or a “functional trainer” or “a speed guy.” *** is always amusing to me because the label is often issued as a warning to me that the technology may be difficult to adopt due to the “x” philosophy. imagine if medicine worked that way; “you can’t get an MRI at the hospital because they’re dr. Andrew boys. if medicine or other health care fields functioned as performance/strength & conditioning often does, the average lifespan would surely be lower.


    Reading: Todd rice strength and conditioning

    the problem: I’m not that “guy”

    This problem tends to be an irrational commitment to a philosophy, often based on 1 or 2 factors:

    1. personal trial/error experience

    2. tutoring/exposure to isolated settings

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    From my own athletic experience, I was innately good at lifting, so I valued heavy lifts more than other movements for my athletes. As a young coach, lifting similar weight (or more) than my athletes seemed to validate my own athleticism; I didn’t play pro football or bcs, but I can rest easy knowing I probably could have, since I do more squats than some of them (note my sarcastic tone). or if I perform these lifts better than my athletes, my coaching prowess is immediately recognized without having to educate or explain the rationale for my programming.

    I am incredibly blessed to have experiences with exceptional trainers who are close friends and excellent operators. my first coaching experience was with todd rice, a fan of movement details. In Cal Football, we snatched with pristine technique, ran with cameras (no apps back then!), and rehearsed daily stretching routines like a well-orchestrated ballet performance. being a young coach, olympic lifting and running mechanics were the only critical pieces of my puzzle, maybe i was an “olympic lifting guy” or a “rice todd guy”. I then trained at Penn with powerlifting record holders like Jim Steel and Rob Wagner. I saw the importance of rest and diet in training and often an intense recovery outweighed the need to train itself, so I guess it was a “type of weightlifting”.

    The problem became that once these training techniques are experienced and learned at a high level, when are such tools employed?

    the solution

    I want myself, our coaches, our company to be the “men” who choose what is most efficient for the athlete’s success, regardless of any other distractions; my lifting bias, exceptional mentors, athlete preference, sports coach bias, social media, etc. I would change our programming for mlb pitchers to kick back if there was reliable/valid data to show the best positive effects for their sport.


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    To discover the most efficient path for each athlete, we must validate our training practices:

    1. use valid assessment to determine if an athlete has improved or worsened. Evaluate how often you change the training plan. that is, we evaluate after each ‘block’ (3 weeks)

    2. record the training stimulus with great precision. what was prescribed versus what was actually filled is rarely the same

    3. when enough data is collected, analyze the effects of your training program on the evaluation, then modify your training program based on what was and was not effective

    I love being in an engaged community of peers, but I also cringe when I hear that coaches or staff are “Spartan guys” because they use our software. our software was designed for best practices based on available evidence; a huge aggregated and anonymous database of strength tests, recorded workouts, injuries, etc. he just preferred to be called “confidence guy”.

    ***dear female coaches, please excuse the term “guy” as it is a generic word used informally to describe a person or a coach.

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