Stay in your lane! Professing to be an expert in any niche that you either have not already done at a high level or have a ton of experience in is never right. You are only fooling yourself and hurting those who you are telling your lies to. That being said, it never hurts to learn, experience or expand your horizons and knowledge base. As long as you know your limitations.
At 3DMJ we get lots of inquiries for coaching athletes that are not in our niche. Inquiries from folks who want a better physique while competing in MMA, or in conjunction with some other sport. Some of these folks are competing at a high level in said concurrent sport. We always turn these athletes down. For one, simply training for and competing in a sport that includes weight training as part of the conditioning process is going to improve one’s physique. So, why even try to bring the two worlds together? Each athlete has their own reasons, but I digress. The point is, it’s out of our scope of expertise to program for and coach someone in strength training while not knowing what their training even looks like for the sport they are also competing in. It’s like cooking soup and only judging how good it is by looking at it. You need to have the look, smell, and most of all taste for the total context.
I am in the fortunate situation that I have an athlete who competes in a totally different sport than myself, that lives with me. My son Xander is a football player. I therefore have a lot of context. Knowing that I need to stay in my lane, last year we took it upon ourselves to take him to an expert in football strength and conditioning. This coach is an athlete who excels at a high level in football and also has tons of experience and knowledge in improving performance in that sport. Hiring this person was tremendously beneficial to both of us. In just a few months Xander improved his 20 time by .15 seconds on average, and his 1RMs in bench, squat and deadlift by an average of 35lbs each. Like I said though, he was not the only one to benefit. I learned a TON about strength and conditioning for football players, which has complemented my 7 years of experience coaching football at the youth level AND being a professional strength coach and athlete.
Taking all that I’ve learned I’m creating a yearly training cycle that Xander is going to be the guinea pig for. I’ve divided the macro cycle into four mesocycles.
- Football Season – Training taking into context all the rigors that go with such a physical sport.
- Post season – More than anything, a time for recovery after the demanding season and the foundation for improvements to come.
- Off season – Training dedicated to improvements in strength and speed. For our purposes, and to save money, I need help from an expert in speed development, so I’ve divided the offseason into “A” and “B” portions for strength and speed, respectively.
- Pre-season – Although less violent than the Football season, this period is much more physically demanding both from a conditioning and contact aspect, compared to the previous mesocycles.
Finally, in late August / early September Football season begins and the entire process starts again. As I write this blog, we have completed the Post season and we are in the midst of an Off season Strength mesocycle, which began after Xander set new 1RMs at the end of the Post season/recovery mesocycle. Our main mission during the strength phase, is to get Xander as strong as we possibly can with the time we have available before we need to start making him a better football player in a more direct manner. In my next blog, I will be outlining the different mesocycles in a bit more detail. I will also give an update of Xander’s current training mesocycle, the off season, as by that time we should be nearing the completion of it. Be sure to tune in for that!