September 14, 2015

    Get Rid of Day 1, the Importance of Shared Templates

    “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton

    One of the largest sources of confusion with new users of our software is the word “templates.” In most environments, workouts are named based off of who they are for and when they are performed (Women’s Basketball Winter Day 1). These types of workouts may be recycled and used with the same team a year later, but how does someone know what ‘Women’s Basketball Winter Day 1’ really is? If ‘Women’s Basketball Day 1’ is the most effective workout to improve a specific goal, how can anyone else possibly use it if they aren’t coaching Women’s Basketball or if it isn’t the 1st day of the week?  In our software, workouts are instead called templates. Generally, templates are named after the goal and created with the intent of being shared and used (e.g. “Load 1 Explode 1” to improve those force plate variables).

    Why Share Templates? The idea of working in a team is that greater things can be be achieved as a collective whole rather than the sum of it parts. The quote on google scholar’s search page from Issac Newton is ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’ which plays to the mindset of research where everyone makes their information publicly available. This is the only way that medical/science research progresses – by sharing and building upon what others have done. The industry of sports performance and even staffs within an organization don’t operate this way. Everyone in the department has the same goal; keep athletes healthy and improve performance, but are they truly collaborating or just working in the same building together? If the guy sitting across the hall from you wrote the most effective template in the world to improve EXPLODE and had the results to prove it, would you use it? Or you could continue to guess what works… and put your pride ahead of the health of your athletes.

    What is a Shared Template? Creating templates, named after the targeted goal rather than days, encourages staff to build training sessions together that can be shared across sports, genders and departments. If the goal is Maximal Strength, it doesn’t matter if it is the Baseball team or Women’s Lacrosse team – the best possible template to improve Maximal Strength should be prescribed, no matter who wrote it. This transparency builds trust and understanding, key factors for the refinement of the ensuing templates and ultimately the benefit of the athletes. When the template is used enough by prescribing across sports throughout the year, there is also enough data to allow for the statistical evaluation of the most effective interventions.

    The Numbers If and when a template is used frequently enough, we can truly evaluate if it worked. For example, a LOAD 1 Template using Squat (At Sparta, we call it L1) once a week has significant positive effect on LOAD, increasing the t score by 1.18 in 2 weeks. The really exciting part is that, because of the data, we know that this template has the highest effect on LOAD, irrespective of the day of the week it is performed. So, executing this template, with Squat as the first exercise complex improves LOAD regardless of the whether it is done on Day 1 or Day 2.

    Different templates can contain similar exercises, and allow for slight deviations that help identify the effect individual exercises have on the force plate variables. Specifically, an additive effect describes how two or more movements working together create a greater overall effect. For example when Deadlift is added to the L1 template above, the largest effect shifts from LOAD to EXPLODE, significantly increasing the t score by 1.55 in 2 weeks.

    Application No software should be so complicated that it paralyzes users with too many numbers, coaches should still follow their instincts. We gave the example above to show how following the data can help simplify and prioritize your most effective templates. Create your own targeted templates based on your coaching instinct (collaborating with others) and what you already know from the stats. All coaches need to do then is let the Template run its course and do what you love, coach. When the stats come back, evaluate what worked, what didn’t – then collaborate with your team to improve the templates. Stand on the shoulders of giants.

    Tag(s): Data , Sports , Education

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