Dave Dennis captains the New South Wales Waratahs, champions of the Super 15 in 2014. Dennis trained at SPARTA in October of 2014 after a late-season knee injury forced him to have ACL surgery.
As an athlete, how have your expectations of a training program and the coach/trainer changed from high school to college and throughout your professional career? Before training in a professional environment my expectations were very limited and I felt the trainers job was to improve the teams strength and conditioning overall through the use of a specific team-training program. Now having been in a professional environment for 10 seasons I expect my trainers to assess and understand the needs of every individual athlete. They need to have the ability to apply a specific program to assist the athlete in improving relevant areas. Along with this I expect my trainer to adequately explain the science and reasoning behind why a certain program has been developed for me and to manage the program and myself for the duration of its application.
What factor (personality trait, environment, etc.) of a coach/trainer do you value the most? Honesty in communication, understanding of science behind methods and ability to demonstrate movements.
What has been your most positive experience with a coach that has those traits? My current coaches ability to advise a specific movement, explain why it will benefit me and then demonstrate it in the gym.
What factor of a coach/trainer frustrates you the most? Someone who doesn’t practice what they preach.
How have you adapted and learned form those frustrations? Not wasting time listening to trainers who don’t know what they are talking about and can't execute themselves.
How have you seen the field of performance and injury prevention change over the last 10 years? They biggest change I have seen over the past decade would lay in the area of technology and how through the use of a number of different programs, trainers and medical staff can manage each individual player on a more personal and professional level. Daily physical monitoring in regards to sleep, how your body is feeling, nutritional intake, specific pre-hab exercise, etc. has helped keep players on the field for longer periods of time.
Where do you see the field of performance and injury prevention opportunities for growth? The biggest area for growth I feel still remains in the area of recovery. Almost all sports are getting more and more physically and mentally demanding and the ability to recover quickly to be in a position to perform to a high standard again I feel is where science/technology and trainers/medical staff can still make advances.