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Set the Compass, pick a path, get going!

Today marks the end of our 2 weeks of Sports Development Spring Camps

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The last day of the camp is always a challenge - generally the athletes are fatigued from the volume of training over the week…they are going back to school next week (freedom is over)...they are sad to see the end of a week full of learning and development…at least that’s my opinion.

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Anyhow, regardless of the reason it always presents a good challenge to us coaches to flip the energy from low to high and have the athlete’s leave the camp excited about the next phase of their season. Whether they are entering off-season, entering the most competitive part of their season, or beginning their season we help them get set with some clear action plans that are focused on making improvements in parts of their development that are really going to pay off for them.

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See, most athletes have a dream…that dream is their compass that is guiding them where they want to end up, and what separates an athlete with a dream from an athlete with a goal, is a plan.

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A lot of athletes have a dream and even set some goals - but they are generally very generic and don’t hold up to the SMART setting guidelines. I want to build muscle…I want to get a better shot...I want to be faster…good goals, but not much detail - so we help them take it a step further.

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Most athletes that have goals haven’t taken the next step to develop a plan of actionable items that they can carry out and reflect upon at a later date. Here is how we would help an athlete work through one of these vague goals and turn it into an actionable item.

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I want to build muscle…

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Step 1. Set the compass

  • Great, first lets determine where and how much? How many pounds? Lower body focused, upper body, everywhere? What is our timeline?

  • Now we know we want to put on 10lbs of muscle mass to no specific area (whole body), and we have 3 months to do it.

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Step 2. What are the possible paths?

  • Ok, now that we have some guidelines around the measurables, we can determine the main contributors to achieving this goal.

  1. To increase muscle mass we need to provide a stimulus that the body can react to…aka workout with appropriate loading patterns designed to build muscle.

  2. We need to provide the appropriate amount of building blocks…aka nutrition.

  3. Need to be eating more calories than we are burning

  4. Need to ensure appropriate amount of macros (protein, carb, fat)

  5. We then need to ensure the body is getting enough rest to properly recover. See the bodies response to the stimulus is how we make gains…and optimally recovering will allow us to provide another stimulus without digging a hole.

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Step 3. Lay out a path

  • Now that we understand the most important aspects of putting on muscle mass we can set some actionable items by answering the following questions.

  • How many days are you going to train?

  • When, where, what is the program you are following?

  • How are you going to get enough fuel to ensure you can grow?

  • When, where, what are you going to eat?

  • When, where and how much are you going to rest?

Once the questions are answered, we should have an action plan that we can put into our weekly plans. There you have it, simple right?

While it seems simple enough I have yet to ask an athlete what their plan is for their development and gotten a detailed response. So as we leave our camp this week, we make sure that each athlete has a detailed plan that they can then take and execute over the next 3-4 months (depending where in the season they are, and when it makes sense to sit down and do a complete review).

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Stay tuned for some tips over the next couple of weeks on how you can put your plan into action and have success in executing your plan!


​Doug and the Zeal Sports Performance team.

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