It is not uncommon for coaches to be asked about why an exercise is or is not used during training sessions. We all have our preconceived notions of what training is and what it should look like for athletes. Unfortunately, we have open access to millions of viewpoints, applications, and implementations available at the click of button.
Everyone has seen the video of the 4 year old doing box jumps, or the 6 year old performing difficult drills on the agility ladder. Everyone has seen the baby lifting the plastic weights above his head, throwing them down, and then screaming and flexing in celebration. These videos often spark questions such as: "Why isn't my child doing this in their training?" or "How do I get my kid this fast?" What we often times don't see, however, is the context or environment that each individual athlete is in.
Training for sports is like white water rafting on an ocean. There are tons of factors that determine the correct path, but endless possibilities of what could possibly be the correct path.
To best understand what training should look like for athletes, we need to understand that everything we see can be taken out of context. Videos that we post on our Instagram or Facebook page are mere snippets of a training session. The exercises and drills selected are a piece of a much larger puzzle than what we see during a 60 second clip. Without a picture to complete, each piece loses its significance and its application.
This is crucial for coaches, parents, and athletes to understand. Without knowing the context of an exercise or drill, we cannot say with certainty that it's appropriate for our training. The four year old doing box jumps is probably doing a lot more in their life other than that. The six year old with lightning fast feet on the agility ladder may not be that impressive on the field. Sure, both of these things garner the attention and praises of others, but without having proper context we have no knowledge of how to effectively implement that small piece into our own picture.
This is where understanding the impact of context is crucial: what is best for the athlete on instagram may not be what is best for you or your athlete.
Unless you are able to talk to their coach or them to determine what the bigger picture is, then trying to seek out training that incorporates that drill may end up being more detrimental in the long run. In order to provide the best training opportunities for any athlete, the best path possible is to create their own context, and structure their training accordingly.