"Movement Dictates Performance,
Performance Dictates Championships"
Canadian Military Women's Volleyball Team
World Military Volleyball Championships- Rio 2009
"For almost a decade Kara Mazerolle has been an outstanding resource for my programs and athletes"
Canadian Women's Sabre Junior Head Coach- Patricia Howes
The Key to Your Team Success
Recognizing your expertise
as a coach
Early in my career, delivering camps and clinics, my frustration was ignorance. Young athletes did not poses basic fundamental skills - squatting, lunging, reaching and stabilizing, let alone add a complex skill like a jump.
The reality was and still is many coaches in the system are volunteer. And thank goodness for people giving their time for athlete development. If you are one of those coaches, THANK-YOU. The coaching team could be your local dentist, store manager or stay at home mom. This is when I recognized:
"Education is Knowledge"
Since 2005, I strive to help coaches and athletes understand basic fundamental knowledge of movement and performance.
Recognizing what your "expertise" is and reaching out to an external resource such as a qualified strength and conditioning professional will not only enhance your teams performance, but you are paving the path for your athlete to move well, prevent injuries and be ready to move onto the next step in their athletic endeavours, whether that is competing in the next level or simply pursueing an active lifestyle.
Unfortunately, time and time again, athletes show up at the University level with dysfunctional movement patterns that should have been addressed at the club level. They were training "Fitness on top of a dysfunction"
"Don't be that coach"
Be accountable for the well being of your athletes. Don't skip steps.
Promoting the importance
of quality movement
Movement patterns must be purposeful. Choosing to make your athletes do push ups is great......IF they can do them properly. There is a right way to do exercises that pattern quality movement and prevent injuries. Common exercises that I witness being butchered at practices are: push ups, squats and planks.
"The continuos volume of poor movement patterns will eventually lead to injuries"
Athletes are like sponges. They will be tuned into what the coaches say and do. If you promote quality movement, they will carry this over to their everyday activities, including the weight room.
"Lead by example"
Baseline Testing is not all
about the numbers
Coaches often get obsessed with numbers to dictate athlete performance. Vertical jump, 1 RM squat, 300yard sprint time etc. Don't get me wrong, baseline testing is an integral component of a program. However, those numbers are not telling you the entire story. The numbers are giving you a part of the overall picture. If an athlete can achieve a decent 300 yard sprint time and achieve a movement screen with no pain, no major asymmetries and no dysfunctional patterns, then I'm impressed.
Baseline testing should include:
"Fundamental mobility and stability standards"
Finding the Balance
Finding the balance may be the most difficult task as a coach. There are so many factors when considering team performance:
Strength and conditioning - A proper strength and conditioning program can quite literally make the difference between winning a championship or having half your roster on the injured list. If you work with a team that does not have the option of doing strength and conditioning outside of practice, you need to incorporate certain components into the practice.
Warm ups - Warm ups are an essential component of success. Use the warm up opportunities to work on movement pattern maintenance and movement preparation for practice.
Recovery/cool down - Use your practice session to dictate cool down and recovery exercises. Are you a basketball coach that just finished a high tempo practice with the focus on defense? Cool down and recovery should focus on hip extension and thoracic extension - they just spent the majority of practice in a defensive position! You need to open it back up. Are you a coach of any sport where athletes tape their ankles or wear active ankles? Athletes at the end of practice need to free their ankles of restrictions and work on maintaining an acceptable range of dorsiflexion and plantarflexion...because guess what...you want them to be bigger, faster, stronger......maintaining ankle mobility is imperative to be able to efficiently do squat/lunge variations.
Team culture - Is your team deportment where you want it? Are senior players taking that leadership role to instill pride and tradition?
Sleep - Are your athletes sleeping? If not, why?
Nutrition and hydration - Do your athletes understand the importance of fueling and hydrating?
Alcohol - Do your athletes understand the negative effects of alcohol on training?
Education - Are your athletes in school or University? Are they successful with their classes?
Mental Health - Mental illness is a real reality. Social media, peer pressure and self esteem have a major influence on our athletes. This is something that the coaching team should be aware of and have coping strategies available for both athletes and staff. Click here to check out the NCAA Managing Student Athletes Mental Health Issues document.
I have extensive experience working with teams. Under the most difficult circumstances, there is always a way to incorporate both movement and strength and conditioning into your team goals. Check out this video link from our team Canada Women's volleyball training camp in Costa Rica in 2013:
I would love to help you reveal the true potential of your team.
Assistant Coach / Strength and Conditioning
World Military Volleyball Championships 2010
Assistant Coach / Strength and Conditioning