To provide a combination of Strength & Speed disciplines that will enable University of Delaware to posses the strongest, fastest, and most explosive college athletes in the nation - PERIOD. This will be done utilizing the guiding principles of honesty, integrity, discipline and dedication.
STRENGTH: Olympic lifting techniques are one of the most widely used by S&C coaches all over the country. Using these lifts teaches the athlete advanced movements while putting the muscular skeletal system under stress and creates positive adaptations. This will mirror what the athlete undergoes during competition.
SPEED & EXPLOSION: Power is the ability to generate large amounts of force at a high rate of speed. Explosiveness is the ability to generate power in a short amount of time. These two principles can be applicable to every athlete regardless of sport or position. Training power and explosion is development through many aspects of training such as strength training, speed and agility development, and flexibility. The 1 rep maximum testing protocol is used to figure out an athlete's power and explosiveness which can be broken down into training periodizations to train this aspect. Some tools used train these qualities include barbells, platforms, benches, vert-max, and medicine balls.
FLEXIBILITY: Static, Dynamic, and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation are the three main components of flexibility. Static stretching consists of passively stretching a muscle and holding for a period of time usually 20-30 seconds. Dynamic Stretching involves the muscles being stretched to move in an active process to stretch the muscle to full range of motion. PNF stretching involves static and muscular activation to enhance flexibility. This method requires assistance from another athlete or coach. Using these three methods helps prevent injury, improve muscle activation, prevents delayed onset muscle soreness, and increases range of motion. Some tools used to enhance include other athletes or coaches assistance, bands, walls, barbells, benches, and platforms.
SPEED: Speed training is used to enhance the athlete's ability to get from A to B as fast as possible. Speed training involves teaching the athlete proper body mechanics to optimize sprinting performance. An athlete's reflexes and reaction time are critical points of speed training. Teaching these tools can help the athlete react to make a play or get to where they need to be in a competitive setting. Tools used in speed training range from coaching these mechanics to suing medicine balls, hurdles, 60 meter track, speed ladder, harness, and first step quickness techniques.
AGILITY: Agility is the ability to own a certain amount of space around you. An athlete must able to react as quickly as possible in all directions for any type of situation. Spatial awareness and muscular coordination play major roles in agility training. Moving 360 degrees in any direction at a split second reaction is what the athlete is training for. Most collegiate sports can benefit from this type of training to enhance athlete performance. Tools used to train this quality include medicine balls, dotted or numbered floor sequences, speed ladder, 60 meter track, hurdles, and cones.
CORE: Core training in recent years has become a major part of strength training for the athlete. If you want to be strong on the outside, you must be strong on the inside. The core consists of 36 muscles in and around the abdominal area and lower back region. This very important piece in the athlete's muscular skeletal chain. It helps protect the athlete from injury while optimizing performance through keeping the vertebral column erect and ready to react when called upon. Technology and strength coaches all over the world are constantly inventing new ways to challenge the core. Some of the most popular ways to train this system is stability balls, medicine balls, weight room plates, cables, bands, barbells, benches, platforms, and machines.
NUTRITION: A strength training body can only perform as long as it's getting an adequate supply of fuel. An athlete's calorie intake is under high demand during a full training cycle. They need adequate calories from all major food groups and minerals that will keep the athlete at optimal training performance. This is the most underestimated and widely ignored aspect of training. Athletes are usually eating whatever is within their financial budgets or what is provided to them by a parent or guardian. At the collegiate level, this needs to be monitored to ensure the athlete is consuming the right amounts of calories to optimize training and competition. As well as preventing malnutrition and weight loss during the season.
COACHING: Strength coaches are the central piece of an athletic department. We play a big brother/sister role in watching all athletic teams and individuals every move and making sure they are on the right path. We motivate all athletes from every sport to constantly challenge themselves and create positive reinforcement for adaptation. We are the only staff that ongoing interaction with our athletes throughout the year and provide quantitative measures to show improvement and ultimately increase self-confidence!
Blue Hen Strength & Conditioning is to enhance athletic performance through 7 components: strength training, power and explosion development, flexibility, speed training, agility training, core training, and nutrition; combined with injury prevention, increased confidence and a positive self image. The role of this department is to put to action the highest level of education and resources needed to maintain the optimal level of competition for each individual athlete.
- Athletics are an integral part of the overall educational process, but academics come first.
- Encourage scholarship and sportsmanship.
- Apply professional guidelines in daily practice, as established by (SECTION 2; APPENDIX):
- Lead by guiding rather than ruling.
- Project influence and insight with a positive, proactive attitude and example.
- Cultivate an atmosphere where smart, hard work - and fun - are a way of life
- Earn loyalty and cooperation by encouraging discipline and teamwork to evolve naturally
- Encourage individuals to set their own goals and monitor their progress toward them
- Avoid resorting to forceful measures that create resistance or elicit negative counter-reactions
- Use a simple, direct approach.
- Clearly and concisely explain evidence- or principle-based reasons for everything we do
- Plan the process so athletes can focus on managing the tasks
- Reinforce the concept that S&C is a weapon as well as a foundation.
- Competitiveness... "Raise the Bar," we must challenge ourselves to excel - because leadership and teamwork are how ordinary people achieve extraordinary goals
- Confidence... we must believe in ourselves and expect to win
- Fundamentals... we must be fundamentally sound and execute our assignments with precision
- Tenacity... we must have an aggressive "Only the Strong Shall Survive" mentality; be willing to take calculated risks; and attack our opponents with relentless effort
- Think!... we must be situation-smart; maintain our poise and focus at all times; and eliminate mental errors and foolish penalties
- Keep it clean.
- Maintain open lines of communication.
- Apply andragogical - rather than pedagogical - principles whenever possible.
- Facilitate self-directed, performance-centered learning rather than instructor-dependent teaching; and use didactic instruction methods only when necessary
- Augment the athlete's need to know by appealing to internal motivators (self-esteem, recognition, quality of life, self-confidence and self-actualization)
- Challenges should be designed with achievable solutions as well as the potential for correctable errors in order to stimulate meaningful reflection and processing
- Learning is most effective when tasks are immediately relevant and levels of authenticity, complexity, uncertainty, self-direction and self-adjustment are maximized
These training principles are straightforward and interdependent. The operative concept is to optimize the trade-off between fitness and fatigue by emphasizing quality of work - and recovery - over quantity; and in turn maximize each athlete's abilities without exceeding his/her adaptive capabilities.
- Accommodation. The biological response to constant stimuli decreases with repeated application. Novel/ beneficial stressors yield supercompensation; whereas monotonous/detrimental stressors yield stagnation or decay.
- Continuity. The body's homeostatic mechanisms up-regulate corresponding systems in response to training; and down-regulate them in response to detraining.
- Individuality. The same stimuli induce unique responses in each athlete due to genetic differences, developmental/training status and environmental factors.
- Progression. Long-term preparation should be planned such that tasks become progressively more challenging with respect to critical/sensitive developmental periods. Optimal learning and training effects are achieved by advancing from general to special movements and extensive to intensive workloads.
- Specificity. Adaptation becomes increasingly specific to imposed demands as the athlete's level of preparation improves. Training means (content) and methods (workload) should correspond to the mechanical, coordinative and metabolic demands of the sport.
- Synergy. Focus should be directed toward integrated movement qualities and systemic training responses. The challenge is to plan and implement different stimuli in order to exploit cumulative and interactive responses, and minimize fatigue/compatibility problems.
- Variability. Adaptive responses to strenuous loading are manifested during subsequent unloading periods. Summated/sequenced training effects are realized through planned distribution or variation in training means (content) and methods (workload) on a cyclic or "periodic" basis.
There is no mystery or secret about how to apply these principles. The only trick is to balance the contrasting needs for fluctuation (according to the law of variability) vs. stability (to satisfy the demand for specificity).