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Thread: Need help training track athletes

  1. #1
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    Need help training track athletes

    I was asked to help out with a high school's track team. Specifically, I was asked to help oversee their weightlifting program. These kids are in high school, and most have very little experience with weightlifting. They will be in their weight-room for two days a week and about 60-70 minutes each session. I have no knowledge of how to train throwers, sprinters, jumpers, etc., and I was planning to stick with what I know and teach them olympic weightlifting, along with light plyometric stuff (box jumps, bounding, and so forth).

    Does anyone have any suggestions or words of advice?

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    You may be best off teaching them about squats and deadlifts first, along with plyometrics. Include bench press, push press, etc. for some of them also, like throwers or pole vaulters. Build up an actual base of strength over spending excessive time on more complicated movements. Two sessions a week isn't too much time, and you would probably spend a lot of that time trying to teach them the movements which could be better off spent on simpler lifts. Many of them may not even know proper squat or deadlift form.

    If you're looking to teach them actual lifts, probably best to start with power cleans or hang power cleans while also doing squats/deadlifts, etc.

  3. #3
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    If you only have them for 2x a week for 1 hour a session you'd be much better off with basic weight training. Squats, pulls, presses, unilateral work, fixing imbalances. Some plyo and dynamic work will also be good but if they have a good track coach theyll be doing explosive shit all the time anyways. Teaching weightlifting movements beyond the power clean is just a waste of time IMO and even that can be saved for off-season work when they can come in more often.

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    Many years ago our local track and field coach asked me to coach his throwers regarding weight training. I had just finished my bicycle racing career so jumped at the chance. That morphed into being the throws coach for the months when he wasn't coaching spring track and field. Even in the spring season, I became the strength coach while the coach concentrated on teaching technique and basic throwing drills. We trained year around in my garage gym and just occasionally at the school gym.

    At first my guys learned the basics, primarily squats, presses, and rows. Later we added power snatches and cleans. My best guy got to the point where he learned how to snatch and clean and jerk and lifted in a local meet. We were extremely successful. Our training at the garage gym consisted of weightlifting, medicine ball, and plyometrics. I must say that it was one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.

    When I began I knew little about training throwers. I read everything I could about training throwers. I went to clinics. I talked with other coaches about training and development. It's surprising how much you can learn by just talking with others.

    I lasted 4 years as a coach. I missed the guys who had stayed with me. Anyway, After ending my career as a coach I went back to weightlifting as a middle age old fart.

    The single best thing I did was to subscribe to Track and Field News and Track technique (which I think is now called something like track and field coach). I had to educate myself, which was quite rewarding. I had to think of myself as being part of the track and field world rather than the weightlifting world.

    I was lucky in that I only trained throwers. I wouldn't advise jumpers, sprinters, or distance runners to do what we did. For them I would go their respective worlds and see what they are doing. Become a student.

    Good coaching will consume you. It becomes addictive.

  5. #5
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    Two days a week you need to focus on squats and deadlifts. And high volume due to the lack of frequency.

    You’re first few sessions should hammer warmups and hip/ankle mobility just so you can get them squatting safely.

    I would split between front squats and deadlifts. You can even do both of those in one session.

    If you have time left. Bench, row, strict press, pull downs. Anything else is a waste of your limited time.

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