On Training Athletes and Teams
Coaching athletes started when Kris began coaching Dalhousie Swimming 12 years ago. Kris, himself a swimmer, grew this training as he grew his business. Currently, they are training with us about two to three times a week, both at PUSH and at Dalhousie.
Training athletes requires a very unique knowledge of sports and movement as well as communication with coaches and parents, to ensure the training is complementing the other activities and training that is occurring. For example, with the Dal Swim Team, we don’t work on conditioning or cardio because we know they are in the pool all week. Their cardio bucket is full. Instead, we focus on basic strength and power. Also, we work on asymmetries and imbalances; swimming is a flexion dominant sport: these swimmers have short and tight muscles on the front half of their body, and then because they are students, they are also in a sitting position for most of the day. Thus, we work on the posterior chain, which is the back half of the body to even things out.
This kind of training prevents injuries, something we also focus on when working with athletes. Smart training reduces chances of setbacks based on injuries. We also try to work with athletes at least twice a week for the best results. Athletes are training elsewhere, and so we make sure that they are getting enough smart training to compensate for imbalances, improper movement patterns, etc.
The PUSH plan is also ideal for athletes because even in-group training, whether with their team or not, each plan is personalized and tailored to the individual and we switch it up based on what their week has looked liked.
In addition to team training, we also have a lot of athletes at various levels, including youth, who are coming to complement their ski season, track or hockey, etc. Whatever it is, we always do our best to be in regular communication with coaches and parents to get a full picture of what the rest of the training looks like. Again, we create a plan that supplements the other work that is being done.
All of this work brings out success stories, from the Dal student who went on to the Olympics, to the kid who came in because they had low confidence and needed to boost their experience with physical activity and moved into a place where they feel really good about themselves. Kris trained Keisha, a Dal swimmer, for years. She moved into a position helping him coach and then joined the PUSH team.
Our approach to training and knowledge of sports and their components work together so that we balance the skills and know-how required to push athletes to a higher level of performance, while also brining athletes into the fold of our community. Not only is our team here to support and train, but the community is also supportive. We feel good about this!