Blowing up your athletes

Today I was reading Vern Gambetta’s blog, and he had a nice piece on the Stimulus Threshold:

Stimulus threshold is the optimum training load required to elicit an adaptive response. There is a different stimulus threshold for each capacity, in the same manner there is a different time to adaptation for each capacity. There is an art and science to this. But the simple rule of thumb is that it is optimum not maximum that we are seeking.

At some point in time, most coaches make the mistake of pushing their athletes too far.  They get over ambitious with their exercise precription and blow the athlete up – usually resulting in a lot of soreness, a few much needed days of rest, an increased amount of fatigue or potentially a regression in performance.

We have all done it at some point.  I’ll admit that I have blown some athletes up because I tried to push them too hard at a time when I maybe should have been trying to hold them back.

Knowing your athletes, the amount of volume/intensity they can tolerate, and knowing when to progress a workout forward, and when to “shut it down for the day”, are critical components to being a good coach.

Don’t get caught up in trying to do a maximum amount of work every session.  More is not better.  Better is better!