"Keep going! It's the fourth quarter!"
"Tough it out!"
"This is how we used to do it back in the day!"
Any of these sound familiar?
Scott Anderson, from the University of Oklahoma, published an article in May 2012 entitled, "The Junction Boys Syndrome." This article discusses how conditioning programs are still based on tradition, and not yet on science. But is basing conditioning programs on tradition a bad thing?
My answer: Yes.
Why? The most obvious answer is simply, "to prevent death." Maybe that is going to the extreme, but with the huge emergence of competitive youth athletics, it's not uncommon to see coaches work their kids until they puke.
Ahh, puking. Remember those days? Running wind sprints until you puked? Puking is a sign of weakness! they would say.
...OR, puking is a sign you're dehydrated and are suffering from heat exhaustion.
I know there are coaches today that still utilize the training regime they themselves went through as an athlete, claiming it made them mentally "tough." Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of mental toughness drills. I think the youth of today are babied when it comes to sports. I DO disagree with the use of outdated training programs though. Just because it helped your team win a playoff game in 1950 doesn't mean it's the best way to train your athletes in 2012.
We live in world where information can be obtained within seconds. If you're a head coach, or even an assistant coach, take the time to read up on strength and conditioning. Don't rely on the experience you had as an athlete. You owe it to your players to give them the best chance to win by training them properly. Don't mistake "toughness" for "stupidity" or "ignorance" when it comes to conditioning young athletes.
Becoming "The Junction Boys" may sound cool, but don't become Bear Bryant when it comes to conditioning. Plus, didn't the Junction Boys go 1-9 that year? (a result of their exhaustive preseason training maybe???)