Rule #1: Reduce injury potential
No one can prevent injury. Injuries happen. It is possible however, to reduce the chance of an injury from ever occurring in the first place. As coaches, we need to accept that injuries that occur during our watch are partly our fault. This is especially important in a sport that only has three injury mechanisms, all of which are under our control. We should be looking to reduce injury potential during training, and during competition. Finding the right training program will keep your athletes healthy at practice, and make them more robust for competition.
Rule #2: Improve Performance
The other part of course, is to increase performance. Prioritize safe, progressive training, but make sure that it's effective. Think about the risk/benefit ratio and let it guide your decision making. Think, what is the minimal effective dose? How can I get my athletes as fast as possible in the least amount of time? How can I do so without hurting them? Anytime you can load someone less (with weight or volume) and still get the same benefit, the better. Do not confuse the term less, with lazy. This is not lazy, this is not easy. Sometimes doing less actually results in better performance.
Do you put your athlete’s health first? Do you take responsibility for your own health?
Blake Gourley holds a Masters of Science in Sports Performance Training and has over 10 years of experience working with rowers. Read more