The Medium Rare Steak - What Goes into Creating Optimal Performance

Tue, 14/10/2014 - 15:30

Preparing a Medium Rare Steak

The process of preparing an athlete is similar to trying to prepare the best steak possible. When in competition or season, the aim is to try and prepare a “Medium Rare Steak”. With this I am referring to the balance between doing enough to optimise performance without overdoing it and compromising performance. This can be dramatically affected by a number of things. Below are examples of factors to consider in order to consistently prepare a “Medium Rare Steak” on game or competition day:

  • Individual athlete response to training
  • Training age
  • Where you currently are within your competition and periodization plan ie. The training volumes and intensities coupled with what you do and when
  • Duration of game time per player, or volume involved in individual events
  • Duration of competition or season
  • Travel
  • Resources available to assist with recovery and preparation

Know Your Athletes

Although science will always play a part, knowing your athletes and monitoring their performance at both training and competition will give you the information you need. It is imperative that Training Diaries be kept for every session to ensure that the content of training can be monitored. 

It is imperative that Training Diaries be kept for every session

The post training feedback and notes enable volumes and intensities to be altered according to what is actually happening on the ground. The more experience you gain as both athletes and coaching staff, the better you become at reading signs and altering accordingly. As I tell my athletes, “If it’s not recorded in a Training Diary, then it didn’t happen

Coordinate Your Resources

The most valuable process you can manage as a parent or coach is the coordinating of resources to prepare your “Medium Rare Steak”. Dependant on the level you are involved, there will be several different specialists assisting with the process. For example:

  • Head Coach
  • Team Manager or Agent
  • Assistant Coaches
  • Specialist Coaches Ie. Sprint Coach or Kicking Coach
  • Sports Doctor
  • Physiotherapist
  • Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Nutritionist
  • Strength Coach
  • Conditioning Coach
  • Analyst
  • Massage Therapists

Often the process breaks down due to poor communication on what each resource is actually doing, or egos over whose job is more important. At this point everyone is actually “scrapping over the same piece of meat”! Ultimately the individual loses first, and then collectively the team fails to maximise potential for both the athlete and the team.

The more integration and understanding between resources, the greater the chance for creating success!

With good systems, coordination of resources, and communication, we can avoid assuming what others are doing and causing the Steak to be well under done, or collectively over doing it and causing the Steak to be well over cooked. 

A weekly meeting with all resources to discuss the plan for each athlete can easily solve this problem and ensure everyone is on the same page. The more integration and understanding between resources, the greater the chance for creating success!

"Tails Tips"

Wayne Taylor "Tails"

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