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The 24 Consensus Principles

Of Athletic Training
And Conditioning
Some of this you already know and apply in your own coaching. But Kernan sneaks
in a few things here like “modeling.” He’s not talking about walking down the fashion
runway. If you made a chart, how much of this do you do now? Should you want
to investigate further, there is a list of sources at the end. For those who may want
to master Tudor Bompa’s principles, you may want to hunt down the workbook that
accompained Theory and Methodology of Training. Coaching Education, Level II, digs
into this Bompa material quite well.


experts, such as Bompa, Harre, Costill, she possesses a current physical

INTRODUCTION Epley, et al. These principles should be examination waiver.
considered by coaches when establish-
The theory and methodology of ing any exercise or training regimen for Principle #2: Active Participation
training, as a distinct unit of physical their athletes. in Training
education and sports, has its own spe-
cific principles based on the biological, Principle #1: Physical Examination 1.) The coach should communicate
psychological, and pedagogical sci- training information with his/her
ences. These guidelines and regulations 1.) Everyone gets one; youth, masters, athletes.
which systematically direct the whole elite, junior elite, professionals—ev- 2.) The athlete should actively partici-
process of training are known as the eryone! pate in planning and analyzing long-
“principles of training.” (Tudor Bompa, 2.) A thorough examination should be and short-term training programs.
1994) undertaken: EKG, blood analysis, 3.) The athlete must periodcally take
The coach of any sport needs to body composition, and cardiorespi- and pass prescribed standard tests.
consider all aspects of the training ratory assessment! 4.) The athlete must undertake individ-
process before he or she designs a 3.) The assessment should be completed ual assignments and/or individual
training program. All athletic events by competent medical professionals training sessions without supervi-
have specific components that make up and from the coaching and sport sion of the coach or manager.
the true nature and scope of that sport, medicine staffs.
whether it is cyclic or acyclic. The 4.) DO NOT COACH, TEACH, nor Principle #3: Multi-Lateral Devel-
following are 24 consensus principles INSTRUCT anyone who has not opment
from various sport training and science taken a physical exam unless he/

By John Kernan, Ed. D., Adams State College


“The necessity of a multilateral conditioning drills that apply force 4.) Training loads must be gradually
development appears to be an accepted with the feet against the ground. increased and manipulated.
requirement or value in most fields of (Epley, 1998)
education and human endeavor. Parents Principle #11: Train the Correct
should check that their children are Principle #8: Multiple Joint Actions Energy System
properly conditioned in all areas of
fitness before a program begins. All 1.) Your strength and conditioning pro- “The primary objective of condi-
biomotor areas of an athlete should be gram should be based on exercises tioning is to improve the energy capacity
developed before embarking on a spe- and drills involving multiple joint of an athlete to improve performance.
cific sports training program.” (Bompa, actions to improve athletic perfor- Many coaches and athletes are confused
1994) mance. Sport skills, such as running, or misinformed on how to implement
jumping, or tackling in football, the correct conditioning methods for a
Principle #4: Individualization require multiple joint actions timed particular sport. For effective condition-
in the proper neuromuscular recruit- ing, training must occur at the same
1.) Each athlete will react differently ment patterns. intensity and duration as you will face
to any training stimulus. 2.) Isolating single joint actions might in competition in order to develop the
2.) There are differences by age, gender, work for body builders to improve proper energy system predominately
and training age. their appearance, but athletes need used.” (Epley, 1998)
3.) No effective training program can be to concentrate on activities involv-
simply a copy of another athlete’s ing sequential multiple joint actions Principle #12: Interval Training
program, no matter how elite or to improve performance. (Epley,
successful that athlete may be, or 1998) 1.) Your conditioning program should
was! be based on interval training prin-
Principle #9: Three-Dimensional ciples.
Principle #5: Feasibility Movements 2.) Interval training is work or exercise
followed by a prescribed rest inter-
“This principle simply states that 1.) Sport skills involve movements in val.
the planned training load must be real- the three planes of space simultane- 3.) The program must meet the specific
istic for the athlete’s age, sex, training ously: forward-backward, up-down, metabolic conditions of each sport
age, level of ability, and mental capac- and from side to side. Your strength or event.
ity.” (Freeman, 1996) and conditioning program should 4.) A common training error that
improve functional strength with coaches make in their conditioning
Principle #6: Specificity/ Specializa- exercises and drills approximating programs is making their rest inter-
tion these skills. vals too short. If the rest period is
2.) In strength training, only free too short, the amount of energy is
1.) Specialization/Specificity represents weights allow movement in three not sufficient to meet the demands
the main element required to obtain dimensions simultaneously. This of the next effort. (Epley, 1998)
success in a sport. makes the transfer of strength and
2.) All athletes will be what you physi- power easier to merge with the de- Principle #13: Train Explosively
ologically train them to be. velopment of sport skills. Machines
3.) Exercises specific to a sport or event limit the development of sport skills. 1.) Strength gains may be determined
lead to anatomical and physiological (Epley, 1998) by the size of the muscles, but many
changes related to the demands of times an athlete will get stronger
that sport or event. Principle #10: Progressive Over- because of an improved ability of
load the nervous system to recruit motor
Principle #7: Ground-Based Activi- units.
ties 1.) Specific exercise overload must be 2.) Through proper training, the body
applied to bring about physiologic learns to recruit more motor units so
1.) Most sport skills are initiated by improvement. that more force can be generated.
applying force against the ground. 2.) Overload can be achieved by ma- 3.) Training explosively with free
The more force your athletes can nipulating volume and intensity. weights allows more fast-twitch
apply against the ground, the faster 3.) The training program must place muscle fibers to be recruited and in
they will run, and the more effective a demand on the body’s biomotor return improves an athlete’s perfor-
they will be in sport skills. systems for improvement to oc- mance potential. (Epley, 1998)
2.) You need to select exercises and cur.


Principle #14: Adaptation Principle #19: Modeling Principle #23: Reversibility

1.) This is the process of the body “Through model training the coach 1.) Detraining occurs rapidly when a
responding to a training load. attempts to direct and organize his/her person stops exercising or train-
2.) Adaptation to training is the sum of training lessons in such a way that the ing.
transformations brought about by objectives, methods, and content are 2.) Fitness can decline rather rapidly,
the systematic repetition of specific similar to those of a competition. The at about a 1/2 ratio.
exercise. SAID=Specific Adaptation coach or athlete needs to know his or 3.) Because of the reversibility prin-
to Increased Demand! her sports ergogenesis [work produc- ciple, it’s important to maintain
3.) Proper levels of load must be tion].” (Bompa, 1994). some sort of fitness through cross
prescribed; if not, undertraining or training or active rest activities.
overtraining could occur. Principle #20: Warmup
Principle #24: Long-Term Peri-
Principle #15: Consistency 1.) Warmup prepares the body for ac- odization and Planning
“Sometimes positive adaptations 2.) Warmup involves doing low-inten- 1.) The process of training is a long
only occur after months and years of sity type activity, helping to get term phenomenon.
consistent hard work.” (USOC, 1997) blood flow to the working muscles, 2.) It involves planning for the entire
and preparing them to perform high- year, from the off-season to a com-
Principle #16: Variety/Variation intensity tasks. petitive peak.
3.) Physiologically, the body tem- 3.) It is also important to keep track
The training needs to be varied perature needs to increase 1-2 of your workouts from day to day,
to prevent staleness. Varying the load degrees. month to month, and from year to
causes the body to adapt. This may mean year in some kind of file and retrieval
varying the durations and intensities Principle #21: Cooldown system.
of different workouts or performing a
myriad of drills. 1.) The cooldown helps to get the blood
away from working muscles back SUMMARY
Principle #17: Split Routine to vital organs.
2.) It is essential to remove meta- A coach or trainer of any sport
bolic wastes from the body and or fitness activity will enhance his/her
Most strength and conditioning
muscles. success by following these principles of
programs use three workouts per week.
training when designing and planning
However, this training can be done 3.) Cooldown is commonly neglect-
training or lesson plans for athletes and
daily if a “split routine” is used. This ed.
means alternating the types of exercises 4.) Latest studies show that an extended
performed and executing them on con- cooldown session may slow illness
secutive days. With the split routine, you and injury. REFERENCES
get at least two full days of recovery
from each exercise. Principle #22: Rest and Recovery Bompa, Tudor. Theory and Methodology of Training:
The Key to Athletic Performance. 3rd Ed. Kend-
all/Hunt, Dubuque, IA, 1994.
Principle #18: Hard-Easy System 1.) Rest allows the biomotor systems Costill, David, and Wilmore, Jack. Physiology of Sport
and Exercise. Human Kinetics, Champaign,
to regenerate and become better IL, 1994.
1.) You can make more progress over and stronger than before. Epley, Boyd. The Ten Performance Principles. Husker
longer periods of time if you do not 2.) Recovery techniques include sleep, Power, tm. Lincoln, Nebraska, 1998.
Freeman, William H. Peak When It Counts: Periodiza-
work at maximum loads during each active rest activities, massage, ul- tion for American Track and Field. 3rd Ed. Tafnews
workout. trasound/electrostimulation, sauna/ Press, Mountain View, CA, 1996.
Harre, Dietrich. The Principles of Sports Training:
2.) A “Hard-Easy” system eliminates steam baths, and hot/cold immersion Introduction to the Theory and Methods of Training.
overtraining and mental burnout. baths. 2nd Ed. Berlin, Sportverlag, 1982.
USOC. “A Collection of Research on Sport Physiol-
3.) Design one or two hard workouts 3.) Every athlete should strive for a ogy.” US Olympic Training Center, Colorado
per week, and have the other days bedtime of 10:30 pm or earlier, Springs, 1997.
involve light to moderate training. every day during training.
4.) “An athlete needs to establish a
pattern or a regimen for his sleep
as well as his training.” (Pat Porter,
US Olympian)