Ghosts of GPP


It’s the time of year where folks who are doing meaningful indoor seasons have a significant idea of where they are. Certain improvements are maturing and becoming more evident in training and competitive environments. Certain insufficiencies and limiting qualities are also very apparent.

Often things that aren’t there lack the basic supports to be there. Once you’re into the competitive season, the focus and perhaps more importantly the schedule, limit the possibilities to address certain issues. While you can train through meets, you still have to compete and you need to be prepared to do so. For some athletes, how they compete even indoors looms large for there futures. You do the best you can, but you are limited in your ability to go back. Thorough and healthy GPPs support great possibilities and what you missed, were unable to address, or should have done better often start to haunt you here. Simple solid training executing/learning quality base skills, establishing good patterns/movements/athlete health, building the structure/machinery, and acclimating the athlete to handle the training loads and stresses to come is huge.

You start to really appreciate the beauty of great GPP even more when you have situations that are limited by injury or other constraints and you take out at first glance simple elements. Volumes of drills aren’t just opportunities to warm-up, but offer foot contacts, conditioning of hip flexors, etc.. Volumes, densities, and frequencies of different types of running prepare the body to handle the more intense demands and often demanding densities and frequencies that come up later in the year (colder climates and indoor tracks anyone). Smaller plyos and multithrow actions build the integrity, capacity, and joint flow to handle more intense and specific speed and power work to come. Technique to support the qualities and loads you’re after in the weightroom can be more readily developed here as there is much less wiggle room for volumes and technical modifications (using different drills, lifts to teach) as you progress into more competitive scenarios. The classic mantra of training to train rings very true and what you missed limits your ability to address what you still need.
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Matt Gardner
As a track and field coach Matt has produced school record holders and state champions in the sprints, hurdles, jumps and middle distance events. He has coached athletes from a wide variety of sports including Professional Football, World Cup bobsleigh, Swimming, Track and Field, Olympic Weightlifting, Baseball, Tennis, and Golf. Matt has extensive experience consulting and collaborating with high level sports medicine professionals to help rehabilitate injured athletes and optimize the performances of healthy ones.