Redefining Weakness Training: Approach

Your athlete's (and your own) weaknesses are not improving.  Why?  Your use of the word, weakness.

This word is not empowering performance, it’s enslaving it.  This isn't to protect egos or coddle youth athletes.  We want to bring the attention back to the limiting factors affecting athletic development and performance.

Chris-McQuilkin-John-Welbourn-Weakness-Training-Power-AthleteMy athletic and coaching journey has sent me up and down the competitive ranks of sport. I've trained in an array of facilities all over the globe, from off the grid rustic iron jungles to the chrome plate kingdoms of Division I football.  Moreover, I’ve observed and experienced a skill level bell curve of coaches attack weaknesses through varying practices.  However, not all of these practices were effective.  These observations led me to identify three major faults in the use of the term ‘weakness training’:

  1. Approach - the self fulling prophecy
  2. Programming - structure and placement that set the athlete up for failure
  3. Progress - nothing in place to measure competency

"Weakness" already has a set definition in the mind of many athletes, especially when it comes to training.  Many of you even thought of one or two components you loath as you clicked on the article!  This perception is exactly why we must redefine this integral part of training and correct the faults listed above.  Change "weakness training" to: 

Skill Practice: dedicated, targeted training that drives prudent application which yields accelerated returns.

My epiphany occurred while working under Raphael Ruiz.  He stated, “Identify and correct what is limiting an athlete, not what they’re lacking in.  The terms ‘limiting’ and ‘lacking’ provide a coach an opportunity to identify, measure, and improve.  More importantly, this approach directs the coach to take an honest, complete look at their athlete.  Not looking at athlete performance as a checklist, but searching for what is preventing them from reaching their full performance potential.

Zach Anderson Power Athlete Weakness TrainingBased off observations and countless of conversations, and more importantly, on field execution, this article will build a case for skill practice and change the perception of weakness training, beginning with approach.

What not to do - The wrong Approach

“Do not think that what is hard for you to master is humanly impossible; and if it is humanly possible, consider it to be within your reach.”

There are two major issues in approach coaches take:

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Tex McQuilkin
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Tex McQuilkin

Director of Training at Power Athlete
MS, CSCS, SCCC, CHES
Book a consult with me regarding coaching, training, life, education... anything your heart desires. Click below:
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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
Tex McQuilkin
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4 Responses to Redefining Weakness Training: Approach

  1. This wasn’t even directed at me but it’s a great reminder. Good stuff Tex.

  2. I love the new outlook. This almost falls under psychology and positive reinforcement…

    How do you program this skill work? Do you send it out as homework? Do it around warm-up/cool down?

  3. What a brilliant article. Love this!

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