Understanding the athlete during a Simulated Altitude Training Program as a collection of systems which as a group represent more than the sum of the parts is essential for a trainer or coach.
When coaching programs describe and train only one system then the whole group becomes fragmented and unbalanced. One system therefore becomes overly dominant and another becomes weak leading to overcompensation both physically and mentally.
And a system that is the most essential to life itself and performance, yet is the most neglected is the breath and respiratory system. Continually abused and medicated into action the respiratory system and its powerful effects on the metabolism and mind are not yet fully acknowledged in the sporting world.
The breath and breath quality hold the key to bringing an athletes individual systems into a powerful, enduring and collectively grouped unit.
That said, the breath can be trained to perform for a specific event, as can the remaining systems. A 100 meter sprinter does not train her group of systems in the same manner as a triathlete, yet they both tend to breathe in the same, ragged, heaving manner. Rarely is fluid, coordinated breathing seen in amateur and professional sports except for the rare standout, memorable performances.
Rather than training only our muscle energy systems, Simulated Altitude Training opens the way for an athlete to train collectively their group of systems and adapt, learn and shape the way they want their performances to come about in the future. No longer a slave to endless training and crossing fingers they can be ‘right on the day’, an athlete can now quantify, develop and adjust their full grouping of systems based on what specific training program they have currently and also in the future.
As a coach, athlete workflow is a continual cycle of evaluation, implementation and gained understanding of the athlete.
As an athlete, quantifying health and form without the fatiguing and often badly timed maximum efforts that are the norm creates a continual and accessible cycle of communication between the athlete and the coach. Simulated Altitude Training is the tool that enables athletes and coaches to come together in an efficient method to quantify and confirm an athletes health and form, and to then group the athletes systems together being led by the breath and the Simulated Altitude Training’s effects on the athletes body.
Practise does not make perfect, practise makes permanent
Continually overcompensating for a lack of breath and breath quality by endlessly practising leads to the eventual disillusionment of an athlete towards their sport and themselves if they do not reach the level of performance and influence they desire.
As a coach, we can introduce foreign concepts to an athlete, and at a later date ask them to introduce these concepts into their training program. By introducing these concepts before they are needed an athlete has time to absorb the information and make a reasoned approach when the time comes to implement it.
As an athlete, we can include exercises in our program that are both meaningful and can be applied long- term. There is no point focusing on intense exercises that will never be repeated long-term, it is better to frequently practise less intense but more sustainable exercises.
The Dynamic systems approach to Simulated Altitude Training:
– Who is the athlete?
– What are the athletes interests and desires?
– What is the athletes perception of their current activity and level?
– Does the athlete dread certain things?
– Does the athlete have a connection with their breath now? Did they before?
– What are the exercises the athlete like the most and are most likely to continue with?
– Build awareness of sensations; cause and effect
– Have the athlete reflect on what they did and what they felt
– Can we open a line of expectation with the athlete?
– Are the results consistent with previous performances?
– Can we open a line of enquiry with the athlete?
– Can we open a line of explanation from the athlete?
– How have their perceptions evolved?
– Where do they compensate?
– What is their observation of the purpose and value of each exercise?
– Is the athlete stressed by outside factors?
– Is the athlete overachieving to placate a coaches real or imagined desire?
– Building blocks of information that the athlete understands in their own way and can be used as an assessment (ie Breath hold time)
– Are there recurring illnesses or injuries? Instruction
– If an athlete not improving with new exercises, return to a previous, successful activity
– Intuit blockages based on athlete feedback
– Modify exercises to incorporate exercises the athlete likes and can readily continue
The understanding of self allows for purposeful decisions and movement towards real, tangible goals.
This Simulated Altitude Training program seeks to both enlighten the coach and the athlete as they step forwards in their individual performances as athlete and coach side-by-side.
- Mind,Body & Sport by Dr John Douillard
- PRANAYAMA, The breath of life by Gregor Maehle
- Close your mouth by Patrick McKeown
- Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr Weston A Price