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The art of strength and conditioning

I don’t know heaps about art. It was never my favourite subject at school although I once did a pastel drawing of Waisele Sirevi I was quite proud of. I dropped the subject at the earliest opportunity because I didn’t have any desire to be an artist. Little did I know at the time that my career of choice would involve so much artistry.

I’m going to use a well known piece to illustrate, or sculpt, my point. If we view Michelangelo’s David as our goal. A complete athlete at their peak. Flawless perfection. In order to attain that, we strength and conditioning coaches have to start with a piece of stone. We will work with athletes at various points throughout their development. We might be starting at the beginning or adding to another coach’s artistry. At any rate, we are all working towards that same goal.

We chip away with our hammers and chisel’s, we refine, we smooth and we polish. Maybe we work on a certain area a little more at first because we view that as more important to the individual and their sport. Maybe we’ll get one area to a point we’re fairly happy with, in our minds eye it has a little polish and so we focus on another area a little more in the knowledge that we have to come back because the polished area will scuff.

This process is ongoing, maybe infinite. For some of us, it’s our job get some basic shape and pass over to another artist to add more detail, for others we are polishers adding the finishing touches. Sometimes we’re having to repair major flaws so the whole thing doesn’t collapse.

At any rate, there isn’t one set route of development from lump of stone to the finished article, there are so many variables that it’s very difficult to lay out a path or set of intructions for everyone to follow. I’m kind of glad of that because whilst I didn’t want to be an artist at school, I definitely didn’t want to work on an assembly line.

Neil Welch

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