Drake University XC: Data for Improved Strength and Conditioning

When beginning talks with the Drake University Cross Country(XC) team, we spent plenty of time getting to know the entire coaching staff. This meant time with the head coach and assistant coach, but also time with the strength and conditioning (S&C) coach as well. Having a S&C coach that was in the earlier stages of his career, he was keen on technology and what it could do for the athletes. Below is a breakdown of how Drake University XC is utilizing the COROS Training Hub for better performance within the weight room.

Team Dynamics

While Drake University is world-renown for their famous Drake Relays, they also have a budget to keep the other 51 weekends of the year. Just like many NCAA D1, D2, and D3 schools, this means one S&C coach for an entire team (40 athletes). When having such a large ratio of coach to athlete, it’s critical that coaches are efficient and focused with their time. Time in the weight room is about getting better. Without planing and preparation, the program will fail to meet its seasonal goals.

Planning Workouts for 40 Athletes

As you can imagine, planning workouts for 40 athletes can be time intensive. Not only that, but what do we do when all 40 athletes are in the weight room together? Once athletes start a workout, it’s rare that they maintain the exact same rest/work pacing and all start/stop reps at the same time. Where COROS has stepped in to help is in planning the workouts, and keeping athletes on track. With the COROS Training Hub, the coach can now create the workout of the day, save it to his/her library, and drag/drop it on the group of athletes/athlete that it’s designed for. Previously when developing workouts, the Drake University S&C coach would develop “workout cards”. He would hand them out and hope the athletes stayed on track. If they were lost, he would need to re-print these sheets and spend additional time with administrative duties.

Coach on the Wrist

Since starting with the Training Hub, the Drake University XC team has found more success while training in the weight room. Having the workouts directly on the watch has left athletes knowing exactly how many sets, reps, and rest is required from each exercise. No longer does coach have to trust that they communicated effectively with all 40 athletes on any given day. Rather, he can let the watch guide the workout and walk around the room and offer his coaching services for what really matters! Instead of spending time keeping track of everyone’s sets, he can now focus on technique, safety, and performance.

Monitoring Fatigue and Performance

While Strength and Conditioning is important, ultimately these athletes came to Drake University to excel in Cross Country and Track. By having access to each athletes data, the S&C coach can be better informed of how hard strength and run workouts are. With the goal being to perform in races, it becomes critical to know when to push athletes, and when to taper. By having a collaborative approach with the Head Coach, Drake University XC is monitoring training load in all training activities. Athletes are able to push their boundaries when appropriate, and rest for peak results when needed!

Time-Management Improved

From a time-management perspective, being a university S&C coach is busy! dealing with multiple teams daily, it’s rare for a coach to have free time. This puts a premium on having a platform that shows athlete progress, fitness, and fatigue with a click of a button. While the XC team is a big part of each day, ultimately this team will be on the coaches mind during those few select hours each day. It’s easy for stories to be forgotten, notes to be lost, illnesses to go untracked, and a whole list of other items. With the Training Hub, a coach can get all of the data instantly which will help improve day-to-day improvements and longterm success.

Going Forward

As Drake University XC continues to utilize the PACE 2 and Training Hub, they are sure to find new and informative approaches to collegiate performance. As coaches collect more data points on athletes, their decision making improves. We are thrilled to partner with the Drake University XC and Track teams and can’t wait to watch them explore perfection. Go Bulldogs!

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