Sports and science have evolved over the years since the last few decades. From how fast you are hitting a ball to what was your angel of knee flexion while hitting a perfect penalty corner in hockey, you know can examine and see-through science. As the game is becoming more and more scientific, strength and conditioning training becoming a huge part of athlete development in current situations.
To get all the key points of the strength and conditioning scene in India, we asked S&C coach Sudip Paul major questions. Sudip is currently working with the UP State Hockey team and is an expert for the SAI National Center of Excellence in Lucknow.
Prior to his S&C career, Sudip used to be a professional cricketer in Bengal and that helped him know the little nuances of the sport. As a strength and conditioning expert, Sudip feels it is a huge responsibility to make the athlete injury free and physically fit. In addition, as per him, to be a good S&C coach, one has to have knowledge of sports science and the metabolic demands of the game one is working with.
Speaking of sports science, Sudip acknowledges the developments of a few major devices and instruments that help them track the progress of an athlete in order to create their best version.
“With the evolving of S&C coaches in the, we have noticed several changes. Several scientific instruments have come like the GPS, speed gates, velocity measuring devices, force platforms, AMS ETC which is helping both the athlete and the coaches to plan”, Sudip Paul on how S&C has been impacting athletes.
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Devices which help S&C coaches
For your information here are a few important pieces of information on how those devices help the coaches monitor their athletes as stated by Sudip himself.
With the help of GPS, you can easily track an athlete’s overall load both during a game and in practice which helps the coaches to understand whether the athletes are in the overtraining zone or not and with that the risk of injury can be reduced by manipulating both the technical and the physical load. During a game also GPS plays a huge role to determine what distance an athlete accelerated during a game, no of sprints an athlete make in the game, what percentage did the athlete play in the HSR zone, and whether the athlete becomes fatigued compared to the 1st minute of the game to the end of the match and with these coaches can easily plan accordingly.
With speed gates, you can easily get the timing of an athlete’s test. Using a stopwatch during a 10 or 40 mt. sprint test is easy but it’s not a valid test as there is always a +_12 secs difference but with the speed gates, you will get the accurate timing which will be easy to compare the scores with an elite level athlete and what needs to be done to achieve that level.
- Force platform
Suppose an athlete is returning from an ACL Injury and it is not possible to judge an athlete’s unilateral strength or is there any asymmetry in the athlete’s injured limb after injury but the force platform will help the coaches to see that.
Apart from that, we can also do various tests like the CMJ jump, how much force is created by the athlete on the ground, what is the jumping height, what is the flight time, impulse etc and many which will help the coaches to identify where the athlete is lacking.
Velocity measurement device-suppose in a weight training session you want to train for power and for that the speed of the movement is very important but with the naked eye, it’s not possible but with this kind of device, you can easily do that. For example, you need a velocity of 1.25 m/s in a movement, in the device, you set that range and the device will update whether the athlete has achieved it or not.
It is basically a load monitoring app where an athlete will give their RPE after the training session and the coaches will easily see if the athlete is in the overtraining zone or not, moreover it will automatically calculate the Acute to chronic workload ratio of an athlete. We can also measure the athlete’s RHR with this device so you can easily understand is the athlete is fit for the session or not.
“We need good sports science colleges in India:” Sudip Paul
Although, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) is bringing everything to make Indian athletes better and fitter, India still is far behind in terms of Sports science and S&C. As per Sudip, the Australian team in the 2022 Commonwealth Games had six 6 scientific staff excluding coaches behind one athlete. So, certainly, we lack in numbers and infrastructure as well. That is Sudip feels we need more good sports science colleges in India.
“For better results, we need this Kind of infrastructure, we need good sports science colleges in India. But coming to my working experience in the SAI government is spending a huge amount of money on sports, starting from setting up a physiology lab to an S&C setting. So, it’s changing and in the coming time in future, we must expect that it will get better day by day.”Sudip Paul, S&C Expert in an exclusive interview with Sportz Point
Not only do we need to have more colleges specific to sports science, he feels general people need to be more aware of the few basic things related to this, especially, the guardians of athletes. There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation out there which can misguide a budding athlete.
“Many people have the misconception that S&C coaches mean gym trainers but in reality, it’s not. In today’s sport it’s all about power, strength and fitness without it you can’t survive for a long time and it’s very important that the parents should be educated first. It does not always mean that going to the gym means you will get heavy or build muscles, parents should be educated about bone formation during a pubertal age, good nutrition etc.” Sudip said in an exclusive interview with Sportz Point.
Along with this, sometimes parents get misguided that athletes should be trained only after a certain age. According to Sudip Paul, the training must be early to build strength and power. They can start as early as 6 years. He explained 7-stages of LONG-TERM ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT or LTAD.
- early start
- Learn to train
- train to train
- train to compete
- train to win
- active for life.
“Parents should be educated about the benefits of a year-long conditioning, movement efficiency, balance, posture, bone growth delay early specialisation etc,” he added.
During the lockdown, the trainers and the athletes had to train online. Sudip feels the online training can only be beneficial if the athlete has some instruments with him and follows the exact routine as well. Moreover, as per him, the athlete needs to have a long-term goal as well. Training for a few months and then going off will not help the athlete by any means.
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Creating individual S&C training routines is a must
Along with all of these the athletes need to be disciplined and have the tough mental strength to achieve his/her goals. That is why Sudip tries to make individual training plans for each and every one. As every athlete has their own limitations and strengths, training them with the same approach will not give them any certain results.
“In SAI I do a postural testing called FMS where I can easily get at which area the athlete is lacking and can plan accordingly.
“If you want to become a good S&C you first have to understand the metabolic demands of the game. You just can’t prescribe slow continuous runs for a weightlifting athlete as it is an explosive Sport. As a strength and conditioning expert, you have to create an individualist program and training according to the game and the athlete’s demand.
For example, if an athlete needs power you have to train power you just can’t prescribe him endurance,” Sudip stated.
Below are the degrees Sudip has on his resume –
1-Certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS)
2-Performance enhancement specialist