Many of Liberty Performance Training’s athletes’ are currently in-season for winter sports. With the sheer quantity of games, this time of year is challenging for student-athletes. Games, school, and traveling all take up a bulk of their schedule.
We recently caught up with Alex Parr. Alex is Director Of Sports Performance for Men’s Basketball and Olympic Sportsat the University of Central Florida. Alex is also the Co-Creator of the Insider Training App. The Insider Training App is a mobile platform for coaches to share how they train.
Alex works with a variety of athletes through the year, and shares some of his insight in training athletes during the in-season.
Nick Cipkus: The college basketball season is underway. What are a couple of challenges you face during the season with training your athletes?
Alex Parr: I think the biggest challenges come with the overall work loads and schedule. We try our best to manage recovery while still training at a certain intensity. A lot of times that’s hard to do with practice/games/exams etc. These guys are under constant stress, so figuring out how to manage that stress,while still hitting a training stimulus is the biggest challenge.
Nick Cipkus: If you had to chose only one strength training exercise to use with your athletes what would it be? Why?
Alex Parr: The movement that I’ve moved more and more towards is the kettlebell front rack squat. Maybe it’s because the movement just “feels good” to me as I train, but I’ve found that using two kettlebells in the front rack allows guys to get great range of motion on their squat pattern while still allowing the opportunity to overload. They really are a full body movement as well, as they light up the shoulders and core. We’ve had guys who have normally struggled to get into a great front squat position squat with two 100 lb kettlebells with full range of motion no problem.
Nick Cipkus: What were your goals when developing the Insider Trainer App?
Alex Parr: Eric Potter (ODU) and myself came up with Insider Training as a way of providing a library of expert driven movements for us as coaches, for fitness enthusiasts and for fans of programs. Its cool because it really attacks all three of those avenues. It allows coaches to share/promote their programs as well as collaborating and communicating with each other. It provides a platform of strength movements as a learning tool for other coaches/fitness enthusiasts. Lastly, it allows fans of teams/programs to get an inside look at how those programs and athletes train to become the best athletes they can. I’ve certainly learned a ton from the app, and my network of coaches has grown immensely.
Nick Cipkus: College Athletes are extremely busy. What are two motivational techniques you use to keep things fresh with your athletes?
Alex Parr: Motivation to train is something every coach is going to deal at some point with their athletes. One motivational technique we use here, which seems pretty simple, is music. I’m probably more informed on every genre of music than the athletes themselves. A song, group, or artist they enjoy always gets energy levels and enthusiasm up. I worked with Jim Krumpos (Arizona) at the University of Miami a few years back and he would always joke certain artists would elicit “10% increases in strength” immediately. Another use of motivation that I’ll use, is we always try to relate what we’re doing to their sport. Examples of other teams, former players, other sports as ways to drive competition.
The Kettlebell Front Rack Squat is a very challenging and beneficial exercise. We hope some of the coaches reading this will try the exercise with their athletes. Liberty Performance Training has found great value in the Insider Training App. There are great articles and videos with practical content. Thanks again Alex for taking some time to answer these questions. Good luck the rest of the season.