A recent article “Are Leg Strength and Power Important to Baseball Pitching?“, written by Chris Beardsley and endorsed by Mike Reinold, raised my eyebrows a bit. The research articles he presents to answer his question are the same articles I used last year while writing the pitchers portion of my baseball program for the University of North Dakota. It is very gratifying to know that the time I spent on making sure my program was evidence based and backed by scientific research was well spent.
Since starting my career as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, it has been very important for me to make sure that the programs I was writing and coaching were backed by scientific research or evidence based. For the strength and conditioning field, evidence based means “a systematic approach to the training of athletes and clients based on the current best evidence from peer-reviewed research and professional reasoning” (Chris Beardsley). I’ve been fortunate to be around some great coaches and very intelligent professors and they are always preaching the same thing, “make sure its evidence based.” There are many reasons why this is and I will present a few that are important to me. The first is very obvious, you want to use things that are proven to work. Sometimes this is not possible if your creating something new, but you would be hard pressed to find an exercise that didn’t have some sort of similar movement in it that hasn’t been researched. Secondly, evidence based allows me the ability to see what kind of results the researchers attained and be able to compare and contrast my results. This makes it very easy and systematic to incorporate or throw away parts of a training program. Lastly, I always want to be able to speak to my program and be able to back it up when questioned by my peers, athletes or interested parties. If I can’t do this, then where does my credibility go?
The strength and conditioning field is rapidly growing and new research is coming out at a feverish pace. This presents more and more opportunities to find new information, learn, and become a better educated coach. Will I ever know it all?…absolutely not. There is so much information out there and new research coming out daily, so I’m not afraid to say that I don’t know something. However, by staying humble and knowing that everyday is an opportunity to learn something new, I’ll always be getting better.
The great thing about using evidence based research is that it can be used everywhere! In fitness and health, you can use it when determining what type of fitness program to fit your goals, what exercises to include in your workouts, what supplements you should or shouldn’t take, or even what kinds of pre/post foods you should consume.
Try it out. When your making your next training or life decision, try using evidence based thinking and you might end up making a more logical decision that works to your benefit in many ways.