Strength Coach Jay DeMayo is responsible for the strength training, conditioning and flexibility development of the men’s and women’s basketball team at Richmond University. He has used the CoachMePlus system to collect and analyze data with the goal of maximizing both teams’ performance. DeMayo has also presented at many seminars and clinics and coached/lectured for a month at Ningbo University in China. The Fairport, N.Y., native, a thought leader in the sports performance industry, sat down with Matthew Coller to discuss how Richmond has used CoachMePlus and some of his philosophies in working with coaching staffs and athletes.
Thanks for doing this, Jay. Let’s start with how you’re using CoachMePlus. How have you been able to implement the system with the data you are collecting?
The biggest turn on when it came to using CoachMePlus was the ability for it to have multiple things mixed in. We were able to bring different viewpoints under a microscope so we would be able to determine good, bad or indifferent and where we were going with certain information.
It allows everything to be completely simple. You can set whatever parameters you want and get an overall green, red, yellow. We look at their questionnaire, training load at practice and readiness based on Omegawave data and it gives us the green, red, yellow and from there it allowed us to have dialogues and move forward that way.
How has that worked out for you? I mean, if another coach is asking you, ‘how has the implementation worked?’ What advice would you pass along?
We’re moving in a good direction with it now. I think the biggest thing with it now is that whenever you are utilizing any of these things, you need to be in a high level of communication and very open as to what you are seeing, why you are seeing and what adaptations need to be made in training based upon (the data). If there is a situation where you need to be more incognito with what you’re doing, it will handicap the process.
So what you’re saying is: Make sure you are on the same page with athletes and coaching staff?
Every coach has a different vision of how they want to handle practice load. Philosophies differ and from the standpoint of the strength and conditioning coach, you have to do your best to work in lockstep with that philosophy, which can sometimes mean dialing things back or turning them up with the athletes in their training so they are getting the proper levels of load per week. We have had a very high success rate by making sure the players are not getting killed in the weight room if they are being run hard at practice.
You were a soccer player back in your college days, Jay, and you know that sometimes players try to gut it out through injuries. They don’t want to hurt the team or be seen as weak. Like you said, that’s commendable, but maybe not always the best for either the player or team.
Right. Hopefully you are making modifications to eliminate as much of that as possible. At a high level of college athletics, there are times when a player is going to be forced to play while they are dinged up – everyone at some point in their career has to play dinged up. It isn’t about finding a way to get players out of the lineup, it is about finding ways to load them better so they are able to progress in a useful and meaningful manner.
When it comes to the players, some get a lot more time on the floor or ice or field than others, but those men or women who are on the bench during games may be called upon at some point to come in and play big minutes. It seems like it would be a major part of a trainer’s job to have them ready to face more of a load when called upon.
For sure. You need to look at overall readiness. Just because you think you’re ready to go overall doesn’t mean you are ready to adapt to things. So if you think you are ready to go but you are not ready to adapt to high-level CNS work, we can do high volume aerobic work or high volume weight lifting. Understanding that, if they are ready to go, you need to train them in the areas where they are best suited to handle the volume or intensity or whatever it may be. It is not a situation where we are going to allow them to trump it, but we are going to give them the leeway to feel things out.
How about when big-minute athletes are coming back from injury? Is it similar?
It is similar, but it is based on where they are in their readiness curve and how they feel that day. You need to be able to look through the whole looking glass and provide the best stimulus for that day for that athlete. What Derek Hanson said about (former Olympic sprint coach) Charlie Francis was that one of the things he was best at was looking at something and say “that’s enough” and walk away from practice or he would be able to say “this is not the avenue we need to go, who cares about the plan, this is what we are doing instead.” I couldn’t agree more with that. You need to be able to take a step back and figure out what the best thing is for right now.
Is that where the heart rate monitoring comes in very important for you?
These things are all metrics for you to look at, but none of it is a deity. You can’t look at it like: “Their heart rate scores were X so we have to pull the chute on everybody.” When you have a game the next day, you have to play. When you gotta ball, you gotta ball. It is a matter of figuring out what you can do and when you can do it. That’s what makes it fun.
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