Blog: Building Blocks of Success

Strength and conditioning (S & C) forms one of the integrating factors associated with Marlborough College’s core mission to produce versatile pupils who can succeed at anything they choose to do. However, S & C is a relatively vague term, causing some people to question why S & C would be beneficial to them.

S & C takes a holistic approach to developing resilient individuals, prepared for sports performance and long-term health and well-being. Improving movement competency and physical capacities are fundamental to sports performance, injury prevention and confidence to take part in physical activity. The S & C coach programmes to meet the individuals needs and the demands of the sport, with consideration of the influencing factors such as nutrition and motivation.

In sports such as rugby, it is obvious that improved physicality will be beneficial. If a player can produce more force, run and change direction faster and maintain intensity for longer than their opposition they will perform better. But what about non-conventional sports or sports where S & C isn’t embedded within the culture? An example of this is horse riding, where traditionally the horse is considered to be the athlete as opposed to the rider. The analogy of a swan looking calm on the surface but paddling their feet vigorously under the water and out of sight is useful here. Although the rider may look effortless, they are working hard to maintain postural integrity whilst producing very finely tuned movements, this is proved by high heart rates. Therefore, at Marlborough we run S & C sessions not only for the school’s main sports, but also for the non-conventional sports such as horse riding and skiing.

S & C isn’t only available to the upcoming athletes at Marlborough. A recent survey by the World Health Organisation found that physical inactivity was the fourth highest ranking cause of death. High blood pressure, high blood glucose, and obesity also came in the top five; all of which would be negatively influenced by physical inactivity. Alongside this, the Youth Sport Trust has revealed that 38% of English secondary schools have cut timetabled PE lessons in 14-16 year olds since 2012 to allow more study time. Research actually suggests that regular exercise has a positive influence on academic performance (see previous blog: Finding the balance), and physical inactivity could have a catastrophic impact on long term health and well-being, feeding those causes of death. This highlights the importance of regular exercise and emphasises why we promote S & C throughout the year. We would like to see S & C become normality and part of the pupil’s self-motivated routine.

It is clear that strength and conditioning can be beneficial to everyone, and we aim to provide pupils with the athletic building blocks for continued development and excellence throughout life.

James Davies
Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach

Ruth Taylor and Joshua Wall
Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coaches

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