25 Mar Strength and Conditioning training with Andy Allford
Andy Allford, Crazy Catch ambassador, and Head of Sports & Active Lifestyles at Kings College, London kindly agreed to be interviewed for the Crazy Catch blog. Andy has used the product extensively in his coaching over recent years including in the run up for the 2012 Olympics with Badminton England so we find out how he first got involved and how the Crazy Catch can be used by all coaches to improve Speed and Agility of athletes in a fun and engaging way…
1) Andy; can you tell us a bit about your coaching career to date??
I have coached fitness ever since I graduated University in 1996 but really started working with athletes in 1999 where I worked at the University of Hertfordshire as Head of Health, Fitness and Performance. In 2006 I started working Full time with the English Institute of Sport as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for Badminton culminating in the Team Leader responsibilities for London.
2) What first prompted your interest in speed and agility training??
With smashes in badminton regularly clocked at over 200 mph and average rally lengths only lasting 6-10 seconds speed and agility training was of paramount importance. What really led to my interest was trying to discover why some of quickest athletes off court weren’t our quickest athletes on court which led me to broaden my view that the training for this component should not simply be on the physical side but to add in visual and cognitive (decision making) elements as well.
3) How did you come across the Crazy Catch?? And what were your first impressions??
We use the Crazy Catch as part of our preparations before Beijing and it appealed to us because it was practical and the athletes found it fun. I also wanted something we could use when the athletes were injured but still kept their feeling of reactions sharp, which we could do modifying the use of the Crazy Catch.
4) How have you used it in your sessions to date and how do the athletes find it??
I have used it a number of ways, as part of warm ups, as part of contrast sets within weights sessions and as a fun game at the end of a session. The athletes love it and depending on how you manipulate the use of the Crazy Catch you can get some great work done but disguised within games and practices.
5) What benefits in terms of Strength and Conditioning training does using the Crazy Catch provide an athlete??
The beauty of the Crazy Catch is that you can manipulate the practices to have more of a physical, visual or cognitive focus all under the umbrella of improving your the component of speed and agility. The fact that you can make it into games means the athletes tend to try a lot harder than simply running through speed and agility drills and as sport is mainly reactive it is also more functional.
6) What sports or athletes would benefit from using this type of training on a regular basis??
Most sports in which you have to perform skills under differing conditions will find the training useful, especially those requiring hand/foot – eye co-ordination but I have used the product with young kids through to Olympic level athletes who have all found it useful.
7) How can coaches who do not specialise in “Speed and Agility and S+C” learn how to incorporate these skills into their sessions??
We have produced with Nathan Robertson, a video on the Crazy Catch YouTube channel explaining in a bit more depth about the broader concept of speed and agility training incorporating the different factors. Take a look below…
8) How do you see the Crazy Catch being used going forward
It is only limited by your imagination – so who knows what extra games/practices people will come up with!